Alternative Medicine

Yoga and its Health Benefits

Written by Dr. Vinod Kumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: Yoga and its Health Benefits

Yoga is an ancient Indian science which has gained prominence in the medical field in the last 20 years. Reason for this popularity is, accumulating research evidence and testimonials from patients regarding health benefits. According to Sage Patanjali, who is the author of the yoga text “Patanjali Yoga Sutra”, yoga is a way to control the modifications of mind.

If we just have a look at the eight limbs of “Ashtanga Yoga” it will become clear to us that yoga not only works on mind but also helps in maintaining physical fitness. Eight limbs of yoga are:

  • Yama (Don’ts).
  • Niyama (Do’s).
  • Asana (Physical postures).
  • Pranayama (Breathing exercises).
  • Pratyahara (Control over sense organs).
  • Dharana (Focussing).
  • Samadhi (State of thoughtlessness).

Efficacy of Yoga in Management of Several Diseases:

  • What has gained prominence in the last few years is asana, pranayama and meditation.
  • There are approximately 3000 research papers published in different national and international journals suggesting role of yoga for various ailments.
  • Efficacy of yoga has been proved by various studies for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, coronary artery disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma, nasal allergy, non-organic headache, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obesity, low back ache, menstrual disorders and even pregnancy related problems.
  • Research is being conducted for its role in patients with epilepsy as an add-on treatment.
  • It has also been observed that quality of life improves in patients with different forms of cancers.

Though yoga is sometimes considered as equivalent to exercise, meditation and pranayama makes it different from routine exercise, which gives additional benefits. It has also been observed that yoga provides us a safe and effective tool for dealing with the problems related to ageing. Apart from being safe, it is cost-effective and easy to learn. It will not be wrong to say that future of medicine is not just about prescription of drugs by consultant, but also prescription of specific lifestyle to avoid the ailment and to tackle the one existing already. And yoga is going to secure a place in prescription in future.

To know more about asanas and pranayama, consult a yoga specialist online -->

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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