Unexpected Health-Promoting Benefits of Yoga
Chances are that you’ve heard good things about yoga. It can relax you. It can get you fit — just look at the bodies of some celebrities who sing yoga’s praises. And, more and more, yoga is purported to be able to cure numerous medical conditions.
For 5,000 years, hardcore yoga practitioners have been touting yoga’s mental and physical powers. Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert to reap the benefits — adding just a few poses to your daily routine can help your health in all kinds of unexpected ways.
“Yoga is great for flexibility, for strength, and for posture and balance,” said Dr. Rachel Rohde, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and an orthopedic surgeon for the Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak, Mich.
One of the issues in this country is that people think of yoga only as exercise and try to do the most physically hard poses possible,” explained Dr. Ruby Roy, a chronic disease physician at LaRabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago who’s also a certified yoga instructor
“The right yoga can help you,” Roy said. “One of the primary purposes of a yoga practice is relaxation. Your heart rate and your blood pressure should be lower when you finish a class, and you should never be short of breath. Whatever kind of yoga relaxes you and doesn’t feel like exercise is a good choice. What really matters is, are you in your body or are you going into a state of mindfulness? You want to be in the pose and aware of your breaths.”
Roy said she uses many of the principles of yoga, especially the breathing aspects, to help children sleep, reduce anxiety, help with post-traumatic stress disorder, for asthma, autism and as support and pain management during procedures. “I may or may not call it yoga.