Yoga is a common practice for many people. Integrative medicine is adding yoga to mainstream medical education and clinical practice.

Yoga is a form of meditation that integrates the mind, body, and movement to promote health. The practice of yoga of the mind-body connection appears to have originated in India in 300 BC and evolved into hatha yoga in the 10th century. It was used by the British military that integrated calisthenics, wrestling and gymnastics. The yoga poses are the cornerstone of yoga practice. Yogis introduced the practice in the West. Yogis then started opening in the United States in the 1950’s.

Yoga utilized three components such as control of breathing (pranayama), poses and meditation. Yogis may include spirituality, kind messages and chanting with or without postures. The postures range from simple stretching exercises to more challenging poses and needs supervision for safety assurance.

Control of breathing are regulated in the meditative practice. Pranayama or pranh means air, life, wind. Ayamh means restraining and extending. This breathing, restraining and extending is the cornerstone of what is called hatha yoga. These are diaphragmatic breathing are deep slow breaths where both the upper and lower chest are mobilized as well as the diaphragm.

Religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism uses meditation that evolved in mindfulness. This is the awareness of the present moment with no judgment and are now being utilized for depression and is now called mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

Over 300 randomized controlled studies have shown significant benefits compared to those who did not receive intervention. Yoga amplifies physical fitness and increases strength and flexibility that alleviating those musculoskeletal issues. Yoga enhances physical mobility and improves balance.

Yoga is therapeutic to those who are anxious. Yoga improves the quality of life. It has shown improvement in handling of stress with those who have cancer. Research shows a downregulation of inflammatory markers and increases immune responses to vaccinations. Yoga enhances spirituality. Yoga has been shown to improve acute and chronic cognitive function. Research shoed improved pain tolerance to those with rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain and migraine. Yoga is a conservative way to pain management to those who have chronic back pain and labor contractions.

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