Yoga is a path to optimal health by achieving a healthy mind as well as a health body. This path has been undertaken by many for over 5,000 years.
The November issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers an overview of yoga and its health benefits.
Yoga has its roots in in ancient India and is today broadly understood as a system of relaxation, postures and breathing. Several forms of yoga have evolved over the centuries. While some focus more on spirituality, some focus on mediation and mastering the conscious mind with some being more physically challenging than others.
Several research studies have been conducted on the potential health benefits of yoga. Some of the commonly acknowledged benefits include relaxation and stress relief. This mainly stems from yoga's quiet and precise movements, which focuses the mind less on the pressures of a busy day and more on movement while breathing deeply and progressing through a series of poses.
An increased flexibility and balance is developed while learning and practicing new poses, finding that each time a little farther step is achieved.
Several studies have also shown that yoga may help manage certain chronic health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, chronic pain, diabetes, asthma, depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders.
Yoga can be learnt through classes in one's neighborhood, books and videos, but an instructor can help in adjusting poses according to one's needs depending upon the instructor's training and experience in working with one's particular needs or health concerns.
At the end of a yoga session one often feels invigorated yet calm. If that's not the case, suggestions must be sought from the instructor, else another yoga class may probably be sought.