How Does Yoga Improve Health, And What Conditions Might It Be Used To Help Treat?

Daniel Monti, M.D.,

Question: How does yoga improve health, and what conditions might it be used to help treat?

Answer: In this country when we use the term yoga, we generally are referring to exercises and meditative practices that are extracted from the larger yogic systems. One approach that nicely combines gentle Hatha yoga with meditative techniques is mindfulness or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. And this approach has been studied and shown to have a range of health benefits, such as decreased stress and improved immune function. A recent study has shown that yogic meditation practices improve cognitive function in adults experiencing cognitive decline. Overall there is data to suggest that yogic practices have a beneficial impact on our physiological systems and they can increase health related quality of life. There are a large number of yoga practices; it's important to find one that you like and one that fits any physical restrictions that you may have.