Yoga: What You Should Know

Yoga typically combines physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation or relaxation. Researchers are studying how yoga may be used to help improve health. If you’re thinking about practicing yoga, here are four things you should know:

Studies suggest that yoga may be beneficial for a number of conditions, including pain.Recent studies in people with chronic low-back pain suggest that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses can help reduce pain and improve function. Other studies also suggest that practicing yoga might have additional health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and may also help relieve anxiety and depression.

Yoga is generally considered to be safe in healthy people when practiced appropriately.However, women who are pregnant and people with high blood pressure, glaucoma or sciatica should modify or avoid some yoga poses. Talk with your doctor about what’s best for you.

Yoga postures should be modified based on individual abilities. Carefully selecting an instructor who is experienced and attentive to your needs is an important step toward helping you practice yoga safely. Inform your instructor about any medical issues you have and ask about the physical demands of yoga.

Talking with your doctor is important. Check in with your doctor in advance and talk about all complementary health practices you plan to use, including yoga. 

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

FitnessMegan Dreher