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13 Feb 2004

Why is yoga so cute for the body mind and soul?

Answer 343 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Lee

In terms of the mind and soul, I don't believe that I am qualified enough to tell you specifics about yoga - as a scientist, my knowledge of yoga extends to the physiological and physical, and so that's where I can help you.

Physiologically, fitness-wise, yoga is good for you because it targets very specific muscle groups in a controlled static exercise position, which causes you to become very strong and stable in certain key muscle groups. For example, the core stability muscles that affect posture (back and abs, mainly), need to be very strong and stable to prevent back pain, and other injuries, and yoga has specific exercises that target these muscles. In fact, many physiotherapists will prescribe 'yoga-like' exercises to patients suffering from injuries such as hamstring strains, back pain etc., and they are very effective. Also, flexibility improves when doing yoga, and there is some evidence (albeit very unconvincing) that increased flexibility means lower risk of injury.

So, the very basic bottom line is that yoga helps improve stability, strength and control in postural muscles particularly, and also improves flexibility. What yoga does not do (and I've 'come under fire' for this opinion in recent weeks on the forum :)) is improve cardiovascular fitness to the same extent as activities such as running and cycling and swimming etc. When one speaks of cardiovascular fitness, you refer to improved heart and lung function, reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol etc. Yoga, because it's not as dynamic as these other forms of exercise, does not cause the same physiogical responses (hormones and neural changes) as much as the cardio exercises do. Therefore, from a physical fitness point of view, one should perhaps look at yoga as part of an integrated physically active lifestyle. That is, yoga, in combination with cardio exercises, which for someone looking to lose weight and keep healthy are the most important exercises to do, is perhaps most effective.

I hope this helps

Good luck
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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