It seems every week there is a new condition for which yoga offers improvement. This week seems to be asthma. The study everyone is reporting on is legitimate, if limited in long-term benefits, but it’s just one more health condition being researched that does find benefit from the regular practice of yoga. It begs the question: is there any health concern that wouldn’t benefit from a yoga practice?
Yoga’s impact on breathing is readily apparent. When you’re focused on a particular type of breathing, on keeping it regular and deep, lung capacity is enlarged and more thorough oxygenation of blood occurs. Both are beneficial not only to asthmatics, but for anyone desiring more stamina.
The strength required for a regular yoga practice is minimal at the outset and more demanding as the yogi progresses. It’s no different from any beginning fitness routine, but because it can be focused on a system or honed for a specific reason, yoga may have a greater direct and immediate impact on strength. Body-weight exercises are some of the simplest, yet most demanding one can do and yoga has taken centuries to perfect the poses to maximize the use of our own bodies’ weight in training.
The sedentary lifestyle common to Western culture is the culprit of many chronic health conditions, most of which could improve through a daily yoga routine. The mere commitment to a daily practice will incorporate more activity into a lifestyle and thus have benefits, many of which are unforeseeable. And when meditation is a solid part of the yoga practice, a healthier paradigm can also be achieved. With a positive mindset, more health issues have a greater chance of being resolved.
PTSD, asthma, auto-immune disorders, depression – whatever the human body can bear, yoga seems to help lift it out of the darkness and shed a little light on an otherwise hopeless or chronic situation. Insert your health condition here _______ and then add “+yoga” to get your equation for improved quality of life.