Promoting Optimal Health Over the Lifespan
Post#1 by Katherine Spencer
Yoga is movement that not only can be physical but also involve the mind, and behavior to promote optimal health over the lifespan and improve different aspects of physical and mental health. The practice of yoga dates back to approximately 300 BCE, in ancient India where it was a word of with a multitude of connotations and has since developed. The modern practice of yoga has three main components: posture/poses, breath control/regulated breathing, and meditation/relaxation. There are many different types of yoga that vary from the intensity, difficulty, and how postures are held. There are also differences in breathing patterns and meditation during certain types of yoga practices. (Fishbein, 2021).
The benefits that come with the practice of yoga are fitness, strength, flexibility, balance, and mobility, decreased stress and anxiety, a better quality of life, sense of spirituality, cognitive function and impairment, and pain control. (Fishbein, 2021). Studies have shown that yoga can decrease stress, anxiety, depression, and pain and improved emotional well-being. The mindfulness acts of yoga are thought to be particularly beneficial for symptoms of anxiety and depression by facilitating emotional regulation. (Bystritsky, 2021)
The risks that can be associated with yoga are injury. As yoga is a physical exercise it can have adverse effects of injury. Some observational studies show that minor injuries can be associated with yoga, but serious injuries are rare. Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common injuries, which include sprains and strains. The common body sites are the trunk and lower extremities. (Fishbein, 2021).
Access to yoga treatment can be found in many ways. You can go to in person classes within your communities with an instructor or you can even find videos online to practice at home. There are many free videos online that can be done that are for beginners. There are also streaming services that have multiple different forms of yoga, ranging from beginners to advanced. In a 2012 survey, found that 48.8% of Americans who practiced yoga did it in their own home and did not attend formal classes. (Cramer et al, 2018).
There are several clinical trials that have found yoga to help reduce anxiety levels. In a pilot study from Massachusetts General Hospital, of 29 adults who practiced yoga at least twice a week for eight weeks of Bikram yoga had significant reduced symptoms of expression and improved their quality of life, optimism and cognitive and physical functioning. (APA, 2017). There are many other studies that have taken place, some with Veterans as well, that showed with a common weekly practice of yoga, their depression and or anxiety levels did go down. Although the concept of yoga as a treatment for depression is still preliminary and can only be recommended as a complementary approach with conjunction of standard practices, but there does seem to be some potential. (APA, 2017).
American Psychological Association. (2017, August). Yoga effective at reducing symptoms of depression. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/08/yoga-depression
Bystritsky, A. (2021, November). Complementary and alternative treatments for anxiety symptoms and disorders: Physical, cognitive, and spiritual interventions. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/complementary-and-alternative-treatments-for-anxiety-symptoms-and-disorders-physical-cognitive-and-spiritual-interventions
Cramer, H, Lauche, R, Anheyer, D, et al. (2018). Yoga for anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depress Anxiety. 35: 830– 843. https://doi-org.regiscollege.idm.oclc.org/10.1002/da.22762
Fishbein, D. (2021, July). Overview of yoga. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-yoga