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Informative Exploration Essay on Yoga Can Help Provide Better Health

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Informative exploration essay on yoga can help provide better health


Although yoga has only become popular in recent years it has a rich and long history that is not less than five thousand years old. Even then it still remains unknown when exactly the practice began. A review of various literature insinuates that in ancient times people’s desire for health, need for self understanding and long life gave birth to yoga, a mental and physical exercise which has ever since spread to many parts of the world. What Yoga is The word ‘yoga’ essentially means to yoke or join together’ and thus the exercise is meant to harmonize the functions of the mind and body and result to an individual’s general well being and wellness (Monro, 1997, 215-21). The yoga system is built and supported by meditation, simple postural exercises, relaxation and breathing practices. Yoga exercises are designed and developed to appropriately put pressure or strain on the body’s glandular systems consequently increasing their efficiency and an individual’s total health. The body on the other hand is perceived as the primary instrument that allows people to evolve and work and therefore the yoga student is required to treat it with immense respect and care. The breathing techniques are supported by the assertion that breath is unarguably the source and basis of life for the human body. Therefore breathing practices and control is imperative to improve and enhance the mind and body functioning. Generally breathing and exercises that are inbuilt in yoga are meant to prepare the mind and body for meditation. As a result the student learns how to attain ‘a quiet mind, inner peace and silence’ which paves way for healing and recovery from the consequences of every day life stresses (Monro, 1997, 215-21). Regular practice of yoga as a whole is thus expected to result into a bright, clear mind, a capable and strong body.

History The yoga tradition and routine has been passed on from teacher to student through practical demonstration and oral teaching starting many years ago. The formal technique and procedures that are currently referred to as yoga are thus collective experiences of numerous individuals that have accumulated for many years. The earliest texts reflecting yoga were compiled by Patanjali, an early scholar, who set down or came up with the most widespread yoga practices and theories. Patanjali wrote about the ‘Ashtanga yoga that forms yoga’s eight limbs and what is currently known as classical yoga’ (Boccio and Feuerstein, 2004, 33). Classical yoga eight steps require restraint from casual sex, violence, hoarding, stealing and lying; niyama which implies observance of tolerance, contentment, remembrance, purity and study; asana which means physical exercises; dharana which requires an individual’s concentration on one subject for a specific amount of time; pranayama meaning breathing techniques; pratyahara that entails preparation for meditation; dhyana involving mediation defined as the capacity to focus on nothing or one thing indefinitely and samadhi meaning absorption and requiring an individual’s realization of the importance of self. Nonetheless modern yoga classes usually focus on asana, pranayama and dhyana (Yardi, 2001, 7-12). Health benefits Yoga is becoming even more popular and is gaining respect and acceptance as more people become conscious of its benefits. HHP (2009) assert that even though it was previously perceived as an ‘abstruse Eastern discipline’ yoga is now regarded as an important aspect of health and fitness in America. They indicate that a national survey conducted recently reveals that close to sixteen million Americans practice yoga while another nine million are planning to try it within the year. Even though most people adopt the routine mainly for purposes of improving their overall health or easing stress, a considerable number are in it to achieve specific medical aims or as a result of their clinicians’ recommendations. Generally most physicians that have conducted studies on the routine have reiterated that the benefits of the routine are beyond general fitness because it has the capability of relieving symptoms that are associated with very serious medical conditions. According to Pope (2002) the exposure of twenty five patients suffering from chronic lower back pains to fifteen minutes of yoga three days every week unveiled commendable results. After three months, eighty percent of the patients who had been exposed to yoga reported that their pain had significantly declined, while another group of twenty five under the same study but on normal medication had only forty percent of them, showing improvement. HHP (2009) support this argument by presenting the findings of another study that affirms the capability of yoga therapy in reducing functional impairment and easing pains in individuals suffering from chronic low back pain. They further add that this condition is actually difficult to treat which is why they suspect that clinicians are turning to complementary therapies like yoga. Doctors are further intrigued by the potential of the routine to treat mental problems. A study was conducted by a renowned psychiatric peer reviewed journal on twenty two adults suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. While half of the group used ‘Kundalini yoga’ the other used standard meditation (Pope, 2002). After a period of three months the non yoga group only posted fourteen percent improvement while the yoga group posted forty percent. Later on the two groups were simultaneously exposed to yoga treatment and after one year posted seventy percent improvement. Suchday, Friedberg and Shelov (2009, 595-598) also point out the capability of yoga in enhancing levels of mindfulness but in a healthy populace. From their findings based on research carried out on forty six individuals yoga does increase overall mindfulness and insightful understanding. The findings therefore suggested that yoga is actually an important ‘preventive method for depression, anxiety or later development of other potentially harmful emotional mood states’. Hejazi, Ghasemi and Javnbakht (2009, 102-104) agree that indeed yoga can be used as a ‘stress management tool’ to effectively alleviate depression and other anxiety disorders. Stress reduction is attributed to the fact that concentration and meditation melts away stress that usually piles up as a result of daily tribulations. This therefore provides the body with a much needed break from those stressors also assisting the individual to think through the existing problems and develop appropriate solutions. The mental calmness achieved through frequent meditation is in addition sustainable making it hard for one to become susceptible to stress and further attain the ability to effectively adapt in any situation. Furthermore the focus on breathing, stress reduction and body balance restoration techniques has been identified as effective in preventing epileptic seizures. Pradhan et al (2008, 245-252) concur that yoga may play a role in ‘autonomic dysfunction management in patients that have refractory epilepsy.’ Yoga is also said to elevate the levels of brain gamma aminobutyric which when low trigger or lead to the onset of Alzheimer. Frequent practice of the routine thus prevents or slows down Alzheimer’s progression. The practice also reduces glucose and insulin production accordingly, leading to type II diabetes prevention. The strengthening of bones and its ability to lessen cortisol levels in turn resulting to the sustenance of calcium in human bones, prevents osteoporosis. Lowered blood pressure, reduced anxiety and enhanced cardiovascular health decreases individuals vulnerability to heart attacks. Yoga has moreover been listed among the practices that lead to enhanced respiratory and circulatory system functions courtesy of the controlled breathing exercises. Additionally ‘endurance and pain tolerance’ is said to be higher in people that practice yoga on a regular basis (Eastwood, 2009, 97). In fact flexibility that is attained eases spinal compression and body tightness hence preventing the occurrence of other types of pain. Yoga improves gastrointestinal functions and also balances metabolism thus enabling individuals to control hunger and subsequently their weight. Rodale Inc (2009, 65) assert that the practice cultivates in individuals a ‘physical and emotional awareness’ that makes them more conscious of their food choices and able to control unnecessary food cravings leading to weight loss where appropriate and generally healthy weight. Weight management is also a resultant benefit since the stretching exercises reduce the amount of cellulite that tends to build around muscles. Additionally, the regular practice of yoga provides individuals with consistent energy that enables them to effortlessly carry out their daily chores and routines. Goodman and Sherman (2009, 14-15) verify the availability of poses that make it possible for one to experience overall body strength and radiated health. The posture and balance practices further teach learners how to control their body therefore enhancing agility and posture. Eye hand coordination which is important is also enhanced. Yoga stimulates the process of detoxification within the body which is helpful in delaying aging. Improved blood circulation in the body also plays a role in the enhancement of a person’s memory. The constant practice of yoga besides increases individuals’ awareness of their own bodies. This is because during the exercises there is usually need to make subtle movements that are meant to augment the student’s body alignment. Overtime the participant becomes more comfortable with or in their body and thus experience greater self confidence. Focusing inward and the self discovery sensations also allow one to achieve self acceptance which boosts self esteem, self control, social skills and generally assist one to have a positive outlook of life situations. Besides as one gets stronger as a result of those exercises muscle tone becomes evident. Therefore it is expected that after several days or months of practicing Yoga students should expect to see or achieve lean muscles. Better breathing is in addition a by product of the yoga’s breathing exercises. Individuals thus become capable of using their lungs better and more effectively for the benefit of the whole body. The controlled and natural breathing techniques during the process guarantee that one gets more air that is rich in oxygen into the body thus reducing the probability of unnecessary fatigue during the day. Who can practice it? Yoga is recommended for adults of any physical condition and age. Because of its nonstrenuous nature even individuals that have physical limitations can take on the routine and find it beneficial. Nonetheless yoga physical exercises are not appropriate for nursing mothers, pregnant women and women during menstruation. Children are also to be excluded from this exercises since their body’s glandular and nervous systems are still developing and therefore yoga exercises effects can interfere with their natural growth. Simple breathing routines and meditation can however be practiced by this group of people. Conclusion Nonetheless not everyone finds the routine beneficial or recommends that people embrace it. Critics of the routine actually perceive it as more than a healthy exercise. There is the feeling that it is a psychosomatic exercise that derives its basis from Hinduism. Consequently its practice and some of its requirements like meditation are said to contradict the teachings of other religions. The claim is that it is not absolutely safe spiritually especially for those that are staunch followers of other religions apart from Hinduism or Buddhism. Proponents have however encouraged individuals to perceive the routine as anti religious and focus on harnessing the health benefits that it can provide. Yoga should be perceived as any other workout and therefore practiced for the simple reason that it has the capability to guarantee the well being of the mind, heart, bones and essentially the entire body.

Boccio, F. and Feuerstein, G. (2004). Mindfulness yoga: the awakened union of breath body and mind. USA: Wisdom Publications.
Eastwood, E. (2009). Yoga for pain relief: simple practices to calm your mind and heal your pain. Library journal, 134(17), 97.
Goodman, K. and Sherman, B. (2009). Yoga for the joy of it. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Harvard Health Publications (HHP) (Nov, 2009). Yoga therapy helps relieve chronic lower back pain. Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 17(3),4.
Hejazi, K., Ghasemi, M. and Javnbakht, M. (2009). Effects of Yoga on depression and anxiety of women. Journal of Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 15(2), 102-104.
Ivanhoe, S. (2009). Feel more beautiful. Health journal, 23(9), 57.
Monro, R. (1997). Yoga therapy. Journal of Body work & movement therapies, 1(4), 215-21.
Pradhan, C. et al. (2008). Modulation of cardiac autonomic balance with advujant Yoga therapy in patients with refractory epilepsy. Epilepsy and behavior journal, 12(2), 245-252.
Pope, T. (2002). Doctors study the health benefits of yoga. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved on 22 November, 2009 from
Rodale Inc., (2009). The workout that cuts cravings. Prevention journal, 61 (12), 65.
Suchday, S., Friedberg, J. and Shelov, D. (2009). A pilot study measuring the impact of Yoga on the trait of mindfulness. Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy journal, 37(5), 595-598.
Yardi, N. (2001). Yoga for control of epilepsy. Seizure journal , 10 (1), 7-12.

Monro, R. (1997). Yoga therapy. Journal of Body work & movement therapies, 1(4), 215-21. The author of this document intends to provide the reader with insightful background information regarding yoga therapy and assist him to have a clearer understanding of the subject as a whole. He gives descriptions of the therapy in the modern context thus helping the reader to distinguish it with the ancient practice. He also keenly illustrates the components of the method and the basic systems that it is currently built upon. He goes ahead to give explanations of the benefits that can be derived from the routine additionally capturing the reader’s interest by clarifying that prior experience is not necessary and anyone can be take part in it. However the author fails to give in-depth data regarding the history of yoga that could be helpful in assisting critiques that have mainly associated the practice with Hinduism and atheism ease their fear and thus feel free to try out the therapy. He seems to assume that everyone would be comfortable with the practice merely in light of the stated benefits. Nonetheless it is a helpful document in building any arguments on yoga therapy. (215-21).
Harvard Health Publications (HHP) (Nov, 2009). Yoga therapy helps relieve chronic lower back pain. Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 17(3), 4 The purpose of this article is to offer proof of the reliability and efficacy of yoga in relieving chronic back pains especially in women. The authors manage to convince the reader since they give findings that are based on research that was conducted on the ground rather than baseless claims. Furthermore the reader can be sure of the validity of the findings that the authors bases his conclusion upon since the research was conducted by renowned researchers. The writer actually succeeds in convincing the reader on the capability of the method to reduce pain and functional disability in persons with the lower back pains. However the author concentrates on one benefit of the therapy ignoring the many other gains that can be obtained from the routine. (4)
Yardi, N. (2001). Yoga for control of epilepsy. Seizure journal, 10 (1), 7-12. The purpose of this piece of writing is to prove that yoga can be helpful in controlling epileptic seizures. The author however also gives definitions of the method and its usefulness in the ancient days. He furthermore reveals imperative information regarding the main steps that classical yoga concentrates on. The data presented therein is reliable since it derives its conclusions from a review of scholarly articles on yoga and controlled studies conducted to establish its role in seizure control. The article nonetheless fails to address the criticism and negative perceptions associated with yoga that usually hinder some individuals from embracing it despite their medical conditions. (7-12).
Suchday, S., Friedberg, J. and Shelov, D. (2009). A pilot study measuring the impact of Yoga on the trait of mindfulness. Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy journal, 37(5), 595-598. The purpose of the article is to show the reader the impact of yoga in enhancing mindfulness. The author mainly aims to prove its efficacy as a psychotherapy. The findings of the document are based on actual controlled studies and thus the reader can rightfully conclude that yoga can be used as an important intervention to prevent later development of depression and anxiety disorders in individuals. The writer nonetheless focuses on one benefit of the method thus by reading the document alone it would be impossible to come up with infinite health benefits of yoga. (595-598).

Rodale Inc., (2009). The workout that cuts cravings. Prevention journal, 61 (12), 65. The purpose of the journal is to support statements that yoga can be used in weight management. The author shows the health benefits of yoga by illustrating that it can assist an individual to maintain healthy weight and practice conscientious eating habits. The author however fails to concentrate on the many other benefits of yoga that are available choosing to only focus on issues of weight management. (65)


Monro, R. (1997). Yoga therapy. Journal of Body work & movement therapies, 1(4), 215-21.
I. Yoga is a therapy a. The yoga system is built and supported by meditation, simple postural exercises, relaxation and breathing practices. b. It put emphasis on mind and body integration paving way for healing and recovery from the consequences of every day life stresses.
II. Yoga has inbuilt benefits a. It can be used to heal chronic conditions b. It can be combined with other therapies.

Harvard Health Publications (HHP) (Nov, 2009). Yoga therapy helps relieve chronic lower back pain. Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 17(3), 4
Yoga has several health benefits. a. Research shows that Iyengar yoga can be utilized to reduce functional impairment among individuals that have chronic lower back pains. b. Iyengar yoga has been found to have similar effects to those of typical or standard medical care on patients. c. Study indicates that yoga reduced pain in participants that had lower back pains.
Hejazi,K., Ghasemi, M. and Javnbakht, M. (2009). Effects of Yoga on depression and anxiety of women. Journal of Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 15(2), 102-104. Yoga is a psychotherapy. a. Yoga has been found to be an imperative stress management tool. b. Yoga is perceived as a method that can assist in alleviating anxiety disorders and depression.

Yardi, N. (2001). Yoga for control of epilepsy. Seizure journal, 10 (1), 7-12.
I. Yoga is an ancient practice that has a rich and long history that is not less than five thousand years old. a. Yoga is an ancient practice. b. It is an Indian psycho philosophical traditional practice.

II. Yoga has health benefits a. Yoga was traditionally used to induce relaxation, alleviate stress and provide an individual with multiple health benefits. b. The methods that are commonly practiced in yoga include controlled breathing ‘pranayama’, physical postures ‘asanas’ and meditation ‘dyana’. c. Review of the practice shows that it can assist in the control of epilepsy seizures among other life stress issues.
Rodale Inc., (2009). The workout that cuts cravings. Prevention journal, 61 (12), 65.
Yoga is helpful in weight management a. Study shows that those that practice yoga eat mindfully and exhibit conscientious food choices. b. Researchers in fact believe it is the physical sensations and emotional awareness that yoga cultivates in individuals that makes them more conscious of their food choices. c. People that practice yoga weigh fifteen pounds less than the individuals that do not engage in it.…...

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...Breathing-Based Meditation Decreases Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in U.S. Military Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Longitudinal Study Beverly Hinderliter A growing body of evidence suggests meditation-based interventions have the potential to reduce symptoms and improve well-being (Marchand, 2013 for review; Mitchell et al., 2014). The Stanford University study entitled Breathing-Based Meditation Decreased Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in U.S. Military Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Longitudinal Study explores the effects of Sudarshan Kriya yoga, a meditation-based therapy, on U.S. military veterans with PTSD symptoms having served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We selected Sudarshan Kriya yoga because it has effectively reduced PTSD symptoms in tsunami survivors (Descilo et al., 2009), increased self-reported optimism and well-being in college students (Kjellgren, Bood, Axelsson, Norlander, & Saatcioglu, 2007), decreased self-reported anxiety in those with general anxiety disorder (Katzman et al., 2012), and decreased self-reported depression in those with melancholic depression (Janakiramaiah et al., 2000) as well as in alcohol-dependent inpatients (Vedamurthachar et al., 2006)” – Emma M. Seppala, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research, Stanford University. This study falls under multiple categories. It is randomized, controlled, correlational, and longitudinal. These will be touched on in the following paragraphs. The random sample......

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Yoga on Mental Health

...of him, but Tirumalai Krishnamacharya influenced or perhaps even invented your yoga. By Fernando Pagés Ruiz Whether you practice the dynamic series of Pattabhi Jois, the refined alignments of B.K.S. Iyengar, the classical postures of Indra Devi, or the customized vinyasa of Viniyoga, your practice stems from one source: a five-foot, two-inch Brahmin born more than one hundred years ago in a small South Indian village. He never crossed an ocean, but Krishnamacharya's yoga has spread through Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Today it's difficult to find an asana tradition he hasn't influenced. Even if you learned from a yogi now outside the traditions associated with Krishnamacharya, there's a good chance your teacher trained in the Iyengar, Ashtanga, or Viniyoga lineages before developing another style. Rodney Yee, for instance, who appears in many popular videos, studied with Iyengar. Richard Hittleman, a wellknown TV yogi of the 1970s, trained with Devi. Other teachers have borrowed from several Krishnamacharya-based styles, creating unique approaches such as Ganga White's White Lotus Yoga and Manny Finger's ISHTA Yoga. Most teachers, even from styles not directly linked to Krishnamacharya—Sivananda Yoga and Bikram Yoga, for example—have been influenced by some aspect of Krishnamacharya's teachings. Many of his contributions have been so thoroughly integrated into the fabric of yoga that their source has been forgotten. It's been said that he's responsible for...

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...shoulder width apart, along with a big smile on your face. The next motion is a lunge. This is where your left leg is bent at a ninety degree angle and the right leg is completely straight, with your hips facing forward. Also another crucial motion that’s used in everyday cheerleading life is the High V. In cheerleading this is when your arms are up above your body making the letter V. Another crucial aspect of cheerleading is jumps. Common jumps in the cheerleading world include: the spread eagle, toe touch, right and left herkies, and right and left hurdlers, just to name a few. Though we cheerleaders make these jumps look easy, it is definitely not a walk in the park to master. When outsiders look at jumps they may think the higher the better, but in our minds it is all about the technique. A certain technique that is not easy to master. It takes time and practice. As Valerie Ninemire suggests the perfect jump consists of prepping, the big lift, execution and a clean landing. (Niemire) That may sound easy but believe me it’s not. Jumps use a great deal of abdominal, leg, and arm strength that should be built up to execute a perfect jump. Throughout America we have many different categories that cheerleading squad’s fall under. From all-girl, co-ed, all-star, to sideline cheer, there are a variety of squads out there. All girl squads consist of only girls. All girl squads incorporate all cheerleading elements such as cheer, dance, jumps, tumbling, and stunting.......

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