Originated in India thousands of years ago, yoga may be regarded as one of the most prominent physical, mental, philosophical, and spiritual practices in the modern world. In the United States, more than 30 million adults have used yoga at least one in their lives (Cramer et al, p. 230). In general, it combines breathing techniques, meditation, and exercises in order to relieve stress and strengthen the muscles. According to recent researches, yoga may exert a therapeutic mood-modulating effect to combat anxiety, depression, and mental disorders (Pascoe and Bauer, p. 270). Yoga is practiced for disease prevention and general wellness and to improve immune function and energy (Cramer et al, p. 230). In addition, it improves cardiovascular conditioning, lowers blood pressure, induces relaxation, and positively influences self-esteem and the frame of mind for better life quality. Yoga may be adapted and used therapeutically to help individuals with specific medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Down syndrome, seizure disorders, autism, learning disabilities, Asperger’s syndrome, and ADHD.
The particular interest of citizens to yoga and its increased popularity in the United States are determined by the implication of complementary and alternative medicine that aims to support traditional treatment. A substantial number of hospitals and health centers across the country include yoga classes. In general, yoga practice is connected to people’s age, gender, economic status, education, and ethnicity. According to surveys, regular yoga practitioners are predominantly “female, younger, non-Hispanic white, college-educated, higher earners, living in the West, and of better health status” (Cramer et al, p. 230). Their practice is commonly associated with asana that may be defined as a series of specific postures that are intended to improve balance, coordination, and flexibility.
- Cramer, Holger, et al. “Prevalence, Patterns, and Predictors of Yoga Use: Results of a U.S. Nationally Representative Survey.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 50, no. 2, 2016, pp. 230-235.
- Pascoe, Michaela C., and Isabelle E. Bauer. “A Systematic Review of Randomised Control Trials on the Effects of Yoga on Stress Measures and Mood.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 68, 2015, pp. 270-282.