Yoga is a mind and body practice with origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Many people who practice yoga do so to maintain their health and well-being, improve physical fitness, relieve stress, and enhance quality of life.
What does scientific research on yoga tell us? Studies suggest the following:
- A carefully adapted set of yoga poses may reduce low-back pain and improve function.
- Practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility.
- The evidence on whether yoga can relieve arthritis symptoms is limited and inconclusive.
- Yoga doesn’t appear to help with asthma.
Results of a new NCCIH-funded study show yoga and physical therapy offer similar pain-relief and functional benefits to people with low socioeconomic status who had chronic low-back pain.