Why Yoga? An introduction to philosophy, practice, and the role of yoga in health promotion and disease prevention
AbstractYoga, a philosophy of Indian descent, is becoming popular as a physical, healing, and spiritual practice adapted for diverse cultures and patient care settings. As the methods of this ancient tradition begin to influence the physical, cognitive, social, and environmental culture of the Western world, research examining how yoga affects health, disease-status, and longevity becomes integral to health promotion and patient care practices. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to introduce the philosophy and practice of yoga to health practitioners in an objective fashion and will include: an introduction to the core elements of yoga asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and dhyana (meditation), an overview of current evidence-based research supporting the use of yoga as a therapeutic alternative in health promotion, disease prevention and symptom management, and a description of the yoga styles commonly taught in Canada. Overall, the aim of this article is to introduce the practice of yoga and highlight its potential role in the maintenance of health and wellness, as well as in the prevention and management of disease and illness.
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