Among the Integrative Medicine modalities, Yoga has been front and center for a while now. Perhaps this is because it is truly integrative, allowing for a balanced practice of physical exercise, breathing control and meditation. Recent studies have suggested that yoga can have positive effects on body, mind and soul. Here are just 3 examples:
- Un-break your Heart: For instance yoga can modify cardiovascular risk factors through reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Also improving cholesterol, and reducing fasting blood sugar and glucose control. In fact, yoga can be used as a practical adjunct to cardiac rehabilitation after people have heart attacks!
- Mentally un-plug: As a mind-body intervention, yoga can improve physical and mental well-being, and improve sleep. Yoga helps people with something called self-regulation – the ability to accept things as they are without reacting. It also helps people with something called self-efficacy – basically believing in one-self. Amazingly, yogis learn these lessons on the yoga mat, but are able to generalize them into their lives off the mat, making for a better psychological life over-all
- Liberate your body: Using yoga to stretch muscles helps those who have contracted muscles from laying in the same position for too long – this is called spasticity. Yoga is a safe, inexpensive and an accessible way for the elderly and the disabled to improve their function, and allowing them to exist in society in a more satisfying way.
So this summer, get down with your down-dog and do some Yoga.
Parissa Massahikhaleghi graduated from medical school in Iran. She was inspired by the encounters with chronic diseases she had during medical training to pursue preventive medicine and public health. She obtained Master of Public Health from Loma Linda University with a concentration in lifestyle medicine. Regarding her passion for health promotion through education, she says “I have been fortunate to have all this education regarding health, and I wake up everyday to share at least little piece of it with others so they may improve their function in society via the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.”