The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word for union. The ancient practice has been used to lower blood pressure, increase relaxation, maintain flexibility, and improve breathing, overall health, and well-being.
Yoga is generally taught in classes, although it can be learned through a video or book. A typical yoga session includes breathing exercises, movement involving a series of positions called asanas, and a brief meditation. Some classes also include vocal chanting.
Hatha yoga is one of the more gentle forms of yoga and the most commonly available technique available in the United States.
Contact the American Yoga Association at www.americanyogaassociation.org.
Safety. Yoga postures are not recommended immediately following back injury or surgery. The breathing exercises and meditation practices may be helpful to practice during the healing period. Postures that are uncomfortable or cause pain should be avoided.
There is currently discussion about the safety of combining different elements of ayurveda (India's traditional system of medicine that strives to restore the innate harmony of the individual), Chinese medicine, and western traditions, for example, when treating illness.
Each medical system is considered autonomous and was not developed with the intention of complementing any other system. Therefore, if patients are mixing these traditions, it is well-advised to caution them to consider this issue.
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