Evidence based medical wellness for active people from a doc who walks the walk

Health Benefits of Yoga


Since I was banned from my tennis league by my doc and physical therapist, I have been looking for ways to exercise.  I admit I have gained weight over the last two (inactive) months and am not pleased with my Pillsbury dough boy middle.  I am an athlete that likes to mix it up, so off I went to a yoga class that promised relaxation and “gentle” poses, along with meditation.   I have done yoga before, so I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot.

It was great and it was hell. Things I could do before were suddenly out of reach, and one pose was simply not be tried secondary to pain.  I admit, I did cry in my dark corner of the room, out of shear frustration, The kind instructor would point out which poses I should not attempt, which helped, but the competitive part of me simmered in silent anger that I was hampered.  By the end of the last chanted meditation, I regained my center, and limped out (really!), putting on my dilapidated Birkenstocks in a nod to my inner yogi.

BUT! The next day, I felt the best I have in a long time, and actually did a 12 hour shift with less of my usual stiffness.

Here are a few well studied benefits of yoga.  Links are in blue, so click ’em if you want the study.  Here’s what yoga does:

  • lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and has positive effects on cholesterol.
  • benefits women with breast cancer.  They have improved quality of life, and decreased psychological stress.  This is true post surgery, during chemo therapy and during radiation therapy.
  • improves low back pain. (But you have to keep doing it!)  Note that this study says that Tai Chi has similar results…Maybe I will try that next.
  • improves depression, anxiety, and PTSD.  I wish we could offer yoga in my hospital.  So many patients could benefit, and I am confident that none would be harmed!

    Get out your yoga mat and enjoy the health benefits!

    Get out your yoga mat and enjoy the health benefits!

‘Nuff said.  I think yoga could help just about anyone.  The key of course, is getting people to do something!

Author: PookieMD

I am a board certified internal medicine physician. I love medicine and seek to bring evidence based medicine to the fitness and wellness world.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: