Yoga : go or no go

Without making this into an IMHO:

Have there been any studies as to whether yoga actually does anything healthwise? I’m about as spiritual as a bag of bricks and I doubt that will change. However, I do like taking breaks from life, and rather than just sit in my apartment and stare at the ceiling, I thought I might try yoga. Again, please don’t make this into an IMHO; I just want some hopefully scientific facts about yoga to see if it is anything more than weapons grade bologna.

I don’t think the purpose of yoga is for health benefits. Most people do it because it’s relaxing and, according to people I know, increases flexibility and muscle tone.

Yoga does have some health benefits–http://my.webmd.com/content/article/3187.13193

It has been known that it does help in lowering blood pressure, improving respiration rates, and increasing flexibility and strength.

There are several different schools of yoga, some more physically demanding than others, some more based on meditation. If you’re in for more the health benefits, check out your local gyms, rather than the multitudes of “yoga houses” that have popped up around L.A. The local gyms will focus more on the health benefits rather on the meditation aspects.

Before culinary school, I went to a yoga class twice a week, and after about two months, I noticed a definite difference in muscle tone and flexibility. Also, as an added benefit, I always felt great after a class–even though I always broke a sweat in the class, I was so relaxed afterwards. Give it a try. Wouldn’t hurt.

I’ve found the atmosphere of yoga studios to be beneficial in setting the mood. I don’t think you’d get that at a gym.
If you go to a long-established yoga house I think you’ll be better off.

I can recommend a great one if you’re in L.A. but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to plug a business on the SDMB. I’m not connected with them myself, I just took some great classes there. (Manhattan, please let me know regarding this, and I’ll return with the plug if it’s OK).

As long as you are not affiliated and don’t stand to make any dough as a result of the plug, I have no objections.
[note: I’m editing this post to remedy my inexcusable rudeness. javaman, thank you for asking in advance for permission to link that site. It’s very much appreciated. -manhattan

[Edited by manhattan on 03-16-2001 at 06:05 PM]

I have two herniated discs in my back as well as a curvature of the spine which results in continuous daily pain in every conceivable position aside from standing.

This results in very few options for me as far as working out. I’ve always been a swimmer (competitive in highschool) and i still do that, but my doctor said the best thing for me was to take a yoga course.

I go for an hour and a half once a week and I’m sweating and sore like I’ve been run over by a truck at the end of it. It really stretches and challenges your muscles. And my instructor is knowledgable enough that he can tell me which poses are bad for my back and which are beneficial so I don’t end up hurting myself.

I love it.

jarbaby

Forrest Yoga Circle, in the yuppified district of Montana Ave., Santa Monica, CA. The address is 16-hundred and something. Or maybe 17…

Here is a link to an article about yoga and carpal tunnel syndrome, citing a study published in the JAMA. http://onhealth.webmd.com/conditions/briefs/item,33455.asp

The Feb 2000 issue of Consumer Reports has an article on exercise and stress relief. (I’d link to it but it’s in the fee area of the site.) The article lists alleged benefits such as stress relief, cardio health, respiratory health, arthritis, asthma, lowering blood pressure, mood improvement, etc., referring to studies from India and the West (no cites given).

Well, the Mayo Clinic thinks it’s worthwhile. Here’s an article from them that covers yoga’s benefits:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/home?id=HQ01698

Specifically, the article states:

I’m in a class once a week myself, and I only wish it met more often. I always break a good sweat, but leave feeling so very serene and relaxed. My back and neck ache badly after work everyday, but on Thursdays, I walk pain-free and sleep like a baby. Good stuff.