More than just a stretch; Yoga for chronic diseases

More than just a stretch; Yoga for chronic diseases

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Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘’yuj’’, yoga is not just a physical exercise where the body is twisted, stretched with controlled breathing. These are a few superficial aspects of a very deep and profound practice that actually unfolds the limitless potential of the mind, body, and soul.

 “yoga is the real secret to better health and greater happiness”, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The regular practice of yoga has brought about not only a remarkable lifestyle and behavioral changes. There have been many cases wherein people with chronic diseases have experienced positive relief through yoga.

Let’s look at some of the chronic diseases where yoga has proved to be beneficial.

Yoga in cancer

The worst part of cancer is not the symptoms of the disease but the debilitating fatigue and the traumatic side effects of the treatment. Be it scar tissue or nausea & weakness.

Yoga poses work wonders for cancer patients who find it uncomfortable to follow a regular exercise regime and prefer the ideal, balanced ‘’whole body’’ gentler form of exercise.

  • The deep relaxing breathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the tired cells that need vital nutrients and this helps in flushing out toxins accumulated during the treatment.
  • Yoga asanas enhance the internal purification process by increasing the blood flow, balancing the glands and improving the lymphatic flow in the body.
  • The asanas stimulate the muscles and increase their strength. Post-surgery, yoga helps in restoring motion and flexibility of the body.
  • Stress diminishes the body’s immune system. Yoga helps cancer patients dissipate tension and anxiety, thus increasing their chances of recovery.
  • Yoga serves as an internal anchor and provides a great sense of calmness and well-being to patients.

Yoga for heart diseases

‘’A review of yoga and cardiovascular disease’’ published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, indicates that yoga helps lower heart diseases as much as brisk walking does.

  • Dr Gloria Yeh, an associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, explains that yoga involves breathing, meditation and physical exercise. All these elements that positively affect the cardiovascular risk factors individually, when used in a combined way show remarkable results.
  • Practising Yoga makes the muscles sensitive to insulin which is important for controlling sugar in diabetes.
  • Breathing helps lower the blood pressure and calms down the nervous system as constant stress wreaks havoc on the cardiovascular system.
  • Inflammation is the body’s way of reacting to injury, harmful situations or stress and is at the base of all pathologies including heart diseases. Yoga helps reduce stress-related inflammation.

Yoga for kidney disorders

Yoga helps in decreasing or preventing the damage to the kidneys thereby improving the overall health of this vital organ.

  • Practicing pranayama and kriyas often acts as cleansing techniques, keeps all the internal organs healthy and improve the overall function of the kidneys. 
  • Asanas like gentle twists and backbends massage and contract the kidneys helping them to function more efficiently.
  • As mentioned earlier yoga helps reduce blood pressure and this is also beneficial in chronic kidney disorders.

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