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Mental Fitness, Inc. answeredWhen you sign up for a yoga class, be sure to ask the method of yoga that is taught and the level (Ashtanga, Bikram, etc.). Please also make sure that your teacher is RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) with the Yoga Alliance as there is very little licensing or monitoring of yoga instructors by the state or federal government. Today, anyone can be a yoga teacher. They are not always required to have credentials or licenses! Please be sure your teacher is RYT certified before taking a class. Yoga can seriously injure you if you are not taught by a professional, registered yoga teacher.
Yoga is an ancient practice meant to unify mind, body, and spirit through the use of poses, meditation, breathing, chanting and study of the self. It was created in India using the principles of both Buddhism and Hinduism. The Western practice of yoga typically focuses on poses and has become a popular form of exercise. These poses go through the full range of each of the joints of the body. If you have not done yoga before or are not used to using the full range of motion of your joints, you may find some positions difficult. However, many if not all positions or poses can be adjusted in a way that is more comfortable, and if you continue to do yoga, your flexibility will increase and you won't have to make as many adjustments. Another thing to know is that there are different types of yoga; for example "bikram" yoga involves doing yoga in a very warm room, so keeping well hydrated is very important.
Yoga is generally considered to be safe in healthy individuals when practiced appropriately, and it has been well tolerated in studies with few side effects. Yoga can be adapted for a wide variety of specific needs, including for people who are bed-ridden or wheelchair-bound. Yoga techniques are believed to be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding when practiced under the guidance of expert instruction (the popular Lamaze techniques are based on yogic breathing). However, poses that put pressure on the uterus, such as abdominal twists, should be avoided in pregnancy.
Some positions and postures should not be used by people with certain conditions or illnesses. Therapy should be exercised under well-qualified guidance. Patients with disc disease of the spine, fragile or atherosclerotic neck arteries, risk for blood clots, extremely high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, detachment of the retina, ear problems, severe osteoporosis, or cervical spondylitis should avoid some inverted poses. Certain yoga breathing techniques should be avoided in people with heart or lung disease. Some experts advise caution in people with a history of psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia), due to a risk of worsening symptoms, although this has not been clearly shown in studies. People with medical conditions should speak with a qualified healthcare professional before starting yoga.
Rare side effects are described in case reports, including physical damage (due to prolonged postures), nerve or vertebral disc damage (due to prolonged postures, sometimes involving the legs), eye damage and blurred vision including worsening of glaucoma (due to increased eye pressure with headstands), and stroke/blood vessel blockage (due to decreased blood flow to the brain or other body parts from postures). Lung and breathing problems have been reported possibly resulting in death.
Yoga should not be used as a substitute for standard care, especially for potentially dangerous ailments such as asthma. Patients should seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider before embarking on any regimen of treatment.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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