Poses, Types, Benefits, and More

A review looking at one year of recent research found that people who practiced yoga saw improvements across several measures of health, including anxiety, stress, body composition, blood pressure, inflammation, and metabolic markers in people with type 2 diabetes.

A meta-analysis found that yoga interventions helped middle-aged people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher to lower their blood pressure. The benefits were greater when the yoga intervention included breathing techniques and meditation.

Another study found that yoga motivated nearly two-thirds of people to exercise more, and 40 percent of people to eat healthier.

There is also evidence that yoga may help people with certain health conditions and chronic diseases manage pain and other symptoms, as well as with overall quality of life.

Just note that there are some safety recommendations before you start, from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

The NCCIH emphasizes that although yoga is generally considered safe when performed properly under quality guidance, there can be a risk of injuries, such as sprains, strains, and joint injuries. Also, older adults may need to be cautious with certain types of yoga practices. For example, they should avoid headstands and intense classes. And in general, women who are pregnant and people with chronic health conditions (like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, balance issues, glaucoma, and joint and spine injuries) should talk to their doctor before starting and get personalized guidance from a yoga instructor to reduce the risk of harm.

Pregnant Women, People With Heart Conditions, and Some Others Should Check With Their Doctor Before Doing Hot Yoga

In general, hot yoga is safe as long as the person doing it is in good health, says Laskowski. If a person has certain preexisting chronic health conditions, previous heat injury, certain heart conditions, easily gets dehydrated, or is pregnant, it may not be safe to do hot yoga, he says.

“It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor if you’re going to try an activity that could stress your body,” says Laskowski.

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