Why is yoga a popular complementary therapy?

One of today’s best complementary therapies remains the same as it was 3,000 years ago. The ancient practice of yoga provides such a vast range of physical and meditative practices that it remains highly relevant in these modern times. Furthermore, despite the marketing image of toned, athletic yoga practitioners, the truth is that it is a thoroughly inclusive practice that should be practiced by children and elderly alike.

Yoga postures provide solutions for every one of your body’s needs, as well as your overall emotional wellness. Every twist, bend and stretch in yoga works by stretching and compressing different organs and muscles of the body. This gives a gentle all-over workout which can be tailored to your physical capability. For example, it is quite possible to achieve the benefits of yoga postures while sitting in a chair, and an increasing amount of elderly or disabled people are doing so.

Yoga also contains many practices that help the nervous system. This is the case with the breathing practices of yoga, known as pranayama. These exercises are designed to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, as well as the autonomic and sympathetic nervous systems. Pranayama are an excellent aid to meditation and worthwhile tools for treating depression and anxiety.

Yoga includes multiple meditation and visualisation practices, which can form a core part of your relaxation routine, or even support a medical programme. Chakra visualisations are excellent for improving the flow of energy through your body. The ancient system of chakras actually matches up to nerve centres that modern science identifies in the body. Therefore, a conscious meditation on these areas finds a basis in science as well as ancient wisdom. One of the best yogic practices for the infirm is Yoga Nidra, or ‘yogic sleep’ – a guided, deep relaxation quite similar to hypnotherapy. It is finding increasing application among sufferers of terminal illness.

Yoga is an excellent choice to support your wellbeing. This holds true for the athlete as much as the elderly or handicapped person. If you do have a specific condition or limitation, it is wise to seek out such Yoga styles as Restorative Yoga or Yoga Therapy. You should find a qualified therapist who can guide you back to wellbeing, and give you the right tools with which to guide yourself.

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