Potential benefits for adults
While much of the medical community regards the results of yoga research as significant, others point to many flaws which undermine results. Much of the research on yoga has taken the form of preliminary studies or clinical trials of low methodological quality, including small sample sizes, inadequate blinding, lack of randomization, and high risk of bias.
Long-term yoga users in the United States have reported musculoskeletal and mental health improvements, as well as reduced symptoms of asthma in asthmatics. There is evidence to suggest that regular yoga practice increases brain GABA levels, and yoga has been shown to improve mood and anxiety more than some other metabolically-matched exercises, such as walking. The three main focuses of Hatha yoga (exercise, breathing, and meditation) make it beneficial to those suffering from heart disease. Overall, studies of the effects of yoga on heart disease suggest that yoga may reduce high blood-pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, enhance cardiac rehabilitation, and lower cardiovascular risk factors.
There has been an emergence of studies investigating yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer patients. Yoga is used for treatment of cancer patients to decrease depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue and to increase anxiety control.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs include yoga as a mind-body technique to reduce stress. A study found that after seven weeks the group treated with yoga reported significantly less mood disturbance and reduced stress compared to the control group. Another study found that MBSR had showed positive effects on sleep anxiety, quality of life, and spiritual growth in cancer patients.
Yoga has also been studied as a treatment for schizophrenia. Some encouraging, but inconclusive, evidence suggests that yoga as a complementary treatment may help alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia and improve health-related quality of life
Implementation of the Kundalini Yoga Lifestyle has shown to help substance abuse addicts increase their quality of life according to psychological questionnaires like the Behaviour and Symptom Identification Scale and the Quality of Recovery Index.
The effectiveness of yoga to prevent secondary coronary heart disease is uncertain. There is no substantial evidence for the effectiveness of yoga in regulating heart rate variability.
Neurological disorders such as, but not limited to, Parkinson's disease, Dystonia, Huntington's disease, Multiple System Atrophy, and brain trauma and stroke are marked by numerous symptoms. Among the physical symptoms are rigidity, involuntary muscle contractions, bradykinesia (slowness of movement), dyskinesia (excessive and/or repetitive involuntary movement), and impaired balance.
Non-motor symptoms can also impact movement. For example, the sense of proprioception can be affected, limiting the ability to orient where one's limbs are in relation to the space around the body.
Other medical ailments can also restrict movement and affect muscle strength, flexibility and balance. Though not neurologically based, conditions such as aging, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and multiple sclerosis can benefit from yoga for movement disorders.
Muscle spasms, atrophy, and rigidity associated with movement disorders often restrict balance and range of motion. Research shows that the benefits of yoga for movement disorders include improved strength, flexibility, balance, overall fitness and quality of life.
A study by the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Society of India concluded that significant improvement resulted in each aspect measured in Parkinson’s patients who participated in the yoga program of a set series of modified poses.
Any health information in this is for sharing purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Readers are encouraged to make their own research and seek the advice of a licensed health care provider.