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Yoga as a healing system of theory and practice is a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation, practiced for over 5,000 years. [1][2]

This article is part of the branches of CAM series.
CAM Classifications
NCCAM: Mind-Body Intervention
Modality: Usually Group, but sometimes Self-care
Culture: Eastern

A survey released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine focused on who used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), what was used, and why it was used in the United States by adults age 18 years and over during 2002.[3] According to this survey, Yoga was the 5th most commonly used CAM therapy (2.8%) in the United States during 2002. [4] Yoga is considered a mind-body intervention that is used to reduce the health effects of generalized stress.

Eka-Pada-Rajakapotasana (Single-Legged Pigeon) demonstrated at a Hindu temple.


Yoga is believed to calm the nervous system and balance the body, mind, and spirit. It is thought by its practitioners to prevent specific diseases and maladies by keeping the energy meridians open and life energy (Prana) flowing. [5][6] Yoga is usually performed in classes, sessions are conducted at least once a week and for approximately 45 minutes. Yoga has been used to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve coordination, flexibility, concentration, sleep, and digestion. It has also been used as supplementary therapy for such diverse conditions as cancer, diabetes, asthma, AIDS[7] and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.[8]

Yoga and Breast Cancer Patients

In 2006, scientists at the University Of Texas conducted an experiment on 61 breast cancer patients. They took 30 of those patients and put them through a 6-week yoga program. At the end of those six weeks, they found that the patients that went through the yoga program felt much better about themselves, and were not as tired during the day.[9]

There are many studies available now that confirm success from patients doing Yoga, a minimum of twice weekly, while undergoing treatments for their breast cancer. [10][11] Yoga, while reducing toxins and stress, also provide a complete "body" workout. Allowing patients to strengthen muscles without bulking up, stimulating and regulating internal organs and glands with specific poses, and opening windows in the mind through the meditations. Yoga can be used as one of many tools teaching individuals positive ways to deal with adversity. Cancer provides the mental and physical adversity and Yoga can provide solutions. [12]

A western style yoga class.

Hatha yoga

Main article: Hatha yoga

In The West, hatha yoga has become popular as a purely physical exercise regimen divorced of its original purpose. [13] Currently, it is estimated that about 30 million Americans and about 5 million of Europeans practice a form of hatha yoga. But it is still followed in a manner consistent with tradition throughout the Indian subcontinent. The traditional guru-student relationship that exists without sanction from organized institutions, and which gave rise to all the great yogis who made way into international consciousness in the 20th century, has been maintained in Indian, Nepalese and some Tibetan circles.

See also


  1. The Bhagavad-Gita and Jivana Yoga By Ramnarayan Vyas
  2. Hatha Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice By Mikel Burley (page 16)
  3. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Survey 2004
  4. Barnes P, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin R. "CDC Advance Data Report #343. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002". May 27, 2004. Online (PDF) table 1 on page 8.
  5. Textbook of Yoga - Page 545 by Yogeswar
  6. Nature Cure at Home - Page 167 by Dr Rajeshwari
  7. Barnes P, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin R. "CDC Advance Data Report #343. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002". May 27, 2004. Online (PDF) see page 19. (On page 20 this report states: "All material appearing in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.")
  8. Van Vorous, Heather. "First Year: IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)", ISBN 1-56924-547-9. Yoga chapter excerpted with author's permission at Help For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (see Yoga for IBS section).
  10. You Can Heal Breast Cancer Naturally: Potent Holistic Alternatives By Shyama Ross (page 103)
  11. Hatha Yoga and breast cancer: Integrating a mind/body intervention during adjuvant chemotherapy (Columbia University)
  12. [1]
  13. Hatha Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice By Mikel Burley
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