If you have a copy of “Light on Yoga” by Iyengar, in it you will find a whole index of asana and pranayama suggestions for a wide range of ailments. For example, if you are suffering from diabetes, Iyengar suggests that you do inversions, seated and standing forward folds, backbends, and twists (Yes, that’s right! All kinds of yoga poses)*. The point is that traditional notion assumes yoga practice is healing for “obvious” reasons. Exciting as it may sound, I would say that unless such claims are supported by solid scientific evidence, they should be taken with a large dose of scepticism.Continue reading
I haven’t been doing yoga for a very long time therefore I wasn’t even aware of the very traditional notion that yoga poses are supposed to be healing and yoga cannot harm you. I’ve always assumed that yoga would affect one as any other type of exercise would for better or worse. It turns out that it actually is the case. Reliable studies indicate that yoga is a physical exercise that could cause injuries in the way that any other type of exercise would when one does not pay attention to safety. It is neither more or less dangerous or safe than other physical practices, so there can be no such assumption regarding the inherent safety of yoga poses or practice.Continue reading
In yoga research, the most common research designs is to compare pre and post measures of a group of people completing a yoga programme. The second most favourite design is to compare a yoga group to an inactive group. Both these designs are unreliable. The first one usually fails to produce similar results, thereby causing serious issues for generalisation of those results. And the second one carries the potential to exaggerate the results in favour of yoga and ignore the fact that other types of exercise have similar benefits.Continue reading
This is a recent study by Cramer et al. (2016) that compared whether different yoga styles varied in their positive results reported by the participants. Cramer et al. reviewed and analysed the results of 306 randomised control trials (RCTs).Continue reading
Asthma and Pranayama
A 2014 study by Cramer, Posadzki, Dobos, and Langhorst reviews and meta-analyses the available data on efficacy and safety of yoga in alleviating asthma. Based on their findings, they conclude that “yoga cannot be considered a routine intervention for asthmatic patients at this point. It can be considered an ancillary intervention or an alternative to breathing exercises for asthma patients interested in complementary interventions”.
Cramer H, Posadzki P, Dobos G, Langhorst J (2014) Yoga for asthma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, vol. 112, issue 6 Published by American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2014.03.014