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While Yoga (Sanskrit: योग Yog, IPA: [joːgə]) evolved as a spiritual practice in Hinduism, in the Modern world, a part of yoga, known as Asana has grown popular as a form of purely physical exercise. A yoga practicioner is known as yogi (for male) or yogini (for female). Some Western practice has little or nothing to do with Hinduism or spirituality, but is simply a way of keeping fit and healthy. This is only a part of the broad view of yoga.

Yoga was first introduced to American society in the late nineteenth century by Swami Vivekananda, the founder of the Vedanta Society.[citation needed] He believed that India has an abundance of spiritual wealth and that yoga is a method that could help those who were bound by the materialism of capitalist societies to achieve spiritual well-being.

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

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.

Overview as alternative medicine

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.[8][9] 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[10] and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.[11]

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is often associated with healing from diseases. Restorative yoga is yoga practiced in a very relaxed state by using supports instead of muscular tension to maintain the pose alignments. Restorative poses help relieve the effects of chronic stress in several ways. First, the use of props provide a completely supportive environment for total relaxation. Second, each restorative sequence is designed to move the spine in all directions. Third, a well-sequenced restorative practice also includes an inverted pose, which reverses the effects of gravity. Because we stand or sit most of the day, blood and lymph fluid accumulate in the lower extremities. By changing the relationship of the legs to gravity, fluids are returned to the upper body and heart function is enhanced. Fourth, restorative yoga alternately stimulates and soothes the organs. With this movement of blood comes the enhanced exchange of oxygen and waste products across the cell membrane. Finally, yoga teaches that the body is permeated with energy. Prana, the masculine energy, resides above the diaphragm, moves upward, and controls respiration and heart rate. Apana, the feminine energy, resides below the diaphragm, moves downward, and controls the function of the abdominal organs. Restorative yoga balances these two aspects of energy so that the practitioner is neither overstimulated nor depleted.

(Definition from

Practitioners who work in this modality


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