The popularity of yoga has increased a lot within the past few decades. In addition, there has also been an increase in the reported health benefits from practitioners within the yoga community. People practice yoga for a variety of reasons, but some are unfortunately misled by faulty claims of the health benefits of yoga. Consequently, it's essential to know the truths and the myths of the benefits of yoga, which William J. Broad tries to shed light on with his extensive research on the health effects of yoga. Within this article, I will provide some evidence that I have found from research studies, peer-reviewed articles, or other credible sources on the health benefits of yoga.

Evidence for chronic low-back pain:
Many people who have chronic low-back pain often practice yoga as a form of treatment to reduce their pain and symptoms. Here are results from three studies that I have found in regards to this area. First, a study of 90 people with chronic low-back pain showed that participants who practiced Iyengar yoga had significantly less disability, pain, and depression after 6 months. Second, a study in 2011, compared yoga and conventional stretching exercises or a self-care book in 228 adults with chronic low-back pain. The results from this study showed that both yoga and stretching were more effective than a self-care book for improving function and reducing symptoms due to chronic low-back pain. Third, conclusions from a different study that was conducted in 2011 of 313 adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain suggested that practicing yoga for 12 weeks resulted in better function than conventional medical care. From the results of these three studies, it indicates that practicing yoga can help treat people who are suffering from chronic low-back pain.

Evidence for improved mood and functioning:
One of the major reasons why people practice yoga is to improve mood and functioning. I found a study that was conducted in Germany that showed promising results. In 2005, 24 women who described themselves as "emotionally distressed" took two 90-minute yoga classes a week for three months. Women in a control group maintained their normal activities and were asked not to begin an exercise or stress-reduction program during the study period. At the end of three months, women in the yoga group reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being. Depression scores improved by 50%, anxiety scores by 30%, and overall well-being scores by 65%. Initial complaints of headaches, back pain, and poor sleep quality also resolved much more often in the yoga group than in the control group. Also, according to this peer-reviewed article “The Benefits of Yoga in Improving Health” yoga has been shown to improve many health issues including anxiety and stress. Yoga has also been shown to improve immune function and allows patients a way to engage in self-management. As this evidence conveys, yoga is associated with improved mood and functioning or other benefits.

Evidence on various aspects of mental and physical health: From this study, it summarized numerous studies that looked at the benefits of yoga. There are some meta-analyses which indicate beneficial effects of yoga interventions, and there are several randomized clinical trials of relatively high quality indicating beneficial effects of yoga for pain-associated disability and mental health. Yoga may well be effective as a supportive treatment to mitigate some medical conditions, but not yet a proven stand-alone. So as for now, yoga is not a curative form of treatment . From the study it’s suggested that yoga is effective, may be practiced at least in part as a self-care behavioral treatment, provides a life-long behavioral skill, enhances self-efficacy and self-confidence and is often associated with additional positive side effects.

Essentially, from the evidence that I included in this article it shows that yoga can be helpful for treating chronic low-back pain, improving mood and functioning.

In addition, yoga can also be used as a supportive or self-care behavioral treatment. This article is intended to show that there is valid scientific evidence behind many health claims of yoga, but we suggest looking further into the scientific research to support and strengthen your yoga practice.

Author's Bio: 

Evolve is an innovative and pioneering yoga centre in the heart of London. As well as providing a variety of yoga classes in London, evolve also hosts personal development and self growth talks, workshops and on going events. If you're looking to experience less stress and more balance and peace in your life this yoga centre could be the place for you. Discover different holistic treatments such as acupuncture in London, a huge variety of yoga classes and experience increasing levels of bliss and energy. Visit