Yoga is a mind and body practice with a 5,000-year history in ancient Indian philosophy. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. In more recent years, it has become popular as a form of physical exercise based upon poses that promote improved control of the mind and body and enhance well-being.
There are several different types of yoga and many disciplines within the practice. Yoga exercise focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing.
Dozens of scientific trials of varying quality have been published on yoga. Most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance.
There’s some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress.