Yoga is an ancient practice, with records indicating that it has been practiced in India some form for close to 4,500 years. Since being introduction to Western culture in the 1960’s, it has remained a popular form of physical activity. A physical Yoga practice usually consists of an opening sequence called a sun salutation. It is then followed by a sequence of standing and floor postures.
The primary reason for commencing a yoga practice is to improve general health and well-being, and to improve muscle flexibility, strength, and endurance.
Recent studies have found that a regular Yoga practice significantly improves isokinetic and isometic muscle strength. The same study also established that a regular practice can increase cardio-respiratory capacity by 6-7% in 8 weeks. This is the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen to muscles during physical activity.
It has also been established that in peri-menopausal populations, a regular long-term practice has a positive effect on bone formation. Similar results have been seen in this patient population with respect to Tai Chi and bone formation.