Yoga and Your Health

Yoga is credited with many physical, mental and spiritual benefits. The easiest way to discover them for yourself is to start and maintain a regular Yoga practice.

The benefits of Yoga are discussed in most Yoga books and long lists of benefits are found on many websites. There is general consensus, however, that the benefits of Yoga include the following:

    Physical benefits: Improves muscle tone, flexibility, and strength. Improves respiration, energy, and vitality. Helps to maintain a balanced metabolism and normalizes weight. Improves cardio and circulatory health. Relieves pain. Improves skin tone helping you look and feel younger than your age. Improves athletic performance.
    Mental benefits: Helps you relax and handle stressful situations more easily. Teaches you how to quieten your mind so you can focus your energy where you want it to go – into a challenging yoga pose, on the tennis court or golf course, or at the office or school. Encourages positive thoughts and self-acceptance.
    Spiritual benefits: Builds awareness of your body, your feelings, the world around you, and the needs of others. Promotes integration of mind, body, and spirit – helping you live the concept of “oneness.”

Dr Timothy McCall MD of maintains a list of the health conditions benefited by Yoga. This list is unique because, while most evidence to support the benefits of Yoga is anecdotal, Dr McCall lists only conditions benefited by Yoga, where those benefits are supported by scientific evidence. So far he lists 54 conditions (last updated January 2011):

  • Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism
  • Back Pain
  • Balance Problems
  • Cancer
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (e.g. Emphysema)
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Drug Withdrawal
  • Eating Disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart Disease
  • Hemorrhoids
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Kidney Failure
  • Mental Developmental Impairment
  • Menopausal (and Perimenopausal) Symptoms
  • Migraine and Tension Headaches
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neck Pain
  • Neuroses (e.g. Phobias)
  • Obesity
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis)
  • Pain (Chronic)
  • Pleural Effusion (Fluid Collection in the Lining of the Lung)
  • Post Heart Attack Rehabilitation
  • Post-Polio Syndrome
  • Post-Operative Recovery
  • Post-Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Pregnancy (both normal and complicated)
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Rhinitis (Inflammation of the Nose)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Scoliosis (Curvature of the Spine)
  • Sexual Function
  • Sinusitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Urinary Stress Incontinence

Download a PDF of this list (right click and save target as).
Download a PDF of this list (right click and save target as) which includes reference to the original research articles.