The Surya Namaskar or Sun Saltutations

The physical aspect of yoga, the asanas, has been much popularized in the West, and devoted celebrity practitioners like Madonna and Sting have contributed to the increased visibility of the practice. Physically, the practice of asanas is considered to improve:

  • muscle flexibility

  • tendon strength

  • stamina

  • better functioning of respiratory system

  • empirical evidence suggests it helps control blood pressure and other issues related to the functioning of the circulatory system

  • improvement in health problems related to stress[19]

  • It can aid in the improvement of concentration with school, in the workforce, and everyday activities.

  • Can help with dieting and losing weight.

Yoga may guard against heart disease, study finds

Yoga exercises is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing.

Yoga does count as a muscle strengthening.


Yoga exercises had significant benefits - it was linked to a lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol, the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reports.

When pitched against other types of exercise, such as brisk walking or jogging, yoga was no better or worse based on the same measures of heart risk.

Yoga exercises could be down to its calming effect. Stress has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure.

Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "The benefits could be due to working the muscles and breathing, which can bring more oxygen into the body, leading to lower blood pressure.

She said the benefits of yoga on emotional health were well-established.

The emphasis on the physical part has given rise to the perception that yoga consists only of asana practice. A more esoteric intention is to facilitate the flow of prana (vital energy; qi in Chinese; ki in Japanese) to aid in balancing the koshas (sheaths) of the physical and metaphysical body.

Depending on the level of mastery, the practitioner of asanas is supposed to achieve many supernatural abilities. For instance, a yogi who has mastered Mayurasana will not be affected by eating any poison.

Some common asanas

Mechanism of Injury in yoga

There are many causes of labral tears, including high impact or direct trauma, such as a fall, or micro-trauma from overuse. Movements that require repetitive hyperextension or flexion of the hip, extreme external rotation (ER) or internal rotation (IR) of the femur, twisting motions, or any combination of these movements can injure the labrum. Clearly these are the movement patterns of Yoga asanas. Students with intense daily

practices who must always “work at the edge” of their flexibility, and those who do not vary their practice, may therefore be at risk.

Avoiding Injury Warming up the body properly with preparatory asanas can help prevent injuries. Instructors should teach a balanced practice,

with a variety of movements at the hip joint and a focus on both stability and flexibility. Those students who are hyperflexible should be encouraged to practice asanas that emphasize strength, support, and stability, rather than additional flexibility............

Having just gone through this surgery myself, I can attest

to the many challenges and frustrations that students will experience. It has been very challenging to be the injured student, as a registered Yoga teacher and an experienced physical therapist. At times, I felt embarrassment and guilt that I had injured myself doing Yoga, and that perhaps I hadn’t practiced what I so often preach:

“Listen to your body and respect the messages.” On the other hand, injuries occur and there is no healing in blame........

Elaine Goodall, PT, MEd, RYT

Goodall EY. Preventing & Healing Injury in Asana: Acetabular Labral Tears. Yoga Therapy in PracticeAugust 2006;2(3):16-17