Collaborative Kidney Care
Yoga and Your Health
While yoga is widely practiced by many types of people around the world, it is important to acknowledge its origins in ancient India. Yoga has been around since the dawn of time and is one of the most widespread, popular practices around the world. There is no particular religion or ethnicity one has to be to practice yoga, all people are able to benefit from the practice. The purpose of doing yoga is to reach an inner peace and to connect with the universe, the physical and mental healing due to the relaxed state you are able to achieve, allowing your body to repair itself.
So, what exactly are the benefits of yoga? Well, depending on the type of yoga you practice, and your own body, the benefits can be different. Some of the physical benefits may seem obvious, such as increased flexibility, more muscle strength and tone, weight loss, injury prevention, and many more. These are the physical manifestations of the practice, which only accounts for what is seen on the outside. There are many mental benefits as well. The main benefit being that yoga is a great tool in helping manage stress. Stress can be a trigger for many health issues if it is not managed properly. Even if you do not feel particularly stressed, taking time out of your day to focus only on yourself and that moment in time can be helpful in preventing the onset of stress. Yoga teaches ways of developing skills to manage stress so that the yogi can use those skills outside of their yoga practice.
But how does yoga affect chronic kidney disease? In one study published in the International Journal of Yoga, patients who were offered yoga therapy for 6 months along with conventional treatment showed significantly reduced blood pressure, and significantly improved the patients quality of life scores, especially in comparison to a group of patients who did not partake in the yoga program. There were no negative outcomes found during the study besides some patients being unable to perform specific asanas (poses) during their practice. Benefits such as lower blood pressure is likely due to a reduced amount of stress by taking a few minutes to focus on yourself and relax. The low-impact and flowing nature of the exercise makes it accessible to most people at any age and most poses can be modified to fit your individual abilities and comfort level.
YouTube is an invaluable source to find all sorts of yoga instructors who offer free lessons and programs at no cost to you. You may find it more convienient to practice in the comfort of your own home for a few minutes during the day and YouTube videos allow you to do this and still get the same movement you could get at a studio. Moving your body is key to keeping your mind and body healthy. Yoga is one of the many ways you can move your body and stay active. It is important to find what is right for you and what you are comfortable with and find the fun in that!
For more information, feel free to check out some of these resources:
Yoga: Its Origin, History, and Development by Dr. Ishwar V Basavaraddi
American Osteopathic Association on The Benefits of Yoga
Effects of 6 months yoga program on renal functions and quality of life
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5225742/ (citation below)
Pandey, R. K., Arya, T. V., Kumar, A., & Yadav, A. (2017). Effects of 6 months yoga program on renal functions and quality of life in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease. International journal of yoga, 10(1), 3–8. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.186158