Benefits of Yoga
Q: I would like to start taking yoga classes. Please explain the different types of yoga and the benefits of each type.
Author: Richard Weil, M.Ed., CDE
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
A: Dozens of yoga types are practiced worldwide, but there isn't space here to review all of them, so I will limit my comments to Hatha, Kundalini, Bikram, and Ashtanga yoga, the four most popular types practiced in fitnesscenters and local yoga studios throughout the U.S.
I'll start by telling you that yoga has been around for millennia. According to some records, it was developed in Northern India over 5,000 years ago, and according to data published in 2004 in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, an estimated 15 million American adults have used yoga at least once in their lifetime, and more than 7.4 million participated in the year prior to when the research was conducted. Individuals interviewed for this research reported that they used yoga for wellness (stressreduction, quality of life), health conditions, and specific ailments like back or neck pain, and 90% felt yoga was very or somewhat helpful.