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Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healingby Yoga Journal
Synopses & Reviews
Yoga as Medicine
Whether you are sick or weak, young, old or even very old,
you can succeed in yoga if you practice diligently.
--Svatmarama (Hatha Yoga Pradipika)
If you are new to yoga, welcome. Yoga can change your life. If you are currently practicing yoga but want to learn more, you probably already know something of yoga's life-changing potential. If you are sick, it can help you feel better. If you are depressed or anxious, tired all the time, addicted to drugs, or bothered by low back pain, yoga can set you on the path to recovery. For those with chronic health problems like arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or HIV/AIDS, regular yoga practice can help you live better and, in all likelihood, longer. And for people suffering temporary symptoms--such as tension headaches, hot flashes, or sinus pressure--specific yoga postures, breathing techniques, and other practices can bring relief.
As someone who has been an MD for over twenty years, I can tell you that yoga is quite simply the most powerful system of overall health and well-being I have ever seen. Even if you are currently among what might be called the temporarily healthy, as preventive medicine, yoga is as close to one-stop shopping as you can find. This single comprehensive system can reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve balance, promote strength, heighten cardiovascular conditioning, lower blood pressure, reduce overweight, strengthen bones, prevent injuries, lift mood, improve immune function, increase the oxygen supply to the tissues, heighten sexual functioning and fulfillment, foster psychological equanimity, and promote spiritual well-being . . . and that's only a partial list.
Yoga has a decidedly different view from Western medicine's about what constitutes health--and this may be a big part of why it's so effective. The absence of symptoms is in no way equated with health in yoga. Health to the yogi extends far beyond not having a headache or knee pain--or even being cured of cancer. It is about optimizing the function of every system in your body from the muscles to digestion, circulation, and immunity. It is about emotional well-being, spiritual resilience, and buoyancy, even joy. Yoga teaches that only when these elements are aligned can you maximize your chance for health and healing.
Yoga envisions a web of causation that is much more complex than the limited number of factors most doctors consider. In the case of heart disease, for example, it looks beyond cholesterol and blood pressure to stress and the role of the mind in perpetuating it, your emotional temperament, your connections to other people, and whether you are living your life in accordance with some larger purpose. The idea is that a wide variety of factors can affect your well-being, and the most efficient way to remedy health problems is to work on many areas simultaneously. This is precisely what the practice of yoga does.
In yoga, you do your spiritual work and it affects the body. You stretch and strengthen your muscles and that affects your circulation, digestion, and breathing. You calm and strengthen the nervous system and it affects the mind. You cultivate peace of mind and it affects the nervous system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system. Yoga says that if you look clearly you will see that everything about you is connec
Integrating Western medical science with the principles and teachings of yoga, a bible of yoga therapy examines the history of the ancient holistic practice, describes yoga's many health benefits, details various ailments that yoga can help prevent or treat, and explains basic yoga techniques, including postures, breathing, meditation, and safety. Original. 35,000 first printing.
The definitive book of yoga therapy, this groundbreaking work comes to you from the medical editor of the country’s premier yoga magazine, who is both a practicing yogi and a Western-trained physician.
Beginning with an overview of the history and science of yoga, Dr. McCall describes the many different techniques in the yoga tool kit; explains what yoga does and who can benefit from it (virtually everyone!); and provides lavishly illustrated and minutely detailed instructions on starting a yoga practice geared to your fitness level and your health status. Yoga as Medicine offers a wealth of practical information, including how to:
•Utilize yogic tools, including postures, breathing techniques, and meditation, for both prevention and healing of illness
•Master the art of becoming more in tune with your body
•Communicate more effectively with your doctor
•Adopt therapeutic yoga practices as either an alternative or a complement to surgery and to expensive, sometimes dangerous medications
Find an instructor and a style of yoga that are right for you. With twenty chapters devoted to the work of individual master teachers, including such well-known figures as Patricia Walden, John Friend, and Rodney Yee, Yoga as Medicine shows how these experts have applied the wisdom of this ancient holistic practice to twenty different conditions, ranging from arthritis to chronic fatigue, depression, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, infertility, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, and obesity. Defining yoga as “a systematic technology to improve the body, understand the mind, and free the spirit,“ Dr. McCall shows the way to a path that can truly alter your life.
An indispensable guide for the millions who now practice yoga or would like to begin, as well as for yoga teachers, body workers, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals.
About the Author
Timothy McCall, M.D., is a specialist in primary care who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a board-certified, Western-trained physician who has traveled to India and throughout the United States observing, training with, and interviewing the world’s leading yoga teachers and therapists, he is uniquely qualified to reconcile the medical findings and techniques of East and West. Yoga Journal is the premier yoga magazine in the country.
Table of Contents
How to use this book — Introduction : a leap of faith — pt. 1. Yoga as medicine — 1. Yoga as medicine — 2. The science of yoga — 3. Yoga for stress relief — 4. Bringing a yogic perspective to your health care — pt. 2. The practice of yoga — 5. Doing yoga safely — 6. Choosing a style of yoga and a teacher — 7. Getting started and keeping it going — pt. 3. Yoga therapy in action — 8. Anxiety and panic attacks — 9. Arthritis — 10. Asthma — 11. Back pain — 12. Cancer — 13. Carpal tunnel syndrome — 14. Chronic fatigue syndrome — 15. Depression — 16. Diabetes — 17. Fibromyalgia — 18. Headaches — 19. Heart disease — 20. High blood pressure — 21. HIV/AIDS — 22. Infertility — 23. Insomnia — 24. Irritable bowel syndrome — 25. Menopause — 26. Multiple sclerosis (MS) — 27. Overweight and obesity — Afterword : the future of yoga as medicine — Appendix 1. Avoiding common yoga injuries — Appendix 2. Sources of further information — Appendix 3. Sanskrit glossary — Appendix 4. Sanskrit words in asana names.
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