Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Is Yoga for You?
How valuable is the practice of yoga to your system of spontaneous healing?
Answer (Published 8/7/2003)

(Editor's note: This was originally published 02/24/1998)

The practice of yoga is not only very valuable to my system of spontaneous healing, but to yours as well.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

Yoga is a Sanskrit term that means union or joining. Yoga is the joining or uniting of the mind, body and spirit to enrich the quality of one's life, and to enhance one's health. In this country, the most familiar form of yoga is hatha yoga, developed more than 6,000 years ago and based on esoteric knowledge of the human body and observations of jungle animals, particularly the cat family. That's easy to believe once you do some of the postures or asanas. There are more than 1,000 asanas, all intended to facilitate concentration and meditation by quieting the body and nervous system. Looked at only as a very structured form of nonaerobic stretching exercise, yoga offers a number of advantages:

  • It is an excellent muscle toner that balances all parts of the body including your internal organs -- heart, lungs, glands, nerves and more.
  • It increases flexibility (and is a good practice for anyone with chronic back pain).
  • It's beneficial for the nervous system, promoting deep relaxation and reduction of stress.
  • It's appropriate for just about everyone. Children who take it up can easily become as skillful as adults. For older people, it is a great nonaerobic conditioner. For athletes, it can provide flexibility and centering.
  • No special outfit or gear is required... just loose-fitting, comfortable clothes (breathable material like cotton), and a small area of floor space.

Breath work has special emphasis in yoga. I view breath as the movement of spirit in the body -- a central mystery that connects us to all creation. Working with breath is a form of spiritual practice. It also impacts health and healing, because how we breathe both reflects and influences the state of the nervous system. You can learn to influence heart rate, blood pressure, circulation and digestion by consciously changing the rhythm and depth of breathing. Once again, in answer to your question... the breathing exercises you will find in "Spontaneous Healing" and "8 Weeks to Optimum Health" are yoga techniques.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here