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Should Yoga be Prescribed Instead of Medication?

Throughout the years yoga has been practised to create alignment within the body, mind, and soul.  As society advances, the public face severe consequences and in turn suffer great amounts of mental health issues due to the lack of knowledge of the correlation between information overload, workaholism, burnout and stress-management.  Self-care is dismissed as a last priority and therefore mental health issues amongst society have been on the rise. 

A way to combat and manage the advancing society, more and more individuals are turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), rather than prescriptions from the doctors.  Complementary and alternative medicines might include, yoga, herbals, healthier food intake, exercise, and activities such as regular sleep.  Some health services have started to use the physical form of yoga as a treatment option for mental health conditions.  Due to the components of the practise of yoga, the increase in physical and mental wellbeing has been shown to be significantly higher than those of receiving medication to combat mental health illnesses such as depressive and anxiety disorders. 


Yoga practise originally originates from India, where yoga was practised to create a state of stillness and awareness through the practise of meditation and deep breathing.  Patanjali discovered the practise of yoga and used this form of exercise to create a psychologically balanced mind, body, and soul.  The work of Patanjali was highly recognized by individuals looking to become more spiritually aware and create a more balanced and meaningful life through the practise of yoga.  The practise of yoga was originally seen as a form of ‘spiritual discipline’, until further research discovered the many health benefits acquired through yoga and identified the success rates of treating mental illness with a natural form of medication, implementing yoga into everyday lives.


The natural treatment of mental health and maintaining a good balance of physical wellbeing is becoming significantly more popular as therapists have also begun to implement yoga practise as another form of psychotherapy.  Over the years counsellors and therapists have provided healing for patients and therefore carry out extensive amounts of research to maintain a sustainable treatment programme for patients to take part in and achieve desirable results.  Through executing a yoga philosophical based approach into healing mental and physical ailments of the body, therapists all over the world have found a manageable theory to follow, the Panchakosha Model. 


The Panchakosha Model highlights the approach to natural healing through a yoga philosophical perspective, expressing the importance of breath work; diet; behavioural and cognitive modification; alongside lifestyle changes to sleep and exercise to balance biorhythms. 

Individuals practising yoga on a regular basis have shown to encounter elevated levels of positivism compared to a non-practising individual due to prohibitive life satisfaction through mindfulness and becoming more self-aware.  Spirituality experienced during the practise of yoga correlates with the findings of fuller life satisfaction due to the fulfilment spirituality awards.  Yoga is a natural process connecting the mind with the body and if practised regularly, the psychological wellness of an individual radiates through by bringing more focus into life and balance into the body.  Studies suggest the outcome of systematic yoga practise enhances life quality and the correlation between a healthy mind and body can be experienced because of persistence.


The wide use of yoga treatment in therapy has popularised over the years as scientific studies and research show a positive effect of implementing yoga as a therapy solution and therefore take away from the perceived conception of vast humanity believing medication to be the foremost cure.  

There is a true healing power of mind-body interventions such as yoga but also the nature of healing can be dependent upon the recipient of treatment.  There can of course be different results depending on the mind, for example an individual with a negative mindset will experience slower improvement in mood compared to an individual with a positive mindset.

Practising yoga requires a focused state of mind, an ability to keep a positive mind whilst practising yoga allows the partaker to receive full benefits during and after practise.  It is believed that the impact of practise with a negative attitude takes away from the desirable positive effects of yoga.  The body can heal itself through mental disorders dependant on the right mindset, with a positive mindset the body’s response to yoga allows the body to heal at a faster rate.  Research suggests the use of yoga is widely favoured by many doctors in an additional treatment plan to cure chronic inflammation and help prevent stress due to the natural healing properties yoga possesses. 


Therapists believe in the wider field of research performed around yoga and have high hopes for yoga to be a new natural cure for many illnesses.


The study of yoga remains a desired topic to research due to the many health benefits it expresses through the practise of asanas (postures) and pranayama (controlled breathing).  A previous study exposes the true extent of the positive impact yoga practice encounters due to the practice of physical performance alongside a practise of controlled breathing.  The experiment concludes to rank yoga as a higher-level and more effective exercise than just physical activity as the power of pranayama gives a mental advantage for wellbeing. 

The mind has been a powerful tool for many years and an in-depth review of current research suggests that the mind can affect the physical state of the human body too.  Through the practise of yoga, the mind can be disciplined to remain calm which has a conclusive positive impression on the physical elements of the body.  When the mind is calm, the body automatically experiences a form of relaxation through releasing tension from the muscles, allowing the body to endure a tranquil state of being. 

The beneficial effects of practising yoga include:

  • Increased oxygen intake

  • More balanced control in inflammation and blood glucose levels

  • Increase in physical fitness and flexibility

  • Reduction in mental health disorder symptoms and an overall greater life satisfaction

Researchers over the years have gained an understanding into the spiritual effects and physiological changes that occur with regular practise of deep breathing and the positive outcome from implementing yoga into everyday life.  Majority of the population understand and take advantage of the free solution to overcome poor mental health and therefore take the opportunity to heal mental health in a natural way. 


However, a percentage of the population still dismiss the natural ways to heal mental health as this may seem like a longer process to endure, rather than a quick fix of prescription drugs.  Mental health disorders accumulate through life and rise at unexpected times, this may include depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Health professionals explain the chemical imbalance within the brain and the functioning of the brain which in turn causes individuals to experience poor mental health. 


The implementation of yoga from a young age could change functioning within the mind and body to prevent poor mental health from arising in the future.  Social and economic factors affecting poor health can be altered with the right knowledge and skills to prevent illness in adolescence and the development of ill health in early adulthood.  Current social pressures from technology and other influences have a major impact on the quality of life from a young age and therefore mindfulness and deep breathing should be a high priority for schools to prevent children experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression in the future. 

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