Yoga has become increasingly popular in Western cultures as a means of exercise and fitness training; however, it is still depicted as trendy as evidenced by an April 2001 Time magazine cover story on "The Power of Yoga." There is a need to have yoga better recognized by the health care community as a complement to conventional medical care. Over the last 10 years, a growing number of research studies have shown that the practice of Hatha Yoga can improve strength and flexibility, and may help control such physiological variables as blood pressure, respiration and heart rate, and metabolic rate to improve overall exercise capacity. This review presents a summary of medically substantiated information about the health benefits of yoga for healthy people and for people compromised by musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary disease.
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