The word yoga means “union.” Or, in other words, the union or connection of the mind, body and spirit which makes it a holistic practice.
Although yoga therapy has been practiced in India for centuries, yoga therapy in the West is an emerging field.
In the West, many studies have been conducted to prove the benefits of this ancient science. In the late 1980’s Dr. Dean Ornish published his study on the effects of lifestyle intervention on heart disease. He was able to show that heart disease could be reversed through a healthy lifestyle program that included therapeutic yoga, meditation and dietary changes.
There have been many studies showing the benefits of yoga for numerous ailments including depression, insomnia, respiratory conditions, back pain, cancer and many more. A new book by a long time yoga practitioner and scientific journalist William Broad, The Science of Yoga, presents an impartial evaluation of yoga as a practice and the science behind it. Mr. Broad submits a timeline as reference for the emergence of yoga and states that in 1998 The National Institutes of Health began spending public funds on yoga research. It continues to do so.
There is a scientific publication: The International Journal of Yoga Therapy which supports and publishes research and education in yoga and serves as a professional organization for Yoga teachers and Yoga therapists worldwide.
The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Healthcare
This is the most recent book containing a composite list of all research studies. It brings together the science and the practice of yoga therapy and comprehensively summarizes research findings and their practical implications for yoga practitioners.
The editors include three eminent yoga therapy researchers and one renowned practitioner in the field. They have brought together an experienced team of researchers and yoga therapist contributors.
Be the Change: Transforming Health Care From the Inside Out
Dr. Jane Murray, a western medicine doctor, founder of the Sastun Center and proponent of yoga therapy, writes about how we can improve our health care system. Dr. Murray is a compelling speaker and teacher about the need to integrate conventional Western medicine with non-conventional approaches to health and illness.