What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Yoga?

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The advantages and disadvantages of yoga are still being determined to some degree. Studies from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine indicate that there are many types of benefits and some significant risks in practicing yoga.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, some advantages of doing yoga include relief of back and shoulder pain; stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia relief; improved cardiovascular health; increase in sex hormones (particularly testosterone); and increased flexibility, strength and overall physical health. Yoga can also be a spiritual practice for many, but it is not a religion.

Some disadvantages of yoga include certain medical conditions that could prohibit individuals from participating. For example, women who are pregnant should not engage in inverted poses because of the danger of air embolism. Instead, they should work on daily breathing exercises. People suffering from glaucoma, sciatica or high blood pressure should avoid or modify some yoga poses. Another thing to be wary of is the danger of some strenuous poses like the shoulder stand that can damage small arteries in the neck. In the full expression of the shoulder stand, the neck is at a 90-degree angle, which can tweak the small arteries, especially if practiced often. There are some conditions that may not benefit from yoga, including asthma and arthritis, notes the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.