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Insurance Article

Yoga for Prevention of Diseases - ICICI Lombard

June 21 2016

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that entails physical postures, meditation, and deep breathing techniques. It is a spiritual discipline based on subtle science that focuses on bringing physical and mental strength into coordination. One of the many benefits of yoga is that it can help you deal with stress.

Preventive vs. curative care

The cost of healthcare has skyrocketed. Today, the average hospitalisation and related non-medical expenditures reach up to ₹16,956 (in rural regions) and ₹26,455 (in urban areas) per treatment. With limited healthcare resources and an increase in their demand, it is safe to say that preventive measures hold the key to future healthcare.

The regular practice of yoga can help prevent non-communicable diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular illness, thereby reducing the need for curative medicine. Yoga also serves as a stalwart solution to keep chronic back pain, arthritis and other lifestyle diseases at bay. Research published in the Complementary Therapies of M\edicines reveals that yoga is also effective in treating pain, anxiety, and depression in patients with chronic back pain.

Types of Yoga

1. Vinyasa yoga:

Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word made up of "Vi" and "Nyasa." Vi means variation, whereas Nyasa means within defined parameters. This type of yoga is performed by stringing posture together and moving from one to the next while breathing.

2. Hatha yoga:

Hatha is a Sanskrit term that means force. While performing this yoga, all the five senses of your body are involved. The benefits of yoga (hatha yoga) include improved sleep, stress release, and relief from neck and back pain.

3. Iyengar yoga:

The Iyengar yoga style was founded by B.K.S. Iyengar. This kind of yoga is performed by practising asanas that align the physical body structurally. The features that distinguish it from others include the use of props, precision, and sequence.

4. Kundalini yoga:

This form of yoga is performed by breathing exercises, repetitious positions, chanting, and singing. This yoga's primary goal is to awaken one's spiritual energy. Kundalini yoga is often known as 'yoga of awareness’ because of this feature.

5. Bikram yoga:

Popularised by Bikram Chowdhary, this form of yoga is a variation of Hatha yoga. It is done for 90 minutes by performing 26 asanas and 2 pranayamas in a similar order.

6. Ashtanga yoga:

This style of yoga is performed to strengthen muscles and increase physical strength. The benefits of yoga (Ashtanga yoga) include body rejuvenation, toned muscles and a flexible body. The key steps involved in this yoga are:


  • Control
  • Rule of conduct
  • Poses
  • Breathing control
  • Sensory perceptions withdrawal
  • Concentration
  • Uninterrupted meditation

Complete equilibrium

7. Yin yoga:

This style of yoga is characterised by passive floor postures focusing on the lower body, particularly the lower spine, hips, inner thighs and pelvis. The positions can last up to 5 minutes and, in some cases, even longer.

8. Anusara yoga:

Anusara is a Sanskrit term that consists of two words—“Anu,” which means with, and “Sara,” which means flow. Anusara Yoga's varied positions emphasise the heart and are in complete alignment with breathing. It is a modern form of yoga and there are over 260 poses to choose from.

9. Jivamukti yoga:

Jivamukti is a Sanskrit word made up of "Jiva" and "Mukti." Jiva means living soul, whereas Mukti refers to the soul's liberation from the endless cycle of death and rebirth. Jivamukti yoga is based on 5 principles of meditation, devotion, music, scripture, and non-violence. This form of yoga is intense and requires high physical involvement. The basic moves of this yoga are adapted from Hatha yoga.

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