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Adv Mind Body Med. 2008 Fall;23(3):10-8.

A review of the literature examining the physiological processes underlying the therapeutic benefits of Hatha yoga.

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George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA.


An estimated 7.4 million Americans currently practice Hatha yoga. Moreover, 64% of individuals who practice yoga report doing so for well-being. Previous research has reported an association between yoga practice and subjective well-being; however, few studies have investigated the physiological mechanisms involved. The following review provides an historical overview of the field of integrative medicine, which conceptualizes yoga as a mind-body practice. A brief description of Hatha yoga is provided that describes the purported relationship between yoga and the relaxation response. A review of the emerging literature related to nitric oxide and oxidative stress as potential mechanisms in the relationship between yoga and well-being also is included. The article concludes with a brief discussion of the state of the research and provides suggestions for future studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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