Okay I do yoga on the Wii, but besides balance and moving more are there additional benefits to yoga? Is it mind over matter? I decided to research this issue and find out some facts for us to ponder. But, first what actually is yoga....Yoga is an ancient physical and spiritual discipline and branch of philosophy that originated in India reportedly more than 5,000 years ago. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke, join, or unite. The Iyengar school of yoga defines yuj as the "joining or integrating of all aspects of the individual—body with mind and mind with soul—to achieve a happy, balanced and useful life."
Wouldn't we all love a balanced and useful life ....okay to achieve this let's look now at how yoga works. Poses are called Kriyas these poses focus on the effort necessary to move energy up and down the spine; yoga mudra is a gesture or movement to hold energy or concentrate awareness; and a bandha uses the technique of holding muscular contractions to focus awareness.
Yoga focuses on the mind by teaching you to concentrate on specific parts of the body. For instance, you may be asked by the instructor to focus deeply on your spine, or let your mind go and have your body sink into the floor. This awareness keeps the mind-body connection sharp and doesn't allow a lot of time for external chatter (like worrying about what you're going to have for dinner)
Apparently, many people are practicing yoga. According to a 2003 survey by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, an estimated 13.4 million Americans practice yoga or other mind-body exercises such as tai chi. Of those, an estimated 1.6 million were 55 or older.
Studies of the benefits of yoga are only beginning to accumulate and so the evidence is not overwhelming or conclusive at this point. One of the problems with the studies is that they are done with small numbers of subjects which can make firm conclusions sketchy, and many are conducted in India and published only in foreign medical journals, making it difficult to know what rigorous standards the journals place on the researchers.
Many people believe that practicing yoga can help lower blood pressure by teaching breathing techniques and reducing stress. There is some evidence to suggest that yoga may lower blood glucose. After just one yoga class, men reported decreases in tension, fatigue, and anger after yoga, and women reported fairly similar mood benefits. It's well known that physical activity has a mood-elevating effect, and yoga ought to fit right in.
Independent of studies, I think it's fair to say that the majority of people who practice yoga regularly enjoy it and find it beneficial, otherwise they probably would not continue. I believe it's worth trying if you have even the slightest interest.