Yoga: Eastern Influence on Exercise in the West

By CNY Healing Arts Published on

The east has made a huge impact on our western culture, including our exercise routines and the way in which we approach our health and wellbeing. The benefits of incorporating a holistic mind, body, and spirit approach to our wellness is more mainstream now.

Hindu monks, beginning with Swami Vivekananda, brought yoga to the West in the late 19th century. It was combined with an advanced form of breath work and meditation known as Kundalini Yoga by Yogi Bhajan in 1969. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a physical form of exercise across the entire Western world.

Many western physicians have begun to view yoga as a lifestyle change, instead of just a form of exercise, due to the positive effects it can have on many areas of our bodies. Many people, when they think of exercise and toning, think of lifting weights or running on a treadmill; however, yoga is a form of exercise that is just as effective at toning muscle and aiding with weight loss. Since it is also a very relaxing experience, the amount of cortisol in the system is decreased, which helps to further aid with weight loss.

Eastern forms of exercise like Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and yoga also increase flexibility and improve balance. There are many poses which include stretching and holding which help to cultivate muscular strength and power. Gaining flexibility and balance helps to decrease injuries to the muscles.

Yoga has been shown to be helpful to:

  • decrease arthritis/inflammation
  • aids with breathing-related issues such as asthma
  • improves circulation throughout the body
  • decreases the risk of hypertension
  • helps to boost immunity

Eastern influenced exercise also heals the mind and can help with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mindfulness and living in the present moment
  • Awareness of body through focused breathing and inner reflection

At CNY Healing Arts Centers, we have a full yoga schedule online with a variety of classes and instructors to meet your needs. For more information, call the location nearest you:

195 Intrepid Lane, Syracuse, NY 13205

2244 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14610
585.244.1280 ext. 2