Skeletal & Muscular Health

Dr. Baxter Bell has summarized the general effects of asana practice into these categories:

  1. Strength
  2. Flexibility
  3. Balance
  4. Agility
  5. Posture

Here are examples of how these general benefits affect specific health conditions:

  1. Improving muscle strength can help with any condition that causes weakness (e.g. sarcopenia, chronic fatigue syndrome, recovery from broken bones or other lack of use such as having been bedridden as a result of illness or surgery).
  2. Improving bone strength can help with osteoporosis and osteopenia.
  3. Improving flexibility can help with any condition that causes stiffness (e.g. osteoarthritis or parkinson’s disease).
  4. Improving balance can help with any condition that impacts balance (e.g. frailty from aging and inactivity, multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy from diabetes, and poor eyesight.)
  5. Improving agility can help with any condition that affects nimbleness and response time, including any condition that affects balance and slowing of brain-body nerve conduction.)
  6. Improving posture helps with problems caused by poor physical alignment (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain).

The First 20 Minutes

The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk—all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active. – Gretchen Reynolds

See Also

  • Musculoskeletal System Introduction
  • Injuries & Conditions Hub
  • Applying Muscular/Skeletal Health Techniques to Medical Conditions – Yoga for Healthy Aging