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   Table of Contents     
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 86-87
The principles and practice of yoga in health care

Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS Integrated Centre for Yoga, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

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Date of Web Publication2-Jan-2018

How to cite this article:
Bhargav H. The principles and practice of yoga in health care. Int J Yoga 2018;11:86-7

How to cite this URL:
Bhargav H. The principles and practice of yoga in health care. Int J Yoga [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Mar 29];11:86-7. Available from:

Author: Sat Bir Khalsa, Lorenzo Cohen, Timothy McCall, Shirley Telles

Year: 2016

Publisher: Handspring Publishing

Here comes a long-awaited comprehensive text of yoga therapy for yoga clinicians! This book is written by eminent yoga researchers, clinicians, and experts from around the globe. It is a compilation and elaboration of all major philosophical concepts and basic and clinical researches on yoga in health care. A unique highlight of the book which separates it from all other yoga therapy books available in the market is the scientific acumen that is followed throughout the book, without compromising the ancient roots.

The book comprises eight sections and 23 chapters. The first section provides a comprehensive introduction to yoga and yoga therapy. The next six sections focus on different health conditions such as mental health, musculoskeletal and neurological, endocrine, cardiorespiratory, cancer, and other special conditions, respectively. These are the conditions where reasonable efficacy of yoga therapy has been proven. The last section provides valuable inputs on practical considerations and future directions in yoga research and clinical care.

The first section, “Introduction to yoga and yoga Therapy,” has been written with great clarity and insight into both conventional and ancient sciences pertaining to yoga as therapy. This section brings altogether a different depth to the science of yoga therapy. It enables the yoga therapists with a clearer understanding of the clinical approach towards the patients. From epidemiological facts to biological rhythms and to ancient approaches on the management of lifestyle disorders, this section beautifully lays the base for the book. It covers the introduction to yoga therapy from all possible aspects: traditional, psychosocial, and biological. The chapter on “History, Philosophy and Practice of Yoga Therapy” covers history of yoga therapy extensively for the first time and provides fundamental philosophical aspects of yoga therapy in detail. In this chapter, “Ahimsa” or non-harming (one of the yamas) has rightly been projected as the very foundation of yoga therapy. Furthermore, applied aspects of Ayurveda principles in yoga therapy are particularly interesting. Chapter 4 (“Researches on psychophysiology of Yoga”) provides in-depth mechanisms of action of various components of yoga therapy, namely, physical postures (and how they differ from gym or walking), breathing practices, relaxation techniques, and meditations (both open monitoring and focused attention types), respectively. It enriches yoga clinicians with valuable information on applied psychophysiology of yoga. Altogether, the first section provides the real zest of the book. It is a treat to the reader, and after reading it, one wonders, what else is left to be said in the introduction to yoga and yoga therapy!

The next six sections deal with major health conditions and their management through yoga therapy. Each section has two or three chapters; each chapter focuses on a major clinical condition within the domain of the section. The chapter follows a conventional pattern where at first the definition, prevalence, and pathophysiology of the disease are described, followed by the rationale for the use of yoga therapy in that disease; then, the review of published literature and analysis on the quality of research studies and strength of evidence are provided. This is further followed by clinical relevance and future directions for research. At the end of each chapter, the summary of research evidence is depicted in a tabular form. A unique highlight of the book is a section on “Clinical Insights” by Timothy McCall, in collaboration with consulting yoga therapists and yoga teachers, at the end of each chapter. This section provides subtle advices on use and adaptation of specific yoga techniques for a particular disorder based on the clinical experience of yoga therapists. In the clinical insights section for “Neurological and Immune Conditions” (Chapter 10), the description of using Ayurveda-based prakriti diagnosis (vata, pitta, and kapha) for designing the yoga therapy program is particularly interesting and unique.

The final section of the book provides valuable practical tips for yoga therapy and future directions to yoga clinical research.

The book is a remarkable work; it covers almost all the major health-related problems where yoga has been found to be useful. It provides necessary models, scientific basis, and the mechanisms of action for various modalities of yogic treatments. This work is essential for those intending to or are evolving as yoga clinicians. The book has a comprehensive glossary, and it is observed throughout the book that any new or technical term appearing for the first time (e.g., “wandering,” “rumination,” “self-transcendence,” “allostasis,” “meditation”) has been lucidly defined. This makes the book user-friendly and comprehendible even by a layman.

However, the book may improve further if at the end of each chapter, based on the available evidence, a user-friendly yoga module for the disease is provided. In addition, use of more figures, pictures, flowcharts, etc., (to summarize various concepts or models or to depict most useful practices in a particular disease; probably in color) would have made the book more attractive to those who are not in the habit of extensive reading. A paragraph on “Best Yoga Practices for a particular disease” at the end of each chapter would have been very useful for both yoga therapists and patients. Furthermore, the book may be enriched further if the concept of “Ultradian Rhythm”[1],[2] and corresponding evidence base is also applied in designing the yoga therapy practices. There are some punctuation and typing errors in the book which can be corrected by thorough proof reading. For example, on page 17 (paragraph 2, line 7), “… 195 terse aphorisms” should be replaced with “…196 terse aphorisms” and on page 36 (paragraph 3, line 4), “. Hardiwar,” should be replaced with “. Haridwar,” etc.

Overall, this book is a boon for yoga clinicians and should form an essential part of syllabus for yoga therapy and research-related subjects, in any institute around the globe. This work is equally valuable for yoga researchers to understand the trend and future directions for yoga therapy-related research. It will help yoga researchers immensely in designing a proper clinical trial by overcoming all the biases and limitations of previous studies (mentioned in detail in Chapter 5 and Chapter 23). Reading this book will not only enrich yoga clinicians with up-to-date evidence base for major global health problems but will also bring clarity from the ancient yogic point of view on the understanding of disease and its management. The role and importance of yoga therapists in the current health scenario has been clearly brought out in this book. It will surely enhance the self-esteem and knowledge of yoga clinicians!

   References Top

Rossi EL, Lippincott BM. The wave nature of being: Ultradian rhythms and mind-body communication. In: Ultradian Rhythms in Life Processes. London: Springer; 1992. p. 371-402.  Back to cited text no. 1
Shannahoff-Khalsa DS. Unilateral forced nostril breathing: Basic science, clinical trials, and selected advanced techniques. Subtle Energies Energ Med J Arch 2001;12:79-106.  Back to cited text no. 2

Correspondence Address:
Hemant Bhargav
Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS Integrated Centre for Yoga, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_52_17

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