Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Yoga, Bioenergetics and Eating Behaviors: A Conceptual Review

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Yoga, Bioenergetics and Eating Behaviors: A Conceptual Review

Article excerpt

Byline: Arnulfo. Ramos-Jimenez, Abraham. Wall-Medrano, Rocio. Corona-Hernandez, Rosa. Hernandez-Torres

Yoga is an ancient oriental discipline that emerged from mystical and philosophical concepts. Today it is practiced in the west, partly due to the promotion of its benefits to improve the lifestyle and overall health. As compared to non-Hatha Yoga (HY) practitioners, healthier and better-eating patterns have been observed in those who practice it. Agreement with the brought benefits, HY can be used as a therapeutic method to correct abnormal eating behaviors (AEB), obesity, and some metabolic diseases. However, the energy expenditure during traditional protocols of HY is not high; hence, it is not very effective for reducing or maintaining body weight or to improve cardiovascular conditioning. Even so, several observational studies suggest significant changes in eating behaviors, like a reduction in dietary fat intake and increments in that of fresh vegetables, whole grains and soy-based products, which in turn may reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Given the inconsistency of the results derived from cross-sectional studies, more case-control studies are needed to demonstrate the efficacy of HY as an alternative method in the clinical treatment of disordered eating and metabolic diseases.


Yoga originated around 3000 years B.C., under mystical and philosophical concepts in the Hindu tradition. It was transmitted exclusively from teacher to student up until the mid-19 [sup]th century. Its principles rest in metaphysics, which are hard to understand in Western countries and for those who do not practice it. Some authors, who have gone deep into its study and practice, have tried to explain it. Etymologically, yoga means to "add," "join," "unite" or "attach" ( Sanskrit , ioga ) where the body ( anga ), mind ( chitta ), emotions and the soul ( atma or atman ). A complete explanation of this ancient discipline was given by Eliade [sup][1] in his treatise "Yoga, immortality and freedom," and defined as a collection of specific techniques to seek a truth hidden in the silence and in the inner calm of people, a fundamental truth which enables one to free the soul from false reality , a state of liberation of the waves of thought or ecstasy (" Samadhi 0"; Sanskrit , sam o samialk [complete] and [sz] dhi [mentally absorbed] )."

Currently, there are several categories of Yoga. The one practiced in Western societies is an integral Yoga described by Patannjali (II century B.C.). [sup][2] He condenses in his Yoga s?tras, a collection of aphorisms in a Buddhist/Hindi text or manual, the traditions and practices of ancient and contemporary practitioners (yogis). This type of yoga was brought to the American continent by Swami Vivekananda at the end of the 19 [sup]th century (1894-1896) and was scientifically and philosophically enriched by Eliade. [sup][1] However, through the years Yoga has undergone many transformations and adaptations, thereby changing its original principles and fundamentals. [sup][3] As opposed to the traditional practice, physical focus on Yoga became very popular in the west beginning in the second half of the 20 [sup]th century and is often referred simply as to Hatha Yoga ( HY) .

Hatha Yoga refers to a set of physical (Asanas) and mental exercises, designed to align the body and mind, in such way the vital energy (pr[sz]ṇa) can flow freely. It consists of respiratory exercises ( pranayamas or shatkarma ), physical stretching postures, isometric force, balance, relaxation ( yoganidra ) and concentration ( dharana ), whose purpose is to ensure that Anga is fit for meditation ( dhyana ). These elements are conducive to a unique level of consciousness and self-realization, leading to liberation ( kaivalya ) of the self ( atman ). [sup][2]

Hatha Yoga reduces stress, [sup][4] improves overall physical fitness and reduces some risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. …

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