American Research Suggests Yoga Might Improve Mood

Nevada, Nov 7, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Research suggests that yoga might improve mood and sense of well-being, according to United States National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As per an NIH backgrounder, research also suggests that yoga might counteract stress; reduce heart rate and blood pressure; increase lung capacity; improve muscle relaxation and body composition; help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia; improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility; positively affect levels of certain brain or blood chemicals. There is growing evidence to suggest that yoga works to enhance stress-coping mechanisms and mind-body awareness.

Studies supported by NIH have been investigating yoga’s effects on blood pressure, chronic low-back pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, diabetes risk, HIV, immune function, inflammatory arthritis and knee osteoarthritis, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, smoking cessation. According to NIH website, currently 43 studies on yoga are open under its Clinical Trials program, which include effects of laugh-yoga, yoga-based cancer rehabilitation program, etc.

“Yoga in its full form combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and a distinct philosophy”, NIH backgrounder points out.

Lauding NIH efforts in this direction, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged NIH to provide more funding and support for yoga research, as although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, yoga was a world heritage to be utilized and benefitted by all.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, has also asked Government of India to launch a mega project to research, preserve, and promote yoga and open a world-class institute to support the yoga research and studies around the globe.

Rajan Zed further said that yoga, referred as “a living fossil” whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, was a mental and physical discipline handed down from one guru to next, for everybody to share and benefit from. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

Swami Vivekananda reportedly brought yoga to USA in 1893. According to an estimate, about 16 million Americans now do yoga.

National Institutes of Health, the largest source of funding for medical research in the world, is medical research agency of United States Department of Health and Human Services and traces its roots to 1887. Headquartered in Bethesda (Maryland), it invests over $31 billion annually in medical research, making important medical discoveries that improve health and save lives. “Thanks in large part to NIH-funded medical research, Americans today are living longer and healthier. Life expectancy in the United States has jumped from 47 years in 1900 to 77 years today”, it claims.  More than 130 Nobel Prize winners have received support from NIH, whose tagline is "Turning Discovery Into Health", while Director is Francis S. Collins.