It's possible that you've heard about the current Yoga 'flap' which involves sex.
We decided to include a link to the California Code of Professional Ethics which was created to answer questions that had arisen previously, for example: "All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with students are unethical, even when a student invites or consents to such behavior involvement. Sexual behavior is defined as, but not limited to, all forms of overt and covert seductive speech, gestures, and behavior as well as physical contact of a sexual nature; harassment is defined as, but not limited to, repeated comments, gestures, or physical contacts of a sexual nature."
The New York Times article, Yoga and Sex Scandals, has covered the current controversy. But the NIH (National Institutes of Health backgrounder will provide a basis for the activity, one that is immensely popular and, presumably, very profitable.
Yoga for Health: An Introduction
Yoga is a mind-body practice in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with origins in ancient Indian philosophy. The various styles of yoga that people use for health purposes typically combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. This Backgrounder provides a general overview of yoga and suggests sources for more information.
- People use yoga for a variety of health conditions and to achieve fitness and relaxation.
- It is not fully known what changes occur in the body during yoga; whether they influence health; and if so, how. There is, however, growing evidence to suggest that yoga works to enhance stress-coping mechanisms and mind-body awareness. Research is under way to find out more about yoga’s effects, and the diseases and conditions for which it may be most helpful.
- Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
Yoga in its full form combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and a distinct philosophy. Yoga is intended to increase relaxation and balance the mind, body, and the spirit.
Early written descriptions of yoga are in Sanskrit, the classical language of India. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means “yoke or union.” It is believed that this describes the union between the mind and the body. The first known text, The Yoga Sutras, was written more than 2,000 years ago, although yoga may have been practiced as early as 5,000 years ago. Yoga was originally developed as a method of discipline and attitudes to help people reach spiritual enlightenment. The Sutrasoutline eight limbs or foundations of yoga practice that serve as spiritual guidelines:
- yama (moral behavior)
- niyama (healthy habits)
- asana (physical postures)
- pranayama (breathing exercises)
- pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
- dharana (concentration)
- dhyana (contemplation)
- samadhi (higher consciousness)
The numerous schools of yoga incorporate these eight limbs in varying proportions. Hatha yoga, the most commonly practiced in the United States and Europe, emphasizes two of the eight limbs: postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). Some of the major styles of hatha yoga include Ananda, Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, Kripalu, Kundalini, and Viniyoga.
Use of Yoga for Health in the United States
According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey ofCAM use by Americans, yoga is one of the top 10 CAM modalities used. More than 13 million adults had used yoga in the previous year, and between the 2002 and 2007 NHIS, use of yoga among adults increased by 1 percent (or approximately 3 million people). The 2007 survey also found that more than 1.5 million children used yoga in the previous year.
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