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Synopsis

This book is a review of recent literature on yoga research. First, the review covers the physiological effects of yoga on heartrate and blood pressure followed by the physical effects on balance and flexibility, muscle strength, weight loss and sexual function. Psychological problems that are affected by yoga are then summarized including anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder and depression, as well as physical conditions including pain syndromes, cardiovascular, autoimmune and immune conditions. Finally, separate sections are devoted to yoga effects on pregnancy, children and adolescents and the aging. Potential underlying mechanisms are proposed including the stimulation of pressure receptors leading to enhanced vagal activity and reduced cortisol. The reduction in that stress hormone may, in turn, contribute to several positive effects including enhanced immune function and lower prematurity rates.

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