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Using the biopsychosocial model to understand the health benefits of yoga

journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2009, 00:00 authored by Subhadra EvansSubhadra Evans, J C I Tsao, B Sternlieb, L K Zeltzer
Yoga is widely practiced as a means to promote physical, psychological and spiritual well-being. While a number of studies have documented the efficacy of yoga for functioning in healthy individuals and those experiencing illness or pain, biopsychosocial effects have not been detailed. We propose an analogue between the physical, psychological and spiritual effects of practice as espoused in yoga traditions, and the biopsychosocial model of health. To this end, we present a review and conceptual model of the potential biopsychosocial benefits of yoga, which may provide clues regarding the possible mechanisms of action of yoga upon well-being. Physical systems activated through yoga practice include musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, autonomic nervous system and endocrine functioning. Psychological benefits include enhanced coping, self-efficacy and positive mood. Spiritual mechanisms that can be understood within a Western medical model include acceptance and mindful awareness. We present empirical evidence that supports the involvement of these domains. However, additional well-conducted research is required to further establish the efficacy of yoga for health states, and to understand how posture, breath and meditative activity affect the body, mind and spirit.

History

Journal

Journal of complementary and integrative medicine

Volume

6

Issue

1

Article number

15

Pagination

1 - 22

Publisher

Walter de Gruyter GmbH

Location

Berlin, Germany

ISSN

1553-3840

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, The Berkeley Electronic Press

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