The practice of yoga goes back thousands of years in India. Although many Americans think of it as an exotic form of exercise, yoga has many other aspects. It could be used to manage disease as well as to improve strength and flexibility. But it is also possible to go astray. Practicing the wrong postures or doing them too rapidly could lead to injury instead of healing.

Listen to several experts on the healing power of yoga: a medical doctor, a yoga teacher and a musician who learned yoga (as well as music) as part of his family tradition during his Indian childhood.

Guests: Timothy McCall, MD, is a primary care physician. His first book was Examining Your Doctor: A Patient’s Guide To Avoiding Harmful Medical Care. After that he got interested in yoga, both personally and professionally.
He is now medical editor of Yoga Journal and author of the book, Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing.

Carol Krucoff is a yoga therapist at Duke Integrative Medicine. She is co-author of Healing Moves: How to Cure, Relieve and Prevent Common Ailments with Exercise. Her latest project is "Healing Moves Yoga,” an audio CD that offers a basic, home yoga practice for all levels. It can be ordered on her Web site, www.healingmoves.com.

K. Sridhar is a musician who grew up in India and has been playing the traditional Indian stringed instrument, the sarod, for more than 50 years. He has also been practicing yoga most of his life. For more about his music, consult his Web site, www.sridhar.org

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  1. djs
    Reply

    At 82 I have discovered that Yoga is the source of the fountain of youth. There is no greater mind/body/spirit practice that is strictly individualistic, rendering measurable benefits at the pace of the practitioner.

  2. KRW
    Reply

    I have multiple sclerosis. Yoga is helpful in many ways. The yoga instructor adapted postures for people with MS. It gives me a better range of motion, especially my right arm. Learning to breathe fully is very beneficial.

  3. Hari-Om
    Reply

    Joe asked ‘Does one need flexibility to start Yoga practice?’ Does one need big muscles to start weight training? Do you need to be a reader to start kindergarten? However, having reminded you that it is something you will learn, I should stress that flexibility is a side effect of Yoga, and not the goal. By learning to be comfortable in the postures, without pulling or pushing, you control your body, making it soft and energized.

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