Can We Consider Yoga as an Alternative Medicine?



Are you healthy? Is your soul, mind, and body balance right? If the answer is yes, you should be happy. But how many people can really answer yes without limiting these questions? We all know that man is moving away from nature and imprisoning himself in the city. In addition, the social and economic conditions that it faces confront it with increasing physical and mental tensions. These tensions begin to affect the spiritual, mental, and physical activities of the human after a while. As a result of this, mental turbidity, irritability, psychosomatic disorders, physical breakdowns, failure, insecurity, incompatibility with the environment, and many other situations occur. Over time, people lose their joy in life and become an unhappy person.

So how will one clear the nervous system from these tensions? How will it bring back its lost health and happiness? What is the path to follow for this? Yoga, an eastern philosophy, tells us the answer to these questions. Yoga can be considered as an alternative form of treatment. Purifying your mind from unnecessary thoughts and stress, yoga also provides many physical benefits by regulating your posture and breath.



Yoga is a philosophy, a science of life that emerged thousands of years ago in India. The word yoga means “unite or integrate” in Sanskrit. The person who applies this philosophy is called “Yogi”. Yoga is the oldest method of personal development in the world that fully educates the body, mind, and spirit, gives peace, and enables self-knowledge. The earliest archaeological findings of the existence of Yoga date back to 3000 BC. In some stone seals unearthed during excavations in the Indus valley, figures showing yoga postures were found. Yoga is mentioned for the first time in the Vedas, which are scriptures from 2500 BC. However, the Upanishads, which form the final parts of the Vedas, are the foundations of Yoga teaching and the Vedanta philosophy. Vedanta’s main idea is stated as follows: There is only one absolute truth and consciousness; it is Brahman (God), the foundation of the whole universe.

Yoga teaches people to know their own selves and keep them in balance. Life is lived in more depth. Thanks to Yoga, the meaningless pains we suffered are replaced by universal harmony. The person who deals with yoga experiences awareness of its “essence”. And he feels much closer to everything in the universe. He has a deeper love for everything that is alive and lifeless. It integrates with them. Yoga is a method of being a happy and bright person. Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that aims to bring people to happiness, success, and “enlightenment” through physical, mental, and spiritual discipline. Yoga is a path that requires long-term training. However, it is learned under the guidance of a guide (Yogi’s). Patanjali, who lived in the 3rd century BC, says that in Yoga Sutras, Yoga consists of 8 steps.

Alternative Medicine in India: Yoga and Ayurveda


Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word derived from two roots. Vid means knowledge/science, daily life, or life cycle in Ayus. In this context, Ayurveda is the knowledge of daily life and life cycle. Yoga is part of the Vedic sciences, including Vedanta and Vedic astrology. The last of the 4 Vedas, known as ancient Indian inscriptions, is based on Atharva Veda. With over 5000 years of history, it is one of the oldest medicine in the world. Although it has been based on Vedas, it has evolved for centuries and has survived to the present day by interacting, blending, and updating with other local medicine such as Unani (Islamic Medicine) and Chinese medicine.



Yoga and Ayurveda are two sibling disciplines that have developed together and influenced each other throughout history. These two disciplines are integral parts of the ancient Vedic information system that says that the entire universe is a single Self and that the key to this cosmic knowledge is the key to our mind and heart. Yoga and Ayurveda, two Vedic disciplines, work together to strengthen the benefits they offer us in all areas and levels of life. They can be integrated with Vedic or yogic astrology, architecture, music, and linguistics and applied in a wider area.

Ayurveda is a science of self-healing aimed primarily at improving the discomfort of the body and mind. However, this does not mean that Ayurveda is a completely individual healing method and does not mean that we do not need therapists and doctors. On the contrary, Ayurveda says that medical practitioners are indispensable for the complexity of diseases and the application of necessary treatments for health. The most important goal in self-healing in Ayurveda is a spiritual healing that restores our integrity, being the inner self. The purpose of Ayurveda is to improve both physical and mental ailments and to support both physical and psychological health.



Ayurveda is a unique and personalized healing/remediation system based on lifestyle adaptations, tailor-made nutrition programs, powerful herbal formulas, meditation, and yoga. The most important thing that it gives us in a protective sense is that it teaches us how to protect our health, increase our energy and awareness. It determines the mind and body types of patients and applies a holistic treatment to every one according to their body type. In this sense, Ayurveda, disease preventive medicine, is an ideal lifestyle that increases the power of creativity with its prolonging effect.

Ayurvedic body types are 3 according to the Tridosha (three body types) theory, in which 5 elements that form our essence. These are Vata (ether and air), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth). Each body type also includes fewer proportions of other body types, but they are also different. Ayurveda is multi-layered and versatile in itself and has a long history that constantly appeals to all times and people. It is one of the most important holistic medical systems in the world. It covers all aspects of health and fitness: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Rather than trying to improve the outcome and symptoms of the disease, it goes down to the origin and finds the cause and applies treatment to eliminate this cause. Today, Ayurveda is rising as one of the most important in the global systems of mind/body medicine.

Yoga’s Benefits as an Alternative Medicine


Yoga is used to relieve high blood pressure, high cholesterol, migraine headache, asthma, shallow breathing, back pain, constipation, diabetes, menopause, multiple sclerosis, varicose veins, carpal tunnel syndrome, and many chronic diseases. At the same time, its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress has been researched and validated. On the other hand, some researchers question the claims that yoga is useful for conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Yoga is increasingly recommended in Europe and the United States for dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, and pre-menopausal disorders. Yoga can also provide the same benefits as any well-designed exercise program to improve overall health and endurance, reduce stress, and improve problems brought by sedentary lifestyles. Yoga also has the advantage of being a low-impact activity that uses only gravity as resistance; this makes yoga an excellent physical therapy program. Some yoga postures can be used to safely strengthen and balance all areas of the body. In a study published at the end of 2002, recent findings on the benefits of yoga for the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system are summarized. This review pointed out that yoga is viewed as a “fashionable” form of exercise rather than an exercise with documented medical benefits.



Much research has been done on meditation and its benefits in reducing stress-related health problems have been confirmed. In Harvard cardiologist Herbert Benson’s book The Relaxation Response, it is stated that meditation and relaxing breathing techniques may have a counter-effect on stress by reducing blood pressure and other stress symptoms. Many studies since then have shown the benefits of meditation on stress reduction and overall health. Currently, the American Medical Association is recommending meditation techniques before drug treatment as the first step for borderline hypertension cases. Some studies in 2002 have shown that yoga meditation is effective in lowering serum cholesterol and blood pressure.

Modern psychological studies have shown that even mild facial expressions can cause changes in the involuntary nervous system that yoga already uses the mind/body connection. That is, yoga, physical posture, and alignment can affect a person’s mood and self-esteem; it involves the idea that the mind can be used to shape and heal the body. Yoga practitioners claim that strengthening mind/body awareness will provide final improvements in all areas of one’s life.



People who are injured or have health problems or spine problems should consult a doctor before starting yoga. People with health problems should find a yoga teacher who is familiar with the current problem and is ready to pay particular attention to the person. Pregnant women can also do yoga, but they should always be guided by an experienced teacher. Some yoga postures should not be done in case of high fever or during menstruation. Beginners should be careful and concentrated while doing their yoga postures, and they should not stretch too early too soon, as this can result in injury. Some advanced yoga postures such as “upside-down” and “full lotus” can be difficult and require endurance, flexibility, and gradual preparation; so beginners should get help from a teacher before trying them. Yoga is not a competitive sport, it does not matter how one person makes postures compared to others, but it is important to what extent and disciplined his body and limits are.

Proper form and alignment should always be maintained during stretching and posture, and posture should be terminated when pain, dizziness or fatigue is felt. The mental content of yoga is as important as physical postures. Breath awareness and concentration should not be neglected. Yoga should be done with an open, calm, and non-critical mind. When a person flexes into a yoga position, this is an intention to accept and work on their own limits. Impatience, self-criticism, and comparison of one’s self with others do not help in this self-awareness process. It is best to work with an experienced teacher when practicing breathing (pranayama) and meditation (dhyana) because these powerful techniques can lead to dizziness and discomfort when applied incorrectly.

Can Yoga Be an Alternative to Physical Therapy?


Americans spend about $ 200 billion in “back pain treatment” each year. The bad thing is, they are not satisfied with these treatments. They are trapped between addictive painkillers and physical treatments. Their number is not too small to be underestimated: one in 10 Americans suffers from chronic back pain. Increasing studies in recent years show that doing yoga is good for back pain. Choosing yoga for the treatment of back pain is as effective as physical treatments, according to a report published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine last week. This is a good development for doctors to offer yoga as an option to their patients.



In the experiment performed at Boston Medical Center, 320 patients with chronic back pain were divided into three groups. Studies and bulletins were given to one group explaining how to deal with pain. While the second group received 15 sessions of physiotherapy treatment, the third group received 12 weeks of yoga therapy. Those in the yoga class also performed tensile stretching exercises in addition to a few positions. The results revealed that yoga is as effective as physical therapy. Those who read books… Well, they were the group that draws the shortest straw. After 12 weeks, the pain of those who received physical therapy and those who attended the yoga class decreased by 21-22% compared to those who read the educational books.

There is no experimental difference between yoga and physical therapy, but state insurance does not cover yoga. So the big difference is the income difference. No, don’t even think about watching YouTube videos. Because the yoga class performed in the experiment was created entirely with medical support. So what to do? In fact, while receiving medical treatment, it may be possible to spare no expense and join the yoga class on the other hand. Take a deep breath and enjoy being healthy.

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Savaş Ateş

I like meditation and yoga. I read a lot of books about them. I applied them in my daily life. I want to write about my experiences.

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