Roy agreed. "Part of this culture is no pain, no gain, but yoga should definitely be no pain," she said, suggesting that people new to yoga shouldn't even participate in a class initially. "Sit at the back of the room, and check out the class. Get to know the teacher to see if you feel comfortable there."
All three experts described yoga as a great tool for kids. "Yoga is safe and effective, and it's a wonderful way to bond with your child, and for your child to feel their own sense of self," said Abrahams. Both Roy and Rohde suggested that yoga could be a useful addition to physical education or health classes if taught properly.
So, given the health benefits of yoga, why don't more doctors prescribe it for their patients? Roy attributes that mostly to a lack of awareness of the potential benefits, something yoga aficionados hope to improve in September, designated National Yoga Awareness Month. And, the situation is already changing, she said.
"More doctors are becoming conscious of yoga and the mind-body connection as it relates to medical things," Roy said. "It's much more acceptable now to refer a patient for things like acupuncture, massage therapy and other complementary therapies."
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more on yoga and your health.
Read this HealthDay story about a New York man who says yoga was a huge help during his recovery from a horrific injury.
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