The word “yoga” means, “something that brings you to reality.” It is related to the word “union” which means to bring something into ultimate reality and was derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning “to yoke or join together.” It is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated from Asian ancient. There is no printed record of the creator of yoga. Yogis (yoga experts) practiced yoga long before any written account came into existence. Yogis passed the disciplines over many years to its students in many schools which widened in global reach and reputation. Sanskrit, the Indo-European, the language of Vedas, gave birth to the literature and the technique of yoga. The positions that are now an integral part of health fitness in many centers around the world were not formerly prevailing component of yoga traditions in India. It was associated with; pranayama, (expansion of the vital energy using breath, dharana (focuses on mental faculty), and nada sound. Yoga gained its’ popularity at the end of 19th century from the Western part of India. According to Kidd & Eatough, 2017, yoga has been associated with psychology capacity of a person with it making some interventions on how our minds work.
Philosophy of yoga
In the olden times, yoga was mentioned regarding a tree with the roots, branches, flowers, and fruits. Each department had its unique features that differentiated one from the other and was used to denote an exact approach to life. Several branches were noted which included, Hatha yoga which was a physical and mental branch. Adherence to the “limbs” of yoga was presented by Raja yoga which had a strict rule of meditation. Karma yoga was also a branch that involved a path that would create a future “tree” from negativity and greed caused by our works. Bhakti yoga was an affirmative branch that channeled emotions and cultivated acceptance and tolerance in the community. Wisdom, rituals, and ceremonies were characterized by, Jnana and Tantra yoga respectively.
Types and styles of yoga
Recent models of yoga have evolved into exercises that focus on body strength, flexibility, and breathing which helps boost the physical and mental well-being of people. The idea of which type of yoga you should choose depends on your fitness level. The different types and styles of yoga include; Ashtanga yoga, which is based on the early yoga teaching but popularized in the1970s and involved sequences of poses that were rapidly linked to every moment of breath. Bikram yoga was held in exaggeratedly heated rooms with temperatures of about 105 degrees and about 40% humidity where 26 poses were made with two breathing exercises. Hatha yoga was also developed which involved physical postures which a person starts with the basic yoga postures. Proper arrangement of poses was involved with Iyengar yoga where props such as blocks, blankets, straps or chairs were used for the exercise. Kripalu yoga teaches practitioners how to get to know, accept and learn from the body by practicing from your level with own individual poses and body relaxation.
Health benefits of yoga and meditation
Research has shown that yoga is safe and an efficient way used to increase physical activity and enhance strength, flexibility, and balance. Yoga has been used in specific medical conditions and has shown essential benefits which have helped in saving many people’s lives. Researchers and medical doctors pursuing yoga-related studies focus on its’ possible benefits as a technique for dismissing stress and coping with chronic conditions or disabilities. They also investigate its potential to help avoid, heal, or improve specific conditions such as heart diseases, high blood pressures, diabetes, cancers, and symptoms of menopause. Anxiety and depression are some of the problems that affect these patients with chronic illnesses. Yoga has been used to intervene mind-body related issues with almost all people coming out of this problem reasonably. Depression is a form of stress where the involved person presents with increased heart rates, changes are seen on the electrocardiogram with increased sympathetic reactivity which is all markers of stress (Reddy, 2013). Meditation is practiced before the stressful event occurs, there is reduced the adverse effect of pressure.
Yoga has also been used to help patients with breast cancer who present with cognitive problems after undergoing chemotherapy where they experience decreased physical activities. Patients who practice yoga are likely to have less cognitive problems compared to those who don’t practice at all. Findings done by researchers show that yoga can efficiently reduce cognitive issues including mind-body and physical issues (Victoria &Tieraona, 2015). Cancers are associated with fatigue which is very distressing as reported by many cancer survivors who often show long-term consequences of fatigue. Yoga exercises have helped reduce this with decreased depression, and anxiety. Mental problems have also been improved by use of physical activity that promotes a positive effect on psychological and well-being of people. Hatha yoga and other resistance exercises play a functional role in mental health and well-being in sedentary adults (Singleton, 2010). Yoga also reduces the symptomatology of posttraumatic stress disorders where it improves the functioning of traumatized individuals. Researchers always assess the potential benefits of yoga as an adjuvant therapy of trauma patients (van der Kolk, 2015). Breathing and meditation techniques help enhance health and relaxation of pregnant mothers, with this supporting the mental focus of the mother to aid childbirth. Yoga exercises should start before one gets pregnant for this prepares the body for the physiological changes that would take place during the pregnancy period.
Relationship of yoga to holistic nursing
Spirit is a word often used in nursing and most especially integral nursing. Holistic nurses practice interconnection of the body, mind, spirit, emotions, and social/cultural relationships. This approach is in alignment with yoga which is associated with, physical, psycho-emotional, energetic, intellectual, and spiritual aspect of healing (Prasad, 2016). It is related to mind-body interventions where meditation, relaxation, and imagery is practiced. Art and music are practiced by holistic nurses to help their patients ease their anxiety most especially those in pain and those with hearing problems. Relaxation massages are used as a method of care by these nurses with them helping their patients to pass the period of illness in the hospital. Medical students practicing holistic nursing experience stress in response to their occupational stimuli (Buttle, 2015).This is from the time they sacrifice for their patients and their loved ones, sexual harassment experiences including professional abuse. Dealing with issues of human sufferings and mortality are emotionally challenging for nurses.
It is always important to understand the relationship between the well-being and mind-body therapies. Yoga is an important measure to consider when handling mind-body problems associated with the patients so as to improve them. Focusing on stress issues, coping, and lifestyle issues should be discussed when dealing with well-being. The growth of psychology is vital in holistic nursing because it enables a better practice of health, flourishing in research-based problems within clinical and health psychology. The well-being of the patient should always come first in a holistic nurse.
Buttle, H. (2015). Measuring a Journey without Goal: Meditation, Spirituality, and Physiology. Biomed Research International, 20151-8. doi:10.1155/2015/891671.
Garner, G. (2012). Professional Yoga Therapy, Volume I/II Course Manuals.
Kidd, M., & Eatough, V. (2017). Yoga, well-being, and transcendence: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. The Humanistic Psychologist, 45(3), 258-280.
Prasad, L., Varrey, A., & Sisti, G. (2016). Medical Students’ Stress Levels and Sense of Well Being after Six Weeks of Yoga and Meditation. Evidence-Based Students on Impact of Meditation & Yoga on Stress Levels. Journal on Educational Psychology, 6(4), 42-47.
Reddy, T. N., & Ammani, S. (2013). Stress Management: A Case Study of Professional Complementary & Alternative Medicine (Ecam), 1-7. doi:10.1155/2016/9251849.
Singleton, M. (2010). Yoga body: The origins of modern postures practice. Oxford: England University Press.
Van der Kolk, B.A, (2015). The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain, and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. The United Kingdom. Penguin Books.
Victoria, M., Tieraona, L.D, (2015). Integrative Women Health. The United Kingdom. Oxford University Press.