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Self-Care Paper: Utilizing Yoga as a Health Management Technique: The ABCs of Downward Dog

Michele Lemma, RN
Pace University

Self-Care Paper: Yoga as a Stress Management Technique: The ABCs of Downward Dog
Yoga is an age-old discipline which seeks to create a balance between the mind, body, and spirit. It incorporates physical activity with specialized breathing and meditation. The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of yoga as a health management technique. “Due to the increasing popularity of yoga, it has not only been used as a treatment for a range of health conditions, it has been practiced by healthy adults for health maintenance and disease prevention” (Olpin & Hesson, 2013, p. 334). Current research links the practice of yoga to a decrease in psychological stress and improved physical health (Ross & Thomas, 2010).
Review of the Literature
Historical Overview Although it has been practiced in India for more than 5,000 years, yoga did not become widespread in Western society until recently (Li & Goldsmith, 2012). Not unlike the branches of a tree, it has eight “limbs” of its own: yama (restraint), niyama (observance), asana (physical exercises), pranayama (breathing techniques), pratyahara (preparation for meditation), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). These limbs comprise the constructs of yoga and are an integral part of its various styles. Its practice restores the body to a balanced physiological state thereby reducing stress caused from the activation of the fight-or-flight response. Health can be improved even among those who suffer from chronic illness (Olpin & Hesson, 2013).

Physiological Basis Yoga has become more than just a simple form of exercise and meditation. It has demonstrated efficacy in disease prevention, in the treatment of a wide range of long-lasting...

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