- : A way of life that includes ethical precepts, dietary prescriptions, and physical exercise. Its practitioners believe that their discipline has the capacity to alter mental and bodily responses normally thought to be far beyond a person’s ability to modulate them. During the past 80 years, health professionals in India and the West have begun to investigate the therapeutic potential of yoga. To date, thousands of research studies have been undertaken and have shown that with the practice of yogic meditation a person can, indeed, learn to control such physiologic parameters as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory function, metabolic rate, skin resistance, brain waves, body temperature, and many other bodily functions.
* * *yo·ga 'yō-gə n1) cap a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation2) a system of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation derived from Yoga but often practiced independently esp. in Western cultures to promote bodily or mental control and well-being see hatha yogayo·gic -gik adj
* * *yo·ga (yoґgə) [Sanskrit "union"] an ancient system of Indian philosophy incorporated into the ayurvedic system of medicine and well-being, whose goal is the attainment of ultimate balance of mind and body, or self-realization. A number of different systems of yoga have developed, all sharing certain basic principles: control of the body through correct posture and breathing, control of the emotions and mind, and meditation. There are four main paths: raja yoga (or classical yoga), a systematic classification of yoga practices into eight "limbs" set forth in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali about 300 BCE; bhakti yoga, which is the surrender of the self to the divine spirit; karma yoga, which aims at union with the divine spirit through selfless actions; and jnana yoga, which seeks union through knowledge and truth. In the West, yoga is often reduced to the practice of postures, breath control, and meditation for healing and well-being, without attention to the larger philosophy.
Medical dictionary. 2011.