Sydney: A survey has found that yoga is very popular among Australians, and it ranks as the 13th most preferred physical activity.
The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics study showed that an estimated 300,000 Australians have taken up the physical and mental discipline that originated in India.
Even medical studies carried out in Australia have found it to have a positive effect treating disorders from binge eating, carpal tunnel problems, asthma, smoking and drug addiction to osteoporosis, chronic lower back pain and, in boys, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Yoga, which comprises a series of postures known as asanas, is a Sanskrit word that means union.
Not only is it a physical workout that tones muscles, detoxes organs and improves joint flexibility, it can calm the central nervous system, reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
A child and family therapist in Sydney, Andy Spaulding, who is also a yoga instructor, says the practice can be helpful for anyone coping with trauma such as death and divorce.
While teaching yoga to teen girls, many of them violent offenders, at a juvenile detention centre in California, he found it an effective therapeutic tool.
“For them, it was a way to nurture their bodies and minds in new ways – even those with stiff, overweight bodies always felt better about themselves and their peers by the end of class,” a news daily quoted him as saying.