Yoga is a practice originating in ancient India. There is a modern identification of yoga as a physical practice but this is a small part of an integrated approach to improved health. Yoga is holistic in nature and encompasses; asana, the physical practice and poses (postures); pranayama, the voluntary regulation of the breath; and pratyahara, relaxation skills, including dhyana (meditation) and mindfulness.1

Yoga can help people with pain, stiffness, poor range of movement, reduced strength, decreased physical function, stress, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, heart (cardiovascular) risk factors, anxiety and depression. 

Research has shown that yoga is a relevant and effective treatment option for musculoskeletal, chronic medical diseases including heart disease and diabetes, some mental health conditions and is recommended in several national medical guidelines and the NHS.

NICE guideline NG59 recommends yoga as a group exercise approach ‘within the NHS for people with a specific episode or flare-up of low back pain with or without sciatica’.2

The NHS website recommends mindfulness as a treatment for depression, stress and anxiety and that yoga is also beneficial for stress3. NICE guidelines, CG90 and CG91, recommend mindfulness for those with a history of depression, those that are at risk of relapse and those with chronic depression despite previous treatment.4,5 

The Cochrane Review, yoga to prevent heart disease, found yoga has favourable effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides in adults with a high risk of developing heart disease.6 The NHS also recommends yoga for those at risk of heart disease.7

There are many research articles related to the use of yoga for type 2 diabetes. A systematic review in 2016 found yoga can help in type 2 diabetes management (glycaemic control, lipid levels and body composition).8

Fay Pedler Clinic chartered Physiotherapist Catherine Faulconer is also a Yoga Alliance trained and registered yoga teacher and has been teaching for many years. She has experience of teaching yoga in large groups, the Military, to sports teams and in private and small group classes. Catherine teaches a medical yoga class, designed specifically for people with medical conditions and can also see people individually. If you are interested in how yoga could help you, make an appointment with Catherine via the website or call the clinic directly.

Catherine’s yoga website also has more information


  1. Khalsa SBS, Cohen L, McCall T. Telles S. The Principals and Practice of Yoga in Health Care. East Lothian: Handspring Publishing Limited; 2016. 
  2. NICE Guideline NG59. Lower back pain and sciatica in over 16s: Assessment and management November 2016. 
  3. NHS. Stress, anxiety and depression 2016
  4. NICE Guideline CG90. Depression 2009
  5. NICE Guideline CG91. Depression and chronic physical health problems 2009
  6. Hartley L, Dyakova M, Holmes J, Clarke A, Lee M, Ernst E, Rees K. Yoga to prevent cardiovascular disease (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017
  7. NHS. Yoga may help protect against heart disease 2014
  8. Innes KE and Selfe TK. Yoga for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials. J Diabetes Res 2016 doi: 10.1155/2016/6979370