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Yoga For Fitness and Health: A Resource Guide

Yoga is a type of meditation and exercise that began in the Hindu religion. Although it has been practiced as far back as the fifteenth century, Yoga education reached Western civilization around the mid-nineteenth century and has grown in popularity since then. The low-impact exercise has been shown to have many health benefits. It has also been used for its relaxation benefits. It has become very popular as an alternative therapy many health problems in the United States. The following resources provide information on the history and basics of Yoga and some of its health benefits for beginners as well as those who currently practice Yoga.


Yoga History – A very brief overview of the history of Yoga and the meaning of the word.

A Short History of Yoga – An article by the Yoga Learning Center covering the origins of yoga and the four broad categories of its history.

The Development of Modern Yoga: A Survey of the Field – An article from about how the practice of Yoga has now been spread worldwide.

Modern Yoga Research – Yoga first began being practiced in Asia, but has spread and changed over time. The site is dedicated to the study of modern yoga and includes publications, events, information on important people in modern Yoga, and other information on the topic.

Health Benefits

Yoga for Anxiety and Depression – Harvard Medical School’s health publication on the relationship between the practice of Yoga and lowered risk for depression and anxiety.

Complementary Medicine: Yoga – The University of Maryland Medical Center’s article that provides an overview of Yoga as well as its several health benefits, such as asthma, arthritis, epilepsy, and high blood pressure.

Yoga for Health – The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s article on the health benefits of Yoga.

Yoga and Older Adults – A video from NIH Senior Health that shows how Yoga can have beneficial effects for older adults.

Yoga: Tap into the Many Health Benefits – Mayo Clinic’s article on how practicing Yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety which in turn can help prevent several other health problems.

Teens Health: Yoga – A teen guide about the basics of Yoga and explanations on how the exercise can benefit health, flexibility, and strength.

Basics and Poses

About Yoga – Loyola Marymount University offers Yoga studies and teacher training. This is their quick summary of Yoga.

Yoga Activity Card – This page gives Yoga basics and safety for kids.

Yoga Poses for Beginners: How-to, Tips, Benefits, Images, Videos – This article provides several pictures and videos of basic Yoga positions.

Photos: Do’s and Dont’s of Popular Yoga Poses - Doing Yoga the incorrect way can result in injuries. These photos show the correct way to do many basic Yoga moves and help correct those that may be not be doing the poses correctly.

Beginning Yoga Poses – Pictures and instructions for several basic Yoga poses.

Yoga Step-By-Step Postures – A list of Yoga postures in both the English and Sanskrit names and a difficulty rating for each.


Yoga Alliance – The Yoga Alliance works to support and educate people in the United States about Yoga and its benefits.

International Yoga Federation – The IYF was founded in 1987 and works to maintain the traditions of Yoga throughout the world.

The Yoga Group – The Yoga Group provides free classes for people with HIV and AIDS and also helps teach Yoga teachers in the Colorado area.

Yoga Science Foundation – This foundation works towards the promotion of Yoga science, which is the uniting of Yoga through a scientific lens.

White Lotus Foundation – The White Lotus Yoga Foundation is located in California and provides Yoga teacher training and Yoga retreat facilities.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists – The IAYT is an international organization for all Yoga teachers and trainers.

Laughter Yoga International – Laughter Yoga combines Yoga breathing and laughter. This organization provides free laughter Yoga clubs and works to promote world peace through the joys of Yoga.

Open Source Yoga Unity – This organization works towards the promotion of Yoga resources and resisting the copyrighting of Yoga moves so that everyone can use all Yoga exercises.

American Yoga Association – America’s source for Yoga resources and Yoga instruction.

Other Resources

Avoid Getting Scorched by Hot Yoga – Hot Yoga has become a popular trend, but can have some negative health effects for those with certain medical conditions.

Yoga Journal – The Yoga Journal provides blogs, videos, news, and other updates in the Yoga field.

My Daily Yoga – Daily Yoga exercises that can be done at a desk. – Yoga apps for iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers.