It is yoga's ability to bring awareness to different parts of the body and use that awareness to influence autonomic functions — such as heart rate, brain waves, and blood pressure — that makes yoga such powerful medicine. You can use it to reduce your levels of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, which could have beneficial effects on conditions ranging from diabetes to insomnia to osteoporosis. You could lower your blood pressure and with it the risk of heart disease and stroke. You can learn to slow the mind down, lessening anxiety and depression. You can relax the muscles in the back and neck, potentially improving such conditions as headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis.

Timothy Miller in Yoga as Medicine