A Consultant Family Physician, Dr Olujimi Sodipo, says yoga practice should be encouraged, but must be done with moderation and under supervision of experts, to prevent complications.
Sodipo, Head of Department, Family Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, made the assertion in an interview on Monday in Lagos.
Sodipo gave the advice in commemoration of the International Yoga Day, celebrated annually on June 21.
The celebration which has as its theme, “Yoga for Well-being,” seeks to highlight how the practice of yoga could promote the holistic health of every individual.
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. It involves movement, meditation and breathing techniques to promote mental and physical well-being.
Sodipo said that people needed to understand that yoga was not a treatment in itself, but a complementary medical therapy that could be adopted to promote wellbeing.
“A person might have hypertension that’s stress induced, resulting in fluctuating blood pressure and a doctor might recommend yoga. That doesn’t mean the medication will stop.
“But it might lead to a reduction in the number of medications being taken and promote a healthy lifestyle because of the practice that occurs with yoga,” he said.
He, however, said that most people do not consult a doctor prior to yoga practice, noting that there are contraindications that make yoga not suitable for everyone.
According to him, in spite of the health benefits of yoga, it can put one at risk of injuries in the neck, back, shoulder and could also cause torn muscles, if not properly done.
The physician noted that yoga practice had yet to be fully adopted as a form of medical therapy in Nigeria, due to inadequate numbers of certified providers of the services.
“So there’s the challenge that people might misuse or abuse it.
“Of course, it’s a field that other healthcare practitioners can go into and form part of healthcare treatment that could be used in managing chronic diseases and mental health issues.
“At present, we have some fitness trainers that offer it as part of their routine services.
“The best option is for it to be structured and regulated, because for every technique no matter how simple it looks, there could be complications that might arise from it.
“Some people don’t know much about yoga practice beyond what they got from the internet, and they are offering the service and charging huge amounts of money, leading to health complications,” he said.
He advocated short time intensive training programmes for healthcare practitioners on the best yoga techniques to use, duration of practice and why some people should not practice it.