Integrative Health Services

Holistic Care from one of New York's top ranked hospitals


Yoga is a group of mental, physical, and spiritual practices. Yoga was first documented in the Yoga Sutra, which is a collection of statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for the practice of yoga. The Yoga Sutra outlines the eight limbs yoga — Yamas (restraint), Niyamas (observances), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption). Today, most yoga practitioners engage in Asana, which focuses on physical movement to improve balance, flexibility, and strength. The Integrative Health and Wellbeing program at NewYork-Presbyterian offers group yoga classes for all yoga levels.

The Benefits of Yoga

There are many potential health benefits associated with the practice of yoga, including relief of lower back pain, stress management, and increased flexibility and balance. Research has shown that yoga is also beneficial for:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • COPD
  • Fall prevention
  • GERD
  • Heart disease and heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Migraine
  • Pregnancy
  • PTSD

What to Expect

The Integrative Health and Wellbeing program offers small yoga classes led by clinically trained yoga instructors. We aim to support patients interested in improving their physical well-being. We have a variety of specialized yoga classes that focuses on healing particular parts of the body as well as general yoga courses for all levels. We also have sessions focused on meditation. Classes we offer include:

  • Chair yoga: this gentle form of yoga is great for older adults or people living with a physical disability. Chair yoga is a modified version of yoga in which participants are either seated or standing using a chair for support.
  • Qigong: this is a form of meditation, associated with tai chi, that focuses on coordinated body posture, movement, and breathing.
  • Tai chi: a form of martial arts often referred to as “the gentle way to fight,” tai chi is also a gentle way to relax. This class focuses on meditation and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without break, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
  • Yoga for the spine: this class focuses on yoga poses that improve mobility and decrease back pain.
  • Yoga for those living with cancer: the healing power of yoga can help cancer patients and survivors manage their side effects and recovery. The course consists of gentle therapeutic poses geared towards cancer patients to bring relief to create a feeling of well-being. For those recovering from surgery, yoga can gently restore motion, flexibility, and balance.

What Sets Us Apart

Yoga studios are plentiful, especially in New York City. Unfortunately, without proper guidance, yoga-related injuries are also abundant. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were more than 7,000 yoga-related injuries that require medical treatment in 2010; the last year data was available. Additional studies show the rate will likely continue to increase. That’s why it’s important to practice yoga at a studio with well-trained instructors.

Clinician-led courses. Experienced instructors who have clinical backgrounds lead our yoga classes. They are familiar with human anatomy and can give detailed instructors to optimize your sessions and help prevent injuries.

Condition-focused sessions. Our yoga classes are part of our research-based, holistic approach to patient care. That’s why we offer courses that promote healing before and after surgery, reduce stress, and relieve symptoms associated with disease or its treatment. In addition to yoga sessions focused on particular body parts of conditions, we can also modify courses based on your specific health needs.

Integrative Health and Wellbeing at NewYork-Presbyterian