Does Health Insurance Cover Yoga Classes?
Health insurance plans may not cover yoga classes per se, but certain plans may offer some type of discount or credit toward a fitness membership where yoga is available. Health insurance companies may offer such discounts under the preventative or wellness portion of your policy, which you can research by reviewing your plan details or giving the company a call.
Yoga classes can contribute to overall wellness. Regularly practicing yoga can also result in benefits to your physical and mental health.
What are the physical benefits of yoga?
An improvement in your overall fitness level is one possible benefit of regular yoga practice, according to the Mayo Clinic. The poses can help enhance your range of motion, strength, flexibility, and balance. Much of yoga’s focus is on your core muscles, which make up your body’s foundation. Improving your core muscles can improve your body as a whole.
Chronic conditions can also get a boost with yoga by keeping your body as supple and flexible as possible and helping to manage or alleviate pain. It may also reduce your chances of developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Studies mentioned by the National Centers for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine reported yoga was helpful for those suffering from chronic pain in the lower back. One study showed 6 months of yoga helped alleviate pain, depression, and disability. Another found 12 weeks of yoga improved overall functioning better than traditional medical care.
Additionally , the Yoga Journal website has a lengthy list of both physical and mental health conditions that can be helped with specific yoga poses. The physical conditions include back pain, headache, high blood pressure, fatigue, asthma, infertility, menopause, flat feet, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fatigue.
They additionally include sciatica, sinusitis, osteoporosis, neck pain, and menstrual cramps and other symptoms. Pregnant women may benefit from yoga that focuses on alleviating pregnancy discomfort.
How can yoga help your mental health?
Topping the mental health benefits of a regular yoga routine is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Because chronic stress has been linked to may physical health issues, its ability to beat stress can do double duty for both your mental and physical health.
Yoga can also help alleviate mild depression and anxiety. It has been shown to improve moods and enhance an overall feeling of contentment and well-being.
How does yoga work?
Yoga combines a number of elements to produce beneficial effects. Physical poses and breathing exercises are the most obvious elements on the physical level, while the mental side is covered with meditation and mindfulness.
A number of different yoga styles exist, with Hatha yoga being the most common in the Western world. Hatha yoga focuses mainly on the poses, meditation, and breathing patterns that can lead to the overall sense of well-being in both the body and the mind.
A yoga mat that prevents slipping while doing the poses is helpful, but other equipment is usually optional. An exception may be props to adapt poses to your specific fitness levels. The only clothing requirement is that your outfit allows for freedom, movement, and comfort without being overly bulky or oversized enough to get in the way of the poses.
Are there any yoga risks?
Yoga is usually safe to practice, provided you properly execute the poses and seek assistance from a trained yoga instructor. However, there are certain circumstances during which yoga could be a potential risk.
People suffering from a herniated disk, risk of blood clots, hyperthyroidism, or uncontrolled blood pressure should only practice yoga if they take certain precautions. The same holds true for those with severe osteoporosis and problems with balance. Eye problems, such as glaucoma, can also increase the risk of negative yoga side effects.
Suffering from such conditions might not leave you out of the yoga loop altogether. You may just do well to avoid specific poses that exacerbate the condition and focus on those that can instead potentially help it.
How might yoga class coverage work with insurance?
Health insurance companies may deal with yoga classes and other fitness discounts a bit differently than other types of coverage. They may offer discounts in the form of reimbursements once you join or sign up for a yoga class or fitness center.
They may additionally offer reimbursements or discounts on other products and services that contribute to overall wellness. These can include books, DVDs, and other instructional materials for exercise, healthy eating, and healthy living. Some may also provide discounts on vitamins and supplements, dental products, and home-use devices such as blood pressure monitors or eye care products.
Certain types of home exercise equipment might be in the discount list, as may services such as acupuncture and massage therapy. Lists of such discounts and wellness program benefits are usually found in their own separate section of your policy.
As with obtaining any type of reimbursement or coverage from many health insurance carriers, you may need to follow specific guidelines to receive the full amount of the discount or be eligible for the discount in the first place.