Special thanks to: www.yoga-teacher-training.org
By Faye Martins
What doctors should know about yoga is obvious? New research and studies take place everyday. Yoga is being studied more and more, following an explosion of interest in it over the last ten years. As a result, experienced practitioners feel gratified that their claims of derived benefits have been and will continue to be substantiated by science. However, not everyone in the medical community is on board, and there are a few things to keep in mind when talking to doctors about yoga.
Tips for Discussion
Unless your doctor actually practices yoga, the chances are high that he or she will view the discipline with a suspicious eye. Thus, it is smart to keep the discussion within the scientific realm and avoid mention of chakras, asanas, pranayama and the like. Not only will this introduce unfamiliar vocabulary to your physician’s ear, but it will also fuel any suspicions he or she has about the practice we cherish, calling to mind ideas of witch doctors and alternative natural remedies that promise to work magic. Even if you believe in this stuff, most doctors prefer a Westernized view of medicine and many scorn the idea of alternative medicine.
This brings up another avenue of caution. In your discussion with your doctor about yoga, stress its function as complementary medicine instead of alternative. Studies have proven the medical value of yoga practice alongside traditional avenues of healing like medicine. Emphasize these studies, differentiating between the healing benefits of a yogic lifestyle, particularly as quality of life enhancements or as a form of physical therapy, and the healing properties of medicine. Be sure that you give your doctor no reason to feel competitive, threatened or defensive about his or her own medical practice and its relation to yoga.
What Doctors Should Know
Doctors should be increasingly aware of studies done about the relationship of a yogic lifestyle to their own field of practice. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, bring study results with you if your doctor has not yet researched the benefits of yogic practices.
Yogic practices are designed to foster improved strength and flexibility in the physical body, and the benefits derived from its breathing and meditative techniques are also proven to decrease stress and tension.
What doctors should know about Yoga is especially effective as an aid to improving psychosomatic illnesses like anxiety disorders. Yogic philosophy’s holistic focus emphasizes treatment of the root problem, rather than just its symptoms.
Explain to your doctor that yoga is not just about meditation and deep breathing, and asana sequences can work as physical therapy for people with injuries, persistent inflammation or chronic pain.