Rajan Narayanan isn’t your average yoga instructor. During his classes, he uses words like “neuroplasticity,”avoids Sanskrit terms and sometimes shows up to teach in a suit and tie.
And often, like on this particular Monday at a Maryland conference center, most of his students are physicians and nurses. Stretched out on orange and green yoga mats for a weekend-long workshop, the 30 students learned breathing techniques, lifestyle suggestions and the research that supports the health benefits of yoga.
Narayanan, a long time practitioner and economist by day, is one of the founders of Life In Yoga, a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate people on the benefits of this ancient Indian practice. A major part of this effort, however, is directed at integrating yoga therapy in the mainstream health care system by training medical providers to use yogic breathing and techniques to treat various maladies.
“We need to expand the horizons of physicians – yoga is much more than just relaxation response,” he said.
Since starting this push in 2010, Life in Yoga has trained 145 doctors, and its programs are recognized by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. Yoga therapy is a relatively new addition to the spectrum of courses, but one that has been proven helpful to physicians, said Dr. Murray Kopelow, president and CEO of the accreditation council.
“These are things our professionals need to know,” he said.
Dr. Harminder Kaur, a physician in Clarksburg, Md., agreed.
Kaur, who also practices yoga in her personal life, said the Life in Yoga curriculum has helped her patients with illnesses such as sleep apnea and arthritis.
“It takes one case to be successfully treated, then your mind is open to it.” she said.
Naryanan from Life in Yoga makes weekly visits to her practice to focus on specific techniques geared toward certain problems. They are currently working on ways to use yoga therapy to help patients with hypertension.
Source: kaiser health news