Yoga & Natural Medicine – 2 Peas in a Pod

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Yoga and Naturopathic Medicine are perfect complements to one another. As a practitioner of both modalities I am frequenting prescribing yoga, deep breathing, meditation and/or mindfulness to my naturopathic clients.

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Yoga and Naturopathic Medicine are perfect complements to one another – like 2 peas in a pod you could say!  As a practitioner of both modalities I am frequenting prescribing yoga (asanas), deep breathing (pranayama), meditation (dhyana) and/or mindfulness to my naturopathic clients who come to see me for a wide range of conditions including pain, high blood pressure, stress, anxiety and menopause to name only a few.   

And now there are clinical studies to back up the benefits of yoga in certain conditions, particularly where there is excessive activation of the sympathetic nervous system which is very, VERY common in today’s world.

YOGA AND THE RELAXATION RESPONSE

 

The prestigious Harvard Medical School maintains that one way to develop healthier ways of responding to stress (resulting in anxiety, high blood pressure, poor immune response etc..) is by invoking the relaxation response or in other words activating the parasympathetic nervous system.  Based on the ancient system on yoga, Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard Medical School cardiologist in the 1970’s described the relaxation response as a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation.  Active mindfulness on the breath being a common feature of several techniques that evoke the relaxation response.

Yoga and Menopause

Dr Sara Gottfried, a Harvard educated MD with 25 years experience and a fellow yoga instructor regularly prescribes the medically proven paced breathing (aka deep breathing, belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing etc…) for her menopausal patients with hot flashes as it can cut hot flushes by 44% if done for just 20 minutes twice a day.  WOW! Now that’s impressive for a non-invasive therapy which can be done by anyone, anywhere!  And think of all the other relaxation benefits one could reap by simply breathing slowly, deeply and with awareness.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

Let’s not forget the physical benefits of yoga.  Yoga asanas can improve your body’s strength, tone, flexibility, respiration, circulation, perception to pain and energy resulting in a healthier body image and protection from injury which is particularly important as we age.  And when practised with mindfulness, as well as an inward focus, the benefits of peacefulness, focus and clarity or mind can be life changing.    

When all is said, yoga is a form of mind, body and spiritual medicine.  Naturopathic medicine seeks to treat the “whole person” through physical, emotional and spiritual means. This makes yoga the perfect tool to empower patients to engage in their treatment plan and reap the benefits on all levels. 

To practise yoga you don’t need to be an avid yoga practitioner doing fancy poses in the latest and hippest gear, you just need to know how to breathe with awareness and move with mindfulness.   

Malia xx

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