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Integrating Yoga Into Mainstream Medical Practice

March 19, 2014

Life In Yoga is a nonprofit organization that seeks to both train clinicians in yoga therapy and educate about its benefits in treating various maladies, while at the same time attempting to dispel the popular image that yoga is just an exercise or good stretch.

In 2010, Life In Yoga began their focus on yoga therapy in helping physicians treat their patients from illnesses such as sleep apnea and arthritis. Being recognized by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, so far Life In Yoga has trained 145 doctors who have given glowing positive feedback about the experience. Much of the training in yoga focuses on the scientific side and Sanskrit terms are avoided, while terms such as “neuroplasticity” are used to describe this ancient Indian practice. Dr. Murray Kopelow, president and CEO of the accreditation council stated that “Yoga therapy is a relatively new addition to the spectrum of courses, but one that has been proven helpful to physicians.” For Rajan Narayanan, a Life In Yoga instructor, to be able to focus on specific disease and have evidence of a proven outcome is the crux of his work. Narayanan works with cardiologist, physician assistants, and many other healthcare providers. He notes that in his work psychiatrists especially see the most powerful results of the practice – sometimes replacing a high dose of psychotropic drugs with breathing exercises.

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