We Agree - Yoga for Your Patients is Just Plain Dumb


You've suggested. You've coaxed. You've helped your patients to understand the benefits. We know your patients may be full of resistance, and you know what? We feel your frustration. To convince the un-convinceable we present...

The Top 3 Reasons Your Patients Should NOT Practice Yoga

1. That emotional baggage you’re carrying around is heavy enough to be considered strength training.

The emotional stresses your patients carry with them can sabotage their chances at living a fulfilling life and maintaining satisfying relationships. The weight of these stresses can be intensely burdensome. Yoga practice is designed for healing, both mental and physical, from the aftermath of emotional trauma.

When you’re treating a patient that is struggling with emotional wounds, following a chakra-based practice can be beneficial. In “A Yoga Practice for Healing Emotional Trauma,” Mary NurrieStearns recommends the following affirmations:

  • I am safe.
  • I am alive.
  • I choose.
  • I feel.
  • I express.
  • I know.
  • I am.
Go ahead. Take these affirmations for a test drive. We double dog dare your patients to try these for a week and see how they feel.

2. Because being wound tighter than a boa constrictor wrapped around its prey feels awesome. And we know your friends love it when you call to say hi, yell about your coworkers, and then slam the phone down without asking about their day.

Chronic stress can suppress functions that aren’t needed for immediate survival. It lowers immunity, impacts the digestive system, and can even interrupt the reproductive system. Stress can also impact your patient’s sleep schedule. No matter what your client is striving to improve about their mental health, when their physical health is suffering, treating their mental well-being will be challenging.

But how do you combat the patient who tells you they simply can’t find time to practice yoga, and cutting out taking the kids to soccer practice isn’t an option? There are plenty of yoga breathing techniques that can be practiced in traffic, in front of the computer, or while standing in line. Even these short sessions bring stress relief, and help your patient manage the discomforts of anxiety. Have your frantically busy patients try this:

3. You love being locked up so securely that you are impervious to any emotion. We’re sure your partner feels twitterpated when you gush your lukewarm feelings.

Everyone wants to love and be loved. It’s human desire. But when we can’t express our feelings, thoughts, and desires to the people that matter most in our lives, our relationships suffer. It can be a challenge to dis-armour ourselves and unveil our innermost heart. But when we start to expose this side of our body we discover deeper connections to those around us.

Yoga not only improves the physical health of our hearts, but it can kindle within us the ability to heal ourselves. For patients struggling to open their hearts, try poses geared to the heart chakra such as sphinx, camel, cat or fish.

For your clients seeking comfort and healing, we hope they open their mind to the practice of yoga.

What's your favorite reason for practicing yoga?
Tell us in the comments below!

Topic: Yoga

Tags: Mary NurrieStearns, MSW, LCSW, RYT

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Monday, March 13, 2017 12:33:38 PM | posted by David Berenson
Since I often hold the stress of the day(s) in my muscles, I just find that I feel so much better after doing yoga. Less pain; more relaxed. Add to that that I'm pretty sure that yoga is good for me in more long-term ways as well.

Saturday, March 4, 2017 7:17:54 PM | posted by M. Parsons
This breath is very useful for bringing me immediately to a silent place to begin my daily mindfulness meditation practice. I will introduce it to my patients next week.

Thursday, February 2, 2017 10:29:26 AM | posted by Danielle Casioppo
Thank you, Mary NurrieStearns, for everything you do and for providing this wonderfully simple yet effective breathing technique. I'm a yoga teacher and health educator specializing in stress management at an Ivy League school where the pressures of academia are very high. I'm always looking for ways to bring people back to their breath and to make the introduction to formal breathing practices more accessible. I love the Come to Your Rescue Breath for introducing diaphragmatic breathing during a time of acute distress. I hope it's okay, but I wanted to respond to Dennis Hunt's inquiry below as a yoga teacher. Hi Dennis, for yourself, you should seek out a gentle beginner yoga class, which may be offered at your health club. The classes may get a little more challenging as the weeks progress but should always be modified to accommodate your ability. Ask for descriptions of the yoga classes offered at your health club and also ask to speak with the instructor about the class in more detail to answer any questions you may have. For your clients who have experienced trauma, Dennis, some forms of yoga may not be beneficial and may in fact be detrimental. However there are trauma-informed yoga classes available by various names. Usually the instructor of the class will have received special training to teach in a trauma-sensitive way. This may be listed in the description of the class or you can check with the instructor. Some programs which I have been trained in that offer trauma training are: Mindful Yoga Therapy and Veteran's Yoga Project but there are many others. And certainly sharing Mary's Yoga Practice for Healing Emotional Trauma with your patients - which you can do as well - may be helpful. As a yoga and meditation teacher, I believe it's best to teach and share what I know to be true and effective in my own body and mind. This way, students know it's coming from a genuine place of personal experience. I hope this helps - and that you're able to find a yoga class that's right for you - it can be truly life changing. God bless you and the work you do.

Sunday, December 4, 2016 2:51:59 PM | posted by Dennis Hunt
Thank you for these insights about the value of yoga. I am a Clinical Psychologist and work with many individuals who struggle with the consequences of trauma. I have read repeatedly about the healing power of yoga and encourage my patients to consider taking some yoga classes. I would like to take yoga classes myself and it is offered as part of my membership in a local health and fitness club. I have never done yoga before and want to be sure that class I take will get me off on the right track so that i can learn to use it effectively for myself and those I work with. I have heard that there are different schools of yoga. Should I be asking certain questions about the yoga offered at my health club. What should I expect as I progress through the weekly classes? Thank you for your guidance. Dennis Hunt