Recently I’ve been thinking and writing about how yoga, specifically therapeutic yoga, can be incorporated into health care. With all the changes taking place in the system, and the demand for person-centered, cost-effective treatment, I figure why not think about how yoga professionals can be a part of making positive changes in the health of individuals and populations in a bigger way?

Last month a powerful study released by the MGH Benson-Henry Institute (the people who first identified the relaxation response) showed that mind-body interventions like yoga and meditation reduced the need for health care services by 43 percent. And who can best deliver these kinds of interventions – you, exactly. A few years ago, the insurance giant Aetna released a study demonstrating that their employee wellness program could reduce yearly employee health costs by $208 – that program included mindfulness training and viniyoga classes and it’s currently being implemented throughout the entire organization.

Mind-body preventative practices and interventions are not only being increasingly demanded by consumers, they are cost-effective, low-risk, evidence based, and effective. So I think the time is ripe to ask – how is yoga going to be integrated into health care? 

We’ve been refining our trainings for the past 4 years with this central question in mind. Participants tell us they come away empowered to share yoga in non-traditional settings – community and senior centers, schools, behavioral health settings and hospitals just to name a few. While as a society we still have some distance to travel toward a wellness orientation rather than a disease-based model of health, yoga professionals can help affect change in the system in some really concrete ways. As for your particular role in that shift here are some steps to take:

  1. Identify the health professionals in your community who are open to mind-body wellness.
  2. Partner with health organizations in your community who are forward thinking, value research driven initiatives, and looking to innovate. 
  3. Get Trained! – you wouldn’t expect to become a dental assistant with 200 hours of training so why not improve your confidence and skills? Check out our 300 hour advanced training in therapeutics.

The door is opening up for yoga, now’s the time!



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