The Need for Yoga in Hospitals

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The Need for Yoga in Hospitals

yoga teacher trainingBy Sangeetha Saran

Hospitals are primarily concerned with providing medical care and support for their patients, but what about the mental and emotional aspects of their care? The medical community is now recognizing that the mind-body connection has a significant impact on an individual’s overall level of health. By offering yoga on site, hospitals can address these needs in a safe and controlled manner without sacrificing the quality of healthcare.

Individuals end up in hospitals for a wide variety of different reasons. Some patients suffer from chronic illnesses, while others are preparing for or recovering from surgery. Many patients are at the hospital temporarily, while others will be staying for an extended period of time. The common denominator between all patients in a hospital is the need for restoration and healing.

It can be hard for hospital patients to get the exercise they need on a daily basis. Yoga provides patients with gentle exercise that helps them maintain physical strength and muscular conditioning, which is essential for overall health. Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga is highly flexible and can be adjusted to fit the physical demands of a patient on a day-to-day basis. On stronger days, a patient may be able to do the majority of the exercise standing. However, on weaker days, seated yoga is the answer. Typically, patients deal with many ups and downs during the course of their treatment, and yoga meets them where they are. For them, yoga is a constant.

Yoga also gives patients a feeling of empowerment and control, since it’s something they choose to do for themselves on a daily basis. It’s not uncommon for hospital patients to feel detached and disempowered regarding their health and treatment, especially when suffering from a chronic illness. By making the choice to participate in yoga, patients shift from a passive role to an active role in regards to their health, and this staves off depression and apathy.

Yoga practice is a time for patients to think, reflect and simply be. By focusing solely on performing the asanas, patients stop worrying about the future or thinking back to the past because they are grounded in the present moment. Quieting the mind, if only for a short time, leads to reduced stress levels and a higher quality of life.

Yoga in hospitals fills the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients in a simple and effective manner without taking away from the safety and control of a hospital setting. Hospitals can provide care that is more holistic and complete by offering yoga to their patients.

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