As much as modern medicine is fantastic I feel that we often lose sight of the simple things that we can and should be doing alongside it, often treating the symptom without fully addressing the cause of the issue. Yoga can help your body become stronger and when you feel stronger you can mentally take on more. Breathing can alter your state of mind and with more studies coming out science is constantly proving things with regards life style medicine. Yoga breathing and meditation and a sense of community really can improve people’s wellbeing dramatically.
Studies have shown that physical exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus region of the brain improving mood and memory function. Yoga can help stimulate the vagus nerve improving the brain gut connection. Stress and anxiety often cause digestive upset because of the way the vagus nerve connects the brain and gut. Some of the benefits of stimulating your vagus nerve include lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, enjoying better sleep, reducing anxiety, and boosting brain health. Ways to stimulate the vagus nerve are things like singing, deep conscious breathing, light exercise and massage, most of which Yoga and mindfulness practices can help to achieve.
I think that being able to prescribe more activities such as Yoga on the NHS could dramatically increase patient’s wellbeing and hopefully reduce the amount of medicine that we need to prescribe or at least work alongside the medication to give people a way of helping themselves. Your body is a powerful machine and it is very capable of healing and looking after its self.
For me it’s about changing the perception of yoga it’s not about the lycra clad middle class woo woo types. It’s about really learning about your own body and mind, noticing the little things, being more grateful. Slowing down the things you do and really start appreciating the task in hand. Remembering that you are not controlled by your thoughts, and by moving your body and breath together you can take your mind to places of real calm as a happy side effect.