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Mountain Pose Medicine and Yoga Symposium–When east meets west

“Whether you’re a yoga or fitness instructor, a healthcare professional, such as a nurse, doctor or naturopath rooted in Chinese medicine, when these disciplines come together, a certain synergy swirls around like a health cloud.”

At this year’s Mountain Pose Medicine and Yoga Symposium in Copper Mountain, Colorado, (Aug. 22-26) healthcare leaders and wellness leaders gathered to share ideas. I watched as M.D.s and Naturopathic Doctors offered insight to deeper questions.  I mostly observed respect and tolerance of each other’s differences—but not always.

I watched theories of traditional western medicine converge with eastern and complimentary approaches in medicine and health.  As I was reminded once again—prevention is better than a pill.  (Unless it’s fish oil.)

Yoga Instructor twists her back while sitting on her mat.

Yoga Instructor twists her back while sitting on her mat.

Breath is life.  In between speaker sessions about heart health, palliative care, and optimal nutrition, we took short “breathing breaks” by closing our eyes and counting breaths.  One yoga instructor slash M.D.(Satkirin Khalsa) challenged us to breathe deeply, engage the diaphragm and decrease our number of breaths—which lowers your blood pressure.  She’s the same doctor who breathes with her patients before an exam.

The key—to fully expand lungs on the inhale, expand the belly on the exhale to fully deflate lungs—as if to squeeze all the juice out of a lemon.

The idea of “Yoga as Medicine”isn’t new but it wove a

Satkirin Khalsa, MD talks to audience about the importance of deep breathing and its effect on health.

Satkirin Khalsa, MD talks to audience about the importance of deep breathing and its effect on health.

thread throughout workshop sessions.  With plenty of yoga sessions during the day, we literally unrolled our yoga mats, focused on breath and synthesized what we learned from previous speaker sessions related to yoga’s benefits.Well trained and highly educated yoga instructors taught us about proper form and how to prevent injuries of the spine and rotator cuff, for example.  We practiced on each other as instructors showed us what to do—and what NOT to do.

 

 

 

Yoga helpers

Each helper supports the other by pulling back with a scarf while the person in pose stretches in a down dog position.

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