“Rajan Narayanan isn’t your average yoga instructor. During his classes, he uses words like “neuroplasticity,” avoids Sanskrit terms and sometimes shows up to teach in a suit and tie.
And often, as was the case on a recent Monday at a Maryland conference center, most of his students are doctors and nurses.
Stretched out on orange and green yoga mats for a weekend-long workshop, the 30 students learned breathing techniques, lifestyle tips and research findings that support the health benefits of yoga.
Narayanan, a longtime practitioner and economist by day, is one of the founders of Life In Yoga, a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate people on the benefits of this ancient Indian practice. A major part of this effort, however, is directed at integrating yoga therapy in the mainstream health care system by training medical providers to use yogic breathing and techniques to treat various maladies.
“We need to expand the horizons of physicians — yoga is much more than just relaxation response,” he said.
Since starting this push in 2010, Life in Yoga has trained 145 doctors. Its programs, jointly sponsored by Howard University College of Medicine, are recognized by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. That means doctors can earn credits they need to keep their licenses current by learning about yoga. A four-day yoga course costs doctors $695.”