The practice of yoga is a formula, a combination of asanas pieced together to effect the greatest change on the body's organ systems. In Oriental Medicine a formula is prescribed by a physician so that the patient can be treated every day, vs. acupuncture which is done maybe twice a week.

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Closing your eyes for a minute in the middle of practice, changes your blood pressure, the cones of the eyes adjust to a black and red space as the pupils dilate, the 8th cranial nerve tunes in sharply to compensate, the mind goes silent for a minute during this change over and then starts into overdrive. The eyes are closed maybe to shut out the pain from your arms being held out to the side. With the eyes closed, you can feel them trembling. The quadriceps are on fire and screaming loudly at you to change positions. And if this is a guided class where everyone in class has their eyes closed too, perhaps you do move, the arms hang by the side, the knee straightens for a moment. ‘It’s only a moment,’ the voice inside justifies the position change alleviating the fire that is heating up the mind. The mind thinks about anything to distract from the intense burning muscle pain that is searing up the legs. Dinner after class, or what dress to wear, maybe you go to your cave from guided meditation class, anything to divert away.

This is the greatest moment of your life and you are off somewhere missing it.

‘Our reluctance to honestly examine the experience of aging and dying has increased the harm we inflict on people and denied them the basic comforts they most need.’ - Being Mortal, Atul G.

In the late 80’s early ‘90 Nancy Reagan created the DARE program in public schools as a project to prevent drug use in kids. Drug use increased in public schools and of minors. I remember thinking it was cool to wear a DARE shirt while getting stoned under the tree behind school in the golf course. The D stood for Drug, A for awareness, I did too many drugs I forget what the R was for, and E was education. I was more educated about using drugs and which ones I liked more by the time I went to college then I knew how to conjugate a verb. 

Medicine as a study of disease has created more disease. In the U.S. everyone must die with an ICD-10 code. (International Classification of Diseases) There are 67,000 clinical codes for diagnosing a patient. 

I’m never going to leave behind conventional medicine. I’m a nurse through and through. I am trained to promote health, prevent illness, and care for individuals of all ages in all communities. 

When I graduated nursing school, friends and family members who know that I also practiced yoga were excited for me exclaiming that, ‘how great it is that you can combine your yoga skills with caring for patients.’ Not exactly those words, but similar. 

From where I was standing in a hospital starting an IV checking birthdates on an ID band, and lab data before administering 250mcg Digoxin I couldn’t understand how the two health care systems could possibly be combined. Aging was a process handled by health care professionals and pharmaceuticals.

Yoga was something you did so as not to end up on the receiving end of my IV. Yoga was something you could ‘try’ after seeing the Physical Therapist, or after we removed a blood vessel in your leg for a CABG. It was something you could try as a last resort because doctors didn’t know what else to do for the your fibromyalgia when lost in the pharmacopeia of drugs. 

Yoga teachers are not health care professionals. Most yoga teachers have 200hrs of schooling including; theory, cueing, adjusting, and maybe 10 hours of anatomy training. They may have heard of retinitis pigmentosa or a cerebrovascular accident but would have no clue how to address their students issues in a yoga class, or give the student proper care. I certainly wouldn’t ask a 200hr yoga teacher for advice with treating orthostatic hypertension. 

I found that I was struggling between knowing how powerful Yoga is and the ability it has to change an individual, vs conventional medicine’s ability to keep an individual alive. My heart was pulled in two separate directions. 

We were sticking holes in kids ears to drain fluid from building up in the middle ear, but what was causing it? AND why are we not addressing that?

All trauma effects the body’s performance, including trauma ‘designed to help’ (ie. surgery) and it causes a disruption in the muscles, tendons, and organ systems. Exactly what is promoted in the scientific machine that is the modern hospital. 

The common ground that all sides modern medicine (conventional medicine, and Traditional Oriental Medicine, including Ayurveda) agree on is diet. The foods that we are eating are instrumental in maintaining the balance and metabolism of the body’s energy. 

Conventional Medicine has not studied foods, herbs, and diet outside of paid studies by agriculture industries to offer an unbiased opinion on what we should actually eat. Unfortunately, a registered dietitian is limited to the recommendations of the FDA which is paid for by private industries. This is why the food pyramid we grew up with has changed 3 times since it’s induction in 1992 and now resembles a circle. 

While in US med school, less than 1 percent of lecture hours is spent on diet and nutrition.* Whereas on average 35 lecture hours are spent on pharmacology and pharmacotherapy** 

instead of  how to prevent ending up on an OR table. Try this out: The next time you visit your MD ask them which of the following is a vegetable; Tomato, Zucchini, or Pumpkin? (answer below)

Ayurveda and Oriental Medicine have studied herbs and herbal remedies for thousands of years healing individuals and entire cultures. The combination of herbs either; cooked, decocted, or raw, put together into a remedy is called a formula. Doctors of Traditional Medicine use herbal formulas along with other techniques to balance out the body’s energy, or to restore balance to the energy. 

Before you heal someone ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that made him sick -Hippocrates 

Yoga is a branch / technique of Ayurveda, designed to be practiced daily to restore the bodies energy. A practice that the individual can do for themselves, usually done following a diet that promotes the bodies balance. The physical asana of yoga are similar to practice of Tai Chi or Qigong.

The Traditional Medical doctor (Ayurveda, TCM) assume that the individual is willing to give up the things that are making them sick. It assumes that the patient is ready to take responsibility for their health. The provider is responsible TO their patient and the patient is responsible FOR themselves.

This is medicine that agrees with my heart and my background with yoga. I will always be a nurse, I will always be compelled by my conviction as a nurse to promote health, prevent illnesses, and care for ALL individuals.

(answer: ALL are FRUIT)



Morgan Lee