When not treating patients, Randy and I can often be found practicing yoga at home or at our home studio, Hot Yoga Downtown at the Gardens.
Yoga—and by “yoga” I mean the physical postures but also a much wider practice encompassing breath, mindfulness and, well, life—directly influences our way of being in the world…and our medical practice. Indeed, I cannot imagine practicing medicine without having a spiritual body-mind practice to go along with it—and to guide it.
Partly for this reason, we’re especially happy when fellow yogis show up at Alchemist Clinic. Their presence offers us the gift of greater integration—more closely uniting two practices and “parts” of our lives that are already intimately intertwined.
It also offers us the chance to help members of our yoga “kula,” or community, further their own yogic practices. We do this by sharing tools and techniques we’ve used time and time again—not “just” on patients, but also ourselves, as yogis.
Sharing these tools is a joy, and we realize many fellow yogis might not be aware of them. So today we offer you a short list of ways acupuncture and herbs can help your yoga practice—on and off the mat.
1. Acupuncture is amazing at healing yoga injuries…and preventing them.
We’re talking hip stuff, hamstring stuff, knee stuff, back stuff, shoulder stuff and all those other aches, pains and strains—whether acute or chronic.
At Alchemist Clinic, we frequently treat new and lingering injuries with acupuncture, often combining needling with “e-stim”—using a small electric current to help reduce pain and speed the healing process.
Getting regular acupuncture also helps release muscle tension and tightness, supporting a safer, less injury-prone yoga practice.
Oh, and because acupuncture regulates the nervous system and calms the mind, it’s also great at getting you in that “yoga zone.”
2. Herbal therapy offers powerful support for increasing circulation, reducing inflammation, healing new and old injuries, relieving aches and pains, and supporting strong, flexible muscles and tendons.
Individually tailored prescriptions can also address other aspects of body-mind wellness that may impact your yoga practice, helping to alleviate digestive complaints, immune and endocrine disorders, menstrual disorders, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, stress, anxiety and other manifestations of imbalance in the body-mind.
At Alchemist Clinic, we only use medicinal-grade products meeting the highest standards of quality and safety. The companies we source from sell exclusively to licensed health practitioners (in other words, you can’t get this stuff at Whole Foods).
We, the prescribing doctors, completed extensive training in Chinese herbs and are certified in herbology at the national level (certification above and beyond that required of acupuncturists).
3. Guided meditation and breathing can truly take your yoga practice to new, deeper places.
Okay, so it’s not acupuncture or herbs…but we often use these guided exercises in combination with acupuncture or bodywork at Alchemist Clinic. They are excellent ways of cultivating interoceptive awareness, which in turn supports healing and change on physical and mental-emotional levels—not to mention a deeper, more sensitive yoga practice.
4. Food therapy and our Alchemist Eating program can likewise take your yoga practice to a whole new level.
Okay, we’re stretching the “acupuncture and herbs” thing again…but in Chinese Medicine, food is very much part of the same medicinal spectrum as herbs. Both, especially when used together, have tremendous healing power.
We’ll work with you to craft your optimal eating plan—one that supports a strong, injury-free asana practice along with physical energy and mental clarity.
Depending on what’s going on with you, we can also use “food medicine” to help alleviate acute or chronic ailments, support body-weight and composition goals, promote healthy digestion and metabolism, promote healthy immune and endocrine function, boost overall energy and vitality, and sustain whole-system balance and wellness—all of which will benefit your yoga practice!
So, that’s the short list—4 Ways Acupuncture & Herbs Can Help Your Yoga Practice.
To find out more, contact us to have a conversation about your needs. Meanwhile, see you at yoga.
Wondering whether Alchemist Eating is a good fit for you? Go here to find out if we’re a match.
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(Photos of Dana Leigh Lyons by Rachael Foley, at Hot Yoga Downtown at the Gardens)
Disclaimer: This blog post in no way intends to offer instruction in yoga asanas. Please do not try the featured postures without proper training and instruction by certified yoga instructors.