Dr. Yogi gets the word out to the medical community

This week, NPR featured “Dr. Yogi” — their name for him, I think — aka Rajan Narayanan. If you missed it, I’ll let NPR clue you in:

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.


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.

Yoga therapy is a relatively new addition to the list of accredited courses, but one that has proved helpful to physicians, said Dr. Murray Kopelow, president and CEO of the ACCME.

“These are things our professionals need to know,” he said. Dr. Harminder Kaur, an internist in Clarksburg, Md., agreed. Kaur, who also practices yoga in her personal life, said the Life in Yoga curriculum has helped her patients with illnesses such as sleep apnea and arthritis.

“It takes one case to be successfully treated, then your mind is open to it,” she said.

The key thing, this being America and all, is integrating these practices into our health system — no easy task, as the story suggests. But some doctors who have done so have replaced drug treatments with breathing techniques.

We’ll know yoga has made it when this story isn’t on NPR, though — but in Reason magazine. Still, baby steps.

Posted by Steve