Medical Yoga – a therapeutic form of yoga that helps against stress-related symptoms
What is Medical Yoga?
Medical Yoga (MediYoga) is a swedish-developed and therapeutic form of yoga that suits everyone, including people with physical or psychological limitations. It was established and developed by Göran Boll at IMY, the Institute for Medical Yoga, in Stockholm, Sweden. It is inspired by Kundalini yoga, concepts of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicin (TCM). Research on MediYoga started to take shape in 1997, when an initial partnership project was launched with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. This consisted of a study of what yoga could offer to patients with chronic back pain. Many different studies have been undertaken since then involving Medical Yoga and its effects on various patient groups and medical disorders in general.
Medical Yoga can be defined as a holistic body-mind training that calms the mind, increases body awareness and balances the body’s nervous and hormonal systems. It also increases mobility, flexibility and strength. A yoga class follows a certain structure, like a “recipe” with specific “ingredients”. We work with a mix of gentle breathing techniques, static and dynamic yoga postures, mantras (vibrations and sounds) and meditations that have been researched in Sweden and internationally. It’s a soft meditative but also powerful form of yoga with a deep impact on both mind and body.
Who can practice Medical Yoga?
Scientific research is increasingly showing that stress in its various forms is the underlying cause of most of what we call illnesses and that powerful tools are needed to re-establish and maintain balance in our lives. Many people cannot cope with the changes and demands placed on them, both as a society and as individuals. Today, there is a major need for more comprehensive holistic solutions.
Medi Yoga is a holistic method that works harmoniously with the healthcare system. It is an immensely powerful tool in combating stress, burn out and other imbalances and it is simple to use. There are yoga exercises to suit everyone, yogic techniques that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life. Regularly practiced the physical movements, deep breathing and relaxation can help lower blood pressure, reduced back pain and overall health.
The structure of the class and meditations work widely for patient groups with specific needs such as fatigue, neuropsychiatry, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, sleep disorders and headaches. It is yoga for healing; healing on the people who need it. The goal is to create body awareness that connects the mental and physical aspects and allows self- healing to take place. Medical Yoga can help you gain greater consciousness, stability, calm and harmony along with numerous other health benefits.
How is Medi Yoga performed?
You choose whether you want to do the exercises on a chair or on a yoga mat. A yoga class includes structured tools – a recipe with ingredients. Structure and guidance in how the tools are used is of great importance for optimizing the effects and creating balance. There are main ingredients like a mantra to start the class, breathing, yoga exercises, rest, meditation and a mantra to end the class. Other ingredients are an eye position, mudras (hand positions) and chanting. The goal is to synchronize the ingredients with each other to focus your attention on the body. We train the breath that clearly connects the mental and physical aspects. Regardless of experience, beginners as well as experienced practitioners, breathing is central and the function that controls other parts.
Medical Yoga’s mission is to create a regulated and quality assured yoga that through research and clinical evaluation can be used in the swedish healthcare system. In order to work in the field of health care, evidence is needed to substantiate that it really works. In collaboration with several leading hospitals in Sweden, research on Medi Yoga has been carried out since 1998 that demonstrate yoga as a practical tool that really works. These studies have shown measurable effects on back and sleep problems, high blood pressure, ventricular fibrillation, various emotional problems and other disorders. Since then, Medi Yoga has participated in more than 90% of the scientific research on yoga in Sweden. Today there is no doubt that meditation and yoga give positive results!
Medical yoga is currently offered at more than 160 hospitals and healthcare centers in Sweden within the range of different categories such as stress / fatigue, psychiatry, cancer care, elderly care, heart / vascular and palliative care, etc. Research studies also include studies performed at large companies such as the Post Giro Stress project in 1999 and the Swedish Enforcement Authority Stress project in 2009. Since 2004, Medi Yoga has been one of the most popular rehabilitation options for employees on long-term sick leave at AstraZeneca.