Yoga in Nursing--Surprisingly Simple.
The answer to this is significant This provides quite an opportunity to provide complementary techniques This quarter, I'd like to suggest considering a few Yoga techniques.
First, let's take a moment to make sure we are all speaking the same language Yoga is not "just" posture and breathing classes.
In fact, Yoga has eight areas of serious discipline:
1 Yamas--things to avoid/restrain from;
2 Niyamas--things to do in life/observances;
3 Asanas--the physical postures;
4 Pranayama--breathing techniques;
5 Pratyahara--withdraw of senses/pulling away from inputs;
6 Dharana--focused concentration;
7 Dhyana--meditation; and
Let's focus on just two areas and walk through how to apply these techniques to nursing. The first is what most people in the US consider to be Yoga, the Asanas--physical postures The first thing you should know is that there are textbook postures and then there are the postures 98% of us can really do - and should only do. Most of the people in your care will fit this bill. Postures are packed with powerful effects: Asanas warm the body, help keep synovial and other fluids moving, allow for emotional release (surprising, isn't this?), and muscle stretching often provides missed relief and increased range of motion. This Yogi believes we all should stretch two to three times a day for two to three minutes at a time. Chair Yoga is a form of Asana practice that is taking off with the over 65 and the movement-restricted population because it provides all the benefits of Asana without having to be certified as a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat! Chair Yoga can be side-of-bed
Yoga or fully bed-reclined Yoga. Popular techniques are as simple as gentle head rolls--go three or four rounds in one direction and then roll in the opposite direction. Another great movement is lateral rotation of the spine and slight forward and reverse bending--with a three second (+/-) hold at each end. These movements should be completed in a very slow and controlled way, which reduces the likelihood for injury. From a chair or bed, patients can slowly do leg lifts, with straight legs. Alternate between pulling toes back and pointing toes, again holding at the end of each movement.
Let's explore a Pranayama technique called three-part breathing. We do this by encouraging full breaths into the belly. (I know that we do not physically breath into the belly, but stay with me on this.) Start by having your patient stand or sit tall. Have them place their right hand on their chest and their left hand on their abdomen. Instruct them to inhale and exhale just as if they were filling up and pouring out a pitcher of water We slowly breathe in filling the bottom of our pitcher first (abdomen) then fill the top (lungs). Hold for a moment, and the empty the pitcher from the top first (lungs) and then the bottom of the pitcher (abdomen). Breathing should be about 1/2 - 1/3 the normal pace and should be done for three or four cycles. This technique helps oxygenate the blood, clears the mind of chatter, and releases stress.
I invite you to visit your local Yoga Center and try a class. Most are only $15-$20 a class. If you get enough of your fellow nurses interested, invite your local Yoga Center to create a class just for nurses. Many Yoga Teachers and Centers are listed on www. YogaAlliance.com.
And I guess I should close by saying, "Namaste!"
Christopher "Chase" Carey, MBA,
3rd Degree Black Belt
Registered Yoga Teacher, Author, Speaker