International Yoga Day: Benefits of Yoga in Healthcare Workers

Certain yogasana’s are known to strengthen and stabilize the spine, relieving back pain, stress, anxiety and tension.

By – Dr Preeti More, MD (Anaesthesiology), Professor, K J Somaiya Medical College & Hospital

June 21 is celebrated as International Yoga Day all over the world. Yoga is considered to be an ancient practice that originated 5,000 years ago in India. It was a way to connect the mind, body and soul into oneness and attain self realisation

The idea of International Yoga Day was first proposed by Hon.Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 27, 2014, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, where a resolution to establish June 21 as International Yoga Day was introduced by India’s Ambassador, Asoke Kumar Mukerji.

The day aims to encourage, educate and motivate people to adopt yoga in their life’s and benefit from it

Every year there is a theme, this year’s theme is ‘YOGA FOR HUMANITY’

A Brief History and Development of Yoga

Yoga is considered to be an ancient practice that originated 5,000 years ago in India. It was a way to connect the mind, body and soul into oneness with the surrounding environment

 It is an art and science of healthy living. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’ indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, man & nature.

Yoga is incredibly beneficial to our overall wellbeing

The fundamental purpose of yoga is to foster harmony in the body, mind, and environment. Yoga helps in overall physical, mental, social, and spiritual development.

The widely practiced Yoga sadhanas are: Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna, Samādhi, Bandhās and Mudrās, Ṣaṭkarmas, Yuktāhāra, Mantra-japa,Yukta-karma etc.

The practice of yoga every day for minimum 15 to 45 mins will help in promoting good health, relaxation and general wellbeing. This can be divided as 10- 15 mins each of standing, sitting , lying supine, in prone position asanas, followed by pranayama’s and meditation

It can be done any time of the day, both indoors or outdoors, does not require any sophisticated equipments, only a mat is required. All age groups from children to old age can practice it

Only care to be taken is to preferably do it on empty stomach or a gap of 2 to 3 hours after meals and wear loose clothings


The use of yoga to manage and prevent stress and burnout in healthcare workers.

Healthcare professionals daily face heavy stress loads, both physical and mental.

All doctors, physicians, surgeons, nursing staff, medical students & interns face the stress of work, studies, shift duties and odd working hours and busy work schedules. Surgeons have to stand for long hours while operating and incorrect posture can cause musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, neck or shoulder strain, eye strain, headache, joints pain and leg cramps.

Practicing yoga is healthy

Certain yogasana’s are known to strengthen and stabilize the spine, relieving back pain, stress, anxiety and tension. It helps in weight reduction, maintaining a balanced metabolism and increases the flexibility. It tones the body, increases your muscle strength and endurance

Yoga helps manage stress

Helps in relieving neck pain, sleeping problems and headaches. Regular yoga practice along with meditation and pranayama’s creates mental clarity, relaxes the mind, brings calmness and relieves chronic stress

A better body image

Yoga develops inner awareness. It helps your body to be in sync with the mind and surrounding environment. It’s not about physical appearance only, yoga can promote better posture and body awareness

Becoming a mindful eater

Practicing yoga helps you to be more aware of what and how much you eat. It helps you to judge what suits your body and how your body feels. U become a mindful eater.

A boost to weight loss and maintenance

Yoga disciplines you to eat healthy, the correct time to eat and controls your eating habits, neither overeating or eating less. Hence helps in weight control.It helps in digestion and other gastrointestinal problems

Enhancing fitness

Regular yoga practice provides overall fitness and benefits all the organs and systems of the body.

Cardiovascular benefits

Yoga is known to have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors: It helps lower blood pressure in people who have hypertension and maintains a balance. It controls the heart rate. It improves lipid profiles in healthy patients as well as patients with known coronary artery disease. It helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics and reduces their need for medications.

Respiratory Benefits

Pranayama helps in improving breathing and better oxygen supply to all organs of the body. Helpful in Asthamatics and COPD

Mental Health Benefits

Yoga can help people with depression and anxiety.

It helps improve sleep. Helps in burnout and mental relaxation

Boosts Immunity and reduces inflammation

Pregnancy Benefits

It helps females to cope with the physiological and psychological changes in pregnancy and improves the overall health of the baby. Prepares the mother for a safe delivery

Diseases Control

Yoga helps in the prevention and control of most of the diseases like hypertension, Bronchial Asthama, Diabetes, Acidity, obesity, thyroid disorders, migraine and even Malignancy

COVID-19 pandemic

It has been proved that yoga, meditation and pranayama helped the healthcare workers to cope with the stressful working conditions, staying fit and healthy with a relaxed body and mind. It also proved useful to boost immunity and decrease the severity, morbidity and mortality in the covid- 19 pandemic . Pranayama’s with breathing exercises helped in improving the oxygen saturation

CONCLUDE

The regular practice of yoga , pranayama and meditation can provide help to the healthcare workers in achieving a stable psycho-physical well-being , stress management, the reduction of burnout and in overall improvement of quality of life (QoL) Yoga may help bring calm and mindfulness to your busy life.

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