Prescribing Yoga

By Melissa Aguirre, CIAYT ERYT 500
Thursday, July 19, 2018

The promise of yoga has evoked a trendy conversation in our country around the possibility of sustainable healing, stress management, physical maintenance and more. Many patients are looking into the healing benefits of complementary and alternative medical practices. However, yoga means different things to different people due to the wide variety of styles expressed in today’s cultural landscape.

Yoga can be as straightforward and as complex as the person participating in it. Yoga is a mind-body method of integrative practices that correct dysfunctional neural patterns within the body to recover wellness and improve sustainable self-awareness. Although the promise of yoga for health is unmatched in evidence-based research and self-reported outcomes, the diversity in types make scaling yoga for the medical field quite challenging and sometimes dangerous to refer patients out.

With the growing number of perspectives and styles of yoga, it is imperative that medical practitioners either suggest the patient inquire about accessible styles of yoga or direct patients to a style of yoga that is suitable for their current state to prevent further injury yet empowers sustainable well-being. There are fast yoga styles and slow yoga styles with dynamic and stationary aspects. Some come from different cultural backgrounds or a multi-faceted application in movement sciences. Recognizing the assortment of styles invites a level of responsibility when suggesting yoga to patients. It may seem daunting with the abundance of styles accessible in our community; however, it is not about knowing all the styles but simply empowering patients to look into classes that meet their needs and inquiring about what they are doing.

Although yoga is derived from a geographical origin affiliated with religious context, yoga itself is not a religion. It proceeds no belief system but depends solely on individual experience and mindful mechanics. Yoga is about quality of motion and improving quality of life. These become the byproduct of increasing proprioception, vagal tone, down regulating the nervous system, improved circulation, heightened immune function and further self-awareness for sustainable health choices. Further misconceptions to debunk within the yoga paradigm are the belief yoga is only for the fit and flexible. Naturally, yoga improves flexibility over time, but hypermobility and extreme flexibility often lead to challenges in posture, pain and balance. Although society glorifies extreme flexibility, this misperception leads to many injuries and feelings of inadequacy.

Melissa Aguirre, CIAYT ERYT 500

Yoga is patient-centered, cost effective and evidence-based. This complementary modality helps patients avoid opioid prescriptions through effective pain management and reduces the possibility of readmission by providing patients with sustainable lifestyle choices and tools that empower them to participate in their healthcare alliance while becoming their own advocate. Yoga directs patients into flourishing health practices that invite inquiry for self-regulation, self-care and somatic integration. By referring your patients to yoga, you are empowering your patients to become their own health advocates in the recovery and maintenance of their well-being.

To learn more about Melissa Aguirre and Yoga Therapy contact or visit