Organised by then Yoga in Healthcare Alliance, the Yoga in Healthcare Conference took place at the University of Westminster, London, from 15-17 February 2019. The conference brought together key opinion leaders and pioneers in yoga, health care, yoga research, health policy, and government to convey to the conference attendees how we can all help transform the NHS through the integration of yoga.
Maybe you were fortunate enough to be one of those attending this inspirational and informative event. If not, then maybe you know someone who was there who has been overflowing with enthusiasm ever since for all that they saw and heard.
As sponsors of the event a few members of the Yogamatters team had the privilege of attending the conference. If you were present, we hope that you introduced yourself to one of the team! Each individual came away with fresh inspiration and is delighted to be able to share with you a glimpse of what they experienced.
Candice, Product Development & Yoga Teacher
Being at the Yoga for Health Conference it was firstly so inspiring to see the breadth of research being carried out on the psychological and physiological effects of yoga. And secondly, by the findings of the research – yoga keeps us healthy. A fresh reminder that if we want to live long and live well, yoga must be our way of life.
Renowned mind, body researcher & Kundalini Yogi Dr Sat Bir Khalsa shared research findings demonstrating that yoga can not only prevent illness but can also bring us back to health when we have fallen into a place of ‘dis-ease’. And whilst for yogis, these findings are obvious, for policy makers and those holding the purse-strings, these findings are crucial for helping to expand the reach of yoga into hospitals, healthcare facilities, schools and other social institutions.
We also heard that through the practice of yoga (asana, meditation and pranayama) we can change our brain structure and therefore its activity, the research showing that people who had less thoughts were happier than people with more thoughts, leaving us with the reminder that ‘a wandering mind is an unhappy one’.
Chloe, Marketing & Yoga Teacher
A fantastic weekend full of hope and a chance for people with a passion to unite to make a change. The Yoga in Healthcare conference was held at Westminster University and in and amongst the fashion students preparing for London Fashion Week were a mixture of yoga teachers, yoga therapists, medical professionals and brands who care, who want to see yoga implemented into the healthcare system as a prescribed treatment, who want to see more teens and children coming to the mat at an early age. We have all seen the power of yoga firsthand and we all know the change it could make if the stigma was shifted to come back to the root of this ancient practice.
We attended a talk by Richard P. Brown, M.D. and Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D. on the healing power of breath. Followed by some Qigong and breathwork, we left feeling revitalised and fascinated by the power of something we often take for granted – breathing. Something I will certainly take from this talk and something that seems so simple is that “your brain listens to your lungs” because if your breath is suffering, it can be fatal within a matter of minutes. Therefore, by calming and slowing the breath down, our brain listens to the fact the body is in a calm place. Something so simple that we don’t need equipment for is there for us at all times to respond instantly to whatever the external situation is. How powerful is that?
From the team at Yogamatters, it was wonderful to speak to so many passionate people who are making a profound change in the world by fighting for something they believe in.
Sophie, Key Account Manager & Yoga Teacher
I came away from the Yoga In Healthcare Conference feeling inspired and excited. It was wonderful to hear about the in-depth research being carried out by speakers such as Dr Sat Bir Khalsa, on the short term and long term health benefits of yoga. It was also fascinating to learn about the powerful impact of yoga social prescribing schemes in various boroughs, and how patients started to make important changes in their lives after only a short time.We met a number of yoga teachers, yoga therapists and health workers throughout the weekend and it was so great to hear their motivation for attending and their passion for integrating yoga into healthcare. It became very clear to me why research, evidence and studies are so vital to this process and the potential impact it could have on the future of the NHS, and critically on the lives of patients.It was a great reminder why we all need to cultivate a daily yoga practice, integrating meditation, asana and pranayama for a long and healthy life. This not only benefits us as individuals but our communities and the whole of society. Yoga is so needed!
Emma, Marketing Intern & Yoga Teacher
The Yoga in Healthcare Conference was an inspiring weekend with lots of motivating and interesting people coming together to unite these two worlds. Everyone there had personally experienced how yoga can transform both the body and the mind, and the passion everyone had to spread the word and to try to bring this to more people was truly empowering.
Yoga is often considered a little “fluffy” and spiritual and it was so interesting and refreshing to hear about scientific studies and actual research done on the power of movement and meditation. My favourite experience over the weekend was attending a talk by Richard P. Brown, M.D. and Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D. on the healing power of breath. These two people are truly changing the world, one breath at the time. Pat first shared heartwarming stories and statistics – yes heartwarming statistics – about their work among victims of war, disaster and slavery; 9/11 first responders; patients with PTSD and chronic schizophrenia. I was blown away by their results. Richard then went on to teach us a few short breathing and QiGong techniques from their Breath-Body-Mind Programme and had us all sit for a quick breathing meditation, connecting with both our own breath and with each other. I left the talk feeling both uplifted by their work and almost moved to tears by all the misery they had encountered – but most of all inspired by their approach to it all and empathy for each and every soul they have touched.
All in all, the weekend was filled with people like Pat and Richard, who have both the knowledge and the will to spread the word about the power of yoga and meditation. In one word – inspiring!