Greetings everyone. I hope all of you are doing well. I can barely contain the excitement for the upcoming Yoga Mastery workshop I’m hosting in our private Facebook group. It’s completely free, so if you are a professional of health and wellness or a Yogi who want to learn ways to master you mind-body, join me by signing up. Some of you are new to my blog; welcome. My name is Dr. Connie, and I’m an Autoimmune Functional Medicine Expert. I am also a patient who has lived with autoimmunity for over 20 years who believes in the power of Yoga as functional medicine.
I also have a unique background in my diverse education, which includes a Bachelor’s in psychology, Master’s in nutrition and Doctorate in physical therapy. I’ve always been the epitome of health and wellness. I was on a track to live out my dream of promoting wellness and health to the world when I was diagnosed with Lupus.
My whole life was turned upside down. I began to question everything I thought I knew about myself, the medical system, my future plans, my health, everything. Little did I know back then that this fork in the road was absolutely necessary for me to become who I am today.
I was gifted with a curious mind that never stops asking questions. So, with so much education under my belt, when I was met with limited solutions to my health problem, I became obsessed with learning how I could create a better life for myself despite the odds stacked against me.
My Education and Becoming Who I Am Today
The workings of the human mind fascinated me, so I began my education with psychology. When considering the option to get my Ph.D. in psychology, I wasn’t so sure that I could sit and listen to everyone’s problems. That seemed super boring. So, I thought combining psychology with nutrition would be amazing because eating is universal. And, it’s a behavior that has deep connections with psychology.
But, I quickly learned that nutritional counseling was just as boring as psychology because I’m still “telling” people the solutions. Back when I graduated, there was no internet so creative online teaching wasn’t an option. Dietetics was limited to two-dimensional thinking.
Physical therapy seemed like a great option to actually demonstrate and get people to move their bodies, especially in their recovery phase. It felt to me like the best of three worlds because I could apply psychology, which dictates behavior, to nutrition to promote healing and movement for healthy mobility.
So when struck with an autoimmune disease that affected my immunity, mobility, psychology and digestion, I had to figure out a better way. That’s when I found traditional Chinese medicine and Functional Medicine, Yoga, Pilates, etc.
Industries of Health and the Linear Thinking Model
What I learned in the different industries of health was that each discipline was stuck in a linear thinking model. The scope of practice limits physical therapists from giving nutritional advice and registered dietitians from providing therapeutic movements for recovery.
Within the therapy discipline, we’ve got speech therapists who specialize in the muscles for speech and swallowing, so they work closely with dietitians who handle the foods for the patients.
We then have occupational therapists who only handle fine motor involving the upper extremity. If patients need help with walking or anything involving the lower extremity, they cannot help.
Physical therapy can treat the whole body and its motor functions. Yes, there’s overlap in our practices, but we adhere to the scope of practice guidelines to not step on toes of each other’s discipline.
Then there are massage therapists that can manipulate and massage soft tissue passively. But, it becomes tricky if they want to help patients with movement. However, you can incorporate movement with a less education such as personal training, Pilates and Yoga just to name a few.
Functional medicine is all about lifestyle medicine. But because the practitioners are mostly physicians who want to get out of the broken medical system, they complicate the discipline into the microscopic examinations that claim to get to the root cause of the health crisis.
Connecting Mind to Body in the Field
But I hope you can see the irony in all disciplines. The system is set up for failure because it does not consider the body as a whole being. Many disciplines like functional medicine talk about individualized medicine and addressing the patient as a whole, but most practitioners still get lost in the science.
I believe science is important, no doubt, but I also believe in our human body’s ability to heal. And healing is an inside job.
So, the very paradigm of each discipline severely limits all practitioners.
To add to the problem, every expert is out speaking about the specific thing they learned in their discipline, which confuses clients even more. So now, consumers who have access to just about every discipline are confused because all theoretical disciplines in science on health and wellness are interconnected.
So I believe it’s all about recognizing the need for change. We need to do a better job of promoting health and wellness. It requires you to have a better understanding first and foremost of how our body, mind and physiology work. This way we can have a strong foundation of the internal pillars of the mind and body to move toward equanimity in the external world.
Yoga to Bridge the Gap
I believe Yoga as functional medicine is the ultimate practice that allows us to bridge the gap between the self and the world, health and sickness, yin and yang, the full spectrum of health. Looking at health not in parts but as the sum of all parts that converge to make the body whole – mind, body and spirit. This is the true essence in healthcare that is missing.
Let’s first understand what Yoga is. Sanskrit root Yuj means to “join” or to “unite.” Yoga is the ultimate path to self realization. According to the Yoga scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads to the union of our consciousness of that of the universal consciousness moving toward a perfect harmony between the mind and body and man and mother nature.
Yoga provides the ultimate strategy to obtain mind-body mastery, which leads to self-mastery, which leads to health mastery which leads to business or life mastery.
Knowing to Make the Change
Our current pandemic is and will be destructive to all industries. We have a choice to put our head down and keep doing what we’ve always done, hoping for the things to be back to normal. Or, we can be proactive knowing that the change is absolutely necessary.
Every discipline teaches us the same tactics and leaves us to go out and share what we learned. For example, Yoga Teacher Training teaches us how to practice Yoga in a very superficial way. Yoga teachers are flooding the internet trying to gain market share teaching what everyone else is teaching.
Functional medical doctors are struggling with the same. We were taught a certain tactic, and those that are savvy enough to get on the internet focus on a small aspect of health, microbiome, gut health, brain health, a certain diet etc. Everyone wants to “get to the root cause” or ” give individualized medicine.”
This herd mentality in every discipline inevitably causes us to compete for market share without very little differentiation. Soon, the practice becomes a commodity. If it’s not a commodity, at best it’s settling for mediocrity doing what we are taught, which quickly becomes marginalized.
Becoming the Best
The only way to win the market share is to be the best in the industry. How? By thinking differently. In our case, by using Yoga as functional medicine.
Choose to care more for the outcome of your clients than any other doctor, therapist or Yoga teacher. In order to provide the best service, we must be intimately aware of the needs of the market. And get busy serving those that need your services.
But before you can do that, you must also clearly know who your customer is. Then become focused on the solution for those who need your specific program. Is it just Yoga, FM, PT, OT or MT training? Or is it a life-changing program?
The one-way of doing things can be very limiting. We must rise above thinking linearly and think outside the box. Combine the different disciplines, the lifestyle factors that helps clients gain traction toward their goals, I’m talking about the things that they can do everyday to create momentum and results.
Yoga is the path because it combines movement, energy, psychology, spirituality and enhances metabolism, detoxification, and elimination.
Beyond this, think about what your clients need before, during and after practice to enhance their health, wellness and longevity? Will eating a certain way, using supplements, meditating, journaling help?
Think about your clients, Why do they seek Yoga, FM, PT, OT, MT, whatever your profession? Experts recommend everyone who has a chronic disease to do yoga. Are you serving them at the highest level?
Being Proactive vs Reactive
It’s the ultimate healing modality to help clients transform.
Want to learn how you can use this pandemic to catapult your career by helping people in a meaningful way? In any obstacle, there’s a huge opportunity. Now is the time to think different and gain new skills to be ready to serve the market.
Don’t be reactive, be proactive and go toward your goals. Now is your time.
If you’re ready to make drastic changes in your profession and want to do something meaningful by gaining clarity, focus, and knowledge, then join me in my FREE Yoga Mastery Workshop. It’s not too late to sign up! Here, I will provide you with information on how to elevate your practice, teaching and leverage the knowledge to meet the market and begin to do the work that matters: work that makes this world a better place.
For more community of like-minded Yogis supporting each other and promoting Yoga as functional medicine, join our FREE Facebook group, the Tribe of Alkaline Method Yogis.
See you soon.