Yoga - A Naturopathic Perspective. By Dr Marika Berni, ND
Posted on October 18 2018
Yoga is integral to my naturopathic practice.
Yoga was designed to balance all aspects of the individual - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The philosophy of yoga goes hand in hand with the naturopathic approach to health and wellness.
What Does Niyama Mean To You?
One meaning for the term niyama is “the recommended activities and habits for healthy living”. As a Naturopathic doctor (ND) I was taught that the body wants to be in balance and that it is our role as ND’s to help identify and remove blocks to healing in our patient’s health. I recommend yoga to all of my patients so that they can participate in healthy living and receive the many health benefits associated with practicing yoga, such as decreased stress hormone production, a reduction in cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and diabetes, cancer and anxiety to mention a few.
It is said that in order for one to practice yoga, one needs a healthy body. Therefore, supporting my patients with foundational nutritional advice and recommending appropriate supplements, when indicated, is an important aspect of attaining balance.
Thoughts on Supplementation
Life is busy. Patients often tell me that they are unmotivated and cannot get themselves to exercise or practice yoga consistently. They are just too tired at the end of the day or that they have trouble recovering their energy after a workout. By supporting my patients’ energy levels, reducing the negative effects of stress and improving their sleep quality with herbs such as passionflower, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and supplements like and L theanine, they can recapture the motivation that they were lacking. I know that my patients are on the road to recovery when they tell me that they are able to consistently make exercise and yoga a part of their weekly routine.
In situations where joint and muscle stiffness are a deterrent to yoga I suggest natural anti-inflammatory supplements such as curcumin and boswelia, which have been extensively studied and have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Rounding out the nutritional component of patient health is a well-balanced diet, including phytonutrients such as wheat grass, spinach, beet root, blueberries and cocoa. These are great sources of antioxidants, which help with our detoxification pathways and impart anti aging benefits. The right balance of complex carbohydrates, protein, fat and fibre are key components to consistent energy levels and disease prevention. By following a work out with good quality protein, you encourage muscle growth, which strengthens the body, keeps weight down and energy up.
Yoga is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health and coupled with a healthy diet and supplementation when indicated, can help you attain perfect balance.
Wishing you perfect balance,
Dr Marika Berni, ND
Dr Berni is a naturopathic doctor and has practiced in Toronto for over 20 years. Her focus has been on women’s health, hormones, mood disorders and weight management. She is also passionate about working with teenagers. She splits her time between the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and her family practice at Darou Wellness. Learn more here.