Getting Started

Dr Gerbarg suggested that psychiatrists seeking to introduce yoga to their patients might consider recommending Yoga Therapy, defined as “the application of Yogic principles to a particular person with the objective of achieving a particular spiritual, psychological, or physiological goal.”16 Practitioners can be found through the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Yoga is not one-size-fits-all, and different styles of yoga are appropriate for different patients. “For example, it is important to find a practitioner who specializes in depression, or the particular psychiatric condition of your patient, before making the referral, and it would be best if you could get to know the practitioner you are recommending,” she emphasized, adding that it is important to engage in ongoing monitoring of how the therapy is progressing.

“The increased focus on these interventions and their applicability and the ever-growing evidence base is a very timely development because we are in the grip of a crisis of medication abuse, rising suicide rates, trauma, PTSD, and difficulties people have in relating to one another,” Dr Gerbarg observed. Additionally, rising healthcare costs make it even more important for physicians to “learn about nonmedication practices, such as mind-body medicine, which are inexpensive, safe, beneficial, and simple and can be extremely helpful in augmenting more conventional treatments.”

The following workshops and websites provide additional mind-body resources for clinicians:

Breath-Body-Mind

Integrative Medicine, American Psychiatric Association

APA Caucus on Complementary and Integrative Psychiatry

LifeForce Yoga

Yoga Alliance

Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center

Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

 References

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2.     What is yoga? Available at: https://www.yogaalliance.org/About_Yoga/What_is_Yoga. Accessed July 5, 2018.

3.     Büssing A, Michalsen A, Khalsa SB, Telles S, Sherman KJ. Effects of yoga on mental and physical health: a short summary of reviews. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:165410.

4.     Benson H, Kotch JB, Crassweller KD. The relaxation response: a bridge between psychiatry and medicine. Med Clin North Am. 1977;61(4):929-938.

5.     Bormann JE, Thorp SR, Smith E, et al. Individual treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder using mantram repetition: a randomized clinical trial [published online June 20, 2018]. Am J Psychiatry.  doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17060611

6.     Kabat-Zinn J, Lipworth L, Burney R. The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain. J Behav Med. 1985;8(2):163-190.

7.     Kabat-Zinn J. Bringing mindfulness to medicine: an interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. Interview by Karolyn Gazella. Adv Mind Body Med. 2005;21(2):22-27.

8.     Johns Hopkins Medicine. Mind-body therapy (integrative psychotherapy). Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/integrative_medicine_digestive_center/services/integrative_psychotherapy.html. Accessed July 5, 2018.

9.     Gerbarg PL, Brown RP. Yoga and neuronal pathways to enhance stress response, emotional regulation, bonding, and spirituality. In: Horovitz EG, Elgelid S. Yoga Therapy: Theory and Practice. New York and London: Routledge; 2015.

10. Porges SW. The polyvagal theory: new insights into adaptive reactions of the autonomic nervous systemCleve Clin J Med. 2009;76(Suppl 2):S86-S90.

11. Gerbarg PL, Brown RP. Neurobiology and neurophysiology of breath practices in psychiatric care. Psychiatric Times. Available at: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/special-reports/neurobiology-and-neurophysiology-breath-practices-psychiatric-care. Accessed August 8, 2018.

12. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL, Muench F. Breathing practices for treatment of psychiatric and stress-related medical conditions. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013;36(1):121-140.

13. Soler J, Valdepérez A, Feliu-Soler A, et al. Effects of the dialectical behavioral therapy-mindfulness module on attention in patients with borderline personality disorder. Behav Res Ther. 2012;50(2):150-157.

14. Shahab L, Sarkar BK, West R. The acute effects of yogic breathing exercises on craving and withdrawal symptoms in abstaining smokers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013;225(4):875-882.

15. Park CL, Russell BS, Fendrich M. Mind-body approaches to prevention and intervention for alcohol and other drug use/abuse in young adults. Medicines (Basel). 2018;5(3).

16. Miller R. Yoga therapy: definition, perspectives, and principles. The International Association of Yoga Therapists. Available at: https://www.iayt.org/page/YogaTherapyDefinitio? Accessed June 4, 2018.