A Surgeon’s Adventure With Yoga

Last night, I went to my first ever yoga class. I was invited by Deborah Quilter, a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer, author and consultant, to experience her class. I gladly accepted and I’m so glad that I did. 


You may be wondering what a card carrying member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is doing going to a yoga class. You see, it all started with may passion for helping people to breathe better. What I discovered was that not being able to breathe properly at night also affects how you breathe during the day, and vice versa. After having read tomes of book and articles on breathing, I was drawn to the concepts of pranayama in the yoga literature. When I was invited by Ms. Quilter to experience her techniques of breathing in her yoga class, I gladly accepted. 


One thing that struck me about her method of teaching is that nothing is forced, not even the breathing. One particular aspect of pranayama breathing that I’ve already learned is what’s called the relaxing breath, where you take longer slowly exhaling compared to the time you take to inhale. In Ms. Quilter’s class, she emphasizes that you should follow and observe your natural breathing rhythms, rather than trying to modify it or alter it in any way. After this "natural" breathing pattern is established, she adds subtle, gentle movements that are in sync with theses natural, spontaneous breathing patterns. I must say that the one hour session seemed more like 15 minutes. It was truly a memorable, and relaxing experience. 


Even my wife, who’s 8 months pregnant, is raving about her yoga for pregnancy DVD program that she performs 4-5 times every week. This is the best she’s felt out of her 3 pregnancies to date.   Now I know having experienced this first hand, why people seem to love yoga.


Have you tried yoga, and if so, how do you feel afterwards?


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