How Yoga Saves Lives: The Worldwide Healthcare Worker Crisis




It’s not new news that the world is suffering. But this centuries old story seems to just be getting worse and worse as the years progress.

Fires, hurricanes, tsunamis, war. And then, of course, “the pandemic.” 

But through all of this strife and trauma, healthcare workers remain steadfast in their efforts to save lives. Be the helpers. 

Here at My Yoga Teacher, we are all about looking for the good, seeking out the helpers. There are always people doing their part to save people and planet. But who is saving them?

For healthcare workers worldwide, burnout is becoming a pandemic all its own.

They’re tired. More than tired. They are beyond exhausted. They’re sad, angry, hungry, thirsty, and stressed. They are missing their families. Healthcare workers are working under extreme pressure with limited resources in many instances.

What happens when they’re done? When they just can’t save any other life but their own?

Yoga isn’t a cure all, of course. But a consistent, regular yoga practice can work wonders for preventing burnout in healthcare workers worldwide. Yoga is an easily accessible, inexhaustible resource they can use any time of day or night, in almost any type of space, to combat burnout, depression, anxiety, stress.Yoga is capable of rejuvenating their body, mind and spirit. 

While specialists around the world are creating new ways for them to overcome the challenges of their profession, we want to pay tribute to all our amazing superhero healthcare professionals by discussing how yoga can help them continue to do what they do.

Yoga battles the effects of battlefield medicine

The fight against COVID has often been compared to battlefield medicine.

Healthcare professionals are having seemingly endless encounters with sick patients, in a high risk environment. They’re fighting an invisible enemy with inadequate resources while battling extreme mental and physical fatigue. 

This makes developing a consistent yoga and meditation practice all the more important, possibly even critical.

Virtual yoga could be a salvation for the people saving lives. Literally. 

If you haven’t signed up for My Yoga Teacher yet, we offer a free 2-week trial where you can try out any or all of our 35+ yoga classes offered at all different hours of day and night! Every virtual class is a respite for tired souls.

Yoga helps healthcare workers by calming their nervous system down, reducing their cortisol levels, eliminating overwhelm and creating peace amidst the chaos. Yoga reduces the impact of exaggerated stress responses, preventing or alleviating symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression. All of which healthcare workers are highly susceptible to, particularly during these chaotic times.

Yoga prevents stress, emotional, and excessive eating

If you’ve ever done shift work, you’ll understand how it throws off your circadian rhythm and eating habits. 

Many healthcare professionals work anywhere from 12-72 hour shifts. They almost never get off of work on time, and they don’t often get a chance to have a real meal, instead snacking or filling up on caffeinated beverages with virtually no nutritional value.

This irregular pattern of eating (or not eating) under really stressful and even traumatic circumstances often leads healthcare professionals to stress eat, emotional eat, or overeat once they have an opportunity to.

Yoga can help healthcare workers get the nutrition they need while not overeating! Because yoga helps lower stress levels and brings more self awareness, people who participate in a regular yoga practice eat more fruits and vegetables, have healthier food cravings, and are better able to manage emotional eating.

And because bad eating habits affect sleep, contribute to weight gain, and don’t provide sustainable energy, yoga inadvertently alleviates the need to carb load and fill up on foods that contain refined sugars. Which is a common tactic of healthcare workers when they’re exhausted.

So to recap a bit, consistent yoga practice not only prevents bad eating habits, it plays a huge role in increasing energy, getting better sleep, and not gaining unnecessary weight!

Which leads us to…

Yoga for healthcare worker bodies

Healthcare professionals are notoriously known to exert a lot of physical energy for their jobs. They’re lifting and moving people from one location to another, spending hours upon hours on their feet, bending, stooping, twisting.

It’s imperative they stay in optimal physical condition. Yet, so many aren’t. Why?

Well, besides the fact they typically aren’t eating to fuel their bodies, getting enough sleep, or handling their stress well, they just don’t have time. Or are too exhausted to make time.

The good news about yoga is you don’t need a lot of time and, as we’ve said before, don’t need a lot of space or equipment.

There are so many different types of yoga. Most forms strengthen, lengthen, and tone the body. But even yoga that is focused solely on flexibility is great for healthcare workers. The stronger and more flexible their bodies are the more likely they are to not get injured. 

Which means they can keep saving lives!

Here at My Yoga Teacher, we believe any type of yoga is good yoga, but here are some specific types of yoga we believe would be specifically beneficial for healthcare workers and what it’s best for:

  • Power Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Bikram Yoga - These are all challenging forms of yoga and equate to vigorous exercise. All poses are doable (or modifiable) for any fitness level or body shape. These types of yoga burn just as many calories as any cycling or kickboxing class, but you still get the meditative benefits!
  • Hatha Yoga, Anasura Yoga, and Iyengar Yoga - These are all gentle forms of yoga, slow moving and are more focused on the actual poses, the stretch, and gaining flexibility. While all forms of yoga include breath work, these forms of yoga are particularly focused on breathing, releasing tension and stress.
  • Restorative Yoga - This form of yoga typically includes the use of props such as bolsters, blocks, blankets and straps and is very focused on restoring the mind, body, and spirit.

Practicing yoga as little as 15-20 minutes a day three times a week improves flexibility, strength, and mobility. While most of the classes at My Yoga Teacher are longer than that, your yoga practice is just that...yours. 

That means you can do as little or as much of any class as you want or have time for!

If you haven’t checked out My Yoga Teacher yet, you definitely should give it a try! Especially if you’re a healthcare worker! There is a class for everyone, group and 1:1 classes available. Most all are taught by expert yoga instructors from the birthplace of yoga, India. We pride ourselves in offering premium yoga classes you simply can’t find anywhere else! Grab your 2-week free trial here and join us on the mat, wherever in the world you may be!


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