Practical Applications of the Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga in Healthcare

The art of yoga is embodied in eight rungs (components or limbs). The first two of the eight rungs are called the Yamas and Niyamas, and they serve as a sort of code of ethics towards oneself and others.

The first rung is the five Yamas, which serve as an ethical guide of speech, actions, and thoughts in the external world, usually in association with relations to others

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The five Yamas are as follows:

  1.  Non-harming
  2. Truthfulness
  3. Non-stealing
  4. Spiritual advancement & higher recognition of reality
  5. Non-possessiveness or lack of greed

These steps are beneficial to both a healthy personal and professional lifestyle, and they harbor decision-making that is beneficial to oneself and others in all aspects of life. Professionally and organizationally, the five Yamas of Yoga promote healthy relationships between different parties.

These five Yamas can be very practically applied to the healthcare industry in the form of healthy patient/doctor relationships (Non-harming), ethical and honest diagnoses’ (Truthfulness), and effective execution of care (Non-stealing). In an industry of such power and influence, ethical treatment and relationships are important.

Honing one’s skills in the external world is effective for creating healthy professional and personal relationships, and more specifically, creating better relationships between patient and provider in the healthcare industry.

The second rung of the Yoga Sutras is the five Niyamas. These are the five training points for the relationship with oneself.

They are as follows:

  1. Purifying your body and mind
  2. Creating an attitude of contentment or satisfaction
  3. Training your senses with spiritual effort
  4. Inner exploration and finding god within
  5. Surrender to God (Letting oneself go into spiritual source)

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The Niyamas are beneficial for the health of oneself both physically and spiritually. Integrative healthcare focuses on patients as “community members”. Well, a community is only as good as the people in it. The Niyamas embody this idea, and exist for both the individual, and the ethical wellbeing of the community.

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