I am proud to be a GP settled in Manchester city centre after having trained and worked in Cambridge, London and Brussels. Being a family doctor is one of the best and most varied jobs. The world with all its problems can walk through my office door and I am invited to collaborate in helping out. In recent years yoga has become an increasingly significant feature of my life. As well as getting me in the best physical shape it has helped me through stresses and depression.
As a health care professional I could see the potential benefits of yoga for my patients. The possibility of yoga as health care intervention became increasingly apparent to me in all sorts of consultations. For example when talking about weight reduction, musculoskeletal problems, pregnancy, cardiovascular health, cancer and mental health, I found myself mentioning yoga with increasing frequency. To have yet more impact I began to write about it. This was surprisingly well received. In fact one blog post inviting people to open up the debate about yoga on prescription drew the attention of the national press. This “Open Letter to the NHS” also resulted in an invitation to speak at the Houses of Parliament for an Early Days Motion in support of yoga for health care.
To further endorse this position I worked with Yoga Manchester to provide a yoga voucher for a free class to facilitate my “Yoga on Prescription” discussions with patients. This has been particularly well received by people struggling with low mood and anxiety. The Quality Care Commission recently inspected our practice and awarded us an outstanding rating. This was in part thanks to the yoga initiative set with yoga Manchester, demonstrating that as a GP surgery we work to provide novel services to match the needs of our patients.
I attend several Yoga Manchester classes on a weekly basis. More and more I share my experience of yoga with colleagues and patients. It has become a lifelong friend.