Healing Power of Yoga
Building a Case for Yoga
In Khalsa's vision of the future, yoga will be a routine offering in schools, hospitals, and the military. To ensure that his vision comes to fruition, he is focused on getting tangible results by conducting studies. "The Western health care model looks at evidence-based medicine," says Kelly McGonigal, a yoga teacher and health psychologist at the School of Medicine at Stanford University and editor in chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. "If you don't have peer-reviewed studies, people think that the modality must not work."
It is research, this argument contends, that will make yoga a credible and reimbursable part of our health care system. And that's what Khalsa has set out to provide: a sizable body of hard evidence that will enable yoga to become the preferred "medicine" of America—prescribed by doctors and paid for by health insurance. "We know this: Yoga makes people better on many different levels," he says. "So why not get it to more people?"
Khalsa compares yoga to a ubiquitous household wellness tool—a toothbrush for body and mind. "I think of this as hygiene. We have dental hygiene, which is a well-accepted part of American culture. Schools teach it, doctors recommend it, parents reinforce it. Imagine if people didn't routinely brush their teeth. That would be unheard of in this country! But what about mind-body hygiene? We have nothing for that."
If we'd use yoga as regularly as our toothbrushes, he says, if schools taught it, doctors recommended it, and parents reinforced it, people would be physically and emotionally healthier. In Khalsa's mind, a generation of people would have a tool that reduces their stress, or at the very least manages it, while building self-awareness.!--page-->