A Survey for Health Care Practitioners on Therapeutic Yoga


I am seeking input from health care practitioners (GPs, physiotherapists, RMTs, chiropractors, NDs, etc.) on the role therapeutic yoga currently plays (if any) in their approach to improving health. Details about the project I am working on are below, as well as a list of specific questions (with the option to respond through Survey Monkey or by email).

If you know any health care practitioners to whom you would be willing to pass on this information and survey, I would be very thankful for your help spreading the word.

If you are a health care practitioner, I would very much appreciate your thoughts.

What I am doing.  Pain BC logo

I am volunteering with an organization called Pain BC. Pain BC’s mission is to reduce the burden of pain through engagement, education, advocacy, and knowledge translation.

As part of my work with this organization, I am creating two resources:

  1. A resource for health care providers (GPs, physiotherapists, RMTs, etc.) to educate them about yoga and how it can be used to treat chronic pain.
  2. A resource for people living in pain that educates them about yoga and how the practice might help them manage their pain and find relief from pain.


With these resources, I am interested in expanding the perception of yoga, guiding health care providers to be more specific in recommending yogic practices, and ultimately, helping people improve their health and well-being through yoga.

I’ve found that yoga tends to be thought of as drop-in exercise classes that sometimes focus on stress reduction and always involve making crazy shapes with your body. In reality, yoga is a practice with many different components (including breath work, restorative poses, mindfulness, meditation, movement, postures, body awareness, mantra, and philosophy), and the purpose of the practice is to support overall human well-being. Many people have told me, “My doctor told me to do yoga.” The problem with this recommendation is that a general prescription “to do yoga” can lead people to an intense and competitive exercise class in a 40 degree room, a meditation cushion, or a philosophy class – none of which may be the most appropriate practices for that specific individual.

How you might help.

As a health care provider, I am hoping you can guide me in the creation of these resources by helping me better understand what role yoga currently plays in your approach to improving health and what information about yoga you think would be most valuable. If you have the time to answer the questions at the end of this blog post, I would really appreciate your input.

You can email your responses to me at yoga@sarahjamieson.ca – or you can easily answer the questions through survey monkey by following this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8MHSJ5J 

The questions.

  • What type of health care practitioner are you and how long have you been practicing?
  • Do you ever advise patients to do yoga?
  • If you advise patients to do yoga, do you give them specific guidance on what aspects of the practice to pursue? What conditions do you recommend yoga for?
  • If you don’t advise patients to do yoga, are there specific reasons why not?
  • Did you learn about yoga as a practice to support healing, reduce pain, and improve pain management skills in your training?
  • What information (or resources) do you think would make health care providers in your field more likely to recommend yogic practices to patients?
  • What information (or resources) do you think would make your patients more likely to follow through on a recommendation to practice yoga?
  • Is there anything else you think I should know?

Thank you for taking the time to read through this post and think about yoga in relationship to your field.


Vision Book Project

Living Yoga Themes

I recently taught back-to-back Hatha & Yin classes at South Granville YYoga for 3 weeks in a row. Through the 6 classes, I explored different categories from a Vision Book project. My friend Heidi Fitzpatrick, a local massage therapist, shared this project with me, and as promised, I am sharing it with you!

Vision Book Project


Journal about and write goals for the six categories below:

1) Health & Wellness
2) Social & Cultural
3) Financial & Career
4) Education & Mental
5) Home & Family
6) Spiritual & Ethical

Write the goals in the positive (articulate what you want rather than what you don’t) and in complete detail (for example, instead of “a new home”, specify “a 2-bedroom condo, on Main Street, with a balcony and garden, etc.). Write goals that really allow you to visualize what you want to move towards. You want to give the subconscious mind a detailed set of instructions to work on.


Answer these questions:
1) How do these goals reflect your values?
2) Do your values come through in some areas and not others?


Gather items to create your Vision Book – the book itself, crayons, markers, paint, words and images from magazines and newspapers, drawings, etc.


Focus the Vision. This step is about heart-centred discrimination, selectivity, and choice making. You’ll likely gather a mass of stuff to create your book. Ask the question of each image, word or phrase: Does this express my innermost wishes, my values,  and my heart?  Only use it for your book if the answer is yes.


Compose the design of images and pictures (keep words off until Step 7). Assemble them on the pages without glueing them yet.


Create! Go ahead and glue, draw and paint images, etc. The project doesn’t need to look any specific way – make it your own!


Articulate the vision. In Visioning, it isn’t quite enough to simply make a collage of images – you want to gain deeper insight. Stepping back and looking at all the images and pictures after they’re compiled can be like reading poetry or deciphering symbols; you might see all kinds of things you didn’t notice before! Sit back, reflect on the images you’ve compiled, and contemplate: What does it say? Any surprises? Any resistance?

One question to avoid is: How am I going to make this happen? Anxiety and fear block creative energy. Allow the dreams to materialize. Journal writing activities can be used here for further clarification.


Reinforce the vision/dream. As with verbal affirmations, the vision book establishes and reinforces a desired goal or experience. Add the words in or phrases.

Step back and review and reflect again answering these questions:

1) What visual elements did you choose and how do they reflect your goals?
2) Which image stands out the most to you and why?
3) How are the patterns and themes of images in connection of each other?
4) Anything new or different meaning to you now from what you intended?
5) What has changed for you after spending time focusing on your goals?

Facebook Free Weekends

Awareness Living Yoga Svadhyaya Yoga

Source: http://bit.ly/11AjUn1

I like Facebook. I think it is a fabulous tool. I was a late-joiner because it initially seemed to be a platform to stalk people you went to high school with and share random details about your day-to-day life. But fast forward five years and I now feel like my time spent on Facebook has mostly been life-enhancing. It is my news source and my virtual library of online awesomeness. I’ve done cool things and gained knowledge through Facebook. I’ve been exposed to art and inspiring people I wouldn’t otherwise may not have seen, like T.J. Dawe’s solo play Medicine, and Brene Brown’s transformational TED Talks.

Lately, however, I have been wondering if Facebook might be affecting me in less positive ways. I live with a partner who often shares his theories on the potentially negative and unconscious ways Facebook affects us. His theories planted a seed of doubt in me, and I began to reflect on how a relatively constant connection to a library of online awesomeness might be affecting me in ways I may not have noticed.

I decided to take some time away from Facebook to find out. I am disconnecting from Facebook every weekend this summer. I had an “a-ha” moment in between weekends two and three. I was checking Facebook (both my personal account and my yoga page), and as I went, I was right-clicking and opening things I was interested in reading. In a relatively short amount of time, my online library of awesomeness had given me seven new articles to read. I sat for a moment and realized that I had suddenly created a significant amount of work for myself.

Source: http://on.fb.me/1b1XU7o

If you don’t know me well, you might say, “Just close the links if you don’t have time to read them.” But, if you know how passionate and curious I am about learning new things and exposing myself to different ways of seeing the world, you might understand how painful it would be for me to close those tabs. I feel the loss of potential knowledge and opportunity keenly. What if I close the link that was going to direct me towards another powerful play? What if I close the article that offers freeing insight around the things I have been struggling with the most? An older gentleman once told me of a famous author who used to cry when he thought of all the books he wouldn’t be able to read. I have yet to weep over unread books or articles, but the sentiment resonates with me strongly.

My interactions with Facebook can create a draining emotional cycle. When I’m on Facebook, I’m surrounded by awesomeness and I begin to pile up everything that I want to read, watch, and research. I’m on a high. In reflection, I found that I tend to move forward at some point between these two extremes:

1) The Track and Follow-Through – I keep track of all the links I am interested in (and essentially add them to my To-Do list). I often feel inclined to pick this path, but ultimately, it stresses me out.

2) The Disciplined Closing Down – I remind myself that I don’t want to feel the burden of having so many links to follow up with, so I commit to closing the tabs on anything that I am not able to make time for in the moment. The decision to let the links go causes me some emotional turmoil.

This cycle of acquiring and having to chose between the stress of holding onto things and the pain of letting them go plays out in different areas in my life, but it is magnified by Facebook for me. I certainly don’t want to stop acquiring new ideas and different perspectives. Every cell in my body is curious: I am excited to learn, explore, and understand, and my curiosity has opened up many doors. But I am starting to believe quite strongly that I will experience more ease and joy in my life if I pursue knowledge in a more moderate and bounded way.

So, I think the Facebook free weekends are going to stick!