Sunday, October 27, 2013

Medical Musings Part three: Medicine and Mindfulness, Other news

Another Lengthy one, but filled with info on mindfulness, yoga, and better health!

(1) I am trying to practice what I preach. I want to be stronger and I want to be a physician that doesn't lose sight of why I went into a really tough profession in the first place. I realized that before I get there I had to fix some things about me along the way. Essentially, I recognized that I can best serve by example and by already taking care of myself. Thus, I picked up some super important things in my time in Boston many of which I posted in my previous Medical Musings posts.

The importance of mindfulness. This isn't just some hokey spiritual thing, I think at its core it really means being aware of yourself and your surroundings and acknowledging the value in all living things. Meditation and mindful practice has been proven to  improve cognition, reduce stress, improves attention and my list can go on, just pubmed though to find more! The hospitals I've been affiliated with have even offered meditation classes for employees and patients.

My point of bringing this up is that being a practicing physician is a profession that requires immense sacrifice, sometimes of oneself and one's needs. These articles and  and have illustrated that this can happen in any specialty and the process by which this happens can be akin to living in a torturous hell. What I like is that they offer a solution that might help is mindfulness--workshops and lifestyle changes that can be made even amidst a 100 hour work week. 

I wanted to bring this up first because I wanted to present and propose something to my readers. As facebook and other social media may appear to bring us closer together, I sincerely believe the reality is that it does the exact opposite. This recent study has actually illustrated that social media/the internet makes us feel more apart and lonely. What does this all have to do with mindfulness? The point I'm trying to make is that mindfulness and being alone are not one in the same. The internet has effectually tricked us into believing we are not alone. Instead of falling into the trap of thinking our lives are filled (with the internet) I urge my readers to take that time to meditate, notice others and your surroundings, and spend the time more meaningfully. Mindfulness is a state of heightened awareness (to yourself and by extension to others.) Meditation is the personal practice of mindfulness, but its application extends far beyond the self and its benefits can (rather significantly) improve your life as well as the lives of those around you. The internet is not real. I mean this in the sense that you cannot touch, feel, smell a webpage. It does not give us memories in the same way as going out and being a part of the world does. Seek to notice your world with all your senses. Become fully engaged. Even sniff a little. Perhaps if more of us did this there would be less depression. These are very abstract ideas and I promise I will spend the time to breakdown a more elucidated discussion of this later, but the big take away is to just be present and seek to experience the world and all it has to offer with your whole self--not just your mind/vision engaged in an unreal, intangible world of the internet; if for no better motivation than when you leave this earth you will wish you had spent more time in reality rather than living in the virtual world.

(2) I talked in my previous post about choosing hormone-free meat and antibiotic resistance is a major reason to do so. The recent outbreaks of salmonella food-poisoning ( and their resistance to antibiotics ( is another reason why opting for grass-fed meat that were grown without antibiotics is a good choice.

(3) A little word about yoga. I live upstairs from a yoga studio so I decided to give it a second chance. I had tried yoga many years ago and did not take to it since I felt it was too slow-paced. This time, however, I have joined out of necessity since there really isn't a close enough spa to where I live that offers deep-tissue massages and I am having some tension in my shoulder. Anyway, what I like about yoga is that it is a solid hour to do something beneficial for my body and to focus on my body. I can't remember the last time I had that. Even when I would spa-hop on a weekly basis back in Boston my mind was always elsewhere, but in yoga (and this is a hot-yoga studio) I am forced to really concentrate on my body. Yes it's still slow, but the difference is that I am more mindful and have the ability to calm my mind--something I did not have in my early 20s. I also want to become better acclimated to being active in 93-degree weather considering the earth is not getting any cooler and I need to be able to withstand hotter temperatures and be active in them in order to survive and evolve as a human with Global Warming and all. Additionally, as I devour The 4-hour chef and plow through grad school (which I am LOVING by the way)  I am inspired every day to really learn anything I stumble upon, even if it doesn't interest me, and I am driven to become extremely skilled in it. That motivation alone drives me to go back to yoga and exceed what I did the last time. As an Indian person, I do find it odd how mainstream yoga has become that a lot of studios have deviated so far from its spiritual and mental roots. So much so that it really does seem at times that some places are just bastardizing my culture (and also the Sanskrit language.) The thing is though, I have to learn somewhere so I am putting that aside and luckily the studio I'm at right now has been ok so far. The fact that many of the ladies that are at this studio are over 40 with multiple children and having amazing bodies, are glowing, and look like they're 20-That's reason enough to participate. Anyway, here's an infographic on how yoga changes your body the day you begin.

1 comment:

  1. Your post reminded me of this, which I read today. This is a wonderful post and I am so proud of you, your growth and your writing, and so happy and lucky to call you a friend!