Benefits of Practicing Yoga as a Healthcare Professional

Hear from two Children's Healthcare of Atlanta physicians about how short yoga breaks can help them find energy, relief and respite, even on busy days at work, while they are caring for patients and serving families.

Physicians face a unique set of challenges. You often have busy schedules, you’re on your feet much of the day, and the interpersonal nature of your work, while rewarding, can take an emotional and mental toll.

However, for two Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta physicians, practicing yoga—even for a few minutes a day—has helped them find energy, relief and respite from some of the challenges they face on a daily basis.

Anthony Cooley, MD, a Pediatric Hospitalist at Children’s, practiced yoga for more than 20 years before becoming a yoga instructor.

“When I started yoga, I was only interested in its physical benefits, but with time, I recognized that yoga had much more to offer than just strength and flexibility. It also offers balance, peace and confidence,” says Dr. Cooley.

Lucky Jain, MD, MBA, Chief Academic Officer at Children’s, is also an avid yogi and has been practicing yoga for nearly two decades. He agrees that there’s more to yoga aside from its physical benefits.

“Yoga aims to harmonize the mind and body,” Dr. Jain says. “As such, it’s a holistic way of enhancing our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual journey.”

For many physicians, it can be hard to prioritize yourself, but you might find that even a short amount of time spent moving your body and clearing your mind can help boost your overall well-being.

Yoga requires little time, equipment and space, and it’s a great way to physically, mentally and emotionally work through everyday stressors.

“I practice a two-minute, five-step yoga routine several times a day no matter how busy my schedule is,” Dr. Jain says. “The energy I derive from this brief intermission allows me to carry on my day with laser focus and minimal fatigue.”

Dr. Cooley adds, “Yoga can show us how to slow down and make time for self-care. When I feel overwhelmed by a full schedule, I sometimes practice yoga for just 15 minutes on that day. A surprising amount of core conditioning, stretching and meditation can be accomplished in such a short time.”

But what if you’re struggling with finding time for self-care?

“Consider trying shorter practices,” Dr. Cooley adds. “The benefits and pleasures of small victories may leave you craving even more! And perhaps that will incentivize allowing more time and space for self-care.”

Learn more about the mental, emotional, social and physical wellness resources available through the Children’s Physician Wellness Program.

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