One doctor's prescription to de-stress: yoga

December 1, 2010

Dr. Bobby Kapur
Dr. Bobby Kapur

To emergency medicine physician and educator Dr. Bobby Kapur, yoga is not just an exercise, it's a part of his family history and a passion that he incorporates into his professional and personal life.

"Both of my grandfathers taught yoga daily and my parents are enthusiasts as well," said Kapur. "I learned from an early age about the basics and benefits of practicing yoga."

Kapur spends several nights working in the emergency center at Ben Taub General Hospital. Some would say his career choice provides a high stress-inducing environment. But Kapur said yoga has helped him better control and manage the demands of his career.

Additionally, yoga has contributed to his mother's seven-year breast cancer survivorship.

Kapur said the philosophy and the meaning of yoga dates back to ancient times.

"The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word 'yug" that means 'to yoke' or 'to unite,'" said Kapur. "A yoke is what drapes around a cow's neck to harness or connect the animal to another object. In ancient times this was a cart used to transport items."

The tie in is that the philosophy of yoga is about connecting yourself to something higher than yourself, Kapur said. "Yoga can help people mentally disconnect from their day to day stresses and thinking, and focus their thought process on meditation, worship or physical exercises."

"The physical philosophy of yoga – the stretching and unnatural postures - is actually a small component of the overall concept," said Kapur. "In the eastern world, meditation and worship are a large part of yoga."