Cleveland Clinic’s ‘Lifestyle 180’ Adds Yoga Therapy as Lifestyle Intervention

By: 
Simon Brooks

What if there was a treatment more powerful than drugs, to stop or reverse chronic conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver disease, and even early prostate and breast cancer? Well, there is, and it can be as simple as doing a 180-degree lifestyle turn.

This is the premise of Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program, which uses simple lifestyle changes in diet, stress management, and exercise to promote physical and mental-emotional health in people to prevent and treat chronic diseases.

The most recent addition to the Lifestyle 180 program? Yoga therapy. The program now has a full-time yoga teacher on staff to offer yoga programs to people enrolled in the Lifestyle 180 program.

“Studies show that 70 to 80 percent of all chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease, is caused by lifestyle. Thus, the potential for improving health and decreasing health-care costs is enormous,” says Dr. Fox of the Cleveland Clinic Department of Molecular Cardiology, who co-sponsored a study on the effects of yoga and mindfulness on heart health.

For people with chronic conditions, ongoing pain, sleep deprivation, and difficulty moving are daily problems that really weigh a person down. Cleveland Clinic has had great success helping patients relieve these symptoms with their year-long lifestyle management program. The goal of the program is to replace unhealthy choices with new healthy habits, and they say the addition of a regular yoga practice to your schedule is an excellent way start.

The key to making any successful lifestyle change is to first identify what daily choices might be hurting you. It takes a great deal of inner awareness, and yoga can help. Breathing exercises, meditation, and deep stretches shift the focus of the mind away from surface level problems, and move inward. Patients are finding that this state of inner peace is the first step to replacing any bad habit.

The Lifestyle 180 program guides patients to a life of eating right, being active and healthy, and learning stress management tools. These skills create positive changes in your life and specialists are finding yoga to help smooth what can be a difficult transition.

Staying active is import, but for many with chronic conditions, conventional exercise programs are hard to keep up. Patients in the yoga program are able to have a personalized exercise routine that is balanced for their individual ability and treatment needs.

Yoga is also a successful tool for stress management. Making big changes in your life is hard. You need a backup system if you slip up - a way to cope when things get too tough. Cleveland Clinic encourages you to hit the yoga mat to relieve some stress and calm the mind, returning to inner peace and focus.

The last piece of the puzzle for recovery is ongoing support after your treatment. Although yoga teaches looking inward, the community aspect of yoga should never be overlooked. Being surrounded by yogis who also choose to make healthy choices is essential for keeping motivated and excited about a new life.