Yoga as Medicine: How Dr. Angela Aboutalib uses the mind-body connection to spur healing

Angela Aboutalib, MD

Title: US Acute Care Solutions National Director of Quality & Education IAC

Favorite yoga pose: Pigeon (“It makes me feel free, and it releases the stress in my hips, where I carry stress!”)

Yoga instructor: Chicago School of Yoga, wellness retreats, private coaching

Loves: Being able to change people’s lifestyles, helping them release pain & stress

When Angie Aboutalib began experiencing back pain in medical school, she knew she needed to take action. The approach that she took was incorporating yoga with her Pilates routine.

“Yoga offered wonderful stress relief, and I continued practicing throughout residency,” said Angela Aboutalib, MD, who is the National Director of Quality and Education for US Acute Care Solutions – IAC. “Once I finished residency, I got more involved and began using it as part of my spiritual practice. I also enrolled in yoga school and eventually began teaching how to use yoga as medicine.”

In addition to leading  yoga wellness retreats, Dr. Aboutalib is a faculty member at the Chicago School of Yoga where she teaches yoga anatomy, yoga as medicine and mindfulness. The focus of her classes is to bring a physical, mental, and spiritual practice to participants.

Dr. Aboutalib believes that yoga can be beneficial for any person, of any age, at any stage level of fitness, including women who are pregnant.

“It’s a great feeling to help people to change their hectic lifestyles,” she said. “In the West, we often go straight to medications, but there are certain poses that relieve pain. We don’t have to be so dependent on pills. Also, the mindfulness aspect of yoga leads to better health overall.”

Mindfulness, she continued, helps people bring awareness to the body and mind connection. Being present in the moment teaches individuals to focus on what their minds and bodies need at that moment.

“It’s hard to be present in the moment – we’re always thinking about the next thing. In fact, we’re trained not to be mindful,” Dr. Aboutalib said.

“But when I began learning about the science behind mindfulness and how it actually changes the structure of the brain itself, I began incorporating mindfulness and meditation into my workshops. Yoga, mindfulness, meditation – it’s not just for yogis and hippies, but you can change lives with this science.”

Interested in beginning yoga?
Consider taking a class at your local YMCA or yoga studio. Or, feel free to download a beginner yoga app or watch an online video. Whatever you do, take it slow, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the journey!