Desert Companion

Bit of a Stretch

Andrew KiralyI’ve had an on-again, off-again affair with yoga for (wow) decades now. Occasionally I’d get obsessed with some other form of exercise — running, swimming, weightlifting, aerobic existential screaming — but I always returned to yoga for the honest rigor it requires and the earnest vigor it promotes. Yeah, you get to know your body in sometimes funny, awkward, and surprising ways through practicing yoga, but that’s actually the point: To literally re-embody ourselves in a world constantly pulling us outward. (I’m currently trying to master The Plow pose without yeeting my L5 like a Frisbee.)

Wellness practices such as yoga, meditation, and massage might not seem to intersect meaningfully with the world of conventional Western medicine, but that’s changing. Increasingly, meditation is a tool employed by doctors, and they’re prescribing it to themselves as a way to avoid burnout in a high-pressure, high-demand field. Burnout is a serious concern in the medical profession, an issue Paul Szydelko brings to light in his story, “Healing the Healers.” Indeed, healthcare is only as good as the people providing it, and the industry is wising up to the fact that doctors and nurses — like us, human, after all — are their most precious resource. Yoga and massage, too, are landing roles in the world of mental and emotional wellness. In “Bend, Don’t Break,” Krista Diamond profiles the proponents of two disciplines, trauma recovery yoga and end-of-life massage, which don’t merely stimulate the physical body, but soothe the troubled soul. The proponents of these practices are hardly your traditional healthcare workers, but their aims are the same: Making fragile and broken humans whole again.

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