A Day Off ...in the life of Paediatrician Dr Kamal Patel
We’ve been asking BSUH staff about a hobby, interest or sport that enables them to unwind on a day off, boosts their overall health and wellbeing, and helps them cope with the pressures and stresses of working in our busy NHS. When did you first take up yoga? I was 21 and a medical student and my elective was at the Yoga Therapy Hospital in Bangalore. I expected there to be some yoga, but what I didn’t expect was that I’d get into it the way I did. What appealed to you about it? Yoga means the science of life. It covers every aspect of our existence and it was the first time I had a workable definition of happiness. The purpose of yoga is to attain that happiness and it is something that I can do, absolutely. Did someone inspire you? The teachers at the hospital were inspiring. They taught yoga as a way of life to help improve health. How does it help you unwind? I learned how to meditate and it’s something I have practised. I can do it almost anywhere and at any time. What are the physical and mental benefits? There are so many benefits from yoga. It keeps you flexible physically and mentally. It also helps you spiritually. When I come back from a day off and I’ve done some yoga I am refreshed. My compassion batteries are re-charged. My energy levels are up. My ability to work within the team is improved. I’ve regained my joy for life. How does it help you deal with pressures at work? When I am on the paediatric shift in the evening I will have a break for a drink and something to eat. If I feel the need, I will just quietly sit and close my eyes and do my breathing techniques for two minutes, and get rid of all the accumulated stress in my body and my mind. What’s it like when you’re absorbed in yoga? It can be euphoric. It won’t be when you first start. It requires dedication, perseverance and the right teacher. It’s a sense of euphoria that is completely controllable. You can switch it on and off. There are no side effects and it doesn’t cost anything. Would you recommend it to others? Of course. But the beauty is you can give it a try and, if it’s not for you, then that’s fine. But if it is, Bingo! You’ll never look back.