Women to Watch: Ingrid Yang

This article was originally published on STRONG. Read the original version here.


Age: 41     Hometown: San Diego, CA     
Gig: Physician, Yoga Therapist & Meditation Teacher     Follow her: @ingridyangyogamd

For physician and author Ingrid, achieving optimal health for herself and her patients is not simply a matter of practicing “this” or “that.” Instead, she firmly believes that a broad approach to fitness is key to living your best life. She says, “I like to mix things up in my fitness routine. I practice yoga almost daily, but I also cycle, run, surf, hike, and swim in the ocean regularly.” Ingrid says she’s motivated by helping others understand why it’s beneficial to incorporate a variety of modalities into their fitness plans. “It’s important to keep your body challenged, your mind engaged, and prevent injury.”

Ingrid believes that exercise should also include meditative aspects such as breathing techniques, posture control, and meditation.

Ingrid knows first-hand how critical a mindful movement practice can be, especially when you’re not feeling 100%. “I recently fractured my ankle and it took months of rehab to get back to even walking,” she says. Throughout her rehab, Ingrid continued with yoga because it helped her regain balance and stamina, and with her book, Adaptive Yoga,Ingrid is helping individuals with disabilities learn to improve their wellness, too. “I practice yoga therapy in the hospital setting with my patients. Even if you are in the hospital bed, you can still practice plenty of yoga,” she says.


Why You Shouldn’t Tell Students to Tuck Their Tailbone—And 4 Other Cues To Rethink

Avoid these commonly used (and misused) phrases—and replace them with these better ones.

As yoga teachers, you probably spend countless hours curating and planning classes that fit your individual teaching style and the needs of your students. But how often do you find yourself repeating instructions that are verbatim from your own teachers? In doing so, have you reflected upon whether these cues are really helping your students get the most out of their practice? If your primary goal is to offer instructions that are concise and easy to follow, do your cues actually make sense? We polled some experts to advise us on commonly used (and misused) phrases that teachers should avoid and replacement cues that may better serve our students.

Read the full article on Yoga Journal!


Dr. Yang on Get Healthy 360 Podcast

Listen to Dr. Yang’s interview with Dr. Kris Ferguson on her transition from economist, lawyer, yoga therapist and physician. Learn about all things yoga, life transitions, and finding your calling in life. https://gethealthy360.com/yoga-motivation-and-finding-your-calling-in-life-ingrid-yang-md-jd/


Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccine recently. “Should I get it if I’m pregnant?” “What if I have an allergy to bee stings?” “What if I’ve already been infected with COVID-19?” “What side effects have you had?” And the most common one: “If you get the vaccine and have immunity from the disease, can you still transmit it?” (Hint: most likely not).

So here is your best resource for your answers (click here for full article from NEJM)

In short:

Should I get it if I’m pregnant? So far, there have been no reports of the vaccine injuring fetuses, however, thus far there have been no large studies on this. On a personal level, I have had friends get the vaccine who are pregnant, and have since had their babies and all is well.

What if I have an allergy to bee stings? Thus far, there does not appear to be anaphylaxis responses to the vaccine for people that have anaphylactic responses to bee stings. The best way to gauge your allergic response is if you have had allergies to vaccines in the past.

What if I have already been infected with COVID-19? Those who have active infection to COVID-19 should wait to get their vaccine (because it will be less effective). But if you have had the infection in the past, it is still recommended that you get the vaccine.

What side effects did you have? I had a sore arm for just done day with each shot (I’ve gotten the first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine), and a mild headache after the second shot, which resolved after a day.

Can you still transmit the disease if you have been fully vaccinated? Probably not (after you have gained the full immunity, i.e. at least 1 week after your 2nd dose). For one, the virus is very unstable outside of the body. Prevention of disease also equates to prevention of infection. However, as this is still being studied, it is still recommended that you take all precautions as you did before such as hand washing, social distancing, and mask-wearing.

Remember, the vaccine is not just 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection, but close to 100% effective in prevent serious, life-threatening illness with COVID-19! This downgrades it to less deadly than influenza, and saves so many lives!

Click on this link to read more from the infectious disease expert, Dr Paul Sax in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

The opinions expressed on this page and by the owner of this website are published for educational and informational purposes only, and are not intended as a diagnosis, treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment.

When will life be back to normal?

When will life be back to normal?

Let’s face it. We are tired. I am tired too. I’m tired of not embracing my friends. I’m tired of not going out and only eating the food I cook myself. I’m tired of not traveling or not conducting work meetings in person. The sacrifices are worth it, but it has been demoralizing for all of us, and let’s be honest – it feels like it’s been FOREVER. But it hasn’t been forever. Just a half a year of soul-searching and character-building. But it helps to have an end in sight. So, when WILL this end? Here’s my messy, but hopefully realistic, estimate:

Based on the information we currently have (keeping in mind, the information is always changing), we hope to have a vaccine by December of this year. It is then projected that we will have about 700 million doses by April 2021 of said vaccine. It will likely be that many people will not want the vaccine right away due to trust issues (more on this in a future post about the safety of vaccines). So, even if we could vaccinate everyone within the first few months, due to delay by many skeptics, we likely will not have the required amount for herd immunity until the 3rd quarter of 2021.

Therefore, in reality, by the time enough people are vaccinated so that there will be enough impact to start thinking about nearing normalcy will be in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2021… and that is pending availability of a vaccine by December of this year.

So… time will tell. This is just my best estimate (not a medical opinion, just an anecdotal estimate), based on the data (that is always changing!) on when we may get back to a sense of normalcy. How long will the immunity (and thus, normalcy) last? This will be addressed in a future post!

But for now, having an estimate helps me cope… knowing that this won’t go on forever. Sure, it may not be as soon as I want, but waiting until next year is *not* forever. And until then, let’s continue doing what we know works: socially distancing, washing our hands, and wearing masks. And when the time comes, we will be well-positioned to take on our 2021 normalcy with good health and embrace our friends with strong, COVID-free arms.

Love, Dr. Yang

What are you doing to settle into your heart and spirit?

“At the still point of the turning world… there the dance is.” T.S. Eliot

This past week I participated in a yoga nidra immersion. I have felt a lot of vata energy, and the immersion helped me feel grounded amidst the chaos that has been life these last few months. Next week, I will be participating in a week-long yoga nidra retreat (all online, of course), and I am looking forward to it. More chaos, change and unrest will come… and I hope to be grounded in my nervous system before it all makes me dizzy. I am learning to dance with the turning world, feel its rhythms and ground my soul. What are you doing settle into your heart and spirit?

How to strengthen your lungs

With COVID-19 causing us to stay indoors, we tend to sit more, exercise less, and thus, use our lungs less efficiently. To get your lungs into better shape, your go-to option should be regular old physical activity — the kind that gets your heart rate up. Anything that makes you breathe faster is basically a breathing exercise, whether it’s biking for 20 minutes, swimming, walking, or practicing pranayama (yogic breathing exercises).

Staying active is especially important because lung function will decrease with neglect. Without use, the muscles that support your breathing become weaker and your lung tissue will lose elasticity. Studies (and common sense) have shown that exercise boosts lung function.

So, what should I do? Aerobic activity! It helps air get into the deepest parts of your lungs. And if there are any pollutants you’ve inhaled, aerobic activity helps you clear them out and decreases your risk of infection or pneumonia. Aerobic fitness also helps your body obtain oxygen from the environment and use it in the most efficient manner. So, if you happen to get COVID, and you’ve been doing cardio, that’s going to help you.

What’s important for lung health is to exercise at an intensity that quickens your breathing rate. Many of us don’t like the discomfort of heavy breathing, but when we push ourselves just outside of our comfort zones, we achieve the largest gains. That includes our lung health too.

Aerobic activity is also great for your muscles and weight maintenance. Sometime in the near future, this pandemic shall pass, and when it’s no longer acceptable to wear pajamas all day, it will feel good to put on those old jeans and leave the house. We’ll get through this, friends!

My last piece of advice? Mix it up! Just running every day will wear at your knee and hip joints, so make time to stretch, strengthen, and work on your range of motion! I participate in a different activity each day whether it is running, a HIIT class, biking, yoga, or a brisk walk. It’s all good for you and cross-training helps to preserve your joints.

So, get out there! Today! And strengthen your lungs, body, and spirit!

Love, Dr. Yang

COVID lies behind us, before us, and with us.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”― R.W. Emerson

COVID lies behind us, before us and with us. And while I’d argue that the pandemic isn’t “tiny,” as the days and weeks and months roll on, I’ve become increasingly convinced that what lies within each of us is greater than the virus… especially when we stand together. Thank you for the fortitude to continue to socially distance, wear masks, and be kind to those around you.

Love, Dr. Yang

Happy anniversary to the passing of the ADA.

Last week, July 26th, 2020 was the 30th anniversary of the passing of the American Disabilities Act. This historic federal legislation enhanced and extended civil rights to millions of Americans. Shortly before the act was passed, disability rights activists with physical disabilities coalesced in front of the Capitol Building, shed their crutches, wheelchairs, and other assistive devices, to pull their bodies up all 100 of the Capitol’s front steps. As the activists did so, many of them chanted “ADA now”, and “Vote, Now”. Jennifer Keelan, a second grader with cerebral palsy, pulled herself up the steps, using mostly her hands and arms, saying “I’ll take all night if I have to.” This direct action is reported to have “inconvenienced” several senators and to have pushed them to approve the act. The ADA improved access to public services, the built environment (e.g. sidewalks with curb cuts and accessible pedestrian signals), understanding of the abilities of people with disabilities, established a right to equal access to public services and has demonstrated the contributions which people with disabilities can make to the economy and society as a whole. Disparities still remain in employment, earned income, Internet access, transportation, housing, and educational attainment, and so much more, and the disabled remain at a disadvantage with respect to health and health care. We have so much more work to do. As a former rehab doctor, I saw firsthand these inequities and wanted so badly to level the playing field in some way, in the ways I know how. Thus, this book. Because yoga isn’t about fitting into our western paradigm. It is not about about making people fit yoga. It’s about yoga fitting people. Real people. All people. Because yoga IS for every body. I hope this book does justice to those that have fought for equal rights and equal access. I hope this is a book that Jennifer Keelan would be proud of. I hope that this book teaches people to do yoga who never thought they could before. Happy anniversary to the passing of the ADA. Look out for the book in November. Yoga is for every body. Yes. I mean it.