MHLbannersmallOne employee's experience with the mind and body benefits of yoga

As Riverside's Cancer Registry Manager, Jennifer Brown is charged with compiling and evaluating extensive amounts of information on cancer diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. In turn, this large and growing database is used to better direct our comprehensive cancer care services toward meeting the healthcare needs of the communities we serve. Jennifer is also closely involved in the accreditation process for Riverside's cancer programs, an effort that helps assure that these services meet the highest national quality standards for care.Brown_Jennifer

From just about any perspective, this is precise and highly detailed work that can generate a certain amount of stress from time to time. Fortunately, Jennifer has found a way to help manage the levels of stress that come from the job as well as everyday life through a resource that's offered to Riverside team members at no cost.

I did some yoga a few years back through a parks and recreation program. I got a lot out of the sessions, but kind of drifted away from it over time. When I learned about the free yoga classes available on the RRMC campus it seemed like it might be a good time to get back to something that I enjoyed and that seemed to provide some benefits.

I was thinking that the organization I worked for was investing in the health of its employees and you have to take advantage of that kind of situation.  I also considered the fact that the yoga and stress reduction classes were close to my office so I was a lot more likely to follow through and stay with it.

What I found at the first session was a varied group of people that included everyone from Riverside retirees and current employees to family members. There were differences in ages and experience that people had with yoga.

What makes it all work is the very warm and welcoming atmosphere that Angie Claud creates for everyone in the room. Angie is the Assistant Nurse Manager at RRMC for the Othopaedics and Neuroscience units, but she's also a certified yoga instructor and very passionate about what she's doing.

Because the people in the classes are at different levels and some may have some physical limitations, Angie will use several modifications with each posture. So even though it's a class, it feels very personalized. There are a lot of books and DVDs on yoga and it's something you can do on your own, but having an instructor and being able to feel the group energy of other people works well for me.

shavansaWe always end the class with Yoga Nidra, which is a time to just be on your mat and relax and assimilate all the benefits of that day's session. This is one of my favorite parts because many of us don't take time to simply relax and quiet the mind, as well as the body. Every so often one of the participants falls asleep which lets you know that the close of the class is a very relaxing time.

Because I sit at a desk much of the day, I carry a lot of physical stress in my hips, neck and back. The yoga I've been doing has been noticeably helpful with overall strength and flexibility and I can literally "feel" the benefits in my joints and muscles.

Beyond the physical part of it, I've really noticed the psychological benefits, too. At the end of a work day, it's been a great way to feel re-connected, to kind of decompress and get back in touch with yourself. The controlled breathing we do is a big part of that. Basically, what we're doing in the classes when you break it down is a combination of movement, relaxation, exercise and meditation. And it's been working to help people for around 5,000 years, so there's definitely something there.

When you add in the fact that the yoga classes are free and very convenient for people around RRMC, it's something that makes a lot a sense for anyone who can take advantage of it.

Tree-PoseYoga classes are offered in the Annex Conference Rooms at Riverside Regional Medical Center from 5:15 to 6:30 pm on Monday and the same time on Tuesday at 12420 Warwick Blvd, Building 6 (a Riverside office building) directly across from the Hidenwood Shopping Center. Participants should wear comfortable clothing that allows easy movement and should bring a mat.

Classes are free. For more information email Angie Claud at or call (757) 534-6228 or 6220.