About three weeks after I began medical school in the fall of 2006, I was already beginning to feel jaded and uninspired. I entered school with an exciting (and pretty naïve) vision of what was to come: I would learn the hard science of western medicine while integrating and incorporating all the complementary and alternative (CAM) health topics that truly inspired me – nutrition, yoga, and meditation to name a few. I was hopeful that some of this integration would be part of the core medical curriculum at Mount Sinai, and I was certain that I would find like-minded students with whom I could share this exciting journey.
Well, by October, I realized that there definitely would not be any courses on CAM included the formal curriculum, and with the intense course load, I was struggling to maintain my own sense of integration and balance in my daily life. It was a constant challenge to eat home-cooked nutritious meals, I was barely getting myself to yoga class, and I could not remember the last time I had sat down to meditate even for 5 minutes.
Just as I was beginning to lose faith, I spotted an ad on the student bulletin board for living anatome (LA), a student-run yoga and Pilates course designed to help teach anatomy through movement. I was so excited! This was exactly the kind of integration I had been looking for. I attended my first class that week and I left feeling a renewed sense of inspiration and conviction that I was in the right place. I had spent an hour of my day caring for my body (for the first time in weeks!) and developing my sense of awareness, and I now had much less studying to do for my upcoming anatomy final. I remember thinking after that first LA class that this is what it’s all about: studying medicine is a journey of discovery of our own bodies and health in order to be able to better heal others.
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