The movement prescription

Chelsea Leyland on yoga as medicine.

A high performance life is, at its core, a balance of physical and mental well-being. But it also entails an appreciation for style, cuisine and culture.To bring this philosophy to life, we collaborated with the game-changers who truly embody that ethos. The result is a unique series of animated GIFs that represent the intersection of lifestyle and science.

For DJ Chelsea Leyland, the benefits of doing yoga extend beyond achieving well-earned moments of Zen. To her, the practice is more of a matter of her health. “I’m epileptic, and it’s something I’ve really struggled with throughout my life,” she says. “But yoga has been such a powerful thing for me.” The influencer was diagnosed with the brain condition at age 15 and says that her practice has helped her cope. “It’s something that I now see myself as a huge advocate for,” she says. Leyland, who hosts a weekly special on Apple Music Beats 1 radio, is so passionate about yoga’s healing benefits that she recently designed a yoga bodysuit, with sales supporting the American Epilepsy Society.

While alternative medical practitioners have embraced yoga's benefit for years, it's only recently that the medical community is prescribing asanas to supplement conventional treatments.

So what took Western medicine so long to catch up? “The established medical community needed to be convinced that this could be the right treatment,” says Loren Fishman, M.D., a longtime yoga advocate and specialist in rehabilitative medicine who also teaches at Columbia Medical School. Several studies have been released in the last few years providing further evidence that yoga works in a number of strikingly different conditions. “Epilepsy, anxiety and insomnia are three areas where practice has proven helpful,” Fishman says.

Although yoga isn’t curative on its own, it does help alleviate patients’ pain in ways traditional medicine hasn’t been able to. A review of research found that epilepsy patients who practiced yoga (in addition to their regular treatments) showed a significant improvement in their quality of life. “Believe it or not, the first thing I usually see is the lightening of their face,” Fishman says of his patients who start practicing. “People will look ten or twenty years younger and a lot happier.”