Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in Britain’s history, and, perhaps to help pass the time, he has come up with various ways of being controversial.
Over the years he has scoffed at modern buildings – calling a proposed extension to the National Gallery a ‘monstrous carbuncle’. He has confessed to talking to trees, saying he thinks ‘it’s absolutely crucial.’ Controversially, he has also been a campaigner for alternative medicine, which ended with the British Medical Association branding homeopathy, ‘Witchcraft’ – a rather damning indictment.
However, in some of his views, he has also shown that he is a man ahead of his time. He has long been a staunch advocate of conservation, has battled climate change, and set up a successful organic food company, Duchy Originals, well before organic farming was de rigeur.
But recently, he has turned his attentions to yoga, and here, surely, no one will disagree with him (at least no one at YogaLondon will). At a convention hosted by the Yoga in Health Care Alliance* (YIHA), he has stated that the promotion of yoga could help to ease the undoubted pressure on the NHS. In a written address, he said:
“For thousands of years, millions of people have experienced yoga’s ability to improve their lives … The development of therapeutic, evidence-based yoga is, I believe, an excellent example of how yoga can contribute to health and healing.”
He’s not alone in thinking that prescribing yoga could be of benefit to huge number of people. Yoga has been found to help those suffering with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, back pain, mental health issues as well as those who are lonely and suffer from social isolation. However, the body of research that could be shown to prove that yoga helps is lacking.
Prince Charles added that yoga isn’t just good for the person who does yoga, but if it can ease the burden on the NHS, this will also help others who’s need is more urgent:
“This not only benefits the individual but also conserves precious and expensive health resources for others where and when they are most needed.”
As our bodies age, the things we took for granted when we were younger start to elude us, such as maintaining our balance, muscle strength and tone, being able to tie up your own shoelace, stretch your arms over your head and so on. All these everyday tasks are made accessible through the sustained practice of yoga. This is not to say that yoga is a magic pill that will cure all our ills, but if it can en-able people to be more independent and active, it will surely help to ease the burden on the NHS, just as Prince Charles said.
So in this case, we don’t think HRH is being controversial in any way, in fact, carry on!
*The YIHA is a social enterprise that has been set up to enable the National Health Service to access yoga as a holistic and preventative measure to aid patient health in the UK.