COVID, Science and Sleep

Ana Rakovac, a friend, colleague, and student of Alex is a medical doctor herself who worked in paramedics and emergency medicine, in ICU, and a lot of other different fields within. Her professional journey brought her to study, do research and specialize in internal medicine and endocrinology, and chemical pathology. A lot of the turns throughout her career were brought by circumstances but also by her understanding that diseases have to be approached holistically. To Ana, medicine is about the whole picture.

And this podcast is all about that.

Coming from a respectable and deep scientific background herself, Ana opens up with Alexandra an important conversation about complementing and supporting efforts of different sciences or frames in looking at our health. Especially in this era welcomed by a pandemic.

Here, Ana looks back at her first dive into Alexandra’s ‘world’ of yoga and Ayurveda. Again, it was circumstantial: struggling to keep an ‘eat less, move more’ lifestyle amid the lockdowns and limitations brought by Covid.

The pandemic has affected work completely, especially those like Ana. But to her, it was momentous as the medical community is witnessing something unique; something so huge unfolding for the first time. Scientifically, it was exciting but also very scary. Until she ended up contracting it and got an inner view.

And this moment made her realize and appreciate more the habits Ayurveda has brought in and how one science supports the others. What she learned in the language and lens of Ayurveda are very much the same in her practice, say in endocrinology, which is about balance and finding out which are inappropriately normal. Ana’s medicine and Ayurveda are not enemies.

She realized that what Alex and Ayurveda are teaching her are observational lifestyle interventions that were 5000 years old and are aligned with what she teaches to her patients in her diabetes clinic. It’s all about concepts. And the small things, like rest or sleep, that actually matter and completes the picture

To Ana, it’s high time we wake up to the necessity of observing and respecting the interplay between our own rhythms and the rhythms of the planet and keep being healthy for as long as we can. It’s been so much that we keep healthy in order to be pretty, to be productive, or achieve some other goal. But how about learning to keep healthy to be happy?

Links mention in the podcast

Reawaken your body

Podcast Highlights

  • The Ujjayi breathing exercise I learned from Alex was really instrumental at the peak of my disease. Yoga and anatomy taught us that most of the lung is towards our back. So when you’re on your belly, you use more of your lungs and in Ujjayi breathing, you learn to breathe with your diaphragm. – Ana Rakovac
  • Ayurveda is an observational medicine. Same as the medicine that I practice. It is how we interpret what is causing these observations that differs. – Ana Rakovac
  • What we do not get taught in med school is habit formation. There is this overemphasis on knowledge and not enough emphasis on how to bring the knowledge into practice. – Ana Rakovac
  • This whole one-track thinking of productivity and efficiency being above everything disregards the cyclical way that humans are. We need rest. We need to sleep.  – Ana Rakovac
  • We have to stop fighting each other or pointing fingers, but join hands to teach people how to be healthy. – Alexandra Kreis

Ana RakovacGuest Bio

Ana Rakovac is a medical doctor who worked in paramedics and emergency medicine in the field during the Serbia and Croatia conflict, worked in ICU, and a lot of other different fields in medicine. Her professional journey brought her to study, do research and specialize in internal medicine and endocrinology, and chemical pathology. She runs a laboratory for diagnosis and research and a diabetes clinic.


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