38: Yoga and Medication with Dr. Mariya Farooqi

Optimal health sometimes requires the support of both western science and other interventions — like diet and lifestyle changes and mindfulness practices including yoga.

Today’s guest is perfectly placed to talk about both sides of the equation. Dr. Mariya Farooqi is a clinical pharmacist, functional medicine specialist, and registered yoga teacher. Along with her initial work as a nutritionist, these experiences have shaped her philosophy of “food and movement first, drugs second”.

In this episode, Dr. Farooqi speaks with host Rachel about how common medications can interact with our yoga practice, offering her advice as a pharmacist on how we might manage common side effects by tailoring what, when and how we practice. She shares her thoughts on pain management, unpacks the vital link between gut health and overall health and explores how even small changes to our diet, routine, movement and mindfulness practices can have far-reaching impacts. She also talks about more personal experiences, like that of completing yoga teacher training as a Muslim woman, and the personal meaning the work of the Yoga Medicine Seva Foundation holds for her.

“Western medicine is absolutely fantastic for emergencies; unfortunately when it comes to chronic diseases we tend to lag behind” – Dr. Mariya Farooqi


“Yoga has so much to offer, so much to give; you can tease out what is relevant to you in the moment” – Dr. Mariya Farooqi

Show Notes:

  • Early perceptions of yoga from a Muslim Indian family background [2:45]
  • Challenges and growth opportunities: yoga teacher training as a Muslim woman [9:08]
  • The growth of Mariya’s interest in functional medicine [15:04]
  • Strengths and weaknesses of western medicine for chronic illness [20:20]
  • Complexities in discussing medication in the context of yoga practice [25:05]
  • Relevant potential side-effects of common medications:
    • Anti-depressants [26:20]
    • Lithium [28.18]
    • Diuretics (water pills) [29:27]
    • Sleep medications [30:05]
    • Allergy medications [31:58]
    • Anti-anxiety medications [32:22]
    • Antibiotics [33:05]
  • A pharmacist’s advice for yoga teachers working with students one-on-one [34:00]
  • Approaches to pain management [37:44]
  • Medications can affect gut health [41:18]
  • Actions steps for people whose medication is affecting gut health [46:00]
  • The wide-reaching impact of regulating the central nervous system [47:55]
  • The Seva Foundation’s work has personal meaning to Mariya [50:03]

Links Mentioned:

Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn | PharmToTable

“Yoga was just one facet of my appreciating the holistic lifestyle.” – Dr. Mariya Farooqi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.