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Ford’s Sushma Patel Shares Benefits of Yoga at Shelters

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Sushma Patel Yoga Michigan Central Station

Ford U.S. Customer Experience Manager Sushma Patel in front of Michigan Central Station
Photo: Charlotte Bodak/Ford Motor Company

If you’re anything like … well, most people who drive, as it were … you’ve probably experienced some significant stress in your time behind the wheel. Whether it’s muttering under your breath about inconvenient construction or screaming into your steering wheel about being cut off, you’ve likely flipped your lid or come close a time or two on the road. Perhaps you could do with a unique take on breathing.

Sushma Patel, Ford’s U.S. Customer Experience Manager, will be attending the automaker’s Wellbeing + Wanderlust event on Friday and sharing with attendees the wonders of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama and Ayurveda. The former is an alternative nostril breathing method that involves plugging one nostril and breathing through the other, then switching to exhale through the other nostril, and alternating sides.

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Ford cites an abstract published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s PubMed that states Nadi Shodhana Pranayama has positive effects on blood pressure and anxiety reduction. Patel extols its virtues after it helped her cope with dual ruptures of her plantar fascia.

“By the fifth day, the guru asked me to stand up in the middle of the class and explain to everybody how I felt,” Patel said. “I couldn’t explain it, but I felt different — I could see my wheelchair out of the corner of my eye at the moment and realized I never needed it again. It was a turning point for me.”

Patel has been doing yoga and Ayurveda for 10 years strong, and it has helped encourage her to share her experiences at shelters for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“I was blessed with a wonderful career at Ford, so I didn’t feel the need to share this knowledge commercially,” Patel said. “So I started sharing it with people who otherwise might not have access to the same resources I did.”

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