Yoga - What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga-chikitsa (Sanskrit) or Yoga Therapy has never been very easy to define, largely owing to the depth and breathe of the subject.
And yet, simply stated, Yoga Therapy could be called a system of health care that helps treat human indispositions as naturally as possible, to alleviate pain and suffering through set of exercises, both physical and mental. Ideally, yoga therapy is preventive in nature, as is Yoga itself, while being curative in many instances, soothing in others, and restorative in most.
Yoga therapy is of modern denomination and represents man’s first attempt to combine age-old concepts and techniques with contemporary medical and psychological know-how. So, where traditional Yoga was primarily concerned with spiritual transcendence, yoga therapy aims at holistic treatment of a variety of psychological or psychosomatic disorders ranging from sinusitis and asthma to emotional distress.
What is the principle of Yogic Therapy?
Yoga holds that a person’s health condition depends on himself. It lays emphasis on physical, mental and emotional balance and development of a sense of harmony with all of life. There’s nothing mystical about it.
From that knowledge, comes the ability to more easily accept and adapt to change, resulting in enhanced well-being in body, mind, heart and spirit. Hence its applicability to almost all chronic conditions.
What approach does yoga therapy take?
Contrary to modern medical science that tries to identify the pathogenic factor (be it a toxic substance, a micro-organism, or metabolic disorder) then eliminate it, Yoga takes a totally different point of view. It holds that if a person is sick there must be a deeper reason behind it – that illness doesn’t arise by chance. It is the result of an imbalance, a disruption in the body-mind complex that creates the condition. Here the symptoms, the pathogenic factors, are not the issue. Yoga believes that the root cause lies somewhere else.
How is yoga therapy done?
The six steps of Yoga for overall well being:
1. Right Posture – Asanas
A set of postures that tone up the muscles and internal organs, revitalize the system, create overall awareness of the body and its function and help tranquilize the mind. they also energizes and stimulates the body’s major endocrine glands. And by toning up the internal organs, they also prevent and cure many an illness.
2. Right Breathing – Pranayama
A set of simple breathing techniques that slowdown and normalize breathing while simultaneously exercising subtle influences on the entire system.
3. Right Cleansing – Kriyas
A set of easy and effortless hygienic procedures that draw the attention to the affected areas and buttress the body’s own cleansing mechanisms.
4. Right Diet – Balanced Yogic Diet
Most, of not all, illnesses are in some way linked to wrong food habits. A slight modification in dietary habits can rehabilitate the entire system.
5. Right Relaxation – Shavasana
A relaxing asana done several times as part of the Yoga program. A process designed to soothe both mind and body. Yoga holds that tension is dis-ease (i.e a state if unease) and relaxation is health. To this end the whole eightfold path of Yoga is to purify the body mind complex.
6. Right Mindset – Meditation
Meditation is a technique used to stabilize the mind, increase concentration and will power, balance cellular and chakra energy and develop one-pointedness.
All these, if performed together and consistently, help rid oneself of a variety of psychosomatic disorders. Which is why, every yoga therapy session should include all these practices. They help eliminate the aggravated toxins from the system, balance the tri-doshas and stimulate the essential biochemical substances in the affected organs.
The golden rule in achieving optimum results through yoga is regularity and punctuality, for only abhyasa, regular practice can produce desired results. Over a period of time, it helps reduce illnesses, increase vitality and vigor, restore balance, and enhance attitude to life. Which is also why yoga therapists prescribe specific regimens to suit individual needs. Research has conclusively proven the effectiveness of yoga therapy in healing psychosomatic and stress-related conditions. This is done by bridging the gap between body and mind, ranging across the entire spectrum from physical to emotional to mental.
For optimum benefits, yoga therapy should be coupled with a balanced diet, Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Aromatherapy.