What is yoga therapy?
…from a yoga therapists point of view
In the western world we talk about hatha yoga, ashtanga yoga, vinyasa, kundalini, yin…. And the list can go on… It was so surprising to get to know that my teacher in Yoga point in Nasik was not really familiar with all these terms. Because yoga is yoga. And yoga is not just asana practice. If yoga would be that, then every circus equilibrist would be a yogi after all.
Yoga of the western world is about taking care of your physical body which with the time and if properly executed leads to both physical and mental wellness. It is thanks to the popularity of the physical part of yoga practice that the therapeutic properties of this practice came to light. Over the years it was noted that by applying different yogasanas or yoga postures, pranayama or breathing exercise, kriyas and meditation, people appeared to acquire better health. And this is what gave rise to yoga as a form for therapy.
How does yoga therapy work?
Even though yoga therapists have a lot of knowledge about how our bodies work and about the different disease, they we not doctors and they do not aim to be seen as such. Thus, patients need to have a full diagnosis from a medical doctor including all the issues they are suffering from. This makes it possible to create a personalized yoga therapy program. And this is the amazing thing of yoga therapy. No matter what you suffer from, it is always possible to combine programs leading to a personalized programme that would help one start feeling better.
Whenever I have to take a decision I ask myself: “What is the worst that could happen?“ So what is the worst that could eventually happen to you if you give a try to yoga with regards to your health issues. There is no drawbacks to applying yoga as a therapy. Worse case scenario, even if that particular disease is not positively affected, you will be generally healthier and feel better physically and mentally.
The only drawback is related to people and not yoga. Yoga therapy works if you practice. Thus, there is need for dedication. Yoga is not a pill. So it all comes down to how important your health is to you.
Who is yoga therapy for?
Well yoga is for everyone. No matter the physical or mental condition there is always some type of yoga one can do and yoga can give positive effects to everyone. That being said, there is usually two types of people opting for yoga therapy when faced with a disease. On one hand we find open minded people that want to find a natural way of healing, as I did when I was diagnosed with cervix tumor. On the other hand, you find the ones that have tried literally everything without getting a sustainable result. So they decide to give yoga therapy a shot.
Yoga or medicine?
Yoga therapists are NOT doctors. As such, a yoga therapist will never tell a patient to stop taking any medicine. Yoga therapy is about adding the right type of yoga to the patient’s daily routine. By applying yoga as therapy the patient will start feeling better and the foundation of the disease might start getting shaken up. Nevertheless, any decision with regards to medicine is a call that only the doctor can make.
Why yoga as a therapy? Simply because yoga is more that asana practice. Yoga is a powerful technique that can make one feel better. Than why not using it for what it is worth?