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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What is Yoga Therapy?

Yoga-chikitsa (Sanskrit) or Yoga Therapy has never been very easy to define, largely owing to the depth and breadth of the subject.

Yoga therapy is of modern coinage and represents a first effort to integrate traditional yogic concepts and techniques with Western medical and psychological knowledge. Whereas traditional Yoga is primarily concerned with personal transcendence on the part of a "normal" or healthy individual, Yoga therapy aims at the holistic treatment of various kinds of psychological or somatic dysfunctions ranging from back problems to emotional distress.

By combining different techniques such as massage, stretching or alterations of the circulatory patterns, yoga promotes specific changes in muscles, joints and organs altering the vital functions of the body. A good example would be the way Yoga Therapy can help overcome panic attacks. By practicing a balancing breathing technique, a sense of control is gained, combating the fear and anxiety produced by its loss.

More than following just one style or one branch of yoga, Yoga Therapy feeds from virtually all styles and branches, combining the tools that each one of them bring in the design of a yoga sadhana, or a routine that addresses the given condition. Even though different Yoga Therapists follow different procedures to establish the sadhana, a pretty general scheme would first determine the condition to be treated, and then an evaluation of person's general abilities. Then the appropriate techniques can be chosen from the various disciplines which best serve the therapeutic process.

What is the principle of Yogic Therapy?
As medical practitioners say that most of the problems in our health come from a state of ignorance of whom and what we are. Yoga provides an opportunity to become acquainted with our essence, in tune with the Oracle at Delphi's command:"Know thyself." From a psychological standpoint, therapy is defined as the possibility of accessing self-knowledge that will enable us to change that what we consider dysfunctional. A number of research studies have proven the effectiveness of Yoga Therapy as developing exactly that type of awareness.

Rather than prescribe treatments, yoga therapy encourages awareness. Through age-old yogic techniques, we get to know ourselves better.

By acting upon the chakras, yoga brings light to any psychic blockages, making them available to the conscious mind. The modern western correlate of this scheme is in the core of psycho-neuroimmunology, a branch of psychology that studies the interaction between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems, explaining some of the subtle mechanisms of psychosomatic medicine.

Who can get benefits from yoga therapy?
  • People, who want to acquire tools specific to their condition to improve wellness. Yoga has proven helpful in the management of back pain, arthritis, depression, anxiety and stress, back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, PMS, headaches, insomnia, menopause, and weight concerns.

  • People who are looking for a fulfilling way to exercise. When done correctly, yoga is a rewarding and intrinsically motivating way to stay or become fit. Individual sessions are an important adjunct to regular yoga classes to ensure you gain the most from the postures.

  • People who wish to slow aging and improve their health. Yoga therapy can give you the tools to deepen body awareness and increase the health of your body from its most subtle level of functioning.
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.

In Conclusion
If yoga could be found as a pill, it surely would be the bestselling drug of all times. Like exercise, yoga improves well-being and alleviates many health issues. It goes one step further: Yoga restores wholeness to mind, body, and spirit, making the effects of yoga far-reaching and truly remarkable.

Regularity and punctuality are the keys to get success in yoga. Over a period of time, it helps reduce illnesses, increase vitality and vigor, restore balance, and enhance attitude to life. Yoga therapy has been proved helpful in healing psychosomatic and stress-related conditions. Because yoga therapy bridges 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.

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