When you are in a state of yoga, all misconceptions (vrittis) that can exist in the mutable aspect of human beings (chitta) disappear.
YOGA was applied with therapeutic intention for thousands of years but yoga Therapy is only just now emerging as a discipline in itself.
Health care practitioners are starting to include yogic techniques in their approach to healing.
People who have never tried yoga before are starting to consider including Yoga in their treatment plan.
As yoga techniques are researched and new data is gathered, it becomes easier for science and the medical establishment to understand and accept the benefits of Yoga Therapy.
The following is a list of tentative definitions of Yoga Therapy by the International Association of Yoga Therapy:
Yoga therapy adapts the practice of Yoga to the needs of people with specific or persistent health problems not usually addressed in a group class.
-Samata Yoga Center (U.S.A.) Larry Payne, Ph.D.
Yoga therapy is the adaptation of yoga practices for people with health challenges. Yoga therapists prescribe specific regimens of postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to suit individual needs. Medical research shows that Yoga therapy is among the most effective complementary therapies for several common ailments. The challenges may be an illness, a temporary condition like pregnancy or childbirth, or a chronic condition associated with old age or infirmity.
-Yoga Biomedical Trust (England) Robin Monro, Ph.D.
Yoga comprises a wide range of mind/body practices, from postural and breathing exercises to deep relaxation and meditation. Yoga therapy tailors these to the health needs of the individual. It helps to promote all-round positive health, as well as assisting particular medical conditions.The therapy is particularly appropriate for many chronic conditions that persist despite conventional medical treatment.
-Yoga Therapy and Training Center (Ireland) Marie Quail
(Yoga therapy is) the use of the techniques of Yoga to create, stimulate, and maintain an optimum state of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
-Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D.
Yoga therapy consists of the application of yogic principles, methods, and techniques to specific human ailments. In its ideal application, Yoga therapy is preventive in nature, as is Yoga itself, but it is also restorative in many instances, palliative in others, and curative in many others.
-Art Brownstein, M.D.
Benefits of practicing YOGA as THERAPY
It’s widely known that Yoga can enhance your physical and emotional wellbeing, but when Yoga is practiced with a therapeutic intention in the form of Yoga Therapy, it can help prevent and aid recovery from physical and mental ailments.
Yoga has long been practiced with therapeutic intentions as way of transforming both the body and the mind. According to classical texts, most of the problems in our health come from a state of ignorance of who and what we are. A number of research studies have proven the effectiveness of Yoga Therapy as developing exactly that type of awareness.
The applications of Yoga Therapy range anywhere from maintaining health, to recovering from illness – in some cases, even those considered incurable.
The first stage of healing involves the movement of vital forces in the system. Practitioners of medicine believe that every illness involves a certain level of energy blockage. By promoting the flow of prana, or vital force, yoga combats those blockages, restoring the basic condition for health.
Common applications for Yoga Therapy also serve structural problems such as spine misalignments or joint function.
Deeper applications may even aid more intractable problems such as AIDS and cancer.
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.
On a psychological level, the introspection promoted by yoga is essential to the self-knowledge process that fuels psychic transformation. The different relaxation techniques allow the troubled mind to calm and decrease its activity while promoting stability.
By acting upon the chakras, yoga brings light to any psychic blockages, making them available to the conscious mind.
The fact that the different branches of science are now acknowledging that everything in the universe works together with absolute, intimate and exquisite interrelationship is part of the basis of the increasing success and respect that Yoga Therapy is gaining among main stream medical practitioners.
As more clinicians use these techniques either for themselves of or their patients, and as more masters design specific applications of yoga, the spectrum of Yoga Therapy grows exponentially.
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.
At last, the logistical aspects of the execution of the sadhana should be determined, such as order of practice and number of repetitions. The person then can practice the therapy postures under the guidance of a Yoga Therapist. The postures are then updated according to the progress that the student accomplishes.
The integration of mind and body is very important for the healing process, but perhaps the main area where yoga comes in handy is the inclusion of the ‘spiritual’ realm into the equation. Even if the student or patient belongs to no religion, or even if she or he does not acknowledge the existence of spirit, the practice of some of these techniques can eventually integrate this aspect of the self.