In yoga therapy there are many misconceptions. Most of the asana and
Pranayam are classified as if they are for particular physical or mental
problems. For example, Matsyendrasan is “good” for a diabetic patient
or Savasana is good for controlling high blood pressure. However,
many patients suffer from multiple problems. If the person is over weight
and can’t even sit on the ground, how you are going to teach him
Any one pose or Pranayam cannot cure any particular physical, mental
or psychosomatic problem!
As a matter of fact, only asana or Pranayam is not
going to help if it is done in a mechanical pattern or form. There are other
factors, which are playing a major role in the recovery process. The Yoga
therapist must and should impart the technology and philosophy of this
science while providing the training to their patients. Plus the traditional
poses are not at all suitable to the needs of the man of this age where our
life style is completely different from those of the old days! It is very
important to teach more simplified versions as Yoga is non-specific when it
comes to effective and positive results, especially if other factors are not
incorporated, for example, diet, routine, positive attitude, openness to
accept the changes and learning new healthy habits etc. These other factors
Awareness: A person who is practicing yoga as a
therapy must understand the reason for this practice. It is not important
that the pose should be perfect in order to get its benefits but more
important is the awareness of the body and attitude.
Concept: The concept of the pose and Pranayam
must be explained and should be very clear before its practice. The
scientific explanation is a must.
Commitment: There has to be a commitment from both
the sides – the therapist and the practitioner. There must be a mutual
understanding that one is there to explain & teach and the other is there to
learn, recover and gain.
Dedication: Quite often people are taking up Yoga
as an experiment. Some times when all other doors are closed, they come to
yoga practices and expect a miracle or instant change or recovery! Just as
there is a big difference in Allopathic medicines and Herbal medicines,
likewise there is a big difference between other holistic physical training
and yoga. Once the person feels some positive results, he has to practice on
a regular basis as a routine. Once a week, one-hour practice is not going to
Trust and faith: Just as a patient trusts his
doctor or any other health practitioner, in the same way there has to be a
faith & trust in whatever the patient is practicing during Yoga therapeutic
sessions. It is very important that a good rapport is maintained during the
treatment and follow-up sessions.
Attitude: Often, people who believe in other
faiths or religions are not ready for certain yoga practices when it comes
to the philosophy and devotional practices for relaxation and meditation.
The attitude is that ‘I want to learn yoga but I don’t want to learn the
philosophy; I’m here to learn only poses and breathing.’ In other words, ‘I
want to learn swimming but without getting wet!’ Here, it is very important
for a therapist to provide the scientific explanations instead of giving the
religious reasons. All yoga practices are based on the laws of the nature
and nature has nothing to do with various faiths or religions. It is very
true that the science of Yoga was developed in India and majority of Hindu
persons practice that. The base is of Hindu faith – but as a way of life.
All Hindu scriptures and literature are explaining Yoga and its various
paths. To teach and learn Yoga, one has to have some sort of knowledge of
Bhagawat Gita, Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Hath-yoga Pradipika and such texts.
Here the intention is not to teach the religion but the
philosophy behind the practice. If certain techniques are practiced with a
certain attitude, then it helps more than just a mechanical practice. E.g.
Chanting of OM as a universal sound!
Many attitudes are cultivated while practicing any pose.
Each and every move can provide a space to learn a certain attitude if
explained and developed during its regular practice. It could be from the
gross to the subtlest level! That will help the patient in the long run to
change his life style and in cultivating healthy habits for good!