today. Its way of approaching this is in a holistic manner, treating the whole person, rather than just addressing surface symptoms, behaviours or even the diagnosed illnesses. The cure of any illness is only a doorway into something much deeper. It is never an end in itself but only a means to a more fully healed person.
What is Yoga Therapy?
In any Yoga Therapy consultation you would be asked the usual questions about yourself and your lifestyle and would then be given a private yoga class with techniques which would - (i) indicate to the teacher your weak and strong points; (ii) include those techniques you would be taking home to practise as your "medicine". Sometime later, you would return for a re-appraisal and an update of techniques based on your progress in the meantime.
The medicines that an Integral Yoga Therapist prescribes are drawn from a wide range of yoga practices. If you place the guidance for management of your condition in their hands they will write down a list of cleansing, asanas, Yoga Nidra, pranayama, mudras, bandhas, meditation, diet and lifestyle adjustments matched to your particular condition, needs, abilities, personality and lifestyle. Just like any physician, you are then expected to go home and "take your medicine" as prescribed, only in this case you must do your medicine! Of course, this is much harder than staying in bed for some time and popping a few prescription pills 3 times daily. It is also much harder than lying there on a massage table whilst a therapist uses their particular healing modality upon you.
In Yoga Therapy, you are the healer, your body is the healer. The yoga therapist (or yoga teacher) is only pointing out the best way for you to help your body fix the problem which you have brought about within it. The basic principle is this - you break it, you fix it! In this way the process from illness to health involves a transformation of the person from one who makes themself sick to one who makes themselves healthy. In this way it is not the illness which has been changed, it is the person. And this is why true healing can take so long, because people can take a long time to change out of what they have spent a long time becoming! This has profound ramifications in that it helps you see what causes your disease (dis-ease) and how to prevent such states in the future. So not only are you fixing a current problem, you will also be preventing numerous other latent conditions.
It is therefore sadly ironic that therapies such as yoga - which actively work on the root causes of illness - are forced to promote that they "manage symptoms", whereas the more popular medicines - which (mostly) just suppress the symptoms - can be called "cures".
But in fact, Yoga Therapy is just a trick - your trick. If you come to yoga by way of an illness, in a search for better health, that disorder was just the hook - your own hook - to discover a deeper cure for the (as yet) unidentified spiritual malaise. Along the way, as you learn yoga and as you identify your root imbalances, you will realise that yoga is more than just a fix-it system. Interestingly, most people stay with yoga long after their original illness has gone, indicating that all along they wanted much more than a cure for that ailment. Unfortunately, some do not stay with yoga as long as the cure takes, or else they drop their yoga when they are well enough to "go back to their normal life". Perhaps such people never really wanted to change. They just wanted to stay as they were, but without the discomfort of their ailments!
In the mind of the yoga therapist you are neither a sick patient to be "treated", a client to be "dealt with" or a customer to be "serviced". You are simply another yoga student to be taught what you need. You have made them a therapist by your identification with your illness and your search for a cure. They are still just a yoga teacher. All they plan to do is to teach you the most appropriate techniques for yourself - not for the illness you came in to tell them about. If you came along and asked them for a private yoga class - without telling them anything about yourself or your illness - through their own experience, intuition, their abilities in "body reading" and "personality reading", along with their observance of your yoga abilities at that point in time, you would receive exactly the same practices to take home as if you had identified your illness to them beforehand. Yoga is really just the mirror for your condition. In short, every yoga teacher is a yoga therapist. Knowingly or unknowingly the yoga they teach is giving people what they need to evolve and therefore heal themself.
Throughout the book, I have prescribed different yoga techniques and lifestyle modifications for the numerous conditions surrounding women's health, pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. Frequently these may read like Yoga Therapy prescriptions - "yoga is good for this", "yoga is good for that". And it is - yoga is good for any part of you! But really, yoga works best on all of you, that is the sum