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What Is Yoga Therapy?

By: Manjaree Bhatt

Now a days, Yoga is taken as a fitness, show off or a social status symbol of 'A Class society' Any celebrity says that he/she practices Yoga, and then it becomes a status symbol When a patient is advised by a family doctor or a specialist to practice Yoga, it becomes a must sort of thing like a 'prescribed medicine' So in most cases person will find any yoga teacher or studio suitable to own needs, demands, thinking or budget Yoga is not a 'once a week' kind of practice. It is a life style, which one has to live for 24 hours and for a lifetime It requires dedication, commitment and regular practice. Yoga is not at all just fitness or fun kind recreational activity!

Here I'm trying to explain that why simple yoga practices and Yoga therapy is different? Yoga is a practical science, Indian Psychology with its ideology and technology: as a holistic system for promoting harmony at physical, mental, emotional, social and lastly at spiritual levels. When this balance is disturbed by accident, illness, disorder or the stress created by any illness: physical or mental. Yoga can help restore it, and help cure or manage the illness. Yoga therapy is the adaptation of yoga practices for people with health problems. Although ordinary yoga classes can improve general health and resolve mild complaints but they may be ineffective or can be even harmful for serious conditions. In such cases, yoga therapy can help people by tailoring yoga life style to their individual needs, taking into account their health problems, flexibility, capacity, capability, habits, constitution and circumstances.

Yoga therapy practitioners are qualified yoga teachers with further training in human physiology, anatomy and applications of yoga to medical conditions. Yoga therapy utilizes practices from India, which date back thousands of years and are part of traditional Indian healthcare system. Critical research trials show that yoga therapy practices are among the most effective known methods for managing the psychosomatic diseases and disorders, stress-related conditions, which are so common today. This is because Yoga bridges the gap between body and mind, ranging across the whole spectrum from physical to mental, from gross to subtle.

As in medical science we all know that there are several medicines available in the market. Even details are written on the medicines like doze and what it contains and compounds? Even Pharmacists can help but then why we go to the doctor? It is the doctor who decides and gives you the right amount to take and which is suitable to you as patient. Doctor knows the nature of the patient and what can improve the conditions through his/her years of practice and experience. Similarly Hath yoga practices: poses, Pranayams, kriyas etc. all are known from ages There are thousands of books available in the market from old texts to the most modern approach with CD s and DVDs. With details that which pose is good for what type of problem? Very few explain its limitations. That when one should not do or practice any particular pose or technique in certain conditions Plus the same pose is taught but with various simplified variations and versions. It's the Yoga therapist who knows that which pose is going to help for a particular problem and which version or variation should be done by the client who takes special class for any particular problem.

Here I would like to emphasize that why Yoga therapy is more effective than other therapies. The Allopathic science has only two tools with them to fight back with any disease or disorder: medicine and surgery. Medicines masks the symptoms and surgery removes the problem temporarily but chances are for redeveloping Even medical sciences are also non-specific when it comes to its effectiveness. After all men have invented all these sciences, so it can't be as perfect as nature Yoga - the science is based on the laws of the nature. We all accept that human mind cannot be comparable with Mother Nature. After all it's Mother Nature who makes and creates the man So there are always limitations in man's discovery Yoga offers variety of tools. They are suitable to individual needs, conditions, capacity and capability. It offers poses, breathing techniques, Mudras, Bandhas, Cleansing techniques, Relaxation techniques. It provides physical as well as mental training through its five major branches: namely Classical - Astanga yoga, Hath yoga, Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga and Karma yoga. Person can practice in any positions: standing, sitting or laying. It offers everything and a total package covering human life from 'womb to tomb - birth to death.' It deals with the root cause of the problem and helps in removing the cause not just symptoms. Certain conditions those are not curable, it helps patients to manage the problem and helps in maintaining the conditions so it does not go from bad to worst!

Yoga therapy starts with a one-to-one consultation to ascertain the presenting condition, associated health problems and related lifestyle factors. This is followed by a series of one-to-one or specialized group sessions. Yoga therapy starts with very simple flexibility exercises followed by simplified poses, simplified breathing techniques and at the end relaxation, so that clients can begin to practice and benefit right away, even if they have not prior experience of yoga. Yoga therapy is very safe, when taught by a qualified yoga therapist. In addition to helping manage the present condition, it often yields other health benefits through awareness. Yoga therapy empowers people to look after their own health, makes them independent and thus leading to patient's satisfaction and reducing expenditure on consultations, drugs & medicines. The most important is that it helps to protect you from the side effects of drugs. Yoga therapy is based on the laws of the nature so it is totally harmless and natural way of healing. Thus Yoga therapy is a part of treatment, for cure and prevention.

Note: Encyclopedia of Family Health, Published 1991, with two reprints in 1998 and 2005 editions, authored by Dr. David B. Jacoby from Johns Hopkins School or Medicine and Dr. Robert M. Youngson from Royal Society of Medicine - Volume 1-18 have cover Yoga under two sections: (1) Treatment and Cure (2) Prevention and Diagnosis of Disease.

This proves that Yoga, the origin of Indian health care practices have crossed its boundaries in the past due to its authenticity and practical positive results which have been approved by allopathic practitioners from ages and to the date.


Manjari Bhatt is a Yoga Teacher & Therapist and Founder of Yoga Education Centre Ontario  ... More

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