With the continuing rise of alternative and holistic medicine, Yoga Therapy is being promoted more and more by many Yoga Professionals and Yoga-related books and magazines as one of the key modalities towards health and well-being. It is important to note that Yoga Therapy is not a new style or branch of yoga; Yoga Therapy is Yoga.
A journey into the heart of Yoga reveals a holistic healing discipline that offers a broad range of tools for supporting health, healing and personal transformation. The Yoga Sutra, the most ancient and authoritative text on Yoga, describes the application of these tools in Sanskrit as being “viniyoga.” The Yoga Sutra also describes how the application of yoga should be individual-oriented. Thus, Yoga Therapy is the application of the tools of yoga according to the unique constitution of the individual.
One of the unique advantages of a system like yoga is that it views the human system as a holistic entity that is made up different dimensions (physical body, physiological body, mental processes, personality traits, underlying Self) that are mutually dependent on and mutually influence one another.
Thus, a Yoga Therapy approach offers the tools of yoga to identify and release tension or blockages on any one of these dimensions. Some of the most profound tools that yoga offers include: mindful movement, conscious breath regulation, meditative practices, visualizations, use of vocal sounds, lifestyle changes and dietary recommendations. This makes the healing process very comprehensive and extremely specific to the individual.
The other distinct advantage of yoga is that it is a self-empowering practice. The role of the Therapist is that of a guide. While the teacher identifies and teaches the correct application of specific tools, it is the student who is then responsible to actively put these tools into practice. Rather than being a passive recipient of treatment, the student is actively engaged in the path to well-being, Thus, healing comes from within the student, rather than being prescribed from the outside.
The art of Yoga Therapy was perfected and presented by T Krishnamacharya, one of the most important yogis of our modern times. His simple, yet profound approach was rooted in a deep trust in each individual’s own healing capacities and the invaluable role yoga can play in supporting a healing journey.