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What is Yoga Therapy?

Therapy means to remove or treat dis-ease through any means possible.

In order to remove dis-ease we must find a balance between body and mind, as the mind reacts to what the body perceives.  Illness, stress, pain all derive from some imbalance within the body created by the things that we do or don’t do, the things we eat and on our mental outlook.

A simple example; consider someone who is lactose intolerant.  They may develop stomach upset, intestinal pain and cramping, diarrhea, gas and bloating by eating a single portion of cheese or drinking a glass of milk.  It is easy to say “don’t consume dairy products” because we know what the cause is.  However when it comes to something like chronic bronchitis the cause may be food intolerance, it may be an airborne allergy, it may even be stress related.  In this case it is not so easy to say don’t eat that.  This is where Yoga Therapy comes into play. 

Yoga is a word meaning “to join”, “to attach”… it aims to bring together the body, mind and spirit through physical practice, breath technique, nutrition awareness and spiritual awareness.

Therefore Yoga itself is a therapy.  It has been adopted in the West as exercise because of the many benefits regular practice has on our physical appearance.  General group yoga does not take into consideration the individual as yoga was originally intended.  The ancient yogis would feel an imbalance in their body and then move into a pose (asana) to relieve that imbalance.  Through these movements dis-ease was removed bringing the practitioner closer to bliss.  (Important to note that the ancient yogis had very strict diets, they only consumed wholesome, natural, vegetarian foods)  Through scientific research we can now use these same asanas to bring about healing.  A forward bend removes pressure off of the lower back, therefor regular practice of stretching the spine will remove back pain.  Chest opening asana gives the lungs greater space to expand which relieves symptoms of asthma, making breathing easier.   Every asana has health benefits, the experienced yogi can help you find the correct ones for your body type and health concerns.

Listening to our body includes what we ingest in the form of nutrients.  Yoga teaches us to feel, to use our breath to become aware of all areas of the body.  To do this effectively we must feed the body whole foods in order for it to heal, and grow strong.   

Yoga teaches us how to focus our attention in order to tune into our bodies, to feel where the distress is and provides us with the correct posture to correct it.

As part of this we must also discover what is causing this unease in the first place, yes Yoga can correct it but without knowing the cause we are constantly correcting and not preventing.  This is where we combine yoga and therapy.  Now that we have the correct asana we look to our body and mind…what kinds of food are we eating?  Are the things we consume nourishing to the individual?  I have been iron deficient since childhood even though I consumed a large portion of meat.  During natural medical training I came to realize that my body does not digest animal products, once I stopped consuming meats my body regulated itself and iron levels came up.  Not only that but other dis-ease I had become used to went away, chronic headaches, stomach upset, acne, to name a few.  My health turned around because I removed one thing. 

Each of us is different, we react in different ways; your headache may not have the same cause as mine even though the effect is the same the cause is different.  Through Yoga Therapy we can discover the cause and treat the symptoms to heal the body in a natural way without creating any other dis-ease!

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