Yoga Therapy Yesterday and Today

best yoga therapyBy Faye Martins

Does Yoga therapy have a mysterious past? Why did it take so long for the world to see Yogic methods? Specifically, what was going on with the record-keeping? In a similar fashion to other forms of shamanic wisdom, Yogic philosophy was handed down orally. Consequently, this process took thousands of years. As a result, early teachings remained in the hands of those who protected and preserved this knowledge. Furthermore, the information was transcribed in writing onto surfaces that were not permanent.

 

Yogic Therapy Yesterday

Beginning as a comprehensive science, Yoga is a means of incorporating physical, mental, and spiritual health. Yogic methods address everything from daily life to spirituality and everyone from the individual to the community. Yoga training was created to be the foundation on which a healthy society could be built, not a hodge-podge of ideas from which people took the pieces they needed to “fix” their problems. However, access to information and literacy rates in the past were nothing like today

 

Worldwide Reach

Various traditions of Yogic methodology and philosophy have been practiced throughout India and Asia for thousands of years. The “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” detail the practice and form the basis for most of the contemporary teachings introduced by Swamis to the world. To be sure, when a technique worked, it was noted. Although record-keeping was nothing today and you couldn’t get the word out over the Internet.

Yogic Therapy Today – Changes

These days, there is a line of separation between teaching classes and teaching Yoga therapy. Yoga Alliance has established guidelines for teachers, which elaborates further. Speaking from a westerner’s viewpoint: Yoga is relatively new on the global stage. Firstly it was brought to the west by Indian Swamis in the 19th century. Next, Yoga therapy evolved on the International stage over the years. Afterward, changing from an exotic physical exercise to a part of the counter culture. Lastly, today it is a conventional part of mainstream culture.

 

Collective Efforts

The renaissance of International Yoga in the 21st century accompanied a renewed interest in spirituality and energy medicine, but traditional medicine also contributed to its growth. Just as people are discovering the benefits of Yoga for stress and quality of life, scientists are researching its benefits on a wide range of diseases, including mental health, chronic illnesses, cancer, heart problems, and immune disorders. At the same time, the medical field is recommending Yoga as both a complement to traditional care and a deterrent to future illnesses.

 

Three Therapeutic Yoga Techniques

Of course, there are more than three Yoga techniques, but let’s stick to the three core therapeutic techniques. Until now, these core techniques were always part of a session, but people have busy schedules. Techniques, such as mantra, relaxation, bandha, and/or Yoga Nidra can be practiced in addition to the core techniques. Most importantly, practice time should never feel rushed.

Pranayama

Although not as well known as Yoga poses, controlled breathing techniques make up one of the major limbs of Yogic practice. Yogic breathing calms the nervous system, rids the body of toxins, and improves circulation.

 

Asana

Physical exercises range from gentle stretches to complex postures. Depending on health and ability, students use props, chairs, or other support in order to receive maximum benefits from the practice.

Meditation

Meditation can be a part of postures and breathing, but poses and breathing also lead the way to meditation. Most classes end with a short relaxation. Most importantly, meditation sessions are usually part of a studio’s schedule. Sometimes, meditation is a small part of a Yoga class. On the other hand, a variety of meditation classes and workshops may be on the schedule. Not to mention the variety of styles and methods.

 

Food for Thought

Finally, there are many ways to incorporate Yoga therapy into daily life. While Yoga is beneficial when practiced regularly, a short session is better than no session. Later, it is possible to expand on one’s practice whenever the time is available. For that reason, part of an overall practice strategy should contain the three core techniques mentioned earlier.

 

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