What is traditional Yoga Therapy?

Yoga Therapy is a self-empowering process, in which the care-seeker, with the help of the yoga therapist, implements a personalized and evolving yoga practice. Such a practice will include tools that are designed to impact the care seeker on multiple layers. It will provide support in the physical, energetic, mental, emotional and spiritual realms, making it a holistic treatment process.

Because of this multi-dimensional approach, any Yoga Therapy process is by nature deeply personal, and individual. It is requires complete trust and openness between the care seeker and the yoga therapist.

The role of the Yoga Therapist is to apply the tools and practices according to the needs of the individual. The role of the care-seeker is to do the practice. The latter sounds obvious, but in a world where many have come to believe that their well-being is in someone else’s hands, it can be quite a journey to regain the self awareness and self discipline that this process requires.

Traditional Yoga Therapy has its origins in ancient India, and as such it is based on Indian understandings of the human system. Yoga’s ideas about the mind and the body come from models such as the Pancamaya model from the Taittiriya Upanisad, which describes five fundamental dimensions of the human system which are completely interconnected and interrelated. These five pervading layers are the physical body, the breath/prana, the intellect, the personality and the emotions. Because of their pervading nature, an intervention on any layer will have an impact on the whole system, allowing the Yoga Therapy process to begin on that layer which is most accessible to the care-seeker.

Another model often used in Yoga Therapy is the Prana Vayu model, which describes the functioning of prana and breath. Prana is sometimes translated as life force, and can be understood to be ‘that which supports the physiology of the body’. Similar to chi as seen in Chinese Medicine, it is a like a current that flows through our human system. The Prana Vayu model describes five different aspects of prana, each which its own unique function, as well as its own particular location in the body. Yoga Therapy uses pranayama techniques, as well as movements and postures that influence these energies in specific ways.

Many people have heard of the subtle anatomy system used in Yoga Therapy. It describes how prana circulates through nadis (energy channels) and chakras (energy centres). Any obstruction to this flow of prana can create ill health. Stagnation can occur on any one of the five layers described earlier, and treatment might include tools that target more than one layer at a time. For instance, asana or pranayama can be combined with mantra, and visualisation.

As Yoga Therapy gains popularity in the West, there can be a temptation to try to understand it from the perspective of Western medicine, so that we can fit it into a model that is already familiar to us. But Western Medicine has its own ideas about human anatomy and physiology, and its own theories about mental and emotional health. Yoga Therapy is a complete system, and if we treat it as such, we stand to gain a lot from it as a primary or complimentary health system. It can empower us to take charge of our health and well being, but it can also help us to improve our relationship with our self, as well as our relationship to the world around us.

If you would like to find out more, please feel free to email lynda@freed-om-yoga.com. If you feel ready to explore the Yoga Therapy process with me, you can book in for your initial consultation via Ezybook. The process usually consists of a series of sessions, as you will be given a home practice, after which we work together to refine and adapt the practice to suit your ongoing needs.

Namaste. Lynda x

Yoga Therapy seminars and training with Kausthub Desikachar.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn about Yoga Therapy from someone who has been immersed in the teachings of Yoga and Yoga Therapy from an early age. Dr. Kausthub Desikachar is the son of TKV Desikachar, and the grandson of T. Krishnamacharya, both of whom were world-renowned healers who used the tools of yoga to great effect.

In the seminar entitled Deal with the Body, Heal with the Mind, to be held in Raumati South on June 2-4, 2018, Kausthub will explain the origins of Yoga Therapy, and give participants an experience of the tools of yoga, so that the theory of Yoga Therapy comes alive for them. His way of teaching is very accessible, and goes beyond the intellectual process of learning to become an embodied understanding. This seminar is the first of two, the second one being offered next year. For those who wish to delve more deeply into the subject, there will be an opportunity to study Yoga Therapy with Kausthub in Raumati South, starting in 2020. These seminars offer a taste of what the training will involve, and serve as a prerequisite for the three-year training as well.

Are you inspired to come and find out more, but unsure about a three day commitment? If so, you are very welcome to join us for Saturday, June 2, and then see if you would like to return for the Sunday sessions, or for the rest of the seminar. Just let Ruth Diggins know, and she will create a special booking for you.

Contact Ruth Diggins by emailing ruthdiggins.yoga@gmail.com or call her on +64 21 2586865, or +64 4 905 6224.





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