Yoga is strong but slow medicine. It is a powerful modality, but it works in a different manner than conventional medicine. Rather than simply treating a specific complaint, yoga seeks to improve, in a holistic manner, the functioning of various systems of the body, lowering stress, improving immunity, relaxing muscle tension, improving posture, boosting mood.
Doing all these things (and more) through yoga practice, the body is able to correct many problems on its own. Though yoga takes more time to be effective than drug therapy, it tends to become more effective over time.
Even if we can’t guarantee a specific result, it is important to design a practice that hopefully will be effective for the health problems that bring the student to yoga. We try to set up conditions that allow healing to occur. Therapeutic Yoga is a personalized program of yoga exercises, breathing and meditation techniques that can help reduce the stress associated with chronic health conditions and other physical challenges. Based on the current state of wellness, a program of yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation specific to the student’s needs and goals, is designed. During classes we guide through the program, helping the student to progress at the best suitable pace.
One of the reasons patients come to yoga therapists is that drugs often don’t provide lasting solutions or they cause intolerable side effects. For those with rather serious problems, it can function as a "life raft” in the process of getting out of troubled waters. It can help to stabilize our emotional lives, affected by stress associated with being ill.
Can Yoga help you?
With a consistent focus on breathing, relaxing and gentle movement, people with the following conditions have benefited from Therapeutic Yoga programs:
Back & Shoulder pain
Hip pain, knee & foot pain
Ambulatory Multiple Sclerosis
Anxiety & Depression
Where does healing fit into Yoga?
The approach is based on the fact that healing is a learning process. Sometimes it is an opportunity. Healing is not a hit and miss affair as it seems to many people. Healing is a situation where we meet ourselves. One may want to ask:
What do I need to learn from my physical condition? Who am I? Etc.
First we manage symptoms and dis-ease. We also need to support our mind, self-image and emotions to keep a sense of the positive and be proactive in the face of these conditions. Our bodies are amazing systems, able to respond positively to a positive and proactive mind.
At times we face the fear of unknown – through meditation, breath work and gentle physical movement, yoga helps to keep emotions balanced and bring the mind into a positive frame.
In face of healing, people need to understand themselves deeply, to see if their intentions are their own or if they are just fashionable. The choices we make on a daily basis tell us something about ourselves. As long as we think we have forever, we avoid figuring out our priorities. Life is impermanent.
We can view yoga therapy as a preparation for the true intention of yoga:
It is to function as a "launch pad” to new possibilities of personal evolution. We can begin to use yoga as a process of transformation.
Katja Velkoborsky facilitates students learning how to heal themselves using the tools of Yoga. She is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist, with intensive training at BKS Iyengar Yoga College of Alberta.