The ancient rishis recognized long ago that in order to attain the highest stage of yoga for self-realization, a healthy physical body is essential; otherwise, with a sick body, it will not be possible to contemplate the larger reality or to muster the energy for practice.
Patanjali, whose Yoga Sutras date back to more than 2000 years, has shown to humanity that through the practice of yoga, a human being can gain mastery over his body, mind and intellect, which would further lay down the path to spiritual evolution. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are the basis for all yoga that is practiced today for building up a sound mind in a sound body. It should be understood that the body is not merely skin and bones but a finely balanced system of energies.
A common question posed is: “I am very healthy and why should I practice yogasanas and strain myself”. This query may sound relevant at the moment, but in the long run, it is invalid. Therapeutic values of yogasanas play their role now. The word ‘therapy’ takes its origin from the Greek, which means ‘to heal’.
The twin advantages in practice of yogasanas are:
- It is a preventive measure to avoid recurrence of any sickness or disorders,
- And it will keep the practitioner in sound physical and mental health.
Although yoga is best used as a preventive medicine, some of its practices also have great therapeutic value. They can help those suffering from various difficult physical conditions, like back pain, scoliosis, and arthritis. However, ideally, yoga practice should be an integral part of our efforts to maintain good health and prevent degenerative diseases. The benefits of yoga are enumerated in the algorithm below (see Fig. 1).
Therapeutic yoga (or yoga therapy) is principally a system of self-treatment.4 It is the science of applying the various techniques of yoga in a variety of illnesses and conditions, to facilitate optimal health, healing and awakening. Classes are designed for the individual or group with a therapeutic focus for a specific health condition for example, cancer, heart, prenatal, diabetes and multiple sclerosis etc. The yoga therapy is a specialized form of yogic culture.
Therapeutic application of yoga comprises a wide range of mind/body practices, ranging from postural and breathing exercises to deep relaxation and meditation. Yoga therapy is tailored to suit the needs of the persons needing therapy. It promotes an all round health, as well as helping particular medical conditions. Yoga offers an excellent training program for the purpose of maintaining one’s health. Regular practice of Yoga, for minimum 30–45 minutes daily, helps not only in developing a physical fitness but also in preventing the occurrence of many such ailments, which invariably result from hectic pace of modern life style.
Therapeutic yoga exercises should be chosen for specific physical problems and the capacity of the individual should be kept in view so that it is comfortable and beneficial. It is also advisable not to try exercises on one’s own and should be practiced after consulting a doctor/yoga therapist.5
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: January 18, 2015