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Yoga Therapy vs. Allopathic Medicine

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In the allopathic system of medicine, the medical doctor examines and diagnoses a particular problem/ailment and prescribes suitable medicines, and the patient’s role is almost nil, as the task of curing the particular ailment is done by the medicine, which acts as an external agent. Whereas, in the yogic system of treatment (yoga therapy), there is no need of the external agent, as it is for the patient to practice and cure the particular disease, initially under the guidance of a yoga therapist.

Every system has its own limitations and scope, and this does not mean that one is superior to the other. Each system should be considered as a supplement to the other and not a replacement. There are certain areas where only the allopathic system, and not yoga therapy, should be applied, for example, surgical treatments, etc. Similarly, there are certain ailments, which, although considered incurable through the allopathic system, can definitely be cured by yoga (e.g. asthma, back pain, joint pain, etc.). Yoga is a supplement to rather than a replacement of normal medicine and it is not a system of glorified gymnastics, as the various asanas (postures) have beneficial therapeutic effects. Specific health problems are dealt with yoga therapy.

Some people have a wrong idea that yoga is just a physical exercise, which is a myth. The aim is to bring the body, mind and spirit into harmony and equilibrium. The primary purpose of asanas is the reconditioning of the system, both mind and body. Hatha Yoga is practiced for gaining steady posture, health and lightness of the body. No other form of physical exercise has anything like the asanas found in yoga. They are relaxing rather than effortful, refreshing rather than fatiguing, are non-competitive and require no specific equipment or clothing, and can be performed by men and women of all age groups.

In allopathy medicine, the doctor prescribes a specific drug for a specific disease or ailment, whereas in yoga therapy (yoga chikitsa), it cannot be said that for one disease, one asana or one pranayama is valid. Here, asanas (postures), pranayama (yogic breathing) and ahara (food) are combined properly and practiced for long-lasting cure and effect. It has to be remembered that yoga is neither a shortcut nor stepping stone to quick health. It takes time to practice them and achieve the best level of body comfort, which is long-lasting. Maharshi Patanjali, the father of yoga, has said: ‘Sthiram, Sukham, Asanam’ that is, asanas are postures which can be maintained steadily with comfort.         

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Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: March 26, 2012