Yoga is an ancient philosophy born in the Indian subcontinent around 5,000 years ago.
Literally, the word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, that means union. Yoga is indeed considered the union between our body, our mind and our soul; and it’s also the union of the individual energy with the universal energy.
The practice of Yoga that is taught in the Western countries is very different from the ancient Yoga, that was based mainly on meditation and breathing exercises (pranayama).
When yoga become popular in the West and since the society experiment a huge change in habits, the practice evolved following the need of the population.
The main point of modern yoga is that mind and body are strictly connected: to have a still mind you need a strong and stable body. Hence the practice evolved becoming a complete physical activities.
A regular practice of Yoga has many benefits, which are being recognized also by modern medicine.
The main benefits of a regular and constant yoga practice are:
- boost your immunity
- increase flexibility
- tone up your muscles
- weight loss
- promote better health of your endocrine system
- improve concentration
- release fears, stress and anxiety
- get better sleep
- create harmony between our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems
- release back pain
- guarantee a full oxygenation of the blood
- improve posture
- compensate the “office lifestyle” (or spending long time sitting)
- purify the body and internal organs through the elimination of toxins
- correct imbalances in the gastrointestinal system
- prevent the collapse of the uterus and of the intestine
- increase awareness
- decrease rage and negative feelings
- weaken the symptoms of the menopause
- diminished menstrual pain
- improve blood circulation
- increase energy level
- gently massage the hearth
- improve the functions of the abdominal organs (stomach, kidneys, liver, pancreas, intestine, spleen)
Yoga is particularly indicated for all the people who:
- run on a regular basis
- spend most of the day sit
- suffer of any from of diabetes
- have asthma or respiratory problems
- suffer of emotional unbalance
- suffer from anger problems
- suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia or/and stress
- have postural problems (for instance: scoliosis)
- suffer from hypertension
- have thyroid or parathyroid issues.
We speak about yoga-therapy when the teachings of Yoga (physical exercises, breathing techniques, meditation and philosophy) are adapted to a specific person to help her/him to heal from a disease, to find an emotional and physical balance and to improve his/her quality of life.
The Yoga-therapy is not a substitute of modern medicine, but it’s a complementary therapy.
The Yoga teacher can make diagnosis or prescribe medication only when she/he has a University degree in Medicine.
Yoga-therapy is usually defined as the “process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the philosophy and practice of Yoga” (an IAYT Definition).
The principles at the basis of Yoga-therapy
The application of Yoga- Therapy depends on 3 principles:
- shakti-krama which is the use of Yoga to gain physical and mental strength.
- chikitsâ-krama or the use of Yoga to heal problems. This means: if there is a problem it needs to be fixed, if there is no problem you need to learn how to protect yourself, if there is no problem and we learnt how to protect ourselves then we need to keep out body the condition of not catching any problems,
- the last principle is âdhyâtmika-krama, which is based on the use of yoga to go beyond the material level of our lives and to understand that the Ego and the idea of “I”, “Me” are just limiting concepts.
Benefits of Yogatherapy
Anyone can attend a class of Yogatherapy, but it is recomended in case of:
- stress and anxiety
- back pain
- obesity or overweight
- thyroid dysfunction
- unbalance in the endocrine system
- gastrointestinal problems or disease
- recovering from long and aggressive therapy (i.e cancer treatments, HIV medications)
- scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis
- slight and moderate depression
- sore muscles
- lack of self esteem
- angina pectoris
- allergic reactions
- cardiac arrhythmia
- chronic fatigue
- diabetes mellitus
- chronic pain
- pregnancy nausea
- collateral effects of HIV and cancer