Contributed by KKanchan Raste.
Yoga Therapy is the adaptation of yoga practices for people with health challenges. Yoga therapists prescribe specific regimens of postures, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to suit individual needs. Medical research shows that yoga therapy is among the most effective complementary therapies for several common ailments. The challenges may be an illness, a temporary condition like pregnancy or childbirth, or a chronic condition associated with old age or infirmity. The therapy is particularly appropriate for many chronic conditions that persist despite convention medical treatments.
Modern science knows that the proper functioning of four bodily systems plays a major role in maintaining optimal health – the circulatory, the digestive, the lymphatic and the reproductive system. Most diseases find their root in the reduced functioning of one of these four systems. Examples of circulatory system disorders include hypertension, various types of heart diseases, and cognitive deficits like speech and language. Examples of digestive disorders include constipation, hernia, various digestive disorders, and various diseases related to the liver, stomach, intestines, etc. Examples of disorders of the lymphatic system include varicose veins, hemorrhoids, hypotensionetc. Disorders of the reproductive system include various complications related to childbirth and sexual health. Yoga, through its various sets of asanas has proven to improve, regulate and maintain the optimum functioning of all these four systems.
Apart from the four systems mentioned above, Yoga also talks about maintaining the health of the respiratory system and the endocrine system.
Breath is considered to be one of the most vital elements in yogic philosophy. Breath is something, which helps remove stagnation of energy in the body. This stagnation could occur in any of the systems mentioned above and could lead to ill health and problems like asthma, bronchitis, etc. The respiratory system helps tackle this type of stagnation with the help of Pranayam or breathing exercises. It helps in removing toxins and carbon dioxide accumulated in various parts of the body due to faulty breathing and lifestyle practices. These exercises also help in proper functioning of the lymph nodes, which further help in purifying the blood.
The endocrine system, which is responsible for production of all essential hormones, is another major system, malfunctioning of which could lead to various diseases including but not limited to diabetes, hyper/hypothyroidism, osteoporosis, Addison’s diseases, etc. It is also the root cause of various mental disorders ranging from mild depression all the way up to Alzheimer’s disease and Schizophrenia. These are handled in Yoga through Mantra Chanting and Meditation. Mantras provide specific vibrations to these glands. The mantras try to resonate these vibrations to the vibrations of the universe thereby making the glands function in unison with energies of the universe. This helps in the optimum functioning of the endocrine glands.
Thus, by incorporating Therapeutic Yoga in combination with contemporary medicine gives one a holistic healing approach as yoga detoxifies all body systems The above, is just a glimpse of how yoga can be used as therapy. It has been known to overcome from the simplest of disorders like headaches and backaches to some of the most complicated and chronic ones like cancers, depression, diabetes and everything in between.