Yoga therapy

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Origin of Yoga
“Yoga therapy” is derived from the ancient science or Yoga tradition of “Patanjali” and the “Ayurvedic medicine”. In the yogic world, Lord Shiva was considered to be the first “Yogi” or “The Guru”. From the ancient times, Yoga has been practiced by different people of all ages for their general well-being. It focuses on the health and wellness at all the levels of the person: physical, psychological and spiritual. It refers to the healing journey that helps to create a balance between your body, mind and soul.

The root of word Yoga
The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” which means “to join” or “to unite”. This word “Yoga” was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, known as the Rig Veda. Later Yoga was developed and compiled into the collections of texts containing songs, rituals and mantras by Rishis who documented these practices in the Upanishads, Vedas and other mythological scriptures.

Yoga infographic

The classifications of Yoga:
There are four major broad classifications of Yoga:
1. Karma Yoga – related to actions and human values
2. Bhakti Yoga – related to devotion, rituals and prayers
3. Jnana Yoga –related to knowledge and wisdom
4. Raja yoga –related to meditation and mind control exercises

Significance of yoga
Yoga involves the adaptation and application of certain techniques and practices, commonly referred as “asana”. Practicing these asanas regularly under a trained Yoga therapist helps to resolves various health problems. Yoga therapist will recommend specific regimes of postures, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques that will suit every individual’s requirement.
Pranayama is a part of Yoga which refers to the complete breathing exercise that promotes proper breathing. In Sanskrit, “pran” means “breath” and “ayama” means “control”. Thus, Yoga is a holistic package that emphasizes on bringing the mind, body and soul together to a state of oneness.

Benefits of Yoga
Yoga works at all levels that include one’s body, mind and soul. Practicing regularly yoga will have many benefits which include:
1. It makes you feel more energetic.
2. It improves your blood circulation, overall concentration and focus.
3. It relaxes and calms your body and mind.
4. It provides better stamina and strength to the body.
5. It reduces the level of anxiety and depression level.
6. It triggers endorphins in the body that will make you feel good and happy.

Yoga also promotes specific changes in muscles, joints and other organs by combining various stretching techniques such as massage and stretching exercises. Yoga is found beneficial in treating various medical conditions such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, musculoskeletal problems, and weight-related, stress-related and breathing problems.
• A study in 2011 showed that Yoga therapy is effective in treating psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and posttraumatic stress disorder as a part of complimentary treatment methods.
• Another study (2014) indicated that Yoga is beneficial in reducing stress and inflammation related to chronic low back pain (CLBP).
• The latest study on Yoga also showed practicing Yoga has significant improvement in various cognitive functions such as performance enhancement, attention, neural activity and executive functions.

Yoga analogy
• The lake Model – Importance of Yoga in life can be beautifully explained by this lake analogy. Imagine a lake full of moving water is just like our mind. When the surface of the water is disturbed by waves, it causes ripples on the surface of the water body. This can be compared to the temporary mental states in our brain. In the agitated state of water, the bottom of the lake cannot be seen clearly because of the disturbances in water. The bottom can be compared to one’s real or true self. Just like this, in disturbed mind, we cannot achieve self-realization. When this disturbance is calm down which is achieved by practicing Yoga, you can see the bottom i.e. self-realization is possible.
• Practicing Yoga is just like learning to play a musical instrument. The longer you learn to play any musical instrument, the better you get it and more you will push your body to do it. Similarly learning Yoga is also addictive just like music and the more you practice, the more you will be benefited from it.

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