Yoga Therapy

Boring. That’s what I used to think whenever I see a yoga therapy class in the schedule as I book my next class. “That’s a slow class and if I’m paying for a class, I want to make my money’s worth” – I’d say to myself. And time and again, I’ll opt for a faster flow class or a challenging backbend or inversion class.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love and benefit tremendously from a flow, backbend or inversion class. However, as I go through the YTT 200h course, my eyes are slowly peeling open to a whole new world: the science of yoga and its healing power.

Not just therapeutic

Yoga therapy is not just “therapeutic” in the sense that it offers you the nice sensation of feeling good after a class. It is a preventive medicine and it cures. How did something with such a rich history of over 5,000 years (or some say 10,000 years) become sidelined and forgotten?

Along with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Eastern healing methods have been labelled ‘alternative’ medicine – simply suggesting the Western-centric view of the world with Western Medicine as the default.

How often have we heard of people turning to alternative medicine after Western medicine fails them? Dozens of my friends have spent loads of money trying all sorts of methods in their quest to conceive a child, and finally turning to TCM as the last resort.

It’s probably stress.

Stress. That’s probably why more and more people are finding it hard to conceive. In fact, stress is now blamed for almost every health condition today – from diabetes, heart diseases and cancer to even the common cold.

The word “stress” in the way it is currently and commonly used today is a relatively new term. Time Magazine in 1983 called stress “The Epidemic of the Eighties” and there is no doubt that the situation has worsened. Before we get stressed about stress, what if we finally acknowledge that we need to take a holistic approach to our health?

Our bodily conditions are hugely influenced by our mind and spirit. Yoga therapy is an inherently holistic approach, simultaneously working on the body, mind, and spirit. Holistic approaches to health emphasizes the body’s own ability to heal itself, as well promoting lifestyle changes and naturally occurring remedies, such as meditation and herbal medicines.

Yoga as medicine

Regular Yoga practice can improve the function of the digestive system, foster better psychological health, and improve oxygen delivery to tissues. Yoga can also help the body more efficiently remove waste products, carcinogens, and cellular toxins.

Over the last 18 days, given the YTT course, it has been #yogaeveryday for me. And I thought I would test if pranayama works. Every night before going to bed, I would do anuloma viloma starting from the left nostril and I am certain it has helped my body recuperate and cool down from the intense asana practice. Since this works, I have stopped taking BCAA supplements to help my body recover from muscle aches.

As I enter my late 30s, my next test would be to see if regular asana practice would make me age beautifully (of course I’m superficial). And *touch wood* – if it allows me to be free from illness and health conditions often associated with age.

We’ll see!