Yoga Therapy is a field in medical science that is finding wide acceptance not just because of the increased awareness but due to the cure it provides to many ailments
Shri Nagaraj, Yoga Therapist, and Professional Yoga Master
Ever since the International Yoga Day started, the common public has become aware of the benefits of practicing Yoga. One can see people carrying Yoga mats early in the morning to a nearby public park or to a Yoga training centre. There has been a huge increase in the number of Yoga training centers and academies as well as the followers. Many critics have dismissed this increase in Yoga awareness as a temporary fad and have even dismissed the benefits of Yoga. While we don’t wish to answer the critics, in particular, there is much more about Yoga than just a set of routine Asanas. The benefits of Ashtanga Yoga (8 Limbs of Yoga) are known to those who practice it. Yoga Therapy is a field in medical science that is finding wide acceptance not just because of the increased awareness but due to the actual cure it provides to many ailments.
When we went around speaking to Yoga Therapists and therapy practitioners, what emerged was not just the cure for an ailment but also the physical and mental gains it accrues for them in their lives. Many categorically said that Yoga therapy cured them of conditions that mainstream medicines and remedies couldn’t. Many also claimed that, not just lifestyle-related diseases, Yoga Therapy has also cured them of ailments related to bones, viral diseases and even neurological disorders. To corroborate the claims, I spoke to a well-known Yoga Therapist Nagaraj. He has an MSc in Yoga from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA) University and is an immensely experienced Yoga teacher and therapist. He has received “Yoganidhi” International award from Thai Kannada Balaga in Thailand. He is also the founder of ‘Yoganidhi’ foundation which is into research and training in Yoga. Nagaraj says, “We have successfully cured many participants of Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Spondylitis, and Obesity. Many have come to us after trying out other forms of medicines.” When asked if there is a standard procedure, he says “People are guided as per their specific ailments and the distinct routine is designed for them. It’s not that one set of routine will address all issues as it is assumed. Yoga is science and each ailment needs to be addressed specifically”, he stresses.
How Yoga Cured Me, Participants Speak!
Organiser spoke to several participants of Yoga Therapy at S-VYASA and the way it helped to cure their ailments. Their reactions and statements prove that Yoga is not just a recent fad and the belief in Yoga goes beyond the International Yoga Day and the surrounding media glare. Some of the reactions of the participants:
Smt N Rajeevi, retired bank employee: “I suffered from Spondylitis and High Blood Pressure. Dr Nagarathna of S-VYASA guided me towards Yoga Therapy. Under the guidance of Nagaraj, I was able to cure ailments and also improve my quality of life. Regular Yoga Therapy has helped me improve my mental, physical as well as my spiritual life. My dosage of BP tablets has been cut down drastically. Yoga Therapy itself is an enjoyable process which involves a lot of activities and is not monotonous”.
Divyalatha, Homemaker: “I suffered from hypertension after a death in my family. This gave rise to many other health issues including issues with spine and low self-confidence. None of the medicines helped me find a cure. But ever since I started Yoga and underwent Yoga Therapy, I have recovered from all these ailments. I have found new confidence and my mind has become cheerful. Meditation taught me to control my emotions. But Yoga has to be practised continuously over a period of time to reap the benefits”.
Nisha Jain, Homemaker: “I was afflicted with Ortho fever for over 3 years. It was very painful at hips and ankles, and hands would become stiff like wood. Also suffered from sleeplessness and depression. Tried alternate medicines, supplements, and different diets. I was referred to Yoga by chance. Today after several months of Yoga Therapy and regular practice I can say that 90 per cent of my pain is gone. Pranayama, meditation brought in positivity. Yoga should be part of our lives”.
When asked what kind of experience and training is required to become a Yoga therapist, Nagaraj says, “For one to graduate into Yoga therapy, it requires a lot of practice, research, and training. One has to be adept in human anatomy, physiology and should specialise in providing a solution to specific ailments along with obvious expertise in Yoga. I, for example, have an experience of more than 15 years in teaching Yoga. I have taught in schools and universities and wanted to explore more about Yoga as people asked me about solutions for their problems. I then graduated in Yoga Therapy as I wanted to serve the society as an alternative to the expensive medical solutions that many cannot afford”, he says stressing on the need for empathy and notion of service in a Yoga Therapist.
“Medicine works on Body alone but many ailments have their origins in the mind. Yoga’s 5-fold approach involving mental, physical, pranic, water and intellect. Yoga Therapy involves these Pancha-koshas, root-cause analysis and solutions based on them. Proper counseling is equally important”, tells Nagaraj while speaking about the Therapy procedure. When asked about the best possible lifestyle for people today, he says “Following a proper Dincharya (Daily Routine) which involves both physical and mental disciplines is most important. Regular timely intake of food, sattvic and nutritional food, proper water intake and sufficient sleep is essential. Aspiring towards a spiritual life from mechanical life is paramount”.
Narrating his experience of handling few prominent cases, he says that through Yoga Therapy he was able to cure a participant of her ligament problem due to which she was unable to walk properly. Doctors had suggested an operation but he guided her for 3 years and now she is not just able to walk but also performs all her daily chores. “Another participant suffered from arthritis, depression and extreme pain. Proper routine coupled with Yoga Therapy cured her of arthritis and also brought her out of depression. She is now doing advanced Yoga courses”, he says highlighting the benefits of Yoga Therapy. Many who are undergoing Chemo Therapy due to cancer find solace and relaxation due to the practice of Yoga, he says. He informs that based on his experience in Yoga, he has invented a set of Asanas called ‘Mrutyunjaya Namaskara’which everyone can do to increase one’s longevity and quality of life.
When asked about the role of International Yoga Day, Nagaraj says that the annual event has increased awareness of Yoga and people have also become more conscious of their health compared to earlier. I have seen people changing lifestyles in the last 3 years he says. “Many who started Yoga for International Yoga Day have become instructors themselves. I have trained many of them. Out of these, many have taken it as a career and are teaching Yoga in schools and colleges”, he says beaming with pride.