GROWTH OF YOGA THERAPYThe subject of Yoga is a beautiful gift for humanity and today we see a big upsurge in its popularity. Not only there is an increase in the number of Yoga practitioners but also an equal increase in the number of Yoga teachers. From Hatha Yoga to Ashtanga to Hot Yoga, the world is also witnessing the emergence of many different styles and forms of Yoga. One of the major aspects that has contributed to the huge growth of Yoga is its therapeutic effect. Yoga is today being extensively used as a therapy by many Yoga schools and is also gaining acceptance as a complimentary treatment by various medical institutions.
Why Yoga Therapy?
Today the most common diseases affecting the population are cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disorders, musculoskeletal diseases and of course varied forms of mental illnesses. What has made people resort to Yoga and Meditation for treatment is the ineffectiveness of medical science in providing a satisfactory and permanent cure to these illnesses (sometimes even an unsatisfactory explanation for the cause of occurrence)! Preference for practicing Yoga over popping pills has been another contributing factor for the popularity of Yoga Therapy. And while medicines often come with many side effects, Yoga is more appealing in terms of giving a healthier lifestyle, greater vitality and on overall sense of positivity about life. Another interesting observation that is also finding validation is that most of the diseases today are psychosomatic, that is, they relate not only to the body but also to the mind and of course Yoga has emerged as a holistic approach to managing and solving such health issues.
Some facts and figures
National Institutes of Health has recognized Yoga as a form of Complementary and Alternative medicine (http://bit.ly/2mGnU3A). A survey by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for disease and prevention reported a figure of 10% US adults practicing Yoga in 2012 as compared to 5% in 2002 (http://usat.ly/1aH6ygA). Also, the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) was set up specifically to promote and propagate Yoga therapy by way of bringing together Yoga Therapists worldwide and as of mid-2016 it had more than 170 Yoga Therapy Schools as members (http://www.iayt.org/?Membership). These facts are clearly indicative of growing popularity of Yoga in general and as a therapy as well.
The topic of therapeutic Yoga would be incomplete without mentioning the name of B.K.S Iyengar who has largely used Yoga Asanas as a therapy and helped especially people suffering from Skeleto-Muscular disorders like arthritis, slipped disc and cervical spondylitis in managing their pain. On the other hand, many other Yoga Therapy schools are also making use of breathing techniques (Pranayamas) , Yoga Mudras, Chanting techniques and Meditation practices to address issues of anxiety, stress, insomnia and other forms of psychological disorders. Brahmari Pranayama for instance is gaining huge acceptance as an excellent therapy for curing insomnia. In fact a study conducted by the Nepal Medical College in the year 2010 showed that a five minute practice of Brahmari Pranayama produced a parasympathetic effect on the heart rate and the blood pressure. (http://nmcth.edu/images/gallery/Editorial/49tvwt_pramanik.pdf).
Yoga….much more than therapy
While it is heartening to see that many people are benefitting from the use of Yoga as a therapy, it would be also good to mention that Yoga is not just about that. Yoga is about knowing and experiencing the truth of who you are. Health is one of the byproducts that comes with the practice of Yoga. When you are dealing with your Self at the basic and root level, result is assured (even when you have not dug deep into the roots!). Imagine, just by exploring the periphery of the root if such benefits are possible, what capabilities Yoga could have as a subject to offer if one explores the deeper level. Let’s end with this thought here, ponder over it and if and when you feel you are ready to know your Self, don’t wait anymore, take a deep dive!!