By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What exactly is Yoga therapy, and what are its origins? Should a Yoga teacher consider becoming a Yoga therapist? Where will Yogic therapy go in the future?

If we look at a simplistic definition of what Yoga therapy is, it might be described as: A Yogic practice, which uses breathing techniques (pranayama), postures (asanas), hygienic duties (kriyas), proper diet, meditation, and many more methods, which treat mental, emotional, and physical ailments.

The origin of Yoga is, at least, 5,000 years old, but a contemporary school of therapy can be traced to Sri Tirumala Krishnamacharya, who can be regarded as a teacher of master teachers. Among his students were T.K.V. Desikachar, T.K. Sribhashyam, K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, and more.

If a Yoga teacher considers becoming a therapist, there are a number of requirements to become competent. One is developing in-depth knowledge of anatomy. This will require extra training and study. Some physical therapists, and physicians, are also Yoga teachers, so the jump to Yoga therapy is a logical one.

However, the average instructor does not have a medical background. Continuing education becomes the next logical step in this case. Another point to mention is that therapy, of any kind, requires compassion.

If compassion is not a natural ingredient built into the personality of an instructor, why pursue teaching Yoga as therapy? The truth is: A personality without compassion should not be teaching classes in any subject. There are a rare few people, who derive pleasure from pushing others into pain. They should not be working with the public in a form of care-giving capacity.

Where will Yoga therapy go in the future? It is only a matter of time for Yoga to be integrated into standard medical therapies. Being cost efficient, and without negative side effects, has made a very strong case for proponents of Yoga therapy. As studies continue to reveal the results of a holistic and pro-active approach to health, standard medicine will evolve.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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