Yoga Therapy starts with Spirit. It starts with the recognition and reverence that there is a Divine intelligence in the Universe that has made a commitment to embody each and every one of us. There is an acknowledgment that while each of us are so uniquely individual and distinct and no one will ever be exactly like us, we all share the same patterns and tendencies in our bodies — both physically and energetically. The bigger idea is that the patterns in our bodies are the same patterns we see everywhere in nature. The whole Universe and every cell in it replicate itself in these same patterns, completely orderly and perfectly in alignment with a Supreme Consciousness that is within and all around us. The leaves on a tree grow in the same pattern and raindrops fall in a measureable matrix. There is a template. We use this template to realign the body the way nature intended.
There is an Optimal Blueprint of the physical body that when created, encourages an Optimal Blueprint of the energy body. Even when there is only one moment when those gateways are completely open, in flows so much magic and healing. The good news is this is available in every pose.
Ultimately, every asana should be therapeutic. The phrase “yoga therapy” is a bit of a quandary. Why would anyone want to do a yoga pose that was not therapeutically optimal and aligned with this benevolent energy? It sounds like the most natural thing in the world — realign with the way nature designed us and our physical body will use its own prana to heal itself. And it will. This is seen consistently. Because of the inherent precision in the Universe, this technique can be reproduced every time. It is based on the biomechanics of the body, physics and anatomy. The problem is that we have gotten so far from our optimal alignment that it takes work to realign. We need to relearn these patterns. Effective yoga therapy is simply a practice of applying good alignment in a variety of precise postures.
We are conditioned with an old-school protocol. Did you know that 30% of doctor’s visits are for muscular or structural issues? When you go to a doctor for a hamstring tear or knee injury, the doctors are not trained in what to do. You are told to baby it, rest it or ice or elevate it if it is swelled. You leave with a prescription for pain medication. If it is a rotator cuff tear or torn meniscus, then our doctors are trained in surgery. The surgery is usually too tight because the doctors want it to last, and the patients then have limited mobility. People often come to yoga as a last resort.
Goodbye old protocol. The new protocol — proper re-alignment and weight-bearing exercises — actually works. While weight-bearing out of alignment will indeed increase injury, weight-bearing activity in good alignment is incredibly healing for the body. This is the new paradigm that is currently making its way in to the curriculum of the top medical schools in the country. People that have tried ‘everything’ are finding hope again and becoming unblocked from their pain.
We may have tremendous pain in our hearts, but when our back hurts, that is what is in the forefront of our thoughts. Quite often, we start to identify with our condition or injury. In yoga therapy we recondition our mind, as well, to soften to the limiting ideas of ourselves and instead open to the infinite potential within us. When there is pain, the body is helping us to make a more conscious choice. The places where we are the most stuck, offer us the possibility for the most healing to occur. Injuries indeed make us pay attention. Pain is a wake up call and often a path to freedom.