Monday, March 5, 2012

What is Yoga Therapy?

Over the weekend a group of Yoga Teachers gathered to start a new training journey, which will take 3 years to complete. Their goal is to become qualified as: Yoga Therapy Teachers.

One afternoon we sat discussing the concept of yoga therapy – how does it differ from attending a normal yoga class; why is it carried out on a one-on-one basis; all these questions required an answer.

The definition by International Association of Yoga Therapy is:

“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward

improved health and wellbeing through the application of the

teachings and practices of yoga”.

It seems even many practitioners of yoga do not know how beneficial yoga is! Not only is yoga an ‘exercise system’ as most class attendees think, but it is a powerful way of transformation for body, mind and soul. Yoga is both a science and an art. Yoga is a scientific system of self-investigation, self- transformation, and self-realization that originated in India, over 5000 years ago. The art is dependant on the skilled Yoga Teacher who puts it together into a sequence that supports and balances all levels of the practitioner’s being. A Yoga Therapy teacher who works with a person in a one-on-one situation plans the session to directly benefit that particular person’s constitution and imbalances within that.

If you attend a yoga class and develop a problem – whether it be physical, internal, mental, or anything else discuss it with your teacher first! Perhaps you need not go for that painful, costly surgery that is recommended by the Surgeon you just visited! Unless it is an emergency, Yoga Therapy may just be able to help.

The Yoga Therapy teacher requires specialized training and skill development to support the relationship between the yoga practitioner and teacher to effect positive change for the individual. Perhaps you should approach your Yoga Teacher as a first resort and not the last resort…. If she is skilled at yoga therapy you may be pleasantly surprised at the wonderful benefits you can gain.

"Yoga is preventative, maintaining and corrective…

so where ever you are on your healing journey …

YOGA is best!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How does a Yogi view 'Life after Death'

Today I was asked an interesting question from a Christian's perspective: What do yogis believe happens to them after dying? An interesting topic to start this blog run for 2012!

I am no expert on what happens after death.... just as no-one else can be either, as no-one knows until they experience it and then are not here to tell the rest of us.

As I said in my interview in the Yoga Awakening Africa magazine ( I am not religious but respect all religions. The spirituality that I practice is an inward worship of God and reverence for all that is. I do however, hold Jesus (who attained what is referred to as Christ-consciousness, hence his title - Jesus Christ) in the highest esteem as my opinion of him is that he was most definitely a well-practised 'yogi' in all respects (Chap 3 of Patanjali's - Yoga Sutras - describes the gifts given to one who attains the highest states of consciousness (samyama=dharana, dhyana, samadhi), such as he demonstrated with various 'miracles' he performed. His example in life has influenced humanity for 2000 years and that says something in itself.

Modern day yogis can be of any religion or no religion so may have differing beliefs dependant on that! The origins of yoga come from the country of India where the predominant religion is Hinduism and hence many think that Yogis "believe" the same as in Hinduism, which is the belief in reincarnation -taking on another physical body depending on their karma 'accrued' in this life-time. I prefer not to have 'beliefs' as 'knowing' is readily available to each of us if we can still the mind sufficiently to tap into it.

After this long explanation.... the question 'what happens to us after death?' boils down to the religion/beliefs of the one who practices yoga.