Nowadays many medical doctors prescribe yoga (physical yoga, i.e. hatha yoga) for their patients. People with chronic pain, disc prolapse, fatigue, depression and so on go to yoga classes or start to practice yoga at home after their physician has advised them to start practicing yoga to heal the body and mind or to recover from a surgery. It is absolutely great that the benefits of hatha yoga are recognised also in the medical world, but there also lies a risk. This risk is the illusion that yoga heals everything.
The truth is that yoga does not heal everything. The first thing is to understand that yoga is a great tool to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally, but it does not work like a miracle by itself. In fact, there are people who have hurt themselves while practicing yoga, and not only physically. The second thing is that yoga requires our full dedication, lots of discipline and loving devotion. Once in a month is not a yoga practice and won’t help. Once a week is good, but three times a week would be better. Third, find THE yoga for you. We are all different and luckily there are also many different yoga styles out there. A person with a disc prolapse will definitely not benefit from a fast vinyasa flow and someone suffering from a depression might not feel uplifted in a slow and strict alignment based hatha yoga class. Sometimes it can take years to find the optimal yoga for you, and sometimes even longer, the right yoga teacher for YOU.
The fourth and the most important thing is to find YOUR yoga teacher. Not every yoga teacher is your teacher. You should feel safe and content with your teacher and she / he should give you the space to be you as you are. When you are allowed to be who you are, you’ll dedicate yourself with discipline and devotion to your yoga practice and yoga starts to work. Why does it start to work then, you could ask? When you feel content and happy on the yoga mat, with time, you will feel content and happy off the mat, too. Happiness heals for sure and yoga is a great tool to find happiness in ourselves, for happiness lies within.
How yoga works is, that many of us start with the physical practice, which is good – if it is the right style with the right teacher – and slowly we start to do other good things, too, like eating healthier, taking a break from the stress at work by meditating, becoming more aware and seeing the Big Picture of what is really important in life for us. We turn inside, to the source of the life force, and are able to make our lives outside healthier, on all levels: physically, mentally and emotionally.
So, go out there and try different yoga styles with different teachers. Find your thing, dedicate yourself to it with discipline and devotion, do good things for yourself and turn inside. Let yourself heal you.
Yoga Teacher, Munich/Germany
Anusara Inspired * Yogamazé * Yoga Alliance E-RYT 200 and RYT 500
More about Anu and Yoga: www.anuvisuriyoga.com