Yoga as Medicine: A Widespread Modality for Healing

amber conducts yoga at Skyterra

In 2007, The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health published a survey deeming yoga as one of the most commonly used complementary and alternative medicine modalities in the United States. Since then, studies about yoga have evolved and scores of clinical trials have been conducted. Have a look at the following short list of links if you’re the studious type or you’re looking for reassurance that with yoga, you’re not barking up the wrong tree. Science backs up what alternative and complementary healers have known for generations: yoga works.

If you don’t feel like reading those articles or chasing down article on your own, we’ll sum them up: yoga as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has a wide range of positive therapeutic effects. We’re delighted that mind-body fitness programs like ours push the envelope of contemporary social norms while maintaining harmony with the latest research in health and exercise sciences. We think it’s essential that athletes and enthusiasts alike know there’s no longer much debate about the role of yoga in health and wellness: yoga is medicine.

What is Yoga Therapy, Though?

It’s important to recognize therapeutic yoga is not exactly the same as heading to the studio to sweat out a hot yoga class or bask in the Zen of a restorative Easy-Like-Sunday-Morning routine. Yoga therapy is defined as the application of yoga postures and practices designed intentionally for the treatment of specific health conditions. Prevention, reduction, and alleviation of structural, physiological, emotional, and spiritual challenges are all desired outcomes of a precise and targeted course of yoga therapy. By understanding and utilizing yoga as an alternative therapy, we can create a series of positive physiological events in our body:

  • Strength and flexibility practice will keep muscles and joints healthy.
  • Breathing practice will promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function.
  • Mindfulness practice will promote stress reduction.
  • Improvements in sleep patterns will enhance overall well-being, quality of life, and help normalize hormone function.
  • Outdoor practice will leverage the serenity of nature and invite us to surrender ourselves to the magic of the present moment.
  • Practicing in a stress-free environment will promote self-awareness.

The Conscious Consumer

As active, inquisitive, health-conscious consumers, it’s imperative we integrate therapeutic yoga into our daily habits. We urge you to meditate on the four principles below and consider applying them to your time here on earth. We hope they inform your relationship to yoga and broaden your understanding of yoga as a complete healing and lifestyle system. We believe incorporating these principles into daily life is fundamental for vitality, athleticism, stress management, balance, sustainability, and wellbeing.

  1. The human body is a holistic entity comprised of various interrelated dimensions inseparable from one another. The health or illness of any one dimension directly affects the others.
  2. Individuals and their needs are unique and must be approached in a way that acknowledges individuality. Each individual practice must be designed and tailored accordingly.
  3. Yoga is self-empowering. You are your own healer. Yoga engages the individual in the healing process. Yoga inspires healing to evolve from within (intrinsically) vs. from an outside source (extrinsically). With yoga, autonomy is achieved and the individual is empowered.
  4. The quality and state of the individual’s mind is crucial for healing. When the individual has a positive mind-state, healing happens more organically and more quickly. When the mind-state is negative, healing will take longer or may never evolve at all.

We live in a hyper-stressed, unbalanced, and hyper-static world. Some propose we live in a world gone mad and go so far as to call it diseased. If that is indeed true, we propose the remedy: yoga and yogic modalities.

The Healing Path

We acknowledge conventional and contemporary medicine has the ability to heal physical diseases and alleviate psychological disorders. We also acknowledge conventional and contemporary medicine is less effective than complementary practices such as yoga therapy in healing the emotional, intellectual, and natural layers of our human experience, all of which play a direct role in overall health and wellbeing. By exercising the discipline of yoga and applying its holistic model of health, our organic path to superior wellness can and will become manifest.