A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Yoga for Health and Fitness

By- Manmohan Singh

"Chikitsa" is the Sanskrit word translating to treating an issue or a disease. Yoga is the traditional holistic system that heals and empowers to embark on the path of wellness. With its three core elements: Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, the science of yoga addresses and heals physical and mental sufferings, being widely considered as a form of natural Chikitsa, the Yoga Therapy.

The classical texts on Yoga state that the holistic practice of yoga provides therapeutic value for the body, mind, soul, allowing the practitioner to tread the path of greater well-being and happiness. On luxury yoga retreats in India, experience the therapeutic properties of yoga practices.

A Guide to Therapeutic Use of Yoga:

  • 1. Therapeutic Power of Yoga for Brain: The traumatic brain injury survivors can benefit immensely from the Yoga Therapy. Practicing yoga poses and meditation on a regular basis give individuals the method to calm the distractions of the mind and to focus it on a particular task. Sitting in meditation helps the individuals to slow down and brings a calmness that in return heals the patients in an amazing way. The stress-reduction benefit of yoga improves post-concussive symptoms of traumatic brain injury, lowers headaches, enhances sleep, all of which gives a boost to memory.
    ● Headstand (Sirsasana): In the inverted yoga pose of headstand, the practitioners balance their body on the head that increases the blood flow to the brain and reduces stress and also cures mild depression.
    ● Big-Toe Pose (Padangusthasana): To practice this pose, fold forward and curl the fingers around the toes of the feet. Inhale to lift the torso up and on an exhalation, fold forward into the pose again. Repeat the movement for a few seconds and finally rest in the pose. This posture is beneficial for the brain injury patients as it treats headaches and insomnia.
  • 2. Heal Asthma with Yoga: A person of any age and gender can suffer from the medical disease of asthma. A person is said to have asthma when the airways contract and produce thick mucus that makes breathing difficult. The yoga poses and pranayama practices provide therapeutic properties to the asthma patients offering them relief from this health condition.
    ● Inversions: The practice of inversions like shoulder stand, plow pose naturally treats asthma by contracting the diaphragm and expanding the lungs allowing more air to flow in from the outside.
    ● Kapalbhati Pranayama: When a person suffers from asthma, his ability to exhale decreases. Kapalbhati yoga breathing exercise is a technique of forceful exhalations that can increase the exhaling power and stabilize the mind.
  • 3. Yoga Therapy for Rheumatic Diseases: Many suffer from rheumatic diseases that are characterized by an inflammation that affects the joints, muscles, bones of the body. Spondyloarthropathy is a rheumatic disease affecting the spine. Yoga exercises are beneficial in releasing chronic pain and strengthening the weak muscles. Through stretching, yoga poses to relax and prevent stiffness of the spine.
    ● Downward Dog Pose: For the downward dog, come into an inverted ‘V’ position with the legs stretched behind and hips elevated. The pose enhances blood circulation to the joints thereby increasing strength and flexibility.
    ● Tree Pose (Vrikshasana): In this pose, balance the body weight on one foot and improve the core strength. The other benefits of the tree pose include relaxation and therapeutic relief from sciatica.
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