Yoga Therapy – The Fourth Dimension

When we consider Yoga and its practices, we find that in ancient times Yogic practices formed part of a daily routine. This routine ensured that an individual maintained good physical and mental health. Yoga was thus a preventive discipline. Today, the scenario has changed and more and more people flock towards yoga for its therapeutic strengths, rather than for adopting it as a part of routine lifestyle.

Yoga is considered a very effective alternate therapy, though as a remedial treatment it suffers from a lack of diagnostic tools. Yoga has to incorporate scientific medical diagnosis to measure therapeutic gains.

Here, we explain the role of the fourth dimension of Yoga – where a healthy person not only practices yoga as a preventive discipline, but also as a transformational therapy. Someone who is unwell needs Yoga for therapy and healing, however a healthy person requires Yoga for prevention of ill health, preservation of good health and for inner transformation – the fourth dimension.

Let us look at all these four dimensions of yoga:

1. Preventive discipline

Yogic practices like Kriyas (dhauti, neti and, kapalbhati), asanas and pranayama, mantra chanting, relaxation, meditation, and so on, are all essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. When you add to this the yogic diet (regulated and sattvic diet), rest, relaxation and recreation in good measure and optimum exertion or expenditure of energy, you have a formula for a healthy and happy life.  

2. Therapy

Therapy in Yoga advantageously applies to a host of ailments; both physical and mental. It is particularly effective in functional disorders rather than in structural or organic disorders. Here, therapy happens at the level of the causes, and not superficially at the level of symptoms. Yogic therapy is holistic in nature and attempts to eliminate the causes permanently. The chances of recurrence of disorders minimize. Yogic therapy is more ideally suited to handle mental and emotional disorders because it has a strong philosophy and psychology backing it, along with the provision of a goal of life. Yoga can’t only bring about a change in the outlook of life, but also the priorities we privilege in life.

3. Healing

This applies mainly in the case of terminal diseases and ailments like cancer, where we have accepted death as an inevitability. In such cases where therapy for curing is not possible, healing can happen. We can be healed in the sense of being empowered to endure pain and suffering in an optimum manner.

This empowerment may be by providing emotional support, or by influencing the outlook towards life and death whereby we are comfortably reconciled to our situation. Healing also applies in the case where the cause of mental suffering or pain can’t be removed, like when we have lost a loved one, or when the negative effects of a past event continues to bother us.

Despite the fact that Yoga in its original essence is a preventive discipline, the soaring popularity of Yoga today may be attributed to the above two aspects of Yoga via therapy and healing.  

4. Transformation     

This is the fourth dimension of Yoga which, although largely overlooked, it is the most important dimension for humanity. This dimension of Yoga refers to its capacity to bring about a transformation in the life of a healthy person. A physically and mentally strong individual who is essentially a healed individual, requires the subtlest form of Yoga therapy called transformational therapy. In fact, this transformation can begin only in the case of healthy individuals.

From a philosophical position, a healthy person may ask “who am I?” and “where am I going?”. However, their answer may be clouded due to being caught inextricably in the maze of life and living. Because we get caught in this maze, we may miss out on experiencing pure blissful happiness, which is unfortunate as it is our birth-right to enjoy contentment and is repetitively described in the scriptures.

It’s time for us to seek out our transformation

For us to be healthy, and transformed individuals, we have to cease being preoccupied with illness, and adjust in the healthiest manner possible to our society and environment. This allows for the quality of life to be directly proportional to our ‘inner lightness and purity’. Some of us have the tendency to have negative thoughts, despite having good health and the adequate means to meet the demands of life and living. To truly be transformed, we need to seek the noblest form of happiness that is possible.

Yoga and its practices hold the promise of this different and higher kind of happiness.

Look out for a continuation to this in our next article.

In the meantime, browse yoga retreats, teacher trainings and wellness escapes on Yovada.

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Ganesh Rao
Ganesh Rao

Dr. N. Ganesh Rao, a Professor and Ph.D. Guide in Yoga and Philosophy, is one of the most highly learned and experienced teachers and practitioners of Yoga today in India. He is a highly successful Counselor and Therapist. His academic qualifications include M. Com., D.M.S., M.A., Ph. D (Philosophy), Diploma in Naturopathy, Diploma in Yoga Education, Madhyama Yoga Shiksha Certificate and Specialist Instructor in First Aid & Home Nursing. Dr. Rao has conducted till date more than 15000 sessions in Yoga and innumerable Workshops and presented several Papers on Yoga in National & International Conferences.

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