There is an increasing tendency in terms of Modern Therapeutic Yoga application strategies, especially when marketing Yoga as a Therapy through group class situations, to create brand banding to identify ‘sufferers’.
Personally, I feel it is not appropriate when considering Yoga practices for others to ‘lump’ people together as say back pain sufferers, or migraine sufferers, or insomnia sufferers, etc.
It is tempting, or even convenient also, to propose a technique and then state that this technique will help this particular situation or problem.
“We cannot say that this Āsana or this
Prāṇāyāma can be given for this disease.”
– T Krishnamacharya
However, my teacher taught me that Yoga is to be tailored to the needs and aspirations of each person rather than fitting the person to some ready-made group standard technique.
It is true to say there are some common characteristics within various health problems or conditions, but then so there are in all areas of people’s lives. We live together in groups determined by commonalities and yet each of us is unique in our view and relationship with our surroundings.
Thus with these guiding principles of seeing the person rather than the problem or disease, teaching or treating the person rather than the problem or disease, and the acceptance that we are not working just with a preordained technique, we can continue.
“It appears that Modern Therapeutic Yoga
is increasingly angled at looking at
the problems in front of the person
in terms of Yoga for What,
rather than looking at the
person behind the problems
in terms of Yoga for Who.”
This means that within Yoga we are considering a person who, because of their lifestyle, family genetics, and environmental and life stage influences, is experiencing certain problems or illnesses.
We are also presuming that their situation has become such that they are willing to explore changes or even alternatives in order to live a more harmonious relationship with their inner nature and outer lifestyle.
In this context, it is difficult to apply techniques for a problem without really first knowing who the person is behind the problem, what is their relationship with the problem and its symptoms, and what is their relationship with life.
For example, the effect of a headache on one person will be different, as will be their response, from that of another person who has what is also described and experienced as a headache.
This is part of what needs to be considered when proposing practices for individuals.
First posted on December 7th, 2014 – To view or Download as a PDF