cikitsāDevanāgarī: चिकित्सा Translation: therapeutics Related concepts:rakṣaṇa, svastha, śikṣaṇa, āyurveda, āhāra, vihāra, oṣadhi, roga, aroga, arogya, rogya, ārogya
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“Prāṇāyāma done, along with a Mantra, has a role to play in Yoga Cikitsā.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition, the Yoga Rahasya
“One could say, of course, that I have taught Yoga to hundreds of people, of different ages, states, origins, but by Yoga I mean only postures and breath control, and do not count meditation or interpretation of the texts.
These I have only taught to a few people and only to those I deemed worthy after several interviews, designed to give me an idea of their personality and the firmness of their intentions.
I discouraged those who appeared to have superficial reasons for learning Yoga, but never those who came to find me because of health problems and who had frequently been turned away by the medical profession.”
– From interviews with T Krishnamacharya by Sarah Dars, published in Viniyoga Review no 24, December 1989
“General outline on Cikitsa Krama.
More sophisticated than Śikṣaṇa Krama.
Already when you know an object it is seen differently by different people.
So when I offer a healing object it is seen as a cause of disease by others.
One mind can influence minds differently,
because different minds receive things differently.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
“The process of Cikitsā has two parts:
1. Rakṣaṇa Krama
I am healthy and don’t want to be sick.
By not doing anything there will be no Rakṣaṇam.
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16
heyaṃ duḥkham anāgatam
I’m alright now,
but I must be careful so I don’t get sick tomorrow.
This is Rakṣaṇa Krama.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
“There are two categories of practice, the Śikṣaṇa Krama way, according to the rules,
or the Cikitsā Krama way, the application or adaptation of a posture
to suit a particular person or a particular situation.
Where postures need to be adapted to suit particular bodies and their limitations.
The authority for the postures comes from the teacher,
although some rules are indicated in the texts.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992
“The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama (three steps) is the best for the student:
Śikṣaṇa Krama requires a perfect knowing to transmit a strict practice,
without any compromise, as it should be in Vedic chanting for example.
Rakṣaṇa Krama is aimed at protection and preservation;
it promotes continuity in any levels like health, abilities, knowledge, etc.
Cikitsā Krama looks for adaptation, healing, recovering…”
– TKV Desikachar speaking with his 16 long term Western students worldwide,
at a ten day meeting I organised at his request in London in 1998
Question to TKV Desikachar:
“How is Āyurveda linked to Cikitsā or the therapeutic application of Yoga?”
TKV Desikachar Response:
“There is a lot of difference. As far as Yoga is concerned, we are concerned with the personality of the person, the mental aspect and the higher aspirations of the student
That is why Yoga has a lot to offer. For the body Āyurveda is the solution. A good combination would be Āyurveda and Yoga.
My father used to do that. He would teach Āsana practice, or Prāṇāyāma or meditation and he would talk about diet and he would also give some Āyurveda medicine.
He was treating not only the body but the whole person with the help of this great combination.”
– Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.
Response from TKV Desikachar on attempts being made to link Yoga to specific diseases
“We have to examine many factors to see what is the origin of what is known as a symptom and according to that we have to propose for this condition some Yoga which is not just Āsana.
Yoga is a process which makes me understand how my mind is functioning and then reduces the turbulence of mind, any technique that helps this helps the person. We are reaching the human being through the mind; we are reaching the sickness through interaction at the mental level, with different tools of course.
This is why it is a challenge for Yoga.”
“Where do Āsana lead us?
1. For seated practices. (Adhyātmika – Concerning our essence)
To stay in a stable position with the spine erect for Dhyāna or preparation for Dhyāna.
2. For health. (Cikitsā – Therapeutics)
They do something for the energy flow of the body.
3. Ability to master the body. (Śakti – Power)
Not necessarily to promote health but to show that we can master the body.
Often these are good for health, though many are only useful as challenges.”
– From my study notes with TKV Desikachar.
“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.”
“Yoga Cikitsā is about
Respecting the Problem and Treating the Person.
Respecting the Person and Treating the Problem.”
Yoga Cikitsā is about
treating a person in a problem.
treating a problem in a person.
“Prāṇāyāma, as with Āsana and Dhyānam, was taught according
to the principles of Cikitsā, Rakṣaṇa and Śikṣaṇa Krama.
Thus we have breathing practices ranging from Cikitsā using simple ratio to settle an irregular breath, to Rakṣaṇa with competence and fluidity with various basic techniques and mild ratios, to Śikṣaṇa and mastery of all techniques, and ratios and especially, the Kumbhaka with long holds both after the inhale and the exhale.
The Vinyāsa Krama or steps in the evolution of practice are measured by our practice abilities and consistency and potential within our life situation. The longer term measure of our Prāṇāyāma potential is determined by our skilful efforts with all four components of the breath in Āsana.
For example can we maintain 22.214.171.124. in Parśva Uttānāsana or 126.96.36.199 in Mahā Mudrā?
These days though, it seems that there is not much place for or interest in the use of Kumbhaka and breathing practices, if used at all, appear to be mainly Cikitsā or about recovery, or at best Rakṣaṇa or constitutional, rather than Śikṣaṇa and developmental.”
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