Although yogic practices of Hatha Yoga are principally used as a method of preventing disease, they extend into the area of self-help therapy or Yoga Chikitsa. Most of the healing disciplines originate in the ancient Ayurvedic system share many similar practices being incorporated in western naturopathic medicine today.
The philosophy behind the science is a respect for all life. It concedes that the tiniest expression of natural life has its design and purpose within life’s evolution, even the smallest atom, or ion. Within its basic philosophy and in common with the Chinese system of medicine
it is aware of the natural elements – Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Ether. The traditional physician is seen as attempting to orchestrate the harmonious function of all the elements. This requires wisdom, skill and insight.
Self-Help with Yoga Chikitsa
There are many yogic practices that can be used in self correction and most of these are generally introduced in yoga classes, to ease any physical symptoms including –
Art of Relaxation – to be cleansed of muscular and nerve tensions and stress
Kriyas – additional hygiene to be internally clean
Fasting– to eliminate toxins from the blood
Purification-of psyche by eradication of character faults and bad habits undermining health
Nutritional – building a health body with quality food, herbs and a vegetarian diet
Building a strong body with appropriate exercises including the Surya Namaskar
Building character through cultivation of good qualities and nobility of character
Asanas – body postures, both in passive stance and in specific remedial postures
Pranayama – controlling energy through breathing exercises and awareness of breath
Pratyahara – cultivating and controlling the senses with no neglect, over use or sensory abuse
Dharana – concentration in creating the self image one desires of perfect health
Dhyana – meditation which brings about a peaceful and elevated spiritual level of consciousness whereby states of dis-harmony may be corrected.
Subtle Therapies provide additional aids in therapy by soothing and harmonizing the soul –including music, colour, perfume, mantra, and prayer.
Although traditional yogic methods of healing may be employed in Indian ashrams and hospitals and suited to their cultural needs and conditions, we must not try to fashion our ways by artificially adopting customs foreign to our own culture. Principles and health practices, which seem reasonable and natural to us are best to follow as long as we choose to avoid artificial chemicals and drugs in favour of natural and non-invasive methods.