Yoga As A Remedy
Yoga's influence on health is garnering increased recognition in mainstream medicine circles, writes the Yoga Journal recently. They add that studies by Herbert Benson, M.D., at Harvard Medical School, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, M.D., at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, have conclusively shown that yoga and meditation boost immunity and reduce stress, the underlying factor in many chronic illnesses including heart disease and cancer. Prestigious hospitals now offer yoga classes to their patients' powerful proof that yoga works.
When I first heard of yoga as "remedy," I found in that word a bit of hope in its self-relying promise. Reclining cobbler's pose helped me relieve abdominal bloating and tension. With time, the standing postures eliminated my back pain. Head balance improved my memory and confidence. My teacher talked of the balance between science and holistic. This made sense to me. In 20 years of observing yoga's therapeutic effects, a few are striking: Susan, who survived a compound fracture of her spine, found with yoga relief from migraines after decades of suffering. Her most important poses: reclining restorative with weight on the head, head and shoulder balance and a strong meditation practice. Karen had back pain for years and found release with standing postures and a specific twist. Stan suffered upper back pain as a weekend athlete and found relief in the first few weeks of class.
Every pose of yoga, properly taught, has remedial effects. When movement comes from the proper extension and grounding of the bones, the blood carrying the oxygen and nutrients to the cells circulates more freely. The oxygen to the cells helps ease pain and discomfort. Is it true we intuitively trust the teacher who shares this knowledge in class? The "outer" teacher empowers the "inner" teacher. Prospective students sometimes ask to watch class. "Would you go to a restaurant to see if you like the food and not eat?" I ask.
Those who have eased a headache, a bloating belly, an aching back, a sore shoulder, a depressed mood, irritating PMS, insomnia, or arthritis or have lowered blood pressure or become pregnant after years of infertility, come to their yoga mat or meditation cushion again and again. They know yoga's impact. They know it does not replace a physician's care. Itís true nearly 20 million Americans now practice some form of yoga or meditation on a daily basis. Because it works.
May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be to grow, change, and become even more loving. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of love. May you be awake to those gifts you receive and give.