Healing is a holistic approach aimed at improving the quality of people’s lives by alleviating their suffering. Yoga was conceived thousands of years ago as a healing system for people (not in need of more physical exercise) that provided the necessary tools for cultivating a stable mind essential to the healing process.
Yoga remains relevant for healing today because we share the same causes of suffering that people endured long ago – loss, desire, illness, worry, sadness, insecurity, injury, lethargy, anger, all those experiences and responses we think of as human.
In yoga, the mind plays a central role in both suffering and healing. When our mind is engaged in worry and anxiety, we notice how depleted our body becomes, how our breath becomes short, how our sleep is disrupted, how overall powerless we feel. We suffer at all levels of our system.
As we seek healing, we go to our yoga teacher with whom we talk and who gives us a practice, maybe a few postures, a breathing exercise, a chant and /or a focus for a short meditation. We do this practice for several weeks, noticing the effects, then return to the teacher for additional guidance. The teacher may change the practice depending on the effects we notice, or may ask us to add an activity we enjoy each day such as a walk in the morning, or to spend a bit more time in the garden. As a guide, the teacher not only instructs the proper application of the tools of yoga, but this relationship is meant to empower students to participate in their own healing process. When the student takes responsibility for her work in this process, healing can begin.