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Yoga Therapy

Find a professional for Yoga Therapy in Seattle

The literal translation of the word yoga is "yolk" meaning unite.  Yoga
is the union of the various aspects of our being, physical, mental,
emotional and spiritual.  Yoga is a journey of self-discovery and
ultimately union with the Divine.  It is an ancient system of
relaxation, exercise and healing with roots in Indian philosophy. It is
not a religion, although its concepts lie at the heart of every
religion.

Yoga is believed to be at least 5000 years old.  The two most central scriptures of yoga are the Bhagavad Gita (ca. 750B.C.E) and Patanjali’s yoga sutras
(200B.C.E.).  Patanjali’s sutras (literally "threads", a series of
aphorisms) delineated 8 limbs of the yogic path, which include yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi.
He listed four pathological states �" depression, anxiety, trembling in
the limbs and unsteady breath, which can be remedied by utilizing his
8-part path as a treatment plan. First of the eight limbs are the yamas
and niyamas- these are ethical precepts concerning our attitudes toward
others and ourselves.  The yamas include nonviolence, nonlying,
nonstealing, chastity and greedlessness.  The niyamas include purity,
contentment, austerity, self-study and surrender to God.  Asana
literally translates as "steady seat" and refers to the physical poses
of yoga.  Pranayama refers to the breathing practices of yoga. 
Pratyahara is withdrawing the senses from external stimuli.  Dharana is
concentration, Dhyana, absorption and Samadhi is the state of cosmic
consciousness or union with the Divine.  

Central to the healing
power of yoga is its focus on the Divine being that exists within each
individual.  As such, all yogic healing interventions proceed from this
goal of uncovering the Divine nature of the individual.   Yoga is not
about self-improvement, but about deconstructing the barriers to what
is already there.  In her book, Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit,
Donna Farhi likens this to cleaning the windshield on one's car so that
one can see the beauty and avoid the potholes while driving.
 
Yogis
believe that we all wish for happiness.  For many, the efforts to
fulfill on that wish are often misdirected and happiness seems to exist
only fleetingly.  According to yogic tenets these moments of happiness
are always there and available and that suffering is caused by being
bound too tightly to current reality by the five kleshas (afflictions or false understandings).  The five kleshas are Avidya or ignorance of our wholeness, living as though we are separate and alone.  Asmita is over identifying with this body, mind and emotions, which leads to raga and dvesha.  Raga is attraction and Dvesha aversion; they create a condition whereby we define ourselves by what we love and what we hate.  Abhinevesha
is fear of change, especially of death. Yogis believe that through our
yoga practice we can awaken from ignorance, transcend our over
identification with our bodies, our clinging to what we love, avoiding
what we hate and our fear of death.  Each time we practice yoga we have
the opportunity to remember who we really are, to let go of our roles
and touch in with our natural state, what the yogis refer to as Atman or Self with a capital "S."

This deconstruction happens on a tripod foundation of tapas (willful practice), svadhyaya (self-observation) and ishvara-pranidhana
(surrender). Tapas is the inner fire or discipline to make choices that
nourish one's well being and provide growth opportunities.  In
svadhyaya or self study one stays present with the process rather than
escaping into addiction or fantasy, recognizing that the most
challenging times often hold the most growth potential.  And finally
ishvara-pranidhana or surrender in which we acknowledge that there is a
force larger than ourselves.  So that we put in our best effort, stay
awake to the process and trust in the outcome, whatever that may be. 

Author: Kim Trimmer, M.Ed.
 



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