By Nischala Joy Devi.
Keeping compassion and Yoga in Yoga and as Yoga Therapy Develops
According to yoga philosophy disease manifests not from the physical, but from the disconnection with our source or spirit. When we are able to remember who we are the healing is accelerated.
Yoga is not an allopathic remedy that is used to fight disease, it the creation of a balance of energies that allows the natural intelligence of the body to right itself. It is for this reason that most of the gentle practices can positively affect any disease or imbalance.
The constant refinement and rediscovering of the yogic practices allows each person to gain the benefit of healing. Often the healing was not a total physical cure, but a rebalancing of the energies that flows through the body, mind and emotions. It affords everyone a sense of peace and clarity making decisions and changes based on their highest level of healing.
All the formulas and structures accrued dissolve as we embrace a person in their deepest suffering. A prayer that the person is able to stand or bend without discomfort replaces the alignment once thought to be so important in asana.
Weaving the understanding of the miracle of the human body with the elegance of the spirit, allowed me to help create a new way of looking toward the whole person.
My initial entry into working with this population blossomed as I became more and more disillusioned with the western style of medicine. In their need to specialize, the whole was often missed. The separate parts became more important. From this narrowed view, the Divine within was forgotten.
On a practical basis when teaching yoga to people with life threatening diseases, I use practices that embrace the totality of who we are physical, mental, emotion and spiritual being.
The next time you have a slight injury or pain, allow the awareness of that discomfort to expand embracing the many that live with chronic suffering on a permanent basis. This consciousness greatly aids in the development of our compassion.
Compassion is the sacred energy that flows through the heart chakra to each and every living thing in the universe. When accessed it allows us to feel a sense of oneness with all.
As yoga students and teachers, compassion blossoms as our inner guidance. It constantly reminds us that it is not the exactness of a technique that gives students the experience of yoga, but the ability to access our own sacred energy.
Compassion is fostered by our personal experience through hardships, physical, mental or emotional or by perceiving with an open heart, others suffering.
Compassion is the catalyst that allows the great teachings to guide them in realizing that the physical body is the temple housing the Divine Self.
The practices and philosophy of yoga blended the both physical and spirit coaxing them to unite. Healing then happens. The work developed into a research study, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Lifestyle Heart Trial and the Award winning Commonweal Cancer program. Both programs gave me a feeling of gratitude and a sense of contributing to bringing light into western medicine.
It scares me. I overheard someone in the elevator at the yoga therapy conference say that some people are saying that you should have a bachelor’s degree before you can be a yoga therapist. I’m thinking that’s not to me what a yoga therapist is.
It’s becoming more and more academic, and if that’s what people think is yoga therapy, then who am I to say it’s not? I just know that when I sit with someone, they don’t care what kind of degree I have; they don’t care what kind of study I did, they just care if I’m present with them, if I’m peaceful and if I love them.
But it’s the American way, what’s happening here and with yoga in this country. To a certain extent I’m part of it, and to a certain extent I refuse to be part of it.
Yoga of the Heart came from my research and work of many years with the Dean Ornish Program for people with heart disease and also as co founder of the Commonweal Cancer Program. Yoga of the Heart, was designed to teach Yoga Teachers and Health Professionals how to safely adapt Yoga for people who have life threatening diseases, especially Heart disease and Cancer. It seems that with all the education Yoga teachers are now getting and the extensive anatomy and Physiology courses there knowledge bases is mainly with the Muscular Skeletal systems. Since statically one out of every two people in the US will die from Heart Disease it seems to me a very important aspect for Yoga teachers to learn about Cardiac Health. So many students come to regular classes, with risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history unknown to the teachers. I feel it is essential for all Yoga teachers to know how to safely teach these people and prevent problem in the classroom and at home. On the most positive side, Yoga has been proven to reverse and prevent Cardio-Vascular Disease wouldn’t it be great if we could make a difference in helping these people heal their disease and life?
The heart is truly the center of our being. When it is revered all life is joy. When we have joy in our life a deep feeling of peace is reflected on everything we are and do.
In English the work for heart is physical, emotional and spiritual, implying that one is interdependent on the other. When we are connected to our spiritual heart it feed the other hearts. This is the definition of true health.
Thanks for the great website. I am a graduate of 2004 “Yoga of the Heart” you trained me at Kripalu. My students love the deep relaxation I use from my training. I so agree with the idea of compassion for others and ourselves. I will never forget my training , Nischala. I used the techniques on myself in 2004 when I was told I would need a stent for an 80% blockage. When it came time for the surgery, I was told it wasn’t needed and that I had the arteries of an 18 yr.old. It works!!!!!!