On Yoga Therapy

Here is the result of hard work over the last year! The book will be released in June 2020.

The experience of working with cancer patients and years of study in the prime Yoga Institute in India instilled in me an understanding that yoga is a vast and deep science and philosophy, which escapes any rigid definitions. In turn, yoga therapy is a relational dance between client and yoga therapist, where the client must take charge and lead the way with the facilitator half a step behind. Each relationship is as different as the people involved and thus it escapes any definitions or prescriptions. There is no big enough box or frame to contain the depth and vastness of yoga and yoga therapy. However – our western minds just love to name the things, frame them into boxes and only then we feel comfortable – we think we know! Hence such reductionist tendency exists also within yoga therapy emerging field.

I belong to the “comprehensive” minority camp and with the time I became deeply concerned that yoga in therapy is being reduced to address purely the functions of the body, as a “pill for every ill”. Out of this concern, the idea of the book was born. It sets out to propose yoga therapy as a multifaceted and holistic approach to human wellness, including the energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual factors with all its ambiguity. It covers deep yogic work and applies this to cancer patients, as well as a range of other non-communicative diseases (NCD). As there is a danger of the Western medical world’s acceptance of yoga therapy being limited to postures and breathing, this book makes the case for a wider take on yoga therapy and its applications.

I invited cooperation in creating this book my dear friend – accomplished yogi and medical doctor at the same time – Ananda Balayogi Bavanani. We divided the book into three parts. In part one we attempted to discuss what is yoga therapy and how to keep yoga in yoga therapy. We attempted to clarify yogic concepts and bring them from theory into practical application.

In part two of the book, we describe application of yoga therapy in psychosomatic diseases and cancer. We start with respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and finally we discuss cancer. These four groups are estimated by the World Health Organization to be the cause of 80% of death and are rapidly increasing in prevalence. The part on cancer contains perhaps the richest material and includes a chapter on coping with cancer – my personal story of the cancer journey. You have been reading excerpts in my previous blogs.

Finally, the third part of the book contains detailed information on Beyond Cancer and Chronic Solution programs. After a general overview and the discussion on its efficacy based on test results, it describes in detail what practices are included and why. It addresses what is needed to run such retreats. It presents the effect on patients and covers materials, which we use to run the retreat. I have covered as much information as I could on running these retreats in the hope that more people will decide to run them in their communities.
In the next series of blogs, I will outline some ideas, thoughts, and theories postulated on 350 pages of our new book Yoga Therapy – a Whole Person Approach to Health. It will come out in June 2020 at SYTAR conference in Chicago.

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