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What is Therapeutic Yoga?

The word therapy is very largely misunderstood in the current practice of teaching yoga. The same word used in medical practice implies certain training, a scientific approach that includes diagnosis and treatment. Yoga does not offer such a study, diagnosis or treatment. I offer the following clarification for what has come to be known as therapy in yoga.

Yoga is a philosophy and not a science. There is a belief held in that philosophy that not even a leaf stirs without divine sanction. I find that I am unable to lift even my own small finger by using my (ego's) personal achievements, i. e. without all of the ability that is gifted to me by God (or by nature). Built on that clear understanding I find that everything that the body, the mind, the senses are able to do is nothing but divine blessing. Even the ability, indeed the very thought to build on these abilities is gifted to me. As such there is no reason for pride of achievement or of ownership over such accomplishments.

It is not unusual in a yoga class for a student to ask the teacher for help with some injury, illness or inability. When I am able to offer such help several things need to be clearly understood. My ability to offer such help is not owned by me; it is a divine gift. I am not qualified or licensed to offer diagnosis or treatment of any physical or psychological medical condition. All I am able to offer with the divine blessing is a way to improve the yoga posture or to be able to do a modified version of a posture. Knowledge to offer such help is not based on any medical study or research; nor is it a result of any scientific approach. It is purely empirical knowledge gained as divine gift from practical life experience. There is no guarantee that it would produce any desired result.

Ultimately it is not my effort but rather the karmic influence that has any effect, be it good, bad or indifferent. Any student asking for such help has to be very clear that for any medical condition such student must rely solely on professional medical help. Failure to do so will hold the student solely responsible for the consequences.

For further information on yoga instruction please read General Approach in Yoga Classes and Workshops.

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