Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yoga as therapy

One thing seems to be a universal truth. The more we inquire, the more there is to know. Yoga therapy is an inquiry into wholeness, which really requires the full participation of the client to be effective - why? Without the energy of inquiry turned toward coming back to health, and the client's participation in that inquiry, Yoga therapy would be at the very least less effective. Our nature is wholeness. If the therapy client sees the yoga therapist as the originator of health, then the process starts to look like an intervention. Our western medical system is largely based on the the paradigm of intervention - thinking the body needs something else, something from outside, to heal. We have sleeping pills, viagra, cholesterol medication, anti-depressants and on and on. All of these interventions have side effects at least as dangerous as the condition they are apparently trying to alleviate. An example:

Common side effects of
SSRI antidepressants:

Decreased sex drive
Weight gain or loss
Dry mouth

Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms:

Anxiety, agitation
Depression, mood swings
Flu-like symptoms
Irritability and aggression
Insomnia, nightmares
Nausea and vomiting
Dizziness, loss of coordination
Stomach cramping and pain
Electric shock sensations
Tremor, muscle spasms

Antidepressant warning signs:

Suicidal thoughts or attempts
New or worse depression
New or worse anxiety
Aggression and anger
Acting on dangerous impulses
New or worse irritability
Feeling agitated or restless
Difficulty sleeping
Extreme hyperactivity
Other unusual changes in behavior

These side effects pile up. If you have insomnia, take a pill. That pill may make you anxious - so take an antidepressant. The antidepressant may decrease your sex drive -so take viagra. Viagra may make you sleepless....
There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

The model of intervention is based upon a belief that intervention is necessary. What is often not asked of the patient is "Why are you depressed/angry/sleepless/uninterested in sex?" The answer might not be immediately apparent to the client, but if a process of inquiry begins, and a desire to change the circumstances and behaviors contributing to condition is there, health is on it's way. Perhaps it is a change of occupation, adoption of practices that encourage mental and physical stability, or even something as simple as knowing that there is a deep intelligence in us that when revealed, opens a door to a world that looks radically different and beautiful but is in fact the one we have been living in all along.

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