Category Archives for "Yoga Therapy"

Aug 16

Viniyoga® : The heart of individualised practise

By admin | Yoga Therapy

We would like to begin by sharing a small example on how Viniyoga® works. One of our student was suffering since a long time from back pain. Rather than taking rest, reflecting about her life, she used to take a pain killer right away in order to come back immediately to her numerous daily activities. This lady has been raised in a familly where one should first worry about others, where woman would only serve familly expectation and work. She had not learned the meaning of taking care of oneself. Rather, she felt that taking care of other was a duty and she felt guilty and selfish everytime that she wanted to make something for herself. Fed up with the situation, she decided one day to take private Viniyoga® classes. After meeting the teacher, she received a very relaxing practise with some peaceful chants to listen. Slowly, after few months of reviewed practises, she began to think about herself. She is now taking some trainings on interesting subjects, beginning to read books that she likes, going to see some friends, going to cinema, to theater, etc. What a beautiful transformation ! And now, she realised suddenly that it is one year that her back problem nearly totally disppeared ! She didn’t even realized that this problem has been gone !

How did it work really ? Is Viniyoga® working magically like a pain killer ? Is the practise working like a medicament itself ? The first thing to understand is that a Viniyoga® practise is not a prescription. The Viniyoga® teacher takes time to give a practise to a student. They share together an open conversation, where both individuals are reflecting together on the problem. This is the first difference with a simple prescription. This conversation is the first step where the care seeker is actively involved into by reflecting along with the care provider about his own problems. Slowly, he may get a wider picture on his problems throught the conversation and can make some connections with some parameters linked with the problem. These parameters were hidden before from the conscious level. Slowly, she started to realize that her back problem may have been linked with her inability to take care of herself, and even more, she realized that without taking care of herself the care she could offer was not really well received in the familly. Her behavior was even creating some kind of problems even thought it was coming from a good intention. At a point she felt that she was wasting her own time and started to change completely.

Secondly, the practise given was a very relaxing practise with some breathing while she was lying down on her back and listening to some chant. This gave her some good feeling by removing her fatigue, but mainly the practise gave her a sense of acceptation and a sense of being herself. This lying position while listening some chant is a very passive practise. This passivity has been extremely good for her as it was compensating her own habit of keeping herself really busy always.

This lead us to the third point, a simple discussion with the Viniyoga® teacher may not be enough. By practising everyday, not only she remembered consciously and focused consciously on her intention to hea her back, but also she is working on all the different constitutive layers (pañca-maya) of herself by sending into her whole system throught this particular practise a message : « relax and receive » ! Slowly, her unconscious pattern (samskāra) of being always active is encountered and all the changes in her life could slowly happen.

Article by: Philip Rigo, Viniyoga® Teacher

Jul 27

Emotions and the ancient art of Yogatherapy: How to release, repattern and transcend negative emotions

By admin | Yoga Therapy

 

  1. First step. Letting go: Allowing and releasing subpressed and unconscious negative emotions

Many people come with diseases that have their cause not in the physical, but in the emotional layer of their being. For example, if there is pent-up anger in your system against a (past or current) situation, job, person, pattern, place or circumstance in your life (or against yourself), your body might also express that emotion on a physical level and might develop an inflammation (or high blood pressure, acidity, ulcers, skin rashes, sometimes even autoimmune disorders or cancer) to express the feeling inherent in your system and to give you a sign that something inside you asks to be looked at, released and resolved.

Our whole being is a holistic expression of the energies, patterns and belief systems that we carry.  Whatever you feel in any moment will be expressed throughout your whole system, whether you are consciously aware of that or not.

That means that an emotion/energy/ state of being is simultaneously expressed through your feelings, your mental state, how good your connection to spirit is and of course, your physical body. In the Yoga sutras Patanjali talks about disease/ a disturbed mind being easily recognizable through a constricted heart space (duḥkha), a negative mindset (daurmanasya), a state of dis-ease in body and limbs (aṅgamejayatva) and also through the breath being disturbed (śvāsapraśvāsāḥ , YS. I.31).

When we look at people we might know that they are sad not just because they are crying, but because of the way how they carry their body, the way their face, skin and eyes look, the tone of their voice, their heavy breath (or continuous sighing), their state of disconnection from their inner light/higher self and the contracted energy we can feel around them.

As Viniyoga® Yoga therapists, our main purpose is often times not to instantly tell a person what we sense inside their system, but to hold the space and give the person an individualized practice that helps them realize the energy that they are holding inside, themselves. Yoga therapy is meant to be self empowering and practices will be designed specifically so that things are allowed to come up to be seen, understood, and released. The journey of healing involves that the person comes back to a holistic state of being and delves deeply into themselves. Most people in our consumerist society are so used to getting answers from outside of themselves, but real healing only occurs through your own inner transformational work. Only if a person realizes (not just mentally understands) a certain pattern themselves will they actually be able to release it.

Your own journey starts with awareness. When did the disease start and what happened at that time in your life?

Often times, by the simple fact that Yoga therapeutic practices make a person take time and space for themselves (you have to practice on your own every day), a process of reconnection between the different layers is started. All good individualized yoga therapy practices work holistically and will bring up what is held inside. Certain mantras, energetic locks and breathing techniques can aid the process of releasing energies that are held inside the system.

One time a student was suffering from high blood pressure. It never came to the student’s mind that the blood pressure wasn’t only physical, but was connected to the death of the father who had passed two years before. After doing the practice for a couple of weeks, she realized in a session that she had never taken the time to actually grieve for her father. In the coming weeks when she was doing her practice she was continuously crying. She was releasing all the subpressed sadness that she had held inside. For two weeks straight she was crying every single day, and this time she was allowing all those sad feelings to finally come up. After those two weeks the crying stopped- and the blood pressure went down.

In another example a male student came with intense anxiety attacks. He had to take a lot of different psychopharmica so that he was able to sleep. Because of their side effects he felt really drowsy during the day. He couldn’t explain where the anxiety originated but had suffered from it for most of his life. After he started practicing at some point the energy of abuse became really apparent. He remembered having been sexually abused as a teenager. After he was allowing himself to acknowledge and feel angry about what had happened to him, he started sleeping better and his anxiety became less.

Of course, not every disease is monocausal and not every sickness will be straight forward or resolved once the underlying emotion or energy is allowed to be felt and released.

But often we as therapists see that the releasing of an emotional energy that is held inside the system can be a tremendous facilitator of the healing process. In a society where many people were told to feel okay even though they feel fragmented and in which many people are still ashamed to show vulnerability, negative emotions and fragility, the acceptance that we are not okay, that we are vulnerable and actually allowing ourselves the space to feel all these subpressed feelings, frustrations or disappointments is the first step that we can take to feel better.

That being said, with emotions it is important to remember that they are meant to be felt- and then moved out (e-motion from Latin ex- out and movere- to move). Emotions should not be held on to for the rest of your life, but often times that is what we do.

For some people some emotions might need some time to be processed and released and that is okay, but if you hold on to anger for example and continuously feel angry or sad and you become addicted to the continuous drama, it actually also indicates disease that needs to be addressed.

A yoga therapist will always offer a safe neutral container in which the student is held without judgement and can open up. Yoga also offers extremely potent tools that help to bring up, clear, and release what is inside as well as bring more clarity to what it is you might be holding.

If you are interested in learning more about this beautiful ancient art of Yogatherapy and like to provide similar assistance for your own students, the KHYF will start a Yoga therapy training program in Germany in september 2018. For more information and to enroll check the full brochure at www.khyf.net/yth2018

By Evelyn Einhäuser, Viniyoga Teacher

Jul 23

“Prayatna” in yoga group class

By admin | Yoga Therapy

 

Yoga in the west is often known for its unusual postures, as relaxation or as a mixed bag tinted with Hinduism. It is often said that “yoga, its for acrobats, contortionists” or “what’s the use of putting my body in odd positions?” “For me yoga annoys me” Oh how many derogatory comments yoga attracts and how many people attack it/put it down. But I must admit these comments are well founded. Personally, I must confess that had I not found a good yoga teacher I would have also criticised yoga. Firstly, the postures are but the tip of the yoga iceberg. Out of the total of 195 aphorisms of the yoga sutras (the incontrovertible yoga text) only three of the aphorisms talk about yoga postures.

In the ancient Vedic tradition, the postures were considered as a basic tool of yoga. The old would live through difficult times without the benefits of modern medicine; the most vulnerable would die defenceless against disease, the strong would become stronger, going to fetch water, doing the washing, working in the fields… They were active enough to have no need for yoga postures. Today in our sedentary society, yoga postures are an important tool in the practice side of yoga; understanding ones body from the inside, strengthening it, making it suppler, stimulating digestion, learning to breathe etc are challenges in themselves. Let us face it, yoga is poorly perceived and misunderstood.

Yoga began to develop in Europe during the 50s. In good faith, some people have seen experienced yogis in India practising in the street and have simply come back and told what they have seen. Others without much conscience add one posture after another without making any obvious link. These are some of the reasons that I think have contributed to the devaluing of the image of the yoga posture in our modern world giving it the yoga label “acrobatic”. Behind each practice, each posture is an idea, an objective, an intelligent idea. The study of postures, the construction of a yoga séance and the application of the tools of yoga are subjects that are very far reaching/profound, take a long time to be learnt, requiring both experience and practice.

The aphorism number II. 47 of the yoga sutras of Patanjali explains that the posture of yoga is “mastered when all effort is relaxed and the mind is absorbed in the Infinite”. It is on this notion of intelligent effort that I would like to place the emphasis in this article. It proves to what extent the responsibility of the teacher is engaged in the teaching process. Indeed there is no single way of applying the yoga postures, there is no single way of threading postures together and all of the postures are not useful to everyone. But above all, according to the teacher Krishnamacharya “It is the posture which should serve the person and not the person who should serve the posture”. What can be done so that yoga can effectively serve the person? The starting point must be that of observation both of the person or group practicing yoga in order to define an objective within reach. The objective could be to “Do the posture on the head” “learn to understand ones breathing” “to be aware of ones body” “Calm the mental state” “energise the person” “to unify the group” etc. The potential objectives are so numerous and complementary that it is virtually impossible to make an exhaustive list. Only the demonstration of their diversity is important. However, for each participant the means used to achieve the chose objective are different.

Let us take a simple example of “relaxation” For certain people it is impossible to relax before having completed ten or so postures, whilst for others they only a need to do one or two gentle postures with simple arm movements. Furthermore many different parameters enter into force when choosing the practice séance: age, strength, capacity, lifestyle, philosophical approach, interest….. This is exactly why yoga is above all a holistic tool considering the person in his or her totality/entity. As for group lessons, they must/should correspond, in the best possible way to each person within the limits of their own attainable objectives and achieving those within their ability to compromise with the group.

Within the diversity of the objectives and means, without intuition, knowledge and experience of the teacher it would be impossible to “tailor the suit” of the exercise to the specific tailoring capabilities of each student. It is clear that within this notion of “adjusted effort?” used by Patanjali that there are basis rules, a grammar of adjustment of postures – but this in itself will be the subject for another article…

Philip Rigo, Viniyoga Teacher
Translated by Sally Trickett

May 31

Who was Acharya T. Krishnamacharya

By admin | Yoga Therapy

Who was Acharya T. Krishnamacharya?

Every era goes through a period of high and then the period of low and this influences the culture and the knowledge systems that are connected to that culture and time and again when things go very bad there comes a pioneer who revives such a tradition such a culture back to its glory days. This in a nutshell is Acharya Shri T. Krishnamacharya for the field of Yoga.

In the beginning of the 19th century Indian culture which includes traditions like Yoga, Ayurveda were facing a great challenge because of the great invasions from the West, particularly England. England ruled India for many years and slowly the culture that was native to India was on the decline. So in this dark era for Indian culture came this genius called Acharya T. Krishnamacharya who championed the case of Yoga and resurrected it for us to benefit from it all.

He was among the few great Yogi’s at this time put together brought back yoga to relevance and greatness. Acharya T. Krishnamacharya is a great pioneer because he combined the experience of his own wisdom to build bridges between the traditional teachings of Yoga with other related teachings such as:

  • Ayurveda,
  • Vedanta philosophy and
  • other schools of Indian knowledge systems

He beautifully brought together the holistic nature of Vedic teachings and presented it through the medium of yoga for everybody to benefit. It is through his inspiring work that we have yoga to enjoy today because he inspired great students such as Indra Devi, Sri BKS Iyengar, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and most importantly his own son Sri T.K.V Desikachar, who founded Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation to spread Viniyoga®, actually brought the entire spectrum of Acharya T.Krishnamacharya to the public domain.

So today the whole world is practicing yoga and a majority of it is coming from Acharya T. Krishnamacharya’s teachings. If you take the brave and most popular schools of yoga today and go one or two generations backwards you will have to come to Acharya T. Krishnamacharya. Such was his profound influence that is still so relevant even decades after his passing.

As yoga teachers, we all must take a moment to salute our Acharya T. Krishnamacharya for his contributions to this field and also remember some of his contemporaries who also worked very hard so that we today can enjoy the benefits of Yoga.

Dr.Kausthub DesikacharViniyoga® Teacher

Apr 12

The Pillars of Practice

By admin | Yoga Therapy

Part 01

Yoga is about changing patterns – of the body, of the breath and of the mind. Our life changes all the time, and patterns or habits that were once helpful become less so, even constricting or harmful – yet, because they are familiar, we cling onto them, often completely unconsciously. They become part of us, part of our self-identity. So the first step to being able to change is becoming aware, aware of those habits and patterns which we can see are now unhelpful to us and our current path.

However, Patanjali tells us that patterns or habits can never be destroyed; the only way of changing them is by building newer, ultimately stronger ones, always recognising that the old ones will still be there. And the only way of creating new habits is through repetition, painstaking repetition. This is why so much emphasis is put on practice in yoga. When we do our practice, we are, over time, creating new patterns of movement, posture, breathing and thinking.

So, if practice is so important, why do most of us find it so difficult to do? Why, even when we enjoy it, do we keep finding reasons not to do it? Most of us who have managed to do it fairly regularly for a time have found that we feel healthier, we have more energy, we think more clearly so that we can sort out priorities and solve problems better; our often negative thinking is replaced by a more positive outlook… but still it gets crowded out. How can we help ourselves to find a regular place for it in our busy lives?

Perhaps a very important first step is to be realistic about our life as it is at the moment. It is absolutely no good planning on doing a 75 minute practice if we are being woken up four times a night by a baby who then demands our attention throughout the day as well. Our changing needs and life style was accepted away back in ancient times, and in modern times was elaborated by T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar. They taught of the possibility for challenging physical practices for children, teenagers and young adults; of the necessity for practices that would maintain, support and energise, in the busiest midlife years, and that would help in the spiritual journey of people who are older and at last less busy.

The next step can be to look at our life and try to work out a way that a practice could become part of our routine – ‘making’ time for it, rather than hoping to ‘find’ time. This could be in the morning, the traditional time, but certainly does not have to be.

Then, it can really help to think about the attitudes we have towards our practice. Are we regarding it as something that we ‘ought’ to do, because others tell us that it is a good thing – or have we fully embraced the idea that it is something that WE have decided that we want to do? Patanjali gives us many ideas of attitudes that, if we cultivate them, will help us both in our life and in our practice, and in this series of short articles we shall look at some of them.

By Dr. Kausthub Desikachar and Sarah Ryan

Mar 15

The guruparaṁpara

By admin | Yoga Therapy

Is Yoga only techniques ?

So many Yoga techniques are available nowadays, but so often we move nowadays in our spiritual path like if we were walking on speedwalk in a fitness class ; using our energy rather than getting some light. Why is this so ? As the west is getting more and more interested in Yoga, it takes the part of Yoga that is fiting with its own culture, and let away the rest. Like when we do shopping, we take a little bit of posture, breathing, and we let the mantra and the deep and intimate relationship with the teacher considering even that guru is a bad word.

What is a teacher ?

A guru is the one who will burn -ru- our heaviness -gu-. Instead of taking away our power, he will greatly empower us into our life through an appropriate relationship and practise that will burn our ego, fear, etc. Inded, the practises are traditionally done under the safe guidance of a good teacher (sadguru) in a very safe, private and intimate relationship (gopanīyam).

The guide in the path

The reason is the following : the teacher has followed the path, he knows the way and can lead us throught the difficulties we will face. Having practised a lot under a guidance himself, he understands the needs of a student and built a proper practise to help him to remove and attenuate his own obstacles. To understand better this essential point, I would like to give a metaphor. Yoga practises are like a car. Having a car alone doesn’t allow us to go where we want, unless we have a good guide who knows the way and how to deal with the Indian Road, where to stop to eat, where to reach a place, etc.

From an unbroken lineage

The beauty of the Indian tradition is that the lineage has been unbroken since the Antiquity, when the Yogic kowledge was born, until now. This is as amazing as imagining some Egyptian priest showing you the secret of the pyramids. This lineage is acknowledged many time in the haṭha-yoga-pradīpika, the yoga-sūtras and all the old text. Sankrit language have a special word to describe a teacher, he is the one that has gone through to the end (antevasin) of the way and then can lead other: an ācārya. He stayed a long time with his teacher and is now able to teach.

Current Times

Nowadays, I met many students of Yoga who were practising Yoga techniques since a long time who came in India to meet Dr. Kausthub Desikachar in order to improve their yogic knowledge. Most of them are so happy as they are understanding that a very big part of their path was missing without a proper teacher. They now progress in their Yoga practises as well as in their own personnal and professionnal life and even have the strenght to fulfill some of their old challenges. This is only possible throught the contact of a person who, in the framework of the relationship, let go of his own ego open his heart and help the student to connect with that beautiful space inside the heart that we call nowadays love and allow us to thrive in our full potential.

The uniqueness of the Viniyoga® tradition of T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar, is that the tradition is very anchored in the Guru-Paramapara for over twelve centuries. When a tradition is anchored for so long, it sure is a sign that the heart connection is indeed strong. And this is indeed the potent power of the Guru Parampara, which is so strongly visible in the Viniyoga tradition.

Kausthub Desikachar and Philip Rigo

Jul 18

7 REASONS TO ENGAGE IN THE KHYF YOGA THERAPY TRAINING

By admin | Yoga Therapy

It is Classical Yoga
The training will present Yoga Therapy based on Yoga’s classical understanding of the Human body, in conjunction with traditional Vedic sciences like Ayurveda and Samkhya philosophy. Hence the depth of learning will be profound especially in trying to understand the tools of Yoga through subtle perspectives. This apart, consistent with the classical foundation of Yoga, each participant will also be mentored individually by a qualified mentor. Thus personal attention in the student’s learning will also form a key part of the training.

It is Holistic
Participants in this training program will learn the entire range of Yoga’s potent tools. This includes not just Asana-s, but also Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, Mantra, Nyasa, Ahara (Nutrition), Vihara (Lifestyle) and other important tools of Yoga Therapy in a detailed and structured manner. Assistive handouts will be provided throughout the training so that it serves as an important aid in the learning process.

It is Immersive
The training will be a deep immersion for participants to not only learn in-depth the theoretical frameworks of the tools of Yoga Therapy, but also how to practically apply it to themselves and to their students through practicum and supervised teaching.

It is Useful
In today’s context, where it is increasingly becoming important for Yoga teachers to be careful when teaching Yoga classes even in group settings, trainees will find this program immensely useful to gain deep insights into how to offer modifications and adaptations that are safe and respectful to the needs of their students. Teaching will include how to observe limitations in students, which variations to offer, and how to offer them in an intelligent and interesting manner.

It is Transformational
The training will not only be an amazing opportunity to learn in depth tools of Yoga Therapy, but also to apply them practically for oneself in a profound process of self transformation. Guidance on self-observation tools will be continually provided as well as spiritual mentoring so that participants not only evolve themselves in a positive manner, but also bring out their best abilities as a future care provider.

It is International
You will be part of an amazing cosmopolitan set of participants coming from many countries and cultures and hence sharing experiences will be truly meaningful and diverse. The training is non-dogmatic and is open to all those who are sincerely interested in the discipline of Yoga Therapy. There is no discrimination made of any kind, as long as all participants are emotionally stable and deeply committed to the learning process.

It is Fun
The KHYF Yoga Therapy Training is absolutely awesome. You will learn in a friendly and joyful environment that makes the educational process enjoyable and fulfilling. An ambience of openness and positivity will be created to welcome all trainees so that the learning is as much fun, as it is profound.

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To be part of our awesome KHYF Yoga Therapy Training 2018 – 2020, beginning in September 2018 in Germany, kindly click here – www.khyf.net/programs/training/1000-hours-viniyoga/