Yoga therapy is application of yogic principles for an individual with an objective of achieving a holistic goal on spiritual, psychological and physical level. The means employees to achieve such goal is not limited to yoga itself but comprised of intelligently conceived steps that include the educational teachings of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, dhyana and samadhi. Spiritual aspects are carried out through the application of meditation, chanting, prayer and traditional rituals. The esteemed and experienced yogi or yogini is applies yoga therapy according to the time, place and the practitioners strength and lifestyle.
Yoga therapy is applied from one or more of three perspective.
The use of yoga to gain strength both physical and mental in order to gain a sense of power. This process is known as shakti karma and helps to concentrate and provides the ability to work efficiently with greater energy flow in the body in a focused manner.
The use of yoga to heal specific ailments by elimination of toxins from the internal organs and balancing doshas through Yogasanas and Ayurvedic approach of nutrition.
1. Present sickness needs to cure and is known as chikitsa.
2. If the body is fit the protection is required and is known as Rakshana.
3. If the body is protected and one has learned the ways of protection, he/she needs to train and is known as sikshana.
Limited sense of physical existence needs to be eliminated to know one’s true self in the world of change by understanding prakriti (nature). This is called as the application of adhyatma-karma.
The main principles of this form of Yoga therapy are:
1. Teach what is appropriate to the individual (yukta-shiksana).
2. Differences in different people must be respected (bheda).
3. Teachings must consider the situation, place, or country from which the student comes (desha).
4. Each person needs to be taught according to his or her individual constitution, age, disposition, etc. (i.e., obese, lean, young, old, etc.) (deha).
5. The method of instruction depends on the time of year, the seasons, etc. (kâla).
6. Depending on the occupation of the student, he or she will need to be taught different things (e.g., a runner would be taught differently than a philosopher) (vritti).
7. One must understand the capacity of the student, how much endurance he or she has, how much memory, how much time to study or practice (shakti).
8. The teaching must conform to the direction of the mind (i.e., it must take a person’s interests into account, such as exercise, devotion, God, chanting, etc.) (mârga).