Monthly Archives: October 2015

The striking similarities between physical therapy applications and asanas

A co-worker of mine recently had knee surgery and said he is in physical therapy. I am always curious as a Yoga teacher what what the medical community does to treat ailments via physical movement. He graciously copied his sheet of exercises his physical therapist prescribed to him.

I saw immediately that the actions being taught in physical therapy mimic many of those is asana, with asana being a bit more extreme in range of motion. Here are a few interesting examples:

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dandasana iyengar

“Hip and knee strengthening quadriceps sets” and Dandasana (Staff Pose)

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urdvha prasarita padasana

“Straight leg raise phase 1” and Urdvha Prasarita Padasana (Upward Expanded Leg Pose)

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ardha bhekasana

“Prone knee flexion stretch” and Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

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Chatuse padasana 9

“Bridging” and Chatuse Padasana (Four Footed Pose)

The above illustrations are not a sequence, but just a visual of the similarities. I am a yoga teacher and not a doctor or a physical therapist, but in this art I can’t help to recognize the correlation between movements and the therapeutic effect of the asanas. My mentoring teacher often comments on how asanas are therapeutic in and of themeselves if people practice them ardently.

A major difference between physical therapy and Yoga is that physical therapy ends when the injury is healed, whereas in Yoga the practitioner goes on to the next level of asana and then beyond to the breath, mind, consciousness, and soul.

Many blessings to you all!

 

 

 

 

Finding inspiration and a sense of renewal from the Sloka of Infinitude

There are many resources within Yoga’s literary/oral tradition that help one cope with the maladies of life. Sometimes things can get overwhelming when we try to balance our personal lives with jobs, family, and our Yoga practice. Just like an elixir from the heavens, this mantra is effective for understanding our place in the Universe.

OM PURNAMADAH PURNAMIDAM
PURNAAT PURNAMUDACHYATE
PURNASYA PURNAMAADAAYA
PURNAMEVAAVASHISHYATE
OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTIH

This is the opening verse from Isha Upanishad. It is a deep deep concept. There are many translations of this verse, but the one that resonates with me is:

Om.
That is infinite, this is infinite;
From That infinite this infinite comes.
From That infinite, this infinite removed or added;
Infinite remains infinite.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!

It almost sounds like a mathematical theorem. Lately in Savasana in my personal practice, I have been repeating this to myself. Much like the self inquiry of the Ramana Maharsi lineage, the more I repeat and contemplate this sloka, the more my sense of self seems to dissolve and is replaced by an ocean of light and hope which I perceive as the “infinity.”

We don’t need to look for resources outside the practice of Yoga to find direction in our practice. We don’t need to find any new books written about the latest Yoga trend. We also don’t need to “reinvent or rebrand” Yoga. It is here for us already in abundance. It has been around for many millennia, perfected throughout the course of humanity for us to pick like ripe fruits from a tree. It is all written and easy to access in this modern age.

May you have a blessed week!