The Medicine of Yoga

From where I sit, yoga is being used as a path to healing.  As in ‘medicine’.  This makes me nervous as a yoga instructor.  There is so much within a yoga practice that is not medicine.  The western science of Medicine (yes, capital M) is creeping in on the yoga horizon to claim yoga’s benefits as medicinal.  If I were a shaman, yoga is also medicinal, but I feel the shaman has a better grounding in understanding the patient’s required participation in their own health.  Medicine, the medical industry, wants to take all the credit.  The credit for health through yoga, or any yoga therapy, rests solely on the practitioner of yoga.  As a yoga instructor I can guide my students in proper alignment and balance, but it is up to my students to know what works best and at what level of intensity.  I don’t want yoga to be claimed by the medical industry.

For my own group of students of yoga, we are all hurting.  My group has arthritis, weak under-used or over-used wrists, knees that no longer include meniscus cartilage, vertebrae that are fused.  Each one comes for healing.  They come for yoga therapy.

I do have healthy students too.  Some of us recognize we are in good shape for the shape we are in and we want to continue or strengthen what we have.  We want to stay in shape and if possible be stronger, healthier.  It is a conscious decision.  I wonder that we feel the need to consciously change our decisions to live healthy.  Today in America it is not good enough to just live a naturally healthy life.  Nope, we have to choose this lifestyle.  And it is a choice.  I blame advertising, which is all media is anyway, for requiring us to turn our back on these unhealthy but lucrative choices into something that is healthy.

It’s all so simple to be healthy.  Simple to eat healthy, embrace family and friends, to help each other, to turn to our inner source for strength.  It may be simple but it is not easy.  It is not easy to turn our backs to the pervasive and insidious media diatribe of purchasing our happiness in our food, our recreation, even in purchasing our love.  There is no purchasing happiness.  There is no purchasing a fulfilling life.  There is happiness is doing the work, both inner and outer work, that completes our lives and fills our soul.  There is nothing to purchase there.

“You pay with your time or your money.”  Okay, well, sometimes it’s both.  I am finding paying with my time is far more fulfilling than tossing money at a problem.  Paying with my time is time well spent.  Ah! Time.  Don’t get me started.  Just let me continue to breathe.

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