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Are we practicing yoga therapy or yogopathy?


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Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani's Keynote at the SYTAR 2018, IAYT’s annual membership conference dedicated entirely to professional education, research, practice, and policy issues for yoga therapy. This is the premier conference for the field of yoga therapy.

Loving feedback from eminent personalities of the Yoga therapy field included :

“The best Keynote of SYTAR’s history.”- Dilip Sarkar

“I believe Ananda’s keynote marks an historic and pivotal moment in the evolution of IAYT. Absolutely the highlight of this years event and a genuine and heartfelt standing ovation by a very moved audience. The distinction between yoga Therapy and “yogopathy” was priceless.- Michael Lee

“ Dr Ananda Bhavanani was a high light of SYTAR 2018 for me. I hope to hear more from him at future conferences.”- Linda S Varnam

“ Yes - he brought the room of 500 yoga therapists to their feet in ovation.” -Lee Majewski

“He is the "real thing, being." Wonderful to experience!”- Eleanor Criswell

Published in: Health & Medicine

Are we practicing yoga therapy or yogopathy?

  1. 1. Are We Practicing Yoga Therapy or Yogopathy ? Yogacharya Dr ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI MBBS, MD (AM), ADY, DSM, DPC, PGDFH, PGDY, FIAY, C-IAYT Director CYTER of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth & Chairman ICYER at Ananda Ashram, Puducherry, South India. AB Bhavanani - SYTAR 2018 Keynote
  2. 2.
  3. 3. SRI BALAJI VIDYAPEETH (Deemed University Accredited with “A” Grade by NAAC) Ranked 72 in NIRF 2018 Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education and Research (CYTER) Salutogenesis, our focus!
  4. 4. Bridging the experiential wisdom of Yoga with empirical modern medical science. Yoga is usually found in Physical Edu & Sports deptts of universities We at CYTER, have it in a medical institution since 2010 – quality of life enhancing benefits for ~ 45000 patients – educating future Yoga therapists (PGDYT, M.Phil, PhD), – creating awareness amongst medical, dental and nursing students & professionals – scientifically researching Yoga, – 75 publications & 5 CMEs. – IDY celebrations since 2015
  5. 5. Salutogenesis, our Focus • Moving from pathogenesis, the focus on disease towards salutogenesis, the focus on health! • CYTER is striding forward on an innovative path of promoting holistic health for one and all.
  6. 6. Salutogenesis • Derivation of Greek + Latin – Latin:Latin: salussalus = health= health – Greek:Greek: genesisgenesis = source= source • In combination = Sources of health
  7. 7. Sense of Coherence (SOC)(SOC) The heart of Salutogenesis “a pervasive, long-lasting and dynamic feeling of confidence that one’s internal and external environments are predictable and that there is a high probability that things will work out as well as can be expected” (Antonovsky, 1979)  SOC has strong positive correlations to perceived health, mental health, and quality of life.
  8. 8. 3 components of Sense of Coherence (3 components of Sense of Coherence (SOCSOC))  COMPREHENSIBLE - Cognition - “My world is understandable”  MANAGEABLE - Coping Skill - “My world is manageable”  MEANINGFUL - Motivation - “My world has meaning”
  9. 9. SALUTOGENESIS versus PATHOGENESIS… Pathogenesis • What causes diseases? • About avoiding problems •Reactive - absence disease • Against pain or loss • Prepares one to live Salutogenesis • What causes health? • About reaching potential • Proactive - presence health • For gain or growth • Discover how to live fully
  10. 10. It doesn’t matter how many resources you have. If you don’t know how to use them, it will never be enough.
  11. 11. To be a competent yoga therapist, We require intelligence and empathy, be willing to share, need to understand our limitations, realize we are not perfect and be willing to embark on a continuously expanding learning curve. The day we stop learning is the day we stop living!
  12. 12. And not merely the absence of disease.And not merely the absence of disease. Definition of Health (WHO)Definition of Health (WHO) Health is a dynamic state of complete… Health is a dynamic state of complete…
  13. 13. SWASTH: a dynamic state of wholesome wellness Samadoshah samaagnishch samadhaatu malakriyah prasanna atmendriya manah swasth ityabhidheeyate. - Sushrut Samhita (15:41) • Acharya Sushrut (~600 BC) defined health as “a dynamic balance of the elements and humors, normal metabolic activity and efficient elimination coupled with a tranquil mind, senses and contented soul”. • Yoga is truly the best means to achieve such a dynamic state of wholesome health at all levels of existence.
  14. 14. “Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga”. – IAYT
  15. 15. Cellular Panchakosha !
  16. 16. (Low) 0 0 (Low) ∞ (High) (High) ∞Skills Anxiety Boredom Increasing skills Increasing skills FLOW Channel
  17. 17. • Is modern Yoga Therapy losing touch with the essence of Yoga? • Has the unitive spirit of Yoga been misplaced in the blinding maze of modern marketing and dry, academic qualifications. • Instead of seeking to understand the real cause behind the duhkha experienced by our clients, are we content in simply managing / suppressing manifest symptoms. • Is this really Yoga Therapy?
  18. 18. • Yoga aims to help regain our psycho- physiological balance, by removing the root cause of the dis-harmony. • Disassociation from inherent tendencies to identify with suffering, is Yoga! duhkha samyoga viyogam yoga samjnitham- Bhagavad-Gita VI: 23.
  19. 19. Yoga Therapy “without” Yoga Is no longer Yoga Therapy!
  20. 20. Cause of Disease According to Yoga • Primary cause – Dwaitam – duality - dichotomy • Disease = dis + ease (Asana-stira sukam and tado dwandwa anabigata) • Tri Dosha and their imbalance • Dwadasha Prana and their imbalance • Yoga Vashistha - psychosomatic and non psychosomatic disorders • Somato-psychic disorders
  21. 21. According to Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri • Yoga Chikitsa is the oldest w-holistic concept and therapy in the world. • The ‘return of the mind that feels separated from the Universe in which it exists’. • Dwaitam, misplaced sense of duality d/t avidya is root cause of imbalance (adhi), manifesting as disease (vyadhi) via psycho-somatic mechanisms. • Depending upon propensity (sabija karma) of the individual, manifestation of the vyadhi may vary.
  22. 22. “Fear arises from the sense of duality” - Brihadaranyaka Upanishad & .......... duality leads to stress!!
  23. 23. Mental Agitations Mental Agitations Haphazard Flow of Prana Haphazard Flow of Prana Unstable Nadis Unstable Nadis Hypo-cellular activity (Ajeeranatvam) Hypo-cellular activity (Ajeeranatvam) Hyper-cellular activity (Ateejeeranatvam) Hyper-cellular activity (Ateejeeranatvam) Altered cellular activity (Kujeeranatvam) Altered cellular activity (Kujeeranatvam) VYAADHI Physical Ailments VYAADHI Physical Ailments Yogic understanding of Psychosomatic DisordersYogic understanding of Psychosomatic Disorders AADHIAADHI Manomaya Kosha Manomaya Kosha Annamaya KoshaAnnamaya Kosha Pranamaya Kosha Pranamaya Kosha
  24. 24. From the Yogic viewpoint of disease, psychosomatic, disorders progress through four phases. 1. Psychic Phase  vijnanamaya & manomaya kosha 1. Psychosomatic Phase  manomaya & pranamaya kosha 1. Somatic Phase  pranamaya & annamaya kosha 1. Organic Phase  annamaya kosha
  25. 25. NARA* ~ Psychic disassociation ~ * A unique perspective as elucidated by Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj
  26. 26. A bad case of Nara!
  27. 27. • The Pancha Klesha model of Maharishi Patanjali clearly states that the ‘root’ of all suffering (duhkha) is AVIDYA (distorted perception of reality). – tasya hetur avidya –PYS II:24 • Avidya as the root cause enables manifestation of other kleshas in dormant, attenuated, manifest or overpowering forms leading to suffering. - avidya kshetram uttaresham prasupta tanu vicchinna udaranam- Yoga Darshan II:4
  28. 28. Unless we treat the individual’s underlying psycho-somatic disassociation (dwaitham) and misconceived sense of self identify (avidya), we are not practicing Yoga Chikitsa.
  29. 29. YOGA THERAPY MODELS • Yoga Vasishta (Pancha Kosha) model • Chaturvyuha model: heya-hetu-hana-upaya • Klesha / Prana / Chakra models • Kaivalyadhama model – Cultivation of correct psychological attitudes – Reconditioning of the neuro-muscular and neuro- glandular system – Appropriate diet and encouraging the natural processes of elimination
  30. 30. • Thiruvalluvar, the Dravidian saint advises us to look for the disease, trace its root cause, understand the remedy and then mindfully apply it. – Noinaadi noimudhal naadi athuthanikkum vaai naadi vaippach cheyal -Tirukkural 948 • The Vyuha model based on PYS has similar approach. – Heya : what are the challenges? – Hethu : what are the causes? – Hana : what are the goals? – Upaya : what are the tools?
  31. 31. Managing and suppressing manifest symptoms using Yoga techniques without trying to find & correct the ‘underlying’ cause is better described as YOGOPATHY!
  32. 32. ...... Pathy? • a combining form occurring in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “suffering,” “feeling” ( antipathy; sympathy); • in compound words of modern formation, often used with the meaning “morbid affection,” “disease” ( arthropathy; deuteropathy; neuropathy; psychopathy), and • hence used also in names of systems or methods of treating disease ( allopathy; homeopathy; hydropathy; osteopathy).
  33. 33. • As Yoga therapists, unless we aim to correct the manifest psycho-somatic disassociation as well as the underlying ignorant, distorted perception of reality in the individual, we are not practicing Yoga Chikitsa. • Yoga Chikitsa is based on salutogenesis • Yogopathy is based on pathogenesis
  34. 34. Yogic 12-Point System of Diagnosis and Health Evaluation
  35. 35. • Managing and suppressing manifest symptoms with Yoga techniques is just as good or bad as modern Allopathic medicine that focuses primarily on symptomatic management without considering the deeper “root” cause. • How many doctors look at the emotional, social, spiritual and psychological issues that are often the primary cause of the problem in their clients? • Remember, the concept of psychosomatics is not older than a hundred years in modern medicine.
  36. 36. • When Yoga therapists also merely focus on treating manifest symptoms without remedying the ‘root’ cause, I prefer to call it YOGOPATHY! • Eg. Using just Shavasana or other techniques to manage hypertension without addressing the primary cause. • Such symptomatic management with yogic techniques is merely Yogopathy.
  37. 37. • Another common example is of different asanas to relive musculoskeletal issues without looking for the real cause of the patient’s condition. • When we do this, how are we any different than the modern doctors who prescribe drugs or exercise for these patients? • Where is the real Yoga in this type of therapy? • Where is the effort to find and deal with the primary cause? • Is it enough to work on ‘just’ the ‘body’?
  38. 38. How does it work?
  39. 39. PRINCIPLES OF YOGA THERAPY • Become aware of your body, emotions & mind • Improve your dietary habits • Relax yourself consciously • Let your breathing be calm and deep • Let your mind focus inwardly • Improve flow of Healing Prana • Fortify yourself against omnipresent stressors. • Increase your self-reliance and self-confidence • Facilitate natural emanation of waste. • Self responsibility for health and happiness.
  40. 40. Yoga places great importance on a proper and healthy lifestyle whose main components are: ACHAR – healthy physical activities & exercise VICHAR – right thoughts and right attitude towards life that are vital for wellbeing. AHAR – healthy, nourishing diet with adequate intake of fresh water; balanced intake of fresh food, green salads, sprouts, unrefined cereals & fresh fruits. Sattwic diet, prepared & served with love & affection. VIHAR – proper recreational activities to relax body and mind are essential for good health. VYAVAHAR – healthy relationships for social health
  41. 41. E = mc2
  42. 42. E = mc2 Power of the mind!
  43. 43. SELF LOVE UNDERSTANDINGWILL EGO FEELINGS THOUGHTS BRAIN ENDOCRINE SYSTEM CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM IMMUNE SYSTEM BODY Psycho Transpersonal Level Psycho Developmental Level Psycho Biological Level Psycho Informative Level Physiological Level
  44. 44. And not merely the absence of disease.And not merely the absence of disease. Definition of Health (WHO)Definition of Health (WHO) Health is a dynamic state of complete… Health is a dynamic state of complete…
  45. 45. • Yogopathy, is more about "doing" than "being". • Yoga Chikitsa empowers an individual to “BE” at ease with themselves, an integrated state of coherence, their own Sukha Sthanam Some final words…….
  46. 46. • The need of the hour is for a symbiotic relationship between Yoga and modern science. • Living, human bridges combining the best of both worlds need to be cultivated. • Iti iti………….. The way forward! Some final words…….
  47. 47. We need to focus on wholesomeness & salutogenesis and move consciously from duhkham to sukham….
  48. 48. We, as Yoga therapists, must make a sincere & determined attempt to strengthen that one important link in the “Chain of Yoga” - the link of our own personal, ‘every moment sadhana’.
  49. 49. This is our dharma, our responsibility as a Yoga Therapist.
  50. 50. And we truly only become human, when we live our dharma!
  51. 51. May we all be blessed to do so! Hari om tat sat
  52. 52. Thank You!Thank You!