What is Yoga Therapy?
What is Yoga?
What is Therapy?
How does Yoga Therapy work?
The definition of the word Yoga is practically synonymous with the English word ‘yoke’. To yoke is to bind, to link. What is it to be linked, and to what? The answer to this is ‘Yoga is the linking of the individual Soul of man with the infinite Source of his origin’. This would imply that at some moment there was a ‘loss of link’ between man and his origin. Whatever happens to be nowadays called ‘Yoga’, in order to be Yoga would have to be the application of reunifying, re-linking, re-binding of what has become a loss of linking.
Today there are many so-called disciplines of Yoga carried out by practitioners who claim to be re-linking the Soul with its Source, and whatever those disciplines happen to be, and how effective they are, may well be worth examination. To begin this examination we would be wise to begin with a definition of ‘Soul’, and a definition of ‘Infinite Source’ as man’s origin. The Soul as we will use the term here refers to ‘The circumscribed Spirit of God encapsulated in creatures. The individualised Spirit is called ‘Soul’. The Soul has consciousness and will, so also has the Spirit. The knowledge of the Soul is finite, the knowledge of Spirit is infinite. In the centre of the Soul is a point where Spirit meets it. At this point a “dialogue” takes place between the Soul and Spirit. Soul states what is its individual will, and Spirit states Its universal will. The Soul may then will its own individual will or it may will to the same purpose as the universal.’
The final sentence in this definition refers to the ‘loss of link’ between man and his origin, between the individual and the infinite, between the Soul of man and his Spiritual Source. All what is defined as Therapy in the process of Yoga Therapy would be applied to this ‘re-linking’. The aim of Therapy is to assist someone who is unable to help themselves to see a solution, or to initiate a change.
The English word therapy derives from the Latin therapīa, and the Greek θεραπεία ‘healing’, ‘curing’. Healing is ‘wholeness’; to be healed is to become whole. Curing comes from the Greek κύριος, ‘kyrios‘, Lord, Master. Later, Latin cura, ‘care, management, charge, healing’. The individual is cured when they become Lord of, have dominion and ruler-ship over, their own being. “Great is he who conquers a city, greater still is he who conquers himself.” Somewhat we may say we are cured when we have the curiosity to consciously look into, clearly see into, our own being, inspect, and become Lord and Master of the content. The rule “consciousness is a catalyst” applies as the ground of all therapy.
How is the Soul to be enabled to break free from factors which condition it, to be released from the yoke of finite limited objects & experience, and allowed to return to its infinite Source?
This is the aim & purpose of Yoga Therapy. In short we will say, by conquering inclination (“blessed is he who overcomes”), by lifting consciousness above the level at which conditioned reflexes are brought into existence and operate, or by entering with consciousness into zones of experience-records and discharging their emotional content. This is the Therapeutic process, and it is by this that wholeness is regained, becoming a lord of our being, freed from the ties that bind to limited experience, and ‘yoked back’ to the infinite Source of being.
One of the main obstructions to looking into and re-linking with the Source of being in Yoga, so says Patanjali in his practice manual, is the vrittis, the ‘turnings in the mind’. Patanjali says that Yoga IS the ability to suspend this turning in the mind, overcome or disengage the opposing forces which cause whirlpools in the lower mind of the psyche. Yoga has many techniques suggested for this suspension, some relatively benign, others significant. Patanjali says that these whirlpools are the cause of loss of Yoga, union with the Source, and are the main cause of ill-health to the Yogi.
The foremost Yoga technique of therapy is through hierarchy; looking into the stages, levels of being, which span from the material world around us, through the physical body, several levels of the subtle body, and back to the causal body, the Spirit as the original Source of being. Each level of being has a yoga discipline, or several disciplines, applied to healing at that level. In addition there is the functional integration between the levels of being, and ultimately across all levels of being.
The Source of our being is sentient & conscious, & resides without and also within. The Source aim of Yoga Therapy is primarily within; beginning with the physical body, then the emotional states of the psyche, desire as well, the lower mind, the ego structure, and having healed and integrated these levels of being, passing on to the higher mind, the will, and pure consciousness itself.
We aim as human beings to ‘take up our rightful position between the Intelligence Source Power of our being and the material world around us’. The purpose of Yoga Therapy is to achieve this aim, initially with the assistance of a Therapist, and ultimately as a reflexively self-conscious individual.