Over many years I have the familiar and lovely experience of dear students reporting that a particular ache or pain, a challenging mood or anxiety, even elevated blood pressure or a sense of burnout has diminished or gone away as a consequence of beginning yoga and/or meditation practice. They often ask “Why?”
I don’t pretend to offer some sort of medical or psychotherapeutic explanation. That’s not my job. My job is to help them explore postures, movements (as in the picture) and contemplative practices that may prove helpful. Most often I tell them that our minds and bodies hunger for attentive presence and appropriate physical movement. My physician and therapist colleagues, ones who refer their patients to classes here, confirm that many of our experiences of discomfort, tension, and physiologic difficulties are symptoms calling us to physical and mental engagement. Kind of analogous to hunger pains. Hunger pains are diminished when we nourish ourselves. Many difficult physical and emotional states diminish when we experience attentive and appropraite physical movement and attentive mental presence. Another form of nourishment.
Note that I am teaching a therapeutically-oriented class
that follows this spirit of learning.
Wednesday evenings this spring, starting March 28th:
Therapeutic Movement, Breath, and Attentive Presence.
One of the most encouraging yoga teachers and authors, Dr. Loren Fishman MD, offers his patients prescriptions of adaptive yoga practice for healing. He notes in his books that there are many forms of therapy, some administered by physicians and therapists as treatments. He acknowledges that some of the most powerful therapies are those we can do for ourselves and require no treatment, just our personal intention and devotion, like yoga. Likewise Bessel van der Kolk MD, a renown physician specializing in PTSD recognizes yoga practice and mediation as well as MBSR training as some of the most effective interventions for folk who suffer PTSD and related ailments.
Read articles I wrote with my some of my professional colleagues about how medicine, therapy and the practices of yoga and mindfulness meditation meet: