Thursday, September 1, 2011

Positive Change or Pathology?

Since you’re reading this, you likely have at least a passing interest in Yoga. Perhaps you’ve already mopped your proverbial brow with the thought I already practice yoga, so I’ve already cooled down my nervous system. Many Yoga practitioners think this, though are often surprised when they start to develop the symptoms of an overheated nervous system. Having taught thousands of therapeutic Yoga sessions, I’ve watched many well-intentioned Yoga students actually cause some of the problems they’d hoped to avoid! The following story is a compilation of many students’ experiences. While overall it is therefore a fictional account, these are real situations that have been reported by real Yoga students.

Tina’s friends had been after her for years to try Yoga. Despite her friends’ insistence that Yoga was indeed a workout, it wasn’t until the local studio offered the two-week unlimited Yoga special that she gave it a shot. After just a few minutes in the heat, Tina felt the familiar muscle burn and tremble that indicated – this really is a workout!

As her friends predicted, Tina was hooked. Adjusting her schedule to fit in at least five classes per week, Tina was surprised to find that she really did feel drawn to change her diet – just like her friends described! She no longer felt very well when she ate her breakfast scone, and was finding that her favorite comfort food, ice cream, made her feel all bloaty.

Simultaneously, Tina found that she needed less sleep. Where she used to sleep 8-9 hours per night, she was now bounding out of bed after only 7-8 hours. Some nights she’d even wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning, yet felt completely rested. Woo-hoo!

In addition to changing her eating and sleeping habits, Tina also noticed her social interests changing. Being around a bunch of people at a concert was just too much...too much noise, too many distractions and too much negative energy. Staying close to home became more appealing, and if she were out and about too much, would often come home feeling frazzled and drained.

After a few more months of Yoga, Tina began to notice her tastes in clothing changing, too. Her old workout gear began feeling itchy, and she found herself drawn to natural, organic fabrics. Even though the synthetic fabrics held up so well in the heat, her tastes drifted to organic cottons, silks and linens. Sometimes even a cute blouse in organic cotton would be problematic – the tag would rub on her neck and leave a mark!

Her favorite Yoga teacher talked a lot about de-toxing; and sure enough, Tina began to see the signs of de-toxing he kept referring to. Tina’s favorite necklace, a gift from her best friend, began to cause a rash, as did her watch. Understanding that these rashes were related to purging her system of toxins, she gladly put her jewelry away in favor of a simpler aesthetic.

All was not perfect, however. Tina did notice a few aches and pains crop up, though her teacher assured her it was another aspect of the process of de-toxing. The pain at her sitting bones, however, could be a literal pain-in-the-butt. And the front of her shoulders would often get sore after doing sun salutations. The solution, however, was easy – more yoga!

Does this story sound familiar - someone you know, or perhaps you? I hear similar stories all the time. Each of these shifts – change in diet, social interests, clothing tastes, etc. may indeed be signs of positive change. They may also be signs of pathology. In the following blog posts, let’s take a look at each of Tina’s changes and see how they may point to positive change, pathology, or some combination of the two.

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spiritual development said...


yoga training retreat bali said...

The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility. It increases flexibility. Yoga has positions that act upon the various joints of the body including those joints that are never really on the ‘radar screen’, let alone exercised. Yoga is perhaps, the only form of activity which massages all the internal glands and organs of the body in a thorough manner, including those – such as the prostate - that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder.