[Today’s guest writer, yoga instructor Vikrant Sawant is a miracle worker of sorts. I witnessed people with debilitating back issues walking again, slipped disc recoveries, and frozen shoulders treated through teacher-assisted yoga sessions when I was briefly his student in 2016 at Sawant Yoga Studio. Needless to say, he has tremendous respect among his students and the neighbourhood community in Mumbai where he organises free yoga camps.
Vikrant is a qualified Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga teacher. In this guest post, he writes about medical yoga, which is defined as the use of yoga practices for the prevention and treatment of medical conditions. Beyond the physical elements of yoga, which are important and effective for strengthening the body, medical yoga also incorporates appropriate breathing techniques, mindfulness, and meditation in order to achieve the maximum benefits.]
“Yogic sadhana has helped a lot of people and practitioners come out of chronic conditions like – slipped disc, back pain, knee pain, goitre, blood pressure, depression, anxiety, fear, thyroid issues like goitre, weight problems, neck pain, frozen shoulder, diabetes and endocrine gland issues to name a few.”
“It helped many people diagnosed with a condition where they were advised to undergo surgery but were able to heal themselves with yogic practices. However, I am recommending it in emergency cases, when medical intervention is required. However, yoga is one of the best things for LIFE and life management.”
- “I had a student who was suffering from dizziness for the last 10 years. He had multiple treatments done on his neck, brain, at the neuron level but nothing worked. He would sit down in a chair and feel dizzy. Vertigo and any mental illnesses were ruled out. He couldn’t walk straight. He’d walk in a zigzag way like a drunk (let me tell you, he is teetotaler).” Today, after taking up medical yoga, he is doing much better. His aches and pains, pins and needles have almost gone. He doesn’t get those bouts of dizziness often. He has resumed taking public transport which he’d stopped for the last 10 years. He would never go on vacations for fear of falling. He goes on vacation every summer now. His wife is super happy and so is his 10-year-old son, who now looks up to to his father.
- Another student who came to me with multiple sclerosis was told by her doctor that she would be paralyzed in a few months due to degeneration of the spinal cord and her nerve insulations were breaking and getting destroyed. She used to have massive back pain and constant nagging headaches. Today, she is doing much better. She is happier than ever before as she is pain-free and leading her life to the fullest.
- Many students with slipped discs, disc herniation and loss of cervical lordosis have been practicing in our yoga shala and have recovered from painful physical conditions. Mental issues like fear, anxiety, depression, insomnia are big with the current generation. We’ve worked with lots of students who have come out of these successfully and are doing wonderfully.”
Yoga is a super knife
“When someone is suffering from any physical or mental conditions, yoga can be used as a tool to help them manage it, and to heal faster. A knife can be used to cut vegetables, or things to eat or one can use it to cut themselves. Yoga is a super knife. It’s a knife that is capable of cutting anything — either it can serve or it can take life. However, it’s up to the individuals to decide whether they want to use it for cutting the shackles one has entangled oneself in. One needs to learn and experience for themselves how to use this tool best. It needs to be sharped everyday.”
Yoga goes beyond therapy
“Using yoga just as therapy to heal, for example, medical conditions like hypertension, back pain or mental issues is only one part of its use. Using yoga purely for therapy is a gross under-utilization of this ancient tool. When it is used as a tool to further enhance one’s own experience of life, to enhance one’s own ability to feel and experience life on a different dimension, then you are making real use of the practice.”
“So use it as therapy until it serves its purpose. However, once a person has achieved some gait, some poise, some equilibrium and balance in the physical and mental aspects, it should be used as practice to further explore oneself on a different dimension. A dimension I would want to call spiritual practice, dimensions to be more connected to life.”
Learn more about yoga for healing and therapy on Vikrant Sawant’s Youtube channel and Facebook page:
He tweets on @SawantVikrant