Should Yoga Therapy align itself with the medical field?

Namaste my friends!

Yoga as a Therapeutic system is becoming popular and many Yoga institutions are scrambling to legitimize its practice. One part of this legitimization process is that these Yoga institutions are running to align themselves with the medical community. This is not really necessary because Yoga as a practice of Therapy has been in existence for more than 2000 years and that itself is its testimony to its validity as a Therapeutic school.

It doesn’t mean that the medical community has to be rejected. Yoga can function hand in hand with the medical practice and there can be areas where it can support each other and there can be areas where there can be some differences in the way things are seen and applied. That is the beauty that we have in this world today that we have a choice of more than one practice health paradigm to help us in healing process.

There are certain obstacles for medical science to understand Yoga because medical science is first of all reductionist in its approach, whereas Yoga is a very holistic system. In medicine we divide the body into smaller parts and we try to take this approach of finding the cause in minute details. Whereas in Yoga everything is looked at in a holistic way where everything is a part of a large continuum in a huge container where different things are collaborating with each other sometimes and not collaborating with each other at another times which is what leads to illness. The paradigm of how health is looked at by medicine and Yoga differs in this area.

An another thing where Yoga is different from medicine is that Yoga is non-invasive approach and self -empowering approach. Whereas, medicine is not necessarily always self- empowering because the patients give away their power to the doctors and health practitioners and don’t really empower themselves. Also, Yoga is non-invasive in the sense Yoga is using body’s its own resources whereas medicine is using external intervention to bring about change in the body. It is not that it is wrong. It is just that these are two systems.

Most important difference is that the western medicine is very much measuring tangible. But Yoga takes into consideration intangible concepts like Prana, for example, which is the basis for all the Yoga practices is a very intangible concept that modern science will not understand atleast at the moment.

So, it is very difficult for Yoga to be completely aligned with the medical system, but they can be at arm’s distance and work together in areas of agreement so that the person’s health is improved not just with one system but together hand in hand. I think a collaborative partnership is possible but not necessarily a system itself where they both align as a system itself. We can still help people eventhough we may not necessarily have an alignment in philosophy. That is where we need to keep our hearts open in the healing of ourselves and our patients.

Dr.Kausthub Desikachar
Viniyoga® Teacher
Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation