By Monique Lonner, Director of Soul Yoga Therapy
Science + Spirit = Yoga Therapy
When I began studying Yoga Therapy, I loved learning about the anatomical and physiological aspects of Yoga practice. My teachers, all straight-up anatomy experts, were Leslie Kaminoff, Tom Myers and Gil Headly. Today, a Youtube search of these gentlemen will provide you with entertaining and fascinating “anatomy geek food.” I especially love their dissection videos 🙂
Anatomy is the framework through which the magic of Yoga makes sense to me. For example, when we breathe, our organs ride up and down with our diaphragmatic movement. Slower, deeper breathing provides a healing rhythm for our liver, stomach, kidneys and heart. When the organs are in peaceful, deep rhythm, the nervous system gets the message that all is well and our immune system is bolstered to fight viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. It is no mystery to me why Yoga Therapy is considered to be so effective in supporting healing across a large range of conditions, from depression to diabetes.
When I set out to create Soul of Yoga’s IAYT Accredited Yoga Therapy Training, I didn’t know quite what I was in for! Throughout this journey, the most incredible aspect of it for me has been the mystery that Yoga Therapy reveals to those who seek its wisdom.
What makes Yoga Therapy so wondrous is not just the anatomy and physiology, however, but the ancient understanding of the subtle body as well. Yoga Therapy addresses health in both our physical and non-physical aspects, such as nadis, marma points and chakras, the effect of which many find to be profoundly healing.
Becoming and being a Yoga Therapist is a magical tour of both science and spirit. The combination of the two is worth far more than the sum of their parts.
Check out my teacher Brian Dorfman explaining the overlay of the physical and subtle bodies in this brief video:
Marma Point Therapy:
Alongside my dear Yoga Therapy students, I just learned the following from the fabulous Indu Arora, author of the gorgeous book, Mudras: There are marma points in the elbows called Kurpura and in the knees called Janu. On the right side of the body these points relate to the liver function, internal heat, and fiery emotional states. On the left side of the body these points relate to the pancreas, along with fatigue and sadness.
The next time you are doing a pose on your hands and knees, put your focus into the side of the body that relates to the qualities you want to balance. Someone cut you off in the parking lot and you’re still pissed? Focus on the right. Could hardly get out of bed to do your practice? Focus on the left. Try it out! Drop us a note to let us know what you notice. That is the true magic of Yoga.