Our present patterns of living leave many of us requiring some form of healing. Why is this? The mind is the basis of our way of living in the world. From our mind comes thoughts and from this stems actions. These in turn lead to habits, which pattern our existence 24 hours a day. It is our habits, desires and ambition, which shape the quality of our lives and determines whether we are healthy or unhealthy. If our lifestyle, as defined by our habits, is not in a state of harmony with our deeper selves then this will lead to suffering. There has been a growing awareness of the symptoms caused by this inner suffering in our society (psychosomatic diseases). This is why there has been such an upsurge in the demand for healers.
As people have become dissatisfied with many conventional methods of healing that seem to only cure the symptoms, they have increasingly sought the help of alternative systems of healing. Some of these methods are very respectable, and offer the patient a positive energetic change whilst in treatment, which lasts for some time. However, this in many cases is not enough to pull out the problem weeds by their roots. Although there is often a strong physical, structural and even energetic change in the body during healing sessions, the patterns in the mind still exist, thus the person will recreate this physical problem later on down the track or it will manifest in a different way.
The yogic approach differs in that it offers the patient a deep insight into the root cause of their suffering. Yoga requires a process of disciplined application from the aspirant’s side. Rather than having the healing done to them, they are given a series of practices that expands their awareness allowing them to have an integral or holistic approach to their own healing, with the active participation and utilization of their physical, mental and emotional qualities. Yoga provides a path to gradually create good health, but it is the seeker who must tread it.
Usually good health is something attributed to the physical structure. However in yoga, the view is that disease begins because our thought patterns and actions create and energetic deficiency in certain parts of the body, that eventually manifest as a physical or mental imbalance. Swami Sivananda explains this concept beautifully in the following poem:
Sow a thought and reap an action.
Sow an action and reap a habit.
Sow a habit and reap a character.
Sow a character and reap a destiny.
Yoga practices, especially meditation, bring us right back to the seed that creates our ways of interacting in the world. This is the level of depth that we must delve into, in order to create a permanent change in our health.
Practicing yoga increases awareness. When we have awareness we are attentive to our beings, living with the right actions and thoughts so as not to become diseased. It is only when we are carried away by our sensory and emotional tendencies that we meet breakdowns and illness. Yogic science teaches a means by which to expand our awareness so we can understand and use our senses, our emotional drives and impulses in a healthy way. However to get results in terms of healing it is necessary to give time and dedication to the practice. Yoga is not like instant soup, but rather one that slowly simmers away capturing all the subtle flavors and goodness. We have been habituated to want to instantly relieve suffering by taking chemical drugs. Our sense-orientated, speedy culture drives us on this way. We are so afraid of pain that we prefer the quicker ways. These quicker ways will not help us to recover in the long term. Real recovery implies a process through which wisdom grows. Patience, consistency and dedication are the tools of success with Yogic healing.
To begin the process of healing through yoga it is necessary to seek the guidance of an expert teacher. Most beginners also find it very useful to retreat from their every day lives for a period of time (between 7 and 20 days depending on condition) to an environment which offers healthy food and a positive structure. This gives the foundation and inspiration for the practices to be continued at home in a consistent way.
All the yoga practices are tools for healing as well as for preventing illnesses. In fact, if a person is a regular practitioner of the integral yogic science, the possibilities of falling ill are greatly decreased. The mind becomes more balanced; the immune system becomes stronger, thus creating a fertile garden for a dynamic life rather than illness
I believe that you are the only one who can cure yourself. It is true that guidance is important in the beginning to provide the necessary tools for healing but it is you who must apply them. Miracles are usually awakened in the self. Admittedly there have been a few beings that have the rare capacity to instantly cure people of their ills such as Jesus and the Saints. However, for most of us it is necessary to find healing in ourselves through a systematic approach and a dedication to knowing our deeper selves better.