People often ask me, “What is yoga?”. Well, there are so many types of yoga in existence today. Though it started in India and was practised by ancient men living in caves, forests and riverbeds, yoga has travelled far from its roots. Those ancient yogis would not recognise their art today if they stepped in a studio in London, New York or even Mumbai! Yoga has evolved, because it is now practiced by men and women who are not vegetarians, who do lot live in caves and who have religious beliefs.
The yoga we do at Sun Yoga is primarily a system of wellness based on principles of physical therapy and medical science. We spent a large portion of our training programme studying anatomy and physiology. Our main centre where we do teacher training course research is in Fairfield, Connecticut, in a medical centre! In USA, yoga therapy is billable to Medicare and Medicaid, and a chunk of our work is filling in medical claims forms.
Indeed, medical science is accumulating more and more evidence on the efficacy of yoga in treating various symptoms and ailments. Thus, yoga has been steadily moving into the realms of mainstream medicine, recommended by doctors to alleviate various symptoms such as stress, high blood pressure, anxiety attack, weight loss, to name a few.
Today, for example, we had a student walking in who complained about headaches and nausea. A visual examination of her spine showed a slight misalignment in the cervical vertebrae, which could cause compression and pinching of the nerves. Her elevated shoulder blades also indicated that she carried a lot of tension and stress in her head region. Thus, in class today, we did a lot of spine lengthening and relaxation of the muscles in the neck and shoulder area. The student left the class with a big smile, which is something that makes us feel that we are doing our job well.
Perhaps what we love most is our children’s yoga classes. Sun Yoga Kids began in the early 2000s in Hampshire, England, with the introduction of the British National Curriculum new subject, Personal Social & Health Education. We taught in UK schools and started training teachers to go back and teach in their schools. Sun Yoga Kids is 60 minutes of pure joy. At Sun Yoga Kids, children jump and stretch and sing and laugh and learn important things along the way.
So for me, as a Catholic mother and a medical doctor, that is what Sun Yoga is about: a system of wellness that is based on strong scientific principles and one that is suitable for all. Come and try.
Article courtesy of Dr. Jacqualine Koay
of Sun Yoga