You Said: Reader Comments on Yoga as HealingRegards,
I am a 52-year-old woman who began practicing yoga a year and a half ago. A studio opened nearby and I decided to try a class. I have been practicing from that day since. The healing that I have experienced has been profound. My life has taken on a new meaning and has allowed me to reach places within that I never knew existed. My journey has helped me to trust the wisdom that is inherent in all living things. The more I am able to let go and just “be” in the moment. The more connected I become to my own true nature. I have discovered the relationship between the interconnectedness of all things. I have felt the power and control I have given away as my mind interferes with the true nature of things. I practice yoga to reconnect with my true spirit and allow myself to see the interconnectedness of what truly is.
I am 72 years old, and have taught and practiced Iyengar and Ashtanga and other forms of yoga or 38 years. For some time now I have had a regular occurrences of atrial fibrillation. I used ujjayi breathing alternating with the Valsalva maneuver (trying to exhale while the throat is closed) to stop the fibrillation and restore normal heart rhythm. My doctor said that this was a sound medical procedure. The alternating decrease and increase in thoracic pressure caused by those breathing practices stimulates the vagus nerve which helps to jump start the heart back into a normal rhythm. I had intuitively created this therapy for myself. It was good to hear that it is accepted by the western medical establishment.
--Eleanor "Teri" Viereck
I am 20 years old and have always suffered pain within my back, especially lower, knees and hips. Being young, doctors don't usually listen or they put it down to growing pains. And in result of being told to deal with it for many years, I had to endure the osteopath pulling and crunching me from all directions. I took up yoga after I split from a long-term relationship, just to help me deal with my emotions. I am now a much stronger person, emotionally and physically. I never get ill and the pains have decreased to a few aches! I am thankful of yoga!
In my mid 40s, I thought of myself as being fit because I worked out at the YMCA several times a week with a varied program of weights, cardio machines, and aerobic classes. But I developed a sore, stiff knee that just would not go away. I also noticed that I was getting abnormally tired whenever I was standing around or walking slowly, such as on a shopping trip. Although I had practiced yoga in the past, my practice had deteriorated to a simple morning routine, lacking awareness. So I took a series of Hatha Yoga classes at the YMCA to see if I could learn anything new. Sure enough, in the first few classes I listened to the teacher's description of how to distribute the body weight evenly on front and back of the feet in Tadasana and how balance poses such as Vrksasana strengthen all the little muscles in ankles, knees, and hips that are not exercised in the big muscular movements of normal fitness training. As a result, I started paying more attention to how I was standing, noticed a habit of putting too much weight on my heels, and focused on shifting my weight forward. I also incorporated leg balance poses into my daily morning routine. After a week, I noticed the knee pain was retreating, and it was completely gone in less than a month. In the year and a half since then, with additional classes and a richer personal practice, I have strengthened and toned muscles in my legs and back (another area neglected in normal fitness activities) and learned how yoga provides the best remedy for the physical effects of working at a desk job. I feel much younger, more energetic, and more at peace with myself.