Read Aadil Palkhivala's reply:
Welcome to the world of teaching yoga. Eighteen months has given you the very slightest taste of the magnificent world of teaching, which the coming decades will deepen considerably.
Many years ago, an article appeared in a national newspaper saying that certain Chinese herbal formulae had been proven to cure cancer and numerous other ills. This article was written by medical professionals, and they added that though the herbs worked, the medical establishment could not recommend them for use to the public because they did not know how or why they worked. Today, 20 years later, we still do not know, and thousands have died because of this mania to know how and why.
This is a major stumbling block in our overly mental world. Being a naturopath and an attorney, I always teach the principles of how and why to my teacher trainees. But I also caution them that the how and why are never as important as the fact that something works.
Having said that, there are many factors involved, depending on the pose. There is the reversal of gravity, causing increased blood flow to areas that otherwise do not receive as much blood and, with it, oxygen and nutrition. There is the squeezing and releasing of organs in the circulatory system, which removes blockages, much like a towel becomes cleaner as you squeeze and rinse it in flowing water. There is the stretching of muscles that have been tight and hence unable to receive nutrition through the bloodstream. There is the increase in the flow of energy that comes with awareness of a particular part of the body. There is the increase in the flow of prana as the breath teams up with the mind to affect a particular area of the body. There are many reasons—and in many asanas, they are combined.
All this mental gratification notwithstanding, teach your students to continue their yoga as you continue your studies with more senior teachers. Then you will both begin to learn and intuit the hows and whys—and realize that they don't matter.
Recognized as one of the world's top yoga teachers, Aadil Palkhivala began study of yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar at the age of 7 and was introduced to the yoga philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother at the age of 10. He received the Advanced Yoga Teacher's Certificate at the age of 22 and is the founder-director of internationally-renowned Yoga Centers™ in Bellevue, Washington and the founder of Purna Yoga™. Acclaimed as the "teacher of teachers," Aadil is also a federally-certified Naturopath, a certified <a href="/health/ayurveda">Ayurvedic Health Science Practitioner, a clinical hypnotherapist, a certified Shiatsu and Swedish bodywork therapist, a lawyer, and an internationally-sponsored public speaker on the mind-body-energy connection, and director of the internationally-recognized school for yoga teachers, The College of Purna Yoga. www.aadil.com