HYDERABAD: While our mainstream perception of yoga is limited to asanas, physical health and weight loss, there are new narratives stepping in, like the use of yoga as therapy.
Harshita Soni is one such voice, propagating yoga as a complement to conventional medicine. The founder of ‘Place of Breath’, a centre that offers yoga therapy for physical, emotional and mental well-being in Hyderabad, she considers yoga therapy as ‘mindful physiotherapy’.
She regularly works with people suffering from chronic pain, sciatica pain, PCOS, anxiety and stress. The therapy allows people to manage pain and symptoms.
Harshita, who lived for a couple of years in the US, believes that breathing connects the mind and the body.
A passionate dancer with a diploma in Kuchipudi, she admitted that her reasons for joining yoga were strength training and flexibility.
But her experience with yoga gave her more than she expected. “Yoga has taught me not to blame others, not to hold on to anger, and to deal with it logically”, she explains.
She adds that sage Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutra, was one of the first psychologists the world had. However, she laments that yoga is now being presented as a fad and while this is making more people give it a try, it is deviating them from the real essence of yoga. She says, “Many started getting injuries from yoga classes.
They were doing 108 Surya Namaskar on Yoga Day and it was killing their spine. Out of the 195 Sutras in yoga, only three talk about asana, the remaining 192 talks about the mind. It is important to talk about the mind and not just physical postures.”
According to an article in PsychologyToday.com, “By regularly practising psychological yoga exercises for building focus, core strength, and flexibility, you will find that you feel emotionally stronger. You will sense that you stand tall. And you will find that you are less upset with yourself when you get knocked down, as well as more supportive of yourself getting back up. Overall, with yoga for the mind, you will feel better about you and be happier in your daily life.”
The United Nations describes yoga as an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India.
The word ‘yoga,’ derived from Sanskrit, means ‘to join or to unite’, symbolising the union of body and consciousness. Recognizing its universal appeal, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the International Day.
The theme for Yoga Day this year is Climate Action.