Asanas Will Cure All Diseases
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 6:16 PM
Yoga is great. You know it, I know it. After a session we feel more at ease, less stress, more clear, less stiff, more….what is it? It’s that something that keeps us coming back to the mat again and again.
It’s an interesting practice from the East that we try to shape into a form that fits our Western minds and Western lifestyle. This Western mind is looking for “facts”. It needs to be a peer-reviewed-published-on-paper kind of a report to get our attention. It is a mind that tends to take things literally. A video just published by A.G. Mohan addresses this very issue and made me chuckle as I watched.
Sri Krishnamacharya was the foremost teacher of Yoga in the world who recently passed at the age of 101 (in 1989). A.G. Mohan studied directly with him for decades and now shares the teachings through trainings, workshops and videos. This video just posted on the Svastha Yoga & Ayurveda channel titled “Yoga and Injuries”, refers to a quote from his own book titled, Yoga Therapy published in 2004.
He clarifies that the ancient texts are more inspirational than descriptive. The intention was that all students would be learning directly from a “guru.” The benefits given are in a “very poetic form”, are often “highly exaggerated” and “must not be taken literally.” In this book he states, “You will find that they claim that several asanas will “cure all diseases.”
It’s something that would surely motivate us to practice, but is it a fact? That seems as beside the point to someone from the East as keeping track of time and writing things down. It is a very “Western” notion. It is helpful to keep this in mind when learning the life-affirming practices of yoga.
A linear thinking, fact-seeking culture taking instruction from a poetic, inspirational culture could be a recipe for disaster and in fact, as the title of the video and many popular articles today suggests - it has been.
What we do know is that yoga does reduce stress. Stress often leads to and exacerbates disease. When not practiced correctly, the postures may not be as beneficial as they are intended to be. The take-away for me is to stay humble, not to strive for some result but to let the experience reveal the poetry of each posture for its own sake. Then whether the asanas will cure all disease or not isn’t as much the point as it is to simply experience comfort and ease in our body and mind. That is enough to motivate me to practice.