Yoga and meditation are key therapies that are utilised in many Integrative Medicine protocols. However, this concept needs to be embraced by many more conventional medicine doctors, physiotherapist,functional medicine doctors, Complementary and Alternative Medicine professionals and other healthcare professionals as a key complementary therapy for healing acute and chronic ailments.
There is an abundance of research evidence that shows that yoga and meditation can help health conditions such as:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Weight loss
Yoga and meditation can help people of any age, whether it be a very physically demanding form such as Bikram yoga or the very gentle ‘Chair yoga’ for the elderly or for those with restricted movement and space.
There are many reasons why yoga and meditation help health conditions. Unfortunately, western science and philosophy cannot understand how yoga works. If one cannot physically see chakras/ energy centres or measure energy flow inthe body through conventional science instrumentation,then it makes it difficult for those who do not practice yoga and meditation to understand its effects on health and wellbeing.
Similarly, there are prejudices that exist within many cultures and religions.There are some extreme Christians groups feel that it is wrong for Christians to practice Yoga. I feel this is poor judgment and those pastors and church leaders who take this stance are just ‘playing God’; this is coming from a practising Catholic. For instance, how can lying in ‘Shavasana’ or ‘corpse’ yoga poses, where you feel completely relaxed, be regarded as heresy. Furthermore, we know that regular yoga and meditation practice can result in increases in serotonin levels, decreases in the levels of monamine oxidase which is an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters and cortisol. Fortunately, my parish priest who understands the benefit of yoga, exercise, and meditation encourage the practice of meditation. It is a shame that other religious leaders do not have the same virtues.
Conversely, there are also some Hindus and Western practitioners of Yoga who believe that yoga is a strict Hindu practice and focus on that ritual aspect of yoga. What some fail to realise is that yoga and meditation are spiritual disciplines that drawthe person close to God whether you be Christian, Hindu or Muslim. If you are an atheist, yoga and meditation brings the individual a sense of self-awareness and so much more. The fact that meditation and yoga have profound effects on depression and anxiety indicates that it has having a biological effect which has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.
So perhaps it is time for the critics of Yoga and Meditation to review their beliefs and maybe experience several yoga and/or meditation sessions, it will help them understand the experience, improve their health and well being and perhaps understand the spiritual connection.