This weekend I was in class again with an amazing teacher Chase Bossart, M.A., C-IAYT, E-RYT 500.
Whatever my expectations were about the class or what I could learn from it were tossed out the window very quickly (in the best way). I enjoy when I meet a teacher who challenges my thinking and who is impassioned in their belief system and then says, “or I might be totally wrong”. I can see they are passionate about what they believe, and they also have a humility to know that we are always learning, always growing, always discovering new things.
Chase Bossart is a long time, private student of Mr. T. K. V. Desikachar and has spent more than 4 years in Chennai studying yoga. He formerly served as the Director of Therapy and Education at the Healing Yoga Foundation in San Francisco for 6+ years. He currently is the Directory at Yoga Well Institute.
He contributed to a paper entitled The Yoga of Healing: Exploring Yoga’s Holistic Model for Health and Well-being for INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF YOGA THERAPY — No. 15 (2005) The article was written by: Kausthub Desikachar, M.S., M.M.S., assisted by Liz Bragdon, M.A., and Chase Bossart, B.A.
Yoga is an ancient philosophy and practice of health and well-being. Thousands of years ago when Yoga was first conceived and practiced, people led physically active lives by necessity. There were no cars, washing machines, microwave ovens, plumbing systems, etc. The routine of daily life provided people with all the exercise they needed. It was within this physically demanding world that Yoga originated, not to give people more physical exercise, but as a system of healing with special emphasis on the mind.
Today, most people identify Yoga only with âsana, the physical practice of Yoga, but âsana is just one of many tools used for healing the individual. In the Yoga- Sûtra of Patanjali, widely acknowledged as the authoritative text on Yoga, only three of the 195 sûtras mention âsana. The rest of the text discusses the other tools of Yoga, including conscious breathing, meditation, lifestyle and diet changes, visualization, and the use of sound, to name just a few. These tools address all dimensions of the human system: body, breath, mind, personality, and emotions.
Four basic principles underlie the teachings and practices of Yoga’s healing system:
1. The human system is a holistic entity. It is comprised of different dimensions that are interrelated and inseparable from each other. The health or sickness of any single dimension affects the other dimensions, and vice-versa.
2. Each individual is unique. For this reason, each per- son’s problems must be approached in a manner that addresses the unique needs of that individual. There is no “one-size-fits-all” pill in Yoga.
3. Yoga is self-empowering; the student is his or her own healer. The teacher can offer direction and give a healing practice, but it is up to the student to do the practice. Unlike other healing modalities, such as surgery or massage, in Yoga the student is empowered and required to participate in his or her own healing.
4. The quality and state of a person’s mind is crucial to healing. If the student maintains a positive state of mind, then healing takes place more quickly. If the student’s attitude is negative, then healing may take longer.The Yoga of Healing: Exploring Yoga’s Holistic Model for Health and Well-being; INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF YOGA THERAPY — No. 15 (2005) by: Kausthub Desikachar, M.S., M.M.S., assisted by Liz Bragdon, M.A., and Chase Bossart, B.A.
This portion of the above article resonated with me from my own experiences with healing. I love the idea that we are so interconnected and the recognition that how we are feeling emotionally effects our physical body, our breath, our mind and personality. It’s not rocket science when you think about it and yet our western culture is so compartmentalized. I go to the doctor for my cold and she doesn’t ask me about my stress at work. I go to my therapist and he asks me about my stress at work but not about my cold. One of the many reasons I love yoga is that it is looking at human being holistically. I know we are evolving as a society and doctors are recognizing external factors in health. If you are lucky like me you have a good doctor who cares, and also, she is still looking at me from a physical disease-based model. Fix the disease rather than support the health of a person and prevention.
I have been in some physical pain recently that I am pretty sure stems from a mental negative loop I have been stuck in lately. I was encouraged by one of my teachers to find my opposite healing mantra to counter the negative neuro pathways I have created. She encouraged me to adopt it for a long period of time. She said it took me a long time of repeated thoughts to create this negative loop (let’s say un-constructive loop – there is less judgment in that). So, it will take time to create a new constructive loop that is strong and resonates with me. I am currently testing out different mantras for this week to see what I think fits and feels the best for me and then I am going to say to myself for the next 6 months.
Can you imagine committing to one thing for 6 months!? I will report back and let you know how it goes!
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