The method is based on the effects of hatha yoga and yoga therapy on the physical body, mental heath and emotional stability. For the best results, we will learn some specific yoga and relaxation techniques.
Physical exercises. Yoga therapy for the spine: traction techniques, variations of marjaryasana and vyyamas (articular gymnastics). Yoga asanas and viniyasas.
Relaxation. Yoga nidra, cyclic meditation and different variations of savasana.
Breathing exercises. Pranayama and prana vyayama.
Methods increasing concentration abilities. Various meditative techniques.
Yoga of sound. Mantra Yoga and different sound resonance techniques.
1) Physical exercises. Sukshma vyayama (articular gymnastics) is widely used in yoga therapy of the spine and musculoskeletal system disorders. As well as dynamic vinyasas which increases movements of the spine in all directions. Dynamic vinyasas and vyayamas positively affect multiple aspects of the body, such as physiological stimulation of cartilaginous tissues, improve of the synovial fluid distribution, increase lymphatic drainage, regeneration and renewal of joint tissues.
Traction techniques play an important role in yoga therapy of spine disorders, especially in case of spinal disk herniation. The term ‘traction’ means the process of stretching the spine or simultaneous application of two forces to the spine or a separate segment of musculoskeletal system, acting in opposite directions. These forces can be: a force of gravity, muscular force of the patient or an external force (additional weight or assistant’s help). The results of traction techniques are: decrease of pressure in intervertebral disks, an increase of diameter of intervertebral foramen (a place where nerve roots pass), stretching of muscles and ligaments of the spine.
A static mode of performing asanas also plays an important role in yoga therapy of the spine. Holding the postures for a long time has a positive impact on the musculoskeletal system. It is assumed that relatively long stretching of a joint, its capsule and ligaments can also stimulate the synovial fluid distribution and metabolism of cartilaginous tissues. However, if there are any joint or spine diseases, one has to be cautious about choosing the suitable way to get into asanas, keeping a comfortable holding time and selecting appropriate variations. Overall, physical exercises increase the number of functional capillaries in the blood stream, thus improving blood rheological properties and bringing all the systems in the body back to balance.
2) Relaxation. Emotional tension and chronic stress influence a lot on physical and mental health. The physical ability to control the skeletal muscles, regular practice of savasana, yoga nidra and cyclic meditation help to balance the central nervous system and psycho-emotional state. It also eliminates pathological states associated with blood congestion and excessive influence of the cerebral cortex on the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis.
Cyclic meditation was developed by SVYASA (Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samstahana) university, Bangalore, India. It is a set of stimulation and relaxation combine involving cycles of body postures followed by supine rest relax poses. Participants going through this intervention need to make their body movements very slow and continuous, while in supine rest position, participants are made aware of their body parts and asked to relax the tension if any. A combination of stimulating and calming techniques practiced with a background of relaxation and awareness reduce different levels of psycho physiological stress and provide stimulation at muscular level.
Yoga Nidra - this deep relaxation yogic practice was developed by Paramahamsa Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1923 – 2009), the founder the Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, India. Yoga Nidra based on ancient tantric ritual texts with description of nyasa (‘nyasa’ means placing or taking the mind to some points in the body accompanied by mantra and visualization techniques) and on teacher-voice guided savasana practice.
It releases mental blocks and dissolves body tensions hidden deep in the subconscious mind, which create obstacles to reach our goals. This is achieved through several techniques: moving the awareness to different body parts in a specific sequence, creating various body sensations through memory (‘body memories’), enabling visualisation using images and symbols that guide the consciousness to a state of harmony, as well as concentration on the inner space between the eyebrows (‘chidakash dharana’), which helps to learn the process of meditation.
At the beginning of each session practitioners are a given chance to make a resolve (sankalpa). This intention is sent deeply to the subconsciousness. Regular practice of yoga nidra can help to promote spiritual development, make the mind quite, increase vitality and heal conditions that previously considered as incurable. The entire practice is performed while lying in savasana (the corpse pose).
3) Breathing exercises. Pranayama and prana vyayama.
Pranayama is an effective method to cope with any kind of stress.
Since the process of breathing is involuntary and automatic, it does not need any attention to maintain. Pranayama breathing techniques can shift this pattern to conscious voluntary breathing, which requires a certain amount of focus. At the same time pranayama has several number of benefits, including creating peace of mind, increasing brain power and reducing stress level.
During our classes we will learn the following breathing techniques: nadi shodhana (alternative nostril breathing), ujjayi breathing (partial close of a glottis during inhalation and exhalation) and complete yogic breath (abdominal, chest and clavicular breathing).
Nadi shodhana pranayama equalizes the processes of inhibition and excitation in the CNS. This allows to assume the normalisation of the following processes: neuronal metabolism, cerebrospinal fluid circulation, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland functioning.
Full nasal breathing lays at the basis of adequate CNS functioining. It plays crucial role in stress management strategies. The importance of nasal breathing is proven through a reflex connecting nasal mucous membrane with the central nervous system. Rhythmic rarefaction of air inside the nostrils causes the fluctuations of intracranial pressure, which helps to secret and transport cerebrospinal fluid. It is a well known fact that anomalies of CNS reflex stimulation associated with nasal breathing difficulties can be extremely dangerous in the early age. They may also become a reason of psychological and physical developmental delays. Partial or complete suspension of nasal breathing leads to increased intracranial pressure, change of blood vessels tone in the brain, headache and depression.
4) Methods increasing concentration abilities. Various meditative techniques. Meditation is an ancient practice for body and mind which helps to relax and improve the overall health and fitness. Research shows that meditation has several mental and physical benefits, such as reduction of stress and anxiety, lowering high blood pressure and fighting insomnia and depression. Many people assume that to learn effective meditation is a difficult and long process, however even simple meditation techniques can bring noticeable results.
5) Yoga of Sound. Mantra Yoga and various sound resonance techniques.
Mind sound resonance technique (MSRT) is one of the advanced mindful relaxation yoga techniques that uses mantra and chanting to generate resonance, which mainly works through the Manomaya Kosha to induce deeper relaxation for both mind and body. MSRT can be practiced in the supine or sitting posture for improving well-being, concentration, will power and relaxation. One study found that immediately after MSRT, there was a significant increase in gamma brain wave coherence (indicative of deep relaxation) than controls and significant reduction in anxiety level. MSRT intervention also led to better reduction in pain and tenderness in body parts.
Also the MSRT technique has a positive influence on cognitive functions.