What Is Therapeutic Yoga?

Therapeutic yoga is the clinical application of the science of yoga to treat different diseases. The pioneer of therapeutic yoga is BKS Iyengar, who worked in the field for 70 years.

He adapted asanas to treat individual health situations, through this he created work tools (props). Elderly people, injured people with spinal problems, people who lost some part of the body, all can use the props and benefit from yoga. Because of that the use of yoga is available to all patients, regardless of their medical problems and physical condition. This set apart Iyengar Yoga tradition from others: their scientific approach to health problems.


What kind of health problems can be treated with Yoga?

Yoga relieves chronic diseases such as:

a) Skeleton-muscular disorders: Arthritis in the knee, shoulder, cervical spondylosis, lower back pain, herniated disc, ankylosing spondylosis and sciatica pain.

b) Circulatory system disorders: Heart problems, Hyper and hypotension, Angina pain relief, circulatory problems in the legs.

c) Digestive disorders: Constipation, heartburn, flatulence, diabetes, colitis, hiatal hernia.

d) Respiratory disorders: Asthma, sinusitis and bronchitis.

e) Nervous disorders: Headache and migraine. Anxiety and depression.


Dr. Krishna Raman explains: There is a big difference between the yoga system taught by BKS Iyengar and other yoga systems, especially from a medical point of view. When the human body is exercised internal organs and external organs are used, and certain principles must be followed to protect the body. In most yoga schools there is no depth in teaching yoga, this is clear to doctors. Additionally, this system can be used to solve major medical problems where other systems have failed.

To illustrate this, I will give you some examples. In standing postures (for example, Trikonasana) if you observe students trained in other methods, there is no arithmetic and geometric perfection, negatively affecting certain areas. Or for example, in Sirsasana (headstand), in other methods they do not teach you how to prevent pressure on the neck and on the brain (due to increased blood flow); In Iyengar Yoga they teach you the right alignment to obtain the correct inner effect. This can be verified with ultrasound studies. The front and rear brain must be kept parallel to ensure optimal blood flow and relaxation of neurons, thus also avoiding pressure on the cervical vertebrae.

Any exercise should strengthen, tone and preserve the body as we age. To achieve this, the different parameters of the body must be observed to discover if they are being used optimally. As a medical professional, I have found that only Iyengar yoga does this. In this system, the body becomes robust both outside and inside.

Asanas and Pranayama must be practiced to achieve balance between the cells of the body. This is an integrated yoga practice.

If integration is achieved, many medical problems can easily be prevented or treated using yoga.


Aside from the medical classes at RIMYI,

there are several Senior Teachers around the world who preserve and apply the therapeutic wisdom of BKS Iyengar.

Among the best known is Lois Steinberg, who has also published several books on this subject.