yoga as therapy

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? What is the primary form of therapy for OCD? In what ways can Yoga training help as a form of therapy? Which combination of therapeutic methods would be most beneficial?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is classified as an anxiety disorder. OCD is also classified as a psychiatric disorder. Either way, the person suffering from OCD experiences involuntary, intrusive thoughts. When a person begins to take these intrusive thoughts seriously, anxiety grows – based upon exaggerated internal fears, which are not based upon reality.

OCD can also cause compulsive actions. These compulsive rituals may include excessive hoarding, counting, cleaning, or checking. If OCD is allowed to persist without therapy, it can become a disabling condition, which could continue throughout one’s life.

In most cases, where professional help is sought (for any form of anxiety), a person experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms will benefit from medical or psychiatric counseling. In western societies, psychiatric counseling is usually the primary form of therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

The medical or psychiatric objective is to find a cause and a solution for compulsive behavior through forms of therapy, medication, or balancing a nutritional deficiency. The Yogic approach is also based upon finding a cause and a solution to suffering.

Pranayama, mantra, asana, meditation, and relaxation techniques are all useful. Although the Yogic diet runs parallel to Ayurvedic recommendations, it would be wise to consult directly with an Ayurvedic doctor. In order for patient and doctor to get the full picture, it is always good to have a direct consultation.

In the west, Yoga tends to be an adjunct therapy. Doctors recommend Yoga sessions for a variety of anxiety disorders. The reason being – there will be no ill side effects, from Yoga practice, while a patient is working toward a recovery.

This is a key issue: The person suffering from OCD must completely want a recovery and develop the internal power to prevent a relapse. Yogic methods teach one to train the mind. The truth is – we all have fears and intrusive thoughts. Therapeutic forms of Yoga teach us to prioritize and eliminate intrusive thoughts.

Yoga teachers should be prepared for the needs of students who need help with mental and emotional health. Yoga schools should also be familiar with competent counselors and other holistic services in their local area.

Students sometimes ask for a variety of recommendations concerning holistic, medical, and counseling services. Help for an OCD recovery may require a variety of professional services. It is wise to point needful students toward the best professionals in their area.

© Copyright 2009 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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