How Yoga Can Heal Whatever Ails Us

Brad Korpalski
How Yoga Can Heal Whatever Ails Us

Us humans are an interesting bunch. Gifted with a powerful mind, we apply our creativity outwards in a myriad of ways, as evidenced by our impressive display of technological innovation, artistic expression, and medical responsiveness.

Yet even within this vast capacity for ingenuity, we still tend to be our own worst enemy.

We are, after all, a species fully aware of the potential (and causes) for our own demise, yet are still struck with a profound ineptitude for change: we are frozen to adopt already-developed solutions to clean up the mess we’ve put ourselves into.

This “we are our own worst enemy” proclamation is true collectively. And it is also true personally, as in—the solutions for our own healing already exist within us, and simply require our undivided attention as to understand what exactly ails us and how best to heal.

Allow me to share a personal anecdote to support this claim.

The Importance of Authentic Communication

One of my personal challenges in life is to communicate what I’m feeling authentically and emphatically. I often hesitate with my words for fear of disrupting the herd—of hurting another. Even in the most compelling of times, I will often bite my tongue rather than endure the interpersonal repercussions.

I guess you could say I sometimes experience a failure to communicate.

It is a pattern, one I’m well aware of despite its persistence. I could leave it alone and just deal with it. However, this isn’t the end of the story.

Overall, I am physically quite healthy, yet I do experience neck and lower back pain, and on a more subtle level, I observe a feeling I could best describe as “deep congestion”—a sensation that feels as if I need to get “something out,” despite an inability to actually do so.

The Connection Between Physical Pains and Emotional Anguish

The more I check in with these discomforts, the more I notice a connection between my physical pain and the anguish of my mental and emotional states.

I bring this up because it represents the same opportunity for insight and reversal of fortune as that of our social/planetary situation. A situation best defined as such—we have information at our disposal, and all it requires is ownership—to say, “alright I know why I’m in this mess, now it’s time to do something about it” in order to reverse the trend.

My physical discomfort and what ails meis not detached from the patterns of my mental and emotional self. I know deep down, when I withhold my voice, the pain I fear giving to another I take on for myself.

Anything that troubles me physically is a result of some deeper denial of self.

Everything Is Connected

I have a 2-year-old daughter and I live in SE Asia. I could easily associate carrying my child and my exposure to diesel exhaust as scapegoats for my physical ailments, yet I know better.

Everything is connected. What I experience “physically” as well as “mentally” and “emotionally” is one in the same. Surely, carrying a 40-lb. child can be a contributor to my discomfort, as can the inhalation of noxious fumes—but these alone are not the reasons for my “situation”.

I say yoga can heal whatever ails us because yoga is an experience of deep listening, the first step in healing. ~ Brad Korpalski

Too much of modern life is about doing and saying and using force, and so on—and less about listening and responding whole heartedly to what is in front of us.

When we are on the yoga mat (and especially in a silent practice), we have a unique opportunity to be alone with our thoughts, tendencies, and physical experience.When we practice asana, we notice “that ankle” or the “tightness in my hips or groin,” parts of ourselves that—in the hustle and bustle of our fast-paced lives—goes unnoticed.

Undoing Our Detachment From The Self

There is so much noise in our lives that we can become so out-of-touch with our own personal human experience as to be rendered incapable of dealing with the full range of what “comes up” for us.

Through our shield of routine, we deny what make us “us”—a holistic life force of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual experience.

This detachment—the detachment between our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves—gnaws at us so completely that we turn to excuses for everything within our lives.

When we compromise our integrity (the meeting point between our personal code and our actions) time after time, we convince ourselves that we are victim to circumstance, rather than see our own self-denial as reason for our current predicament.

This “denial” is how and why blame external forces for our own health issues, despite a lifetime of choosing to drink soda, eat processed foods, and suffer at a job that has nothing to do with our innate purpose.

You wield the greatest capacity for healing within your life, and it is time we assume this responsibility

This might seem like hyperbolic speak, but there’s a simple way to find whether or not this is true: start listening.

What Is Really Going On?

Lay in Savasana and scan your body. Sit in meditation. Notice what thoughts and emotions arise as you key on a particular area of discomfort. Take this approach to your waking, walking, and doing life.

Arm yourself with this question and do not allow yourself to look beyond your own flesh for the answers.

Do this and you will begin to unravel the incredible mystery of YOU: along the way,becoming energized and whole.

Then, and only then, once we have wielded our own power for healing, may we begin to turn our attention outwards and start healing the world—together as ONE.