One of the most powerful and useful aspects of yogic therapy is ashram life. For the sincere individual who really wishes to regain positive physical and mental health, and insight into the fundamental errors of lifestyle and thinking which have led to disease, a short stay in an ashram is a shortcut to learning a new and healthy lifestyle and offers one of the most intense exposures to yoga.
Any therapy undertaken in the positive atmosphere of the ashram is supercharged with pranic, vital energy and supported by the glowing, cheerful health of the inmates who are living examples of what yoga allows us to achieve.
Yogic therapy involves all aspects of ashram life, both formal and informal. Formal training in asanas, pranayama, cleansing practices, meditation and yoga nidra forms the basic therapeutic program. Equally beneficial, however, is the informal exposure to the practices of satsang, karma yoga perhaps in the form of structured, light work within the ashram and bhakti yoga, usually in the form of nada yoga, the chanting of mantras and kirtan at night. The natural, relaxed atmosphere of ashram life provides an ideal setting for emotional and physical renewal.
In Rishikesh at Himalayan yoga association, we have seen time and again that when individuals come for therapy they are amazed at how easy and simple yogic therapy can be. They quickly begin to feel recharged and revitalized and soon appreciate that there is another and better way of approaching their bodies, attitudes and ways of relating to the world. When these people return home and place the simple, powerful and effective ashram principles within the framework of their daily lives, dramatic changes take place far beyond what most people dreamed possible. The human organism realigns and becomes harmonized to natural cycles and energies. Changes take place beneath the purely intellectual or conscious mind, within the powerful subconscious and intuitive spaces dormant in all of us. We feel good, even if we do not consciously understand exactly why.