This article is based on a workshop in which I participated in April this year at a yoga retreat in Italy organised by Walter Ruta - the principal of the Pramiti School of Yoga.
It was Patanjali - the spiritual Indian mystic who lived some time between the second and the fourth century BC - who defined yoga as the stilling of the modifications of consciousness with the aim to eliminate restlessness. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word 'yoga' is to 'yoke' - therefore, yoga means to unite the individual spirit with the universal one. In today's frenzied world, this could not be more applicable and could explain why there is such a strong following in the world today of this very ancient and timeless discipline.
On the other hand, it was Samuel Hahnemann who discovered homeopathy so much more recently. He identified the 'vital force' as the field on which the remedies act and where a higher purpose of existence resides. This principle also relates closely to yoga. Both homeopathy and yoga act to balance the nervous system as a core theory where negative life events have till such time interrupted the flow. Both disciplines are based on energy as a fundamental parallel. In Aphorism 291 of the Organon of the Rational Art of Healing which Hahnemann wrote in 1810 as the seminal textbook of the philosophy of homeopathic principles, he writes that physical exercise - under the supervision of a skilled teacher - gives dexterity and vigour to the body, strengthens the moral character and assists the activity of the mind in the study of science.
Although yoga is not mentioned specifically, this aphorism sets one wondering if Hahnemann had embraced yoga in his own life given the uncanny synergy between the two disciplines. On this basis, I propose there is every reason why any recipient of homeopathic treatment (or practitioner of this healing art for that matter) would benefit enormously by developing a regular yoga practice. This would enhance their healing trajectory with all its ups and downs along the way and bring hidden issues to the conscious level in a clear and comprehensive manner.
The control of the breath is a major focus in yoga practice. This can act as an extremely useful tool for recipients of homeopathic treatment where energy blocks can occur during the process of cure. This can work two ways in yoga practice where one can be alerted to obstacles on the individual healing path while bringing calm to the organism. Likewise, homeopathy can come into its own to support the yoga participant to move through their specific blocks in each case. Needless to say, if any physical injuries occur due to overstrain during yoga practice, individual remedies such as Arnica, Rhus Tox, and Ruta Grav can act as a very useful arsenal to eliminate pain and enhance performance.
One of the aims of homeopathic treatment is to release discharges and drainage of toxins. This can be supported by yoga practice to hasten the process at the time. In this way, immunity can be achieved more speedily along the path of necessary release. It is said that in homeopathy we heal ourselves and this causes positive effects on our family and those with whom we interact in our lives. At the same time, it is said that in yoga we change ourselves in order to change the world.
Intuition is a major facet of both disciplines. It is accessed by the homeopath to understand the centre of the case and select the appropriate remedy in each individual seeking treatment. For the yoga follower, it acts to be harnessed in order to gravitate towards good choices in life and stay on the most wholesome path. Finding the balance is key in both disciplines. This is recognised to differ within the individual from day to day but intrinsically it can be restored by the application of the different approaches. So much depends on the level of energy and consciousness at the time. The negative element needs to be addressed in order for a positive outcome in the results aspired to. The simillimum - i.e. the most indicated remedy in the homeopathic treatment - acts like a mirror to the individual. In yoga, the 'asana' practised affects our behaviour on the outside and is at the same time mirrored to the inside.
This article covers many aspects of similarity between the two disciplines. However, i suspect that there are a myriad more to be discovered given the uncanny synergy between the two that this article highlights.