The Brahmin Dharmasutra discourse – defending and re-defining the Vedic tradition under pressure – could of course only approve of those ascetic lifestyles, which still followed some of Vedic injunctions like the fire sacrifice or the recitations of Vedic mantra. Thus an ascetic lifestyle – leaving all rituals behind -was not welcome at all. It would not have grown naturally out of the Brahmin culture. It would be like suggesting that socialism evolved among conservative industrial entrepreneurs. Such ideas would instead have been dismissed instantaneously. In short the new ascetic lifestyles totally ignoring the fire rituals -as seen among the Vanaprasthas and the Parivrajas – had to be firmly rejected, because they undermined the power base of the Brahmins and the whole Vedic society as such.
But how does all this relate to yoga? The issue is that early-yoga, as it surfaced, seemed to crystallise in a cultural field or social milieu, where it was part of an all-consuming ascetic lifestyle. Early-yoga was synonymous with the Sramanic ascetic life style and very hostile towards Brahmin rituals. If early-yoga initially was such a comprehensive ascetic lifestyle, rejecting all Vedic laws – and it seemed to be so -then it is improbable that it grew naturally out of Brahmin asceticism, seen with cultural sociological eyes. Thus we also see in the Dharmasutras that the Brahmins were on their guard to protect their social position against the hereticism represented by the ascetic yoga life style. In a cultural sociological perspective it makes no sense to claim that ascetic yoga lifestyles evolved in a cultural field which was hostile to them and which actually threatened the very existence of that cultural field.
The same principles of good clinical judgment used in standard practice Yoga poses heart openers apply to CAM, including objectively weighing risks versus benefits, evaluating the evidence base for each Yoga poses heart openers treatment, flexibility in adapting treatments to the individual patient’s needs, and risk reduction. Along the way you will discover through clinical work which experts provide information that really helps your patients do well.
Once you identify such experts, you can attend their lectures or contact them for advice or supervision if needed. Reading their articles can offer an opportunity to dig for diamonds in their reference lists. It is essential to learn how each CAM treatment works. Simplistic tables that say use herb X for symptom Y are of limited use. Knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of action for each treatment allows better understanding of all the ways it may affect the patient, including interactions with medications. Look for CAM lectures and courses sponsored by reputable organizations such as professional societies and academic institutions.
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