Friday, July 15, 2005

Yoga practitioners learn in India

Ryan and Paige Redman in front of Shiva while studying and living in India.

By Tony Evans
For the Mountain Express

With so many Yoga classes offered in the Wood River Valley, it can take some time to settle in with a teacher. One teacher is a valley native who has followed his passion for yoga practice to India in order to deepen his understanding of this ancient discipline

Ryan Redman and his wife Paige recently returned to the Wood River Valley from a sojourn in southern India studying the Hindu arts of Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine. After one-and-a-half years on the subcontinent they celebrated their marriage to one another in a traditional Indian wedding ceremony in the city of Bangalore in the state of Karnataka. Their union reflects the commitment the Redmans have for the ancient healing and contemplative arts of India, which they will offer at Dharma Marga Vedic Healing in Hailey.

"I feel that we are blessed to be doing this together," says Ryan, a Sun Valley native who began practicing yoga at age 12 following a back injury. "In working together, Paige seems to be more heart centered. And I am coming more from the mind."

The Redmans teach yoga classes with a slow and deliberate pace, focusing as much on the esoteric ideas and philosophy of this ancient tradition as on the postures, or asanas.

"I'd say we teach a classical form of yoga," says Ryan. "No matter what your practice is, Yoga inevitably pulls you into yourself and toward your deeper qualities as an individual. The essence of Yoga cannot be taught. It has to be embodied."

While in India, the Redmans were involved in an in-depth study at the Ayurveda Panchakarma Hospital in Bangalore. Ayurveda is the ancient form of herbal medicine practiced by Vedic people at the dawn of Indian civilization and still practiced today in the villages of India. "Ayurveda is the sister science to Yoga," says Ryan. "Yoga can be seen as the contemplative aspect, while Ayurveda is the empirical, physical science. Traditionally the two were practiced together."

While in Bangalore, the Redmans interned with doctors who treated a variety of ailments from anxiety and insomnia to polio and meningitis. All medicines were prepared in a kitchen using a small stove. According to Ryan, many of the treatments were an obvious success, including an emetic treatment for psoriasis and poultice treatments to cure a child's bowed legs.

"The healing traditions of Ayurveda were driven underground or forgotten at various times during the history of India," says Ryan. "The Charaka Sahmita is the original text of Ayurveda. It is 2,500 years old and often attributed to Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras. Only in 1929 was the first modern Ayurveda University established to maintain and teach the old traditions. It is still more prestigious to be trained in the western allopathic tradition. And, in fact, people use a combination of the two. We found that drug store Band-Aids were coated in tumeric, a natural ayurvedic antibiotic."

"At the physiological level, Ayurveda provides a system for maintaining balance by evaluating the three doshas (biological humors), which are distinguished biomechanical energies that control bodily functions. Each dosha is comprised of two elements corresponding to the manifestations of the natural world. Using these three doshas as a diagnostic tool, the bodily systems can be evaluated and treated in accordance with the rhythms of Mother Nature."

The techniques used by the Redmans at Dharma Marga Vedic Healing will include; altering lifestyle, modifying the diet, ingesting herbal supplements, massage, steam therapy, internal cleansing, pranayama, and yoga asana. Causative factors of disease will be addressed before the treating of symptoms.

Currently they are offering Yoga classes are offered at the Karate dojo next door to the Liberty Theatre in Hailey.

Ryan is currently enrolled in a course studying the use of herbal medicines at East-West Herbal and Acupuncture in Santa Cruz, Calif. He and his wife Paige, who is a licensed massage therapist, intend to travel again to India to continue their studies in the fall of 2006.

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