Acu-Yoga is a combination of two types of alternative medicine — acupressure and yoga. Combining the breathing techniques and poses of yoga with the pressure point stimulation of acupressure, acu-yoga can relieve tension and stress and lead to increased relaxation and improved energy flow. The system was developed in the 1970s by Michael Reed Gach and is believed to also help promote a healthy balance of life energy, or chi. Other uses for acu-yoga include pain relief and improved circulation.
Acu-yoga, like acupressure, uses the premise of meridians in the body. Devotees of the discipline believe that energy flows through a series of meridians, or vertical pathways, in the body. When tension builds up, it collects in certain areas of the body and blocks the flow of chi, or life force energy. This blockage is said to potentially result in a variety of ailments, both physical and emotional. Releasing the blockage results in increased energy flow, and decreased symptoms of stress.
One area of the body that is said to respond well to acu-yoga is the neck. Tension and stress often manifest themselves first in the neck, affecting one's posture and possibly triggering headaches. Many of the poses used in acu-yoga stimulate areas of the neck that can lead to increased relaxation and improved energy flow.
Acupressure, one of the components of acu-yoga, works on the premise that applying pressure to certain areas of the body stimulates healing, pain relief or circulation in corresponding areas elsewhere in the body. In acupressure, stimulation is applied to the pressure points by the hand or elbow. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but because acupressure does not require needles, it is safe to stimulate pressure points on your own.
Yoga is said to provide its benefits through controlled breathing while holding the body in certain, sometimes difficult, postures. Its benefits can be physical and/or mental. A variety of yoga poses help target certain areas of the body to either strengthen or increase flexibility.
If you are interested in acu-yoga, it is important to know that the instructor, or yogi, you are visiting is qualified and experienced in the practice. While a qualified instructor is important when learning acu-yoga, the stimulation of pressure points actually occurs when the participant assumes the various poses. Acu-yoga poses were specifically developed to stimulate the pressure points in the body.