Yoga's top and bottom approach

You might already know from our other articles that yoga is a complete set of techniques which should be used together for us to get the best results.


Yoga, is all or nothing


If you are a student of Yoga, you will know of the different limbs of yoga, Patanjali's eight limbs being the most accepted as the pathway for yoga.


Patanjali starts with the Yamas and Niyamas which are related to values and conduct. Though they are the foundation of yoga, they are many times introduced later in our yoga journey and can well be meditations in themselves.


Yoga's bottom-up approach will start then with the body. You use the techniques to get to the emotions and intellect.


Yoga's Top-down approach is a more complicated one, starting with meditation and introspection and, therefore affecting the body.


The good of Yoga is that offers all possibilities.






Marlysa Sullivan, on her book Understanding Yoga Therapy, tells us that "meditation, intention-setting, and other top-down cognitively based practices are powerful, but they are not always accessible or appropriate".


We can take this as we should not start running before we can walk.


A bottom-up system is preferable except if we can have the fortune of proper guidance from en experienced practitioner.



Marlysa Sullivan, further states that the

Bottom-up processes are initiated in the body and create a cascade of effects whereby change in physiological state alters psychological state and behaviour. Breath practices and movement can affect bodily systems such as the cardiovascular, nervous, musculoskeletal, and digestive systems. These changes can then influence perception, emotion, cognition, and behaviour.

All this demonstrates the value of all yoga practices combined in the promotion of Salutogenisis, management of disease through yogapathy, and the creation of resilience and self-regulation.

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