Gary Kraftsow's Healing Yoga

A Hawaiian instructor's lessons in healing yoga have brought pain relief to patients who couldn't find it with conventional medicine.

| September/October 1984

  • healing yoga - illustration of meditating figure surrounded by pink petals
    Gary Kraftsow's approach to teaching healing yoga has achieved impressive results.
    Illustration by Fotolia/Alpha C

  • healing yoga - illustration of meditating figure surrounded by pink petals

It's generally agreed that the practice of hatha-yoga can improve flexibility and overall health, but the students of instructor Gary Kraftsow often have a more immediate goal: relief from pain.

Gary has earned a reputation on the Hawaiian island of Maui as a person to turn to when doctors can't help. Kraftsow believes that "people should be educated to know they are largely responsible for their own conditions." Although he is in no way opposed to doctors, the 28-year-old teacher thinks that folks should be aware that there are "alternatives to being dependent on medical doctors and chiropractors for treatment of chronic problems."

Kraftsow, a graduate of New York's Colgate University, has studied in India under renowned yogi T.K.V. Desikachar. He has recently completed his master's degree with a thesis on yoga and health.

Gary works with multiple sclerosis patients, asthma sufferers, and stroke victims, but the majority of his students are plagued by spinal problems that have not responded to conventional treatment. Although Kraftsow is not a miracle worker, satisfied students insist that his instruction in healing yoga has made a world of difference for them. Former invalids who are able to walk again — or even dance — are thanking Gary not for healing them, but for teaching them to heal themselves.

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