Yoga Therapy Today

Manage the Future with Grace
June 2010

by Mukta Kaur Khalsa  

We’ve come a long way since a government official said to me in 1973, “Yoga was something I had for breakfast this morning.”  In 1978 at SuperHealth, a specialized hospital for substance abusers, we worked to meet standards set by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO, now known as The Joint Commission), a nonprofit set up as an affiliate of many organizations for healthcare accreditation, including the AMA. The process of being affiliated with such a distinguished credentialing body involved complying with 1,400 standards. Honestly; even though I was deeply immersed in this process of attempting to meet accreditation regulations, I was clueless as to the meaning of half the words. However, our team managed to apply ourselves sufficiently to the process to be prepared for three grueling days with two reviewers examining the program with a fine-toothed comb. Then a miracle occurred: SuperHealth gained accreditation by JCAHO in that very year. By 1990, we had established ourselves to receive their highest commendation: a rating in the top 10% of all residential behavioral health programs for substance abuse in the United States.  

I focus on this achievement because it is a tribute to all Yoga practitioners today. Yoga practitioners are analytic technicians of the teachings. I would like to quote my teacher Yogi Bhajan:  

“All knowledge, all help, all therapy will become absolutely obsolete.
What is needed is an immediate self-exalted experience.
Otherwise, all that is left is the hassle of life.”

We’ve come to understand what a blessing it is to practice Yoga in our lives. However, with that blessing now comes a responsibility to usher in the Aquarian Age. In the coming years, people will want to know one thing: how did you get beyond your own mental dramas and traumas and what technique do you use? People want from us a technology that allows them to feel complete within themselves and to experience their own self-exaltation. We have a responsibility to share our knowledge.  

I have been reading with great interest the articles in this publication discussing the many challenges Yoga faces–or may face–internally as a community of practitioners and externally because we are at a crossroads as to how to work with other entities (government agencies, hospitals, insurance companies, conventional medicine, and even Ayurvedic organizations). My experience and studies have taught me that we can meet challenges such as creating standards, intelligent recognition of pros and cons of licensing, or how even to fund our programs and collaborate with others both inside and outside the “system” without fear if we are unwavering in our belief that the technologies we teach, work.  As harbingers of the future, though, there are several responsibilities we must always keep at the fore: 


  • Our caliber as ambassadors of Yogic technologies must be dependable
  • We must have a personal discipline and self-dignity
  • We must have professional ethics
  • We must be clear that it is the other person’s job to heal the self.
  • We are messengers of the teachings, we  are not there for emotional involvement or to have our personal needs met
  • We must feel compassion deep within us
  • We must heal through the heart not the intellect
  • We must speak gracefully and respectfully

Over several decades at SuperHealth, we have worked with every imaginable official. We have been funded by all levels of government–federal, state, city, and county; been a provider through insurance companies receiving third-party payment; received private foundation donations; and we have been self-funded. I have learned that people who don’t understand something often question its credibility; or, sometimes, out of insecurity, they tend toward condescension. My suggestion to you is: don’t react to it–expect it. 

My heartfelt sentiment to each one of you who may feel held back by the governmental or conventional medical model: we are just a bit ahead of the times. Collaborate with these officials and enhance their programs or services. It is not “instead of,” it is “in addition to.” Remember that the Age of Aquarius is about forming partnerships and working together.  

God Bless you.