What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga therapy is the type of yoga that you want to practice when you have a specific health issue that you’re working with. It is a very clear and concrete approach to working through and with physical, mental, and energetic issues. Yoga Therapy is not a replacement for medical intervention, but it can be a great benefit when it is done in tandem with it.
Yoga therapy is subtle, and uses the tools of breath, physical movement, visualization, play, exercise, and sound depending on the interest and needs of the individual. Yoga therapy is based on the very ancient knowledge systems of yoga and Ayurveda and so it also looks at aspects of a person’s lifestyle, diet, habits, relationships, and work habits. At it’s best, yoga therapy treats a person in their whole form, and works to solve issues that the individual would like solved.
Yoga Therapy does not work to cure situations, but it does work to heal individuals from the inside out.
How does Yoga Therapy work?
Yoga therapy is similar to the drip effect; one session of therapy may not have an impact, but over time and with regular practice, it can shift a whole life. Someone who has harmed their hip many years ago, may have fully recovered from that experience, that is that they feel no pain in the hip, but for some reason they are experiencing low back pain.
Upon close inspection, the yoga therapist might discover that while there is not pain in the hip, the person does favor the hip and that hip is much tighter then the other. The yoga therapist would suggest a series of exercises to be done at home that are appropriate to the age, health and life experience of that person.
Through daily practice, the person begins to feel relief from the pain in the back, and as a result has a new sense of calm and well-being.
The yoga therapist would not give those same hip exercises to a person who is suffering from anxiety, especially if the person has no pain or tightness in the hips. Instead, the yoga therapist might suggest that the person with anxiety do a series of gentle movements and breathing. These gentle exercises may improve sleep and or digestion, ultimately helping to alleviate anxiety.
Most people who are in pain, or going through a medical experience often have a series of health issues, and the yoga therapist is able to see how these different health experiences are manifesting in the person who is before them. The yoga therapist, through careful observation and conversation has the person try different activities, makes adjustments and watches them carefully as they conduct the movements.
Yoga Therapy and Specific Health Issues (Cancer, Anxiety, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Parkinson’s Disease)
Yoga Therapy can be extremely beneficial for people who are living with chronic and/or Acute Health issue. It can help to relax and release the body as an individual is going through intense medical treatment, it can help to calm the nervous system as a way to help bolster our ability strengthen our immune system, it can help calm the mental chatter that sometimes impacts our healing journey.
When living with the physical reality of a body that is in pain, or that is suffering from immune system issues, a daily yoga practice can have such a calming and beneficial impact, calming the breath, improving circulation, and building strength.
How often do I need to visit the Yoga Therapist?
Depending on the specific health goals of each individual person, yoga therapy can be a long, slow and gentle process, or sometimes the impact can be immediate. It’s often a good idea to schedule a series of 3 or more meetings so that an individual can go away, try the suggested practices, come back, be corrected, and then try again.
In this way, the individual is able to slowly grow in their confidence with the practices, and they are able to develop a good relationship with the practitioner.