“Yoga Therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress towards improved health and well-being through the application of the philosophy and practice of yoga” – IAYT
What is Yoga Therapy?
Although all yoga is potentially therapeutic and healing, yoga therapy is the specific application of yogic tools—postures/exercises, breathwork, meditation techniques, and more—to address an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional needs. Many people first learn about yoga through its physical practices, but a common misconception is that it’s all about stretching or movement. In fact, yoga therapy can help people who can’t move at all, as well as active individuals!
The yogic model of health is unique because it addresses every aspect of life rather than considering each body part or system separately. Yoga therapy is a safe way of working with the natural capacity of your body and mind to optimize well-being.
A general public yoga class can certainly ease everyday aches, pains, and mood complaints. But a yoga therapy session goes much further because it is tailored to the individual.
Jen Bell has in-depth training to help her assess and keep her clients safe. She works with you to address your specific goals while considering any limitations you might be experiencing. The practices our yoga therapist recommends could include:
- Movement ranging from gentle to vigorous
- Breathing techniques
- Meditation or visualization practices
- Physical postures that address specific areas of discomfort or musculoskeletal imbalances
- Any combination of tools like these!
It all depends on what you need to increase your health and well-being.
Who is Yoga Therapy For?
When clients seek out a yoga therapist or a therapeutic group, they are usually not coming to learn yoga, but to get help with or relief from some symptom or health condition that is troubling them. In most cases, the instruction focuses on their condition and how the yoga techniques can help them feel better or improve their function, rather than on the techniques or methods of yoga practice. Client who make appointments usually are:
- Anyone feeling stressed/overwhelmed
- Athletes wanting to increase performance levels
- Chronic pain (i.e. fibromyalgia, injury)
- Chronic illness (i.e. diabetes, hypertension, etc.)
- Pre/Post surgery patients
- Pre/Postnatal mothers
What are the Benefits of Yoga Therapy?
Although many researchers were somewhat skeptical about yoga therapy, especially when it first became popular among Western cultures, there plenty of scientific evidence suggesting this approach may work great as a complementary treatment for various conditions.
For example, studies indicate that yoga therapy can alleviate chronic back pain, reduce psychological symptoms associated with menopause, and work as an adjunct treatment for major psychiatric disorders.
Although at first yoga might seem like a series of light exercises, the details of this practice are far more complicated than that. While it implies the individual’s ability to adopt certain poses, the purpose of yoga therapy is to create a perfect balance between body, mind, and spirit.
In time, this balance leads to physical, mental, and emotional health.