Although all yoga is potentially therapeutic and helpful for most, Yoga Therapy is a specialised modality that works synonymous with other Health Care Practitioners. It is an emerging, complementary and personalised therapy with a growing scientific evidence base.
Yoga Therapy is the specialised application of yogic tools—postures/exercises, breathwork, meditation techniques, and more—to address an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional needs, or those of a small group.
Recently re-defined by the International Association of Yoga Therapists:
A Yoga Therapist goes through in-depth Post Graduate, science informed, training which is a minimum of 3 years. This ensures they fully comprehend how to keep their clients safe. A mimimum of 2 years of Professional Yoga Teaching is a pre-requisite to apply to train as a Yoga Therapist, so they are highly trained Health Care Professionals!
A Yoga Therapist works closely with you to address your specific goals so each consultation is “client led” and patient centred. They also consider any limitations you might be experiencing. The practices your Yoga Therapist recommends could include:
- Movement ranging from gentle to strong
- Breathing practices
- Meditation or visualization techniques
- Physical postures that address specific areas of discomfort, pain or musculoskeletal imbalances
- Empowering their clients to explore ways to manage pain, trauma, anxiety, depression, stress to name a few
- A combination of all of these and more!
It really depends on what you need and feel comfortable to explore in order to manage your current concerns to increase your health and well-being.
Many people first learn about yoga through its poses, whether on social media or in a local gym. It is easy to mis-understand that yoga is all about stretching or movement. In fact, Yoga Therapy can help people who can’t move at all, as well as active individuals and no fancy lycra is needed!
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, whether one-on-one or in a small group, goes much further because it is tailored to the individual.