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.
When deciding on a yoga therapist, it is important to know that there are many types.
The most well-known professional title to describe a yoga therapist is Certified Yoga Therapist, credentialed as CYT. However, because the field of yoga therapy is fairly young, no official, formalized certification process exists. However, there are many organizations and education programs accredited by the IAYT that offer training and certification.
THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF YOGA THERAPISTS is the leading organization in this field. Yoga Therapists have fulfilled specific training, have in-depth training to help them assess and keep their clients safe. They work with you to address your specific goals while considering any limitations you might be experiencing. The practices your 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!
YOGA Therapy is a self-empowering process, where the care-seeker, with the help of the Yoga therapist, implements a personalized and evolving Yoga practice, that not only addresses the illness in a multi-dimensional manner but also aims to alleviate his/her suffering in a progressive, non-invasive and complementary manner. Depending upon the nature of the illness, Yoga therapy can not only be preventative or curative, but also serve as a means to manage the illness, or facilitate healing in the person at all levels.
IAYT. International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Clinical research has shown that YOGA THERAPY practices can reduce symptoms and improve outcomes in a multitude of conditions, such as:
Mental Health Conditions:
- Eating Disorders
- Post-Natal Depression
- Back Pain
- Sport Injuries
- Musculoskeletal problems
- High Blood Pressure
- Cancer – Quality of life measures in patients with cancer
- Brain Injury
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Heart Disease
- Hormonal imbalances
- Weight management
- Blood sugar regulation
- Stress resilience
- Emotional self-regulation