What is Yoga Therapy?
Is all Yoga therapeutic?
Yoga Therapy isn’t something new, to put it simply it is yoga taught in its traditional setting one on one or in a small group environment. With Yoga so common place now with many a yoga studio available to attend a class how can we differentiate between a general yoga class and a therapeutic setting?
There is a common misperception that all Yoga is therapeutic and it has the potential to be, but the practice must suit the person and the purpose.
Through my own experience in both practicing and teaching yoga and yoga therapy over the years there is a distinct difference between attending your general yoga class at a studio or gym compared with a private or small group Yoga Therapy session. To begin with a Yoga Therapist has more in-depth training and is better equiped to assist with various health concerns where as a general yoga class you will often find the participant looking to fit into a generalised practice within a large group.
While this may be fine initially, it is when we are looking for assistance with a more specific health concern or wanting to gain a more personalised individual approach is where yoga therapy steps in.
Much of modern yoga is taught in a compartmentalised fashion with the practice segmented into various practices – physical postures- breath- restoration- meditation – taught as seperate practices from one another. You can see this by the myriad of different yoga styles that have come into fashion. Yoga Therapy is using all the yogic framework as a complete whole taking the person to a state of svastha or wellbeing. In a traditional setting Yoga Therapy works as a complimentary therapy to Ayurvedic medicine and also to other health modalities.
When I took my studies further to yoga therapy and Ayurveda it was an opportunity that opened up so many more possibilities for both my own practice and to be of better service to my students in a way that supports them as an individual, with their own unique requirements and goals.
You may ask why or when would I consider using Yoga Therapy?
- when looking for improved posture and body awareness, injury prevention or recovery from injury
- needing a personalised approach with specific health concerns, limited mobility or chronic illness
- for Stress reduction and to build resilience to stress coping mechanisms
- Improved mental wellbeing/anxiety
- As a general practice for prevention and maintenance of good health on a physical and mental level
- Pre and post pregnancy
What may I learn or do in a Yoga Therapy session?
- specific postures/movements
- Breathe – research about the importance of breath keeps growing and is an essential part of a Yoga Therapy session to enhance your wellbeing.
- Relaxation techniques
- sound/mantra may be given where appropriate as facilitation for breath and steadying the mind meditation
- Ayurveda -Ayurveda guides us in how to eat well (sattvic diet) and live well as a holistic science and with dealing with more complex health conditions.
So whether you have chronic back pain, suffering from stress and anxiety, wanting to improve mobility/strength/posture, or simply want to feel more at ease within yourself why not try a yoga therapy session you may be pleasantly surprised about what you will learn about yourself and about yoga.
Kim Allan is a certified and registered Yoga Therapist and Senior registered Yoga teacher with Yoga Australia, who has been teaching for over 15yrs.
At the Ayurveda & Yoga Therapy Clinic Kim offers private Yoga Therapy sessions, small group yoga for wellbeing classes and Yoga Therapy classes for Back Care, stress and anxiety, Healthy ageing and meditation.