How can yoga therapy nourish your soul?
Yoga therapy empowers individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga. A yoga therapist is an experienced yoga teacher with additional qualifications, specialised skills and knowledge in the application of yoga within a therapeutic setting.
T.KV. Desikachar opened Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in 1976 in Madras India based on the teachings of his father Krishnamacharya who taught in a traditionally therapeutic one-to-one style and has been credited with bringing yoga into worldwide awareness. This centre has run programs for thousands of students requiring therapeutic support. Whilst yoga therapy is rooted in the ancient practice of yoga, it became widely known in the western world in the 1980s as the result of a study conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish. The study illustrated how the implementation of a healthy lifestyle program could reverse heart disease.
Yoga therapists study an additional 1000 hours to gain their qualification. Many also have other forms of therapeutic qualification such as psychology or physiotherapy and so use their yoga therapy qualification to increase their capacity to provide clients with tools to bring about healing.
The practices of yoga traditionally include but are not limited to, asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, chanting, mudra, ritual, and a disciplined lifestyle. Yoga therapy is the appropriate application of these teachings and practices in a therapeutic context to support a consistent yoga practice that will increase self-awareness and engage the client/student’s energy in the direction of desired goals.
Yoga therapy is that component of the broader framework of yoga that is within the parameters of science, whereas yoga is to go beyond science and come to that which cannot be measured.
Benefits of yoga therapy
Yoga therapy is very much based on the presenting individual and their particular pathway back to health, away from the many symptoms that cause humans to suffer. It provides tools for the client to incorporate in their lives and work towards their best version of self, using enhanced cognition to navigate the increasing demands of society and upcoming challenges.
There is a continual and growing evidence base of research related to various human conditions that illustrates how yoga therapy works to address these, seeking their root cause and assisting the individual to come back to their natural healthy state. Whilst each individual must follow their own unique pathway, Yoga therapy may assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Acquired brain injury (ABI)
- Alcohol and drug addiction
- Anger management
- Anorexia, bulimia and eating disorders
- Arthritis, rheumatism and osteoarthritis
- Back pain
- Balance, stability and coordination
- Bladder issues and incontinence
- Blood pressure
- Brain fog and clarity
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Circulation and cardiovascular conditions
- Colds and flu
- Concentration, focus and problem solving
- Concussion and whiplash
- Confidence and self-esteem
- Crohn’s disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Digestive and gastrointestinal issues
- Energy and vitality
- Fertility and reproductive issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Heart conditions and heart attack
- Hips and pelvis
- IBS and bowel disorders
- Immunity issues
- Inflammation and swelling
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Menopause and hot flushes
- Mental health
- Mobility and movement
- Mood imbalances
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps
- Muscle strain and injury
- Neck pain
- Nervous system and neurological conditions
- Osteoporosis and bone density
- Pain relief
- PMT/PMS and menstrual issues
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Posture and spine issues
- Pregnancy, birth and antenatal support
- PTSD and trauma
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Stress and tension
- Vomiting and nausea
- Weight control and obesity
What to expect from a yoga therapy session
A yoga therapy session is likely to be one-to-one but might also occur in specialist groups, such as yoga for people with breast cancer and yoga for post-traumatic stress syndrome or a group therapeutic class for those with a variety of therapeutic needs. The initial session will include an extensive assessment to determine the best applications of the teachings to progress the individual towards health and well-being.
It’s important to note that yoga therapy is suitable for everybody regardless of age, fitness, state of health or belief system or prior experience of yoga.
A yoga therapy session usually runs for 60 to 90 minutes. You would expect to attend more than one session as you and your yoga therapist work to determine the most effective physical yoga practices, cleansing, dietary and/or breathing techniques.
According to the Australian Association of Yoga Therapists, a session may include yoga practices such as asana (postures), pranayama (breathwork), relaxation, meditation, mudra (energetic gestures and seals), bandha (energy locks), mantra (sacred sounds), bhavana (imagery), sankalpa (affirmation/intention), yogic lifestyle and nutrition advice according to a yoga framework, education in yoga philosophy, and other practices steeped in the yoga tradition and for which the therapist has received appropriate training, certification and registration.
Yoga therapy is a complementary modality and works as an adjunct to any existing medical framework.Yoga therapists are not permitted to medically diagnose, send you for medical tests or give advice outside their scope of practice so please consult your medical professional for these needs.