So What is Yoga Therapy?


There is a clear distinction between yoga classes and yoga therapy.

Whereas in a yoga class (in a group or private setting) the focus is to learn yoga; in yoga therapy, the focus is to find relief from a health condition or symptom.  

Yoga therapy is the application of bespoke yoga practices to meet the individual needs of those experiencing health challenges on a physical, mental or emotional level.

Yoga therapy sessions take place 121 and the therapist and client work together to find the best practices to meet the client’s needs.

The client receives written notes and an audio recording after the session, so that they can do a short practice on their own between sessions. As such, yoga therapy empowers the client to actively take part in their own wellbeing, helping them become attuned to their own needs and giving them tools to address them effectively.

Therapeutic practices might include gentle postures, breathing, meditation, chanting or relaxation and will be geared towards helping the client heal. Although a condition maybe more centered in the body, mind or the emotions, yoga therapy will aim to meet the client at all three levels.

Common conditions that yoga therapy can help with are: physical injuries and pain (eg. back pain); more systemic issues like IBS, high blood pressure, arthritis; and mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression.

Some of the ways that yoga therapy could help are:
Improving range of motion and joint stiffness or restriction
Developing tools for pain management
Improving circulation, respiration and digestion
Finding clarity and peace of mind
Improving and regulating mood and emotional states

Yoga Therapy is a fast growing complementary therapy and can often be practiced alongside medical treatment. It is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment. Clients fill out a health form in advance of the first session and then if needed your doctor’s advice about suitability of the therapy can be sought.

A great explanation of the distinction between yoga class & yoga therapy is offered by Gary Kraftsow (a leading yoga therapist) full article here. 

"Rather than focusing on yoga methods and practices, yoga therapists fundamentally focus on their clients’ needs. Their job is to understand why their clients have come to see them and determine what they can do to support them. To help them in their work, therapists are trained to assess clients through listening, questioning, observing, and appropriately touching. Therapists look for ways to help their clients reduce or manage their symptoms, improve their function, and help them with their attitude in relation to their health conditions. After assessing clients, therapists establish appropriate goals, develop a practice intervention, and then teach clients to practice that intervention. In this sense, therapists choose yoga techniques in relation to how they will specifically benefit individual clients." 

If yoga therapy sounds right for you, contact me.