What is yoga therapy?
Yoga therapy is usually a one on one class; where an experienced yoga teacher guides a student, who may have unique physical or emotional needs, through a yoga class which has been modified and adapted to suit that students specific needs.
The reason I am drawn to this style of teaching, is because I feel that so many of the yoga classes available to us in the urban western environment seem to be for super fit young healthy people. And there are many people who could benefit from yoga but simply aren’t physically or emotionally up the challenge of these classes.
Yoga therapy can balance, ground and strengthen fragile people over a period of time until they are ready to join a group class environment.
This style of teaching is where I hope to grow my skills and experience into. I would like to take yoga into the community at large. To the elderly, the disabled, the injured, the chronically ill, the overweight, the mentally fragile or even just to those who don’t feel comfortable in a large class of people and need a little more personal attention.
Because yoga therapy is a relatively new concept, I have listed a whole group of quotes below from various widely respected teachers and institutions on the subject.
‘Yoga therapy, derived from the Yoga tradition of Patanjali and the Ayurvedic system of health care refers to the adaptation and application of Yoga techniques and practices to help individuals facing health challenges at any level manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality, and improve attitude.’
-American Viniyoga Institute
“Yoga therapy is that facet of the ancient science of Yoga that focuses on health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, psychological, and spiritual. Yoga therapy focuses on the path of Yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to the body and mind through an experiential understanding of the primary intention of Yoga: awakening of Spirit, our essential nature.”
-Integrative Yoga Therapy (U.S.A.)
Joseph LePage, M.A.
“Yoga therapy adapts the practice of Yoga to the needs of people with specific or persistent health problems not usually addressed in a group class.”
-Samata Yoga Center (U.S.A.)
Larry Payne, Ph.D.
“Yoga therapy is the adaptation of yoga practices for people with health challenges. Yoga therapists prescribe specific regimens of postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to suit individual needs. Medical research shows that Yoga therapy is among the most effective complementary therapies for several common aliments. The challenges may be an illness, a temporary condition like pregnancy or childbirth, or a chronic condition associated with old age or infirmity.”
-Yoga Biomedical Trust (England)
Robin Monro, Ph.D.
“Yoga comprises a wide range of mind/body practices, from postural and breathing exercises to deep relaxation and meditation. Yoga therapy tailors these to the health needs of the individual. It helps to promote all-round positive health, as well as assisting particular medical conditions.The therapy is particularly appropriate for many chronic conditions that persist despite conventional medical treatment.”
-Yoga Therapy and Training Center (Ireland)
“(Yoga therapy is) the use of the techniques of Yoga to create, stimulate, and maintain an optimum state of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.”
-Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D.