“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga.”
Essentially, yoga therapy is the application of yoga practices to alleviate physical and mental health conditions with the view of promoting self-care and encouraging overall well-being. Whilst the practice of yoga in general aims is to cultivate the body and mind and hence has the potential for therapeutic effects, in yoga therapy we are using specific yoga practices and their known benefits to help alleviate or improve mental and physical ailments.
Yoga therapy is an emerging field in response to the popularity and effectiveness of yoga for healing. The most common question I get is: “Since all yoga can be therapeutic, all yoga is yoga therapy, right?”
No, The difference between therapy and regular yoga is that therapists focus their attention on your symptoms and how yoga techniques can be used to relieve them. Therapeutic sessions are customized to meet your unique needs rather than focusing on teaching a general yoga sequence to a group class. During these sessions, the therapist uses their training, knowledge, and experience to choose yoga practices that will benefit you.
Yoga therapy is not confined to psychological or physical. Instead, it uses traditional yogic models to look at the whole person. This may mean looking at the koshas, or layers of self, which include the physical, energetic, emotional, wisdom, and spiritual parts of our being. Energy (called “prana” in yoga) is often also assessed in terms of chakras (areas of increased energy in the body) or vayus (the direction and quality of the flow of energy).
Yoga therapy addresses the underlying root causes of our pain and suffering, which are often subtle and deep.