What is Yoga Therapy?
Updated: Nov 17, 2021
How is it different from a regular Yoga Class, and from other therapeutic modalities?
By now most people have heard of Yoga. Maybe you've even gone to a class or two. If you were blessed to find a great teacher, fit for you, you may have even experienced therapeutic effects within one or two classes. (Or maybe you're like me, who was turned off from the first few classes I tried out because they were not the right fit for me at the time.) When you're connected with the right teacher and style, you can experience remarkable shifts and transformations . So, if Yoga is inherently therapeutic, what's different about Yoga Therapy?
“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practice of Yoga.” -International Association of Yoga Therapists
Yoga Therapy is PERSONALIZED to the individual's needs and goals. The therapist, who has a minimum of 800 hours of specialized training in addition to the minimum of 200 hours required for a yoga teacher, uses Yoga philosophy and practice to build a plan for the individual to progress towards their health goals.
For years I wanted to rely on passive intervention to manage my pain: medications, acupuncture, and massage. While there is a place for all those things, I learned that if I wanted to make the shift from managing to thriving, I had to really show up. With Yoga the individual takes an ACTIVE ROLE.
You, the client, are doing the movements, noticing your thoughts, expanding the possibilities of your breath. You are being put back in the driver's seat of your health and wellbeing, instead of outsourcing it to experts. I am an expert in Yoga Therapy, but you are the most qualified expert on yourself.
Like any therapeutic relationship, it has to be the right fit. I may not be the right personality or energy for you. That's okay! Don't let that stop you - Yoga Therapy is an emerging field and it is quickly growing due to its effectiveness. I'll be happy to refer you to one of my skilled colleagues!
The Therapeutic Approach
With Yoga Therapy, we address the WHOLE PERSON. Yoga philosophy talks about the Panchakosha, or five aspects of a person through which our consciousness experiences the world.
Spiritual (Spiritual doesn't mean religious. It's our relationship to something beyond ourselves- nature, cosmos, Hashem, Gd, Higher Power etc. )
Bliss (A full body, all encompassing, experience of presence which the more you try to hold onto it the faster it fades away.)
Each of these aspects effect one another. True healing cannot be attained by working on just one or two of these aspects. All areas of ourselves must be brought into our journey to experience and attain authentic healing, otherwise we will eventually hit a wall in our progress.
In my own healing journey, the spiritual component was, and continues to be, integral to my continuing progress. Western medicine by now is well aware of the body-mind connection. Yoga Therapy acknowledges and addresses the body-mind-spirit connection.
If you're interested in understanding more about Yoga Therapy and it's benefits, as well as it's integration in medical systems internationally and locally in Israel, check out my free webinar on the subject.