Yoga therapy is an ancient scientific system designed to address all the layers of a person and his or her individual goals along the path to healing. This approach, thousands of years in the making, has only recently become part of an integrated approach to healthcare in the West.
Yoga Therapy integrates the wide array of tools and traditions of yoga into the treatment plan, including not only asana and movement, but also breathing practices, meditation, relaxation techniques, mudras (hand gestures), mantras (chants), and more.
Individualized attention also allows for ease in making adaptations to suit the needs of the individual. As a team, the therapist and client work closely to adapt the treatment plans and goals based on feedback and incremental changes in body, mind, and spirit. Dr. Timothy McCall, M.D., asserts that, “In Yoga Therapy, we work with individuals not conditions”.
According to the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) Definition of Yoga Therapy, “Yoga therapy is the appropriate application of these teachings and practices in a therapeutic context in order to support a consistent yoga practice that will increase self-awareness and engage the client/student’s energy in the direction of desired goals. The goals of yoga therapy include eliminating, reducing, or managing symptoms that cause suffering; improving function; helping to prevent the occurrence or re- occurrence of underlying causes of illness; and moving toward improved health and wellbeing. Yoga therapy also helps clients/students change their relationship to and identification with their condition.”
Furthermore, “Yoga therapy is informed by its sister science, Ayurveda. As part of a living tradition, yoga therapy continues to evolve and adapt to the cultural context in which it is practiced, and today, it is also informed by contemporary health sciences. Its efficacy is supported by an increasing body of research evidence, which contributes to the growing understanding and acceptance of its value as a therapeutic discipline. “
Yoga Therapists are specially trained and have developed the skills to facilitate a healing relationship between client and therapist and create positive change for the client’s wellbeing. Yoga Therapists also practice what they offer to their clients and have fully integrated the practice.
Yoga Therapy Sessions
Clients will complete an intake form prior to their first session. At the first session, Diane will review the intake form with the client and assess the client for posture, range of motion and breathing. Enough time is given for a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of the person.
Following the initial session and assessment, Diane will prepare a home treatment plan consisting of the vast number of yogic tools available. The client and Diane will meet for a second session to review the home treatment plan and a practice. Therapist and client will discuss any changes or modifications at this time.
Ongoing sessions are used for practice, checking in on their progress, and adapting their home treatment plan for any changes in the client’s goals and health. All sessions are tailored to meet the client’s goals and needs, and scheduling considerations.
The client is provided with a comprehensive home treatment plan that can be implemented immediately. They may also be given additional materials and information to support their path to healing.
What are the Benefits of Yoga Therapy?
- Ease of movement and better quality of life through the physical practice of asana and breath
- Direct connection through breath awareness and control, providing for stress release and better regulation of stress-related chemicals like cortisol
- For the mind, it is the optimal environment for focus, awareness, concentration, and balance
- Deepening of self-awareness and self-regulation
- Empowerment of their own healing process, which extends to other areas of their life
- Connection to our true nature, and therefore, connections to others and the world around us
How does a Yoga Therapy integrate with healthcare modalities that I receive elsewhere?
- Pre-op and post-operative recovery support
- Ease of access for many populations
- Low cost for patients and clients
- Overall healthcare costs are less
- May alleviate side effects from cancer medication and other medications
- Patients and clients can take charge of their own health
- Provides a safe environment for practicing yoga
- Therapist spends more time with patients and clients observing, trying out yoga practices and adapting.
- Yoga Therapy provides an overall model of wellness, not limited to just one existing condition.