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What on Earth Is Yoga Therapy - And the Surprising Ways It Can Help You!

Updated: May 8

What is yoga therapy?

This is a question I often get when people hear that I’m a yoga therapist. We’re so used to hearing about yoga and its many benefits, but yoga therapy is a relatively new term for many people. Most people aren’t quite sure how it’s different from a yoga class at a public studio. And honestly, I found myself having a hard time trying to articulate the difference between the two when I was fresh out of yoga therapy training. To help us all out, I’ve pulled some descriptions straight from the source. On the International Association of Yoga Therapy’s (IAYT) website, they note that: 

“Although all yoga is potentially therapeutic and healing, yoga therapy is the specific application of yoga tools -postures/exercises, breathwork, meditation techniques, and more -to address an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional needs.”

In other words – it is tailored to you - ALL aspects of you! - to address whatever restriction, pain, or signs of aging you are experiencing, so that you experience more ease, freedom, and movement in your life.

So, what does this mean for you?

If you’re a client of mine, you work with me on a 1:1 basis. These individual sessions allow us to create a program specific to you, with the aim of eliminating, reducing, or managing symptoms that cause you suffering. The goal is to improve function and help to prevent the occurrence or reoccurrence of underlying causes of illness - moving us toward improved health and well-being.

Unlike allopathic medicine, where the location of the pain is often thought to be the location of the problem, a yoga therapy approach understands that pain is the body's way of communicating its need for attention. For example, just because one may have shoulder pain, it does not necessarily mean that the shoulder is where the problem lies. Stress, lifestyle, diet, activity levels, seasons, and sleep patterns are all examples of things that can affect one’s physical experiences, and are avenues we can explore in a yoga therapy session. This individualized approach allows us the time to explore these factors and to make sure that you fully understand what we are doing and why we are doing it, making the work we do together repeatable outside of our sessions.

Yoga therapy is a holistic, integrative approach to health and well-being, and is an excellent compliment to other healthcare modalities one is using to support and maintain their health. You can continue on with other treatments and prescriptions as needed – although sometimes we find that these other treatments are no longer needed when health is returned!

Of course, always consult with any medical professionals you are currently working with before starting a yoga therapy program; and ensure that who you plan to work with has the necessary training and experience to address your specific needs. I can help you with this if this feels complicated.

This may not have answered all your questions – and it doesn’t allow for individualized analysis of what is going on for you in your unique situation. If you want to know more about how I can support your specific situation with yoga therapy, scroll down to send me an email. We'll set up a short call – or even an introductory session – to discuss how we can work together to meet your health and lifestyle goals.

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