What Is Yoga Therapy ?
Yoga therapy is a type of therapy that uses yoga postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery to improve mental and physical health. The holistic focus of yoga therapy encourages the integration of mind, body, and spirit. Modern yoga therapy covers a broad range of therapeutic modalities, incorporating elements from both physical therapy and psychotherapy.
Practice and Benefits of Yoga Therapy
Yoga therapy is practiced in a wide range of formats. Physical therapists, for example, often implement yoga techniques in their delivery of massage and other treatments. Yoga therapy practice can resemble physical therapy, rehabilitative therapy, and or psychotherapy. Unlike a standard yoga class, yoga therapy sessions are typically conducted in one-on-one or small group settings. Yoga therapy can be provided as an adjunct therapy to complement other forms of treatment, or it can be used to directly treat a specific issue. Yoga techniques range from simple to advanced, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Potential benefits from yoga therapy include stress reduction, psychological well-being, improved diet, and efficient functioning of bodily systems. The findings not only indicated that yoga therapy effectively reduced subjects’ anxiety, but improvement across several dimensions of physical and mental health including physicality, relaxation, and mindfulness.
What to Expect from Yoga Therapy ?
When a person decides to initiate yoga therapy, the therapist will first conduct an initial assessment. This assessment is designed to do the following:
- Identify health problems
- Assess lifestyle and physical capability
- Discuss reasons for seeking therapy
- Create a course of treatment
Once the treatment plan is established in this first consultation, the frequency of sessions is agreed upon and sessions are scheduled. From this point, therapy sessions will most likely include the following components:
- Breathing Exercises (Prayanama): The therapist will guide the person in therapy through a series of breathing exercises ranging from energizing breaths to balancing breaths.
- Physical Postures (Asana): The therapist will teach the person in treatment appropriate yoga poses that address problem areas. For example, the “Legs Up the Wall” pose is used to treat things like anxiety and insomnia. In this pose, the person lays on his or her back with legs positioned up against the wall.
- Meditation: Relaxation and mindfulness are the focus of meditation when it is combined with yoga poses.
- Guided Imagery: The yoga therapist attempts to calm the body and mind by providing a guided visualization intended to bring inner peace.
- Homework: An important element for any yoga practice is to find a way to incorporate it into daily life. Yoga therapists provide instructions on how to use what has been learned in treatment at home.