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.
Yoga Therapy is an emerging discipline in the west that has recently gone through rigorous review to develop standardized principles of training in order to preserve the unique characteristics it brings to Integrative Medicine. Because of the breadth and depth of the practices involved and the variety of approaches available, it is challenging to define.
Yoga Therapy uses age-old approaches of postures, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and such, adapted to the individual’s needs at the moment, to deepen presence and awareness so that we may know ourselves more fully, to practice a more meaningful relationship with oneself. Through the adaptation and application of these approaches and techniques, individuals facing wellness challenges at any level are assisted in finding the best path for them to “manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality, and improve attitude.” (Gary Kraftsow, American Viniyoga Institute)
Yoga Therapy is generally provided in one-on-one sessions customized to address an individual’s specific wellness concerns, or in small therapeutic groups or clinics focused on a specific condition being addressed by multiple participants. While Yoga Therapy can be an ongoing process for some, and is generally not a one shot solution, one of the goals is independence from the yoga therapist, rather than an ongoing dependent relationship. Yoga Therapists want their clients to develop the awareness and path that works best for them and continue their practice on their own.
While a Yoga Therapist has specialized information regarding the tools of yoga and Ayurveda, the client has specialized information regarding their own bodies; together the two work to find the best path of practice. It is not a matter or a once a week activity done with an instructor, but rather the daily routine one develops to find individual optimal wellness.
Yoga Therapy requires no experience in yoga and respects individual differences in age, gender identification, culture, religion, philosophy, occupation, mental and physical health, and abilities.