Yoga therapy is becoming increasingly popular in the Western world, more so because the Medical Profession are now recognising the benefits a consistent yoga practice can have.
So what is Yoga Therapy? Yoga Therapy is when a highly trained yoga teacher will work one on one with their client for a specific reason. For example, injury rehabilitation, stress release, fertility, anything, whereby, a general yoga class may not be suitable.
There are many different reasons why someone will attend a yoga class, it could be for the physical aspect to it, it could be that they want to stretch their muscles; there are various different reasons. When some one makes the conscious decision to work privately in a Yoga Therapy session they are seeking help for a particular condition.
In a yoga class there are various ways in which yoga can be taught, it can be fast, slow, functional, aesthetic all of which are great if this is what you’re looking for and you will feel benefits from your practice. However, what I am seeing more and more of is that doctors, chiropractors etc are advising people to practice yoga without the understanding of what type of yoga is going to be beneficial to their patient especially when they have a particular condition, such as, back ache etc.
With this in mind, it is always advisable to contact the teacher of the class you may be interested in to find out if their class is suitable for you, a good teacher will be honest and will tell you if they think it is or isn’t. This is a much better solution than turning up and finding out that you’re unable to participate for whatever reason, this can have a really damaging affect on someone’s perception of what yoga is all about.
In a Yoga Therapy session the teacher will assess their client through their posture and their breathing to see where and if they can see an imbalance. The teacher will converse with the student to understand their needs, often once established this can become very different to the original reason why they came to you. In my experience I have seen these on numerous occasions. I had a client who came to me to gain more flexibility but they also wanted stress release, after the first conversation it became apparent that there was so much emotional turmoil going on it was affecting their whole physical being but more importantly they literally weren’t able to breath. We spent the first two sessions paying attention to this to see if we could make some space with the breath to allow space in their minds, it gradually worked and they started to feel the difference. The sessions progressed however, the practice itself was extremely simple as we had to go back to the beginning to peel the layers to find the origin of the cause of the problems they were having.
Yoga Therapy is about working with your client to provide them with a tool kit that they can use to ease their imbalance, even once they leave the security of your studio.
This isn’t to say that a yoga class won’t provide the same tool kit, it will however, on a more general basis as the teacher in the class has many different bodies to look after so it is impossible to have a one instruction fits all approach.
Although the distinction between the two is subtle it is important to note what the differences are and how they differ so you know what you’re getting.
For more information on how Yoga Therapy may be able to help you please feel free to drop me a line.