Yoga / Therapeutic Yoga as Practices

YOGA is an ancient discipline that offers a broad range of tools used to promote health and wellbeing, and that facilitates spiritual transformation. Each student’s unique needs should be addressed, even in a classroom situation, so appropriate guidance of a skilled teacher is essential. Yoga is for everyone, including physical poses/practices, special breathing techniques, powerful meditative moments, and possibly the use of symbolic gestures and vocal sounds.

“MINDFUL YOGA is a lifetime engagement–not to get somewhere else, but to be where and as we actually are in this very moment, with this very breath, whether the experience is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. Our body will change a lot as we practice, and so will our minds and our hearts and our views. Hopefully, whether a beginner or an old-timer, we are always reminding ourselves in our practice of the value of keeping this beginner’s mind” (Excerpt from Jon Kabat-Zinn “Mindful Yoga Movement & Meditation” ©2003, Yoga International, Feb/March 2003).

Definition of Yoga Therapy (updated June 2, 2020 by the International Association of Yoga Therapists) – “Yoga therapy is the professional application of the principles and practices of yoga to promote health and well-being within a therapeutic relationship that includes personalized assessment, goal setting, lifestyle management, and yoga practices for individuals or small groups.”

THERAPEUTIC YOGA practices are designed to lead one to growth of mind, body and spirit. Such therapeutic sessions take place in a safe, relaxed environment, where the client can open more fully to life experiences, increasing mind-body-energy connection and perception, thus enhancing self-care. Yoga therapy sessions are typically conducted one-on-one or in small groups, resembling working with a rehabilitation specialist. They bring greater focus to linking movement to rhythmic breathing and emphasize release through relaxation. A certified yoga therapist trains for years with mentors who are experts in their field, and continuing education is required to stay up-to-date with ongoing research and understanding of best practices for the needs of their clients. A knowledgeable yoga therapist will design a personalized program that motivates the client to practice outside of sessions; follow-up sessions are essential for needed changes in the “plan of action”. Structural issues, chronic diseases, and diminished immune function are examples of situations that a yoga therapist may be able to help individuals with, always respectful and working complementary to Western medical advise.