What Is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga therapy is the application of the ancient science of yoga to enhance health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, psychological, and spiritual. It is applicable to groups or individuals with specific health challenges, life changes, and transitions. Yoga therapy focuses on the path of yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to the body and mind through an experiential awakening of our spirit, our essential nature. The healing journey is unique to each individual; therefore, yoga therapy selects, adapts, and modifies the practices of yoga appropriately for the individual with respect to age, culture, religion, and specific physical challenges in order to facilitate optimal health and healing of the mind and body. The philosophy and psychology of yoga form the basis of yoga therapy. Illness is a signpost on the journey of Self knowledge pointing toward transformation and wellness. Instead of focusing on the removal of symptoms, as in allopathic medicine, yoga therapy sees the healing process as a means of bringing the entire being into wholeness. Relief from symptoms is just one facet of this healing process.
Is Yoga Therapy Different From Yoga?
Yes! Yoga therapy is yoga with a specific focus. Yoga therapy is student-centered, molding the teaching to the needs of the student. Yoga therapy, with its focus on the overall wellbeing of the student, places equal emphasis on the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of being. This is distinct from some forms of yoga in which the physical may be highlighted, but without in-depth understanding and integration of the psychological and spiritual aspects of the person.
Who Can Benefit From Yoga Therapy?
Anyone who would benefit from a non-sectarian, non-hierarchical, student-centered approach to learning yoga. However, yoga therapy has special value for certain groups and individuals:
- Those with specific health conditions who can benefit from an approach to yoga specifically designed for their needs.
- Specific professional groups (teachers, health care professionals, etc.) who would like yoga classes tailored to their specific needs.
- Those who are out of shape and need a slow and personally designed program to move them towards optimal health.
- Those who have been practicing yoga within a set system, resulting in imbalances in strength or flexibility, and perhaps even pain or injury.
- Those who would like to use yoga to explore the full spectrum of their being, including feelings and emotions, in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
Source: Joseph LePage