What is Yoga Therapy?

by Vicki Salisbury, Yoga in the Parlour

None of the 20 or so women enrolled in the course had a clear picture of exactly what a Yoga Therapist actually does. However, each one of us had committed the next 12 months of our lives to become one. “Devine unknowing” is how Sal Flynn (one of our key lecturers) described our educational journey and she advised we find ease in curiosity as a Yoga Therapist.

How does Yoga Therapy differ from classroom yoga? Both Yoga and Yoga Therapy can be used to promote health and prevent disease. The difference between the two is that Yoga is generally shared as a physical group practice. Yoga Therapy is generally sought out by those who cannot take a class with others due to lifestyle needs: injuries, chronic pain, physical limitations, social disorders or compromised immunity such as cancer.

Underpinning Yoga Therapy is the understanding of the vital integration of mind, body and spirit to bring balance and healing to the whole person. Yoga Therapy consists of therapeutically tools from Yoga that may include Asana, Pranayama, Dhyana, Bhavana, Mudra, sound, philosophical training and Yoga theory, lifestyle modification techniques and elements of Ayurveda.

International researchers, leading universities and prestigious medical Institutions are providing substantial evidence for Yoga and Yoga Therapy as a legitimate part of a healthcare team. Yoga Therapy rejects the disempowering, expert fixes the broken model of health offers and rightfully restores the responsibility and power of healing to the individual.

In the final class of our course, we divided into groups to define Yoga Therapy. The simplicity of this one resonated with me, “We treat the person with the condition rather then the condition that the person has.”

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