What is it?
I have always viewed yoga as being therapeutic, in fact I could also say that yoga is and has always been my own form of therapy. The joy of working with a student on an individual basis has enabled me to understand their needs and tailor their practice to them. So when I started to train last year in Yoga Therapy it felt like second nature to me, it was a process that opened my eyes to so much more and gave me a wider perspective to look at the nature of yoga and its therapeutic context.
So what is the difference between Yoga and Yoga Therapy? Put it simply when you attend a yoga class, whilst the teacher may well know you and your body, there is only so much that can be offered to make the practice completely for you, on account of the other students in the room. This is not a bad thing, is it simply the nature of a group setting. So when you see a Yoga Therapist the process taken is to get to understand you – taking into consideration your physical, mental and emotional states, energetic balance, diet, lifestyle, relationships and the environment. From there the sole aim is to empower the individual towards WELLNESS through the use of the 8 limbs of yoga, ayurvedic principles, nutrition, mindfulness and lifestyle.
So what does wellness mean? First of all it does not necessarily mean a complete cure and freedom of all issues and symptoms. Really wellness is a process as opposed to a state. It is certainly not static. Looking at the image below moving from the centre to the left shows a progressively worsening state of health. Moving to the right of center indicates increasing levels of health and wellbeing.
Increasingly the research is showing the benefits of yoga, benefits that go beyond the “feel good” factor. Yoga Therapy has been proven to produce wonderful results for the cancer state, for pain, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, as well as chronic ailments such as heart disease. More and more drs and other wellness practitioners are seeing that an integrative approach is what works for the patient. By empowering an individual to take responsibility of their own wellness, we allow them to take charge of their own behaviours, attitudes, lifestyle and overall health.
This is Yoga Therapy and it is this practice that I believe most passionately about. If you would like to know more about this I would be more than happy to discuss it with you in further detail.