All yoga is meant to be therapeutic, but yoga therapy takes this to the next level. Yoga therapy, kind of like physical therapy, works on healing the body after an injury or after surgery. Yoga therapy also works on the mind, benefitting people that suffer from mental and emotional illnesses. It is different than a regular yoga class because it focuses specifically in these aspects, addressing your physical, mental and emotional needs.
If you are suffering physically, mentally or emotionally, here are a few reasons why you should do yoga therapy.
It's designed to help you
A regular studio yoga class can normally ease everyday aches, pains and stress, but they do not specifically target your individual needs. This is very important, especially if you have an injury, chronic pain or are healing after surgery. A private yoga therapy session is tailored to you and your needs, and often includes not only the physical aspect of yoga (asanas), but also breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation. Each session works with your physical, mental and emotional needs, and evolves week-after-week to help you heal.
It helps you heal
Or, at the very least, help you to manage your pain or illness. Each session focuses on your specific condition and ways that you can overcome it, feel better and function better. Yoga therapy works on more than just the standard yoga methods and techniques. It integrates a number of aspects to help you to deal with physical, mental and emotional problems that will allow you to improve your life. A yoga therapist is able to put a program together that will work for you and help you manage your symptoms. This includes improving your movement and improving your attitude when it comes to dealing with your health conditions. In short, it will help you lead a better life.
People often get lost in a regular studio yoga class. They have no idea what is going on and there is often no hands-on help from the teacher. A yoga therapy session is very hands-on. In fact, if the instructor (or therapist) is not hands-on and directly involved in your session, then you should change teachers. The whole point of yoga therapy is to help you heal, or learn to manage your pain or illness. This can’t be done without your yoga instructor guiding you through every step and helping you along the way. The focus is, after all, on your specific needs, and a good instructor will be able to come up with ways to help you through asanas, pranayama and meditation. It’s not about teaching yoga techniques as much as it about helping you overcome your challenges and help you to gain confidence and independence.
It combines different aspects
As I've already mentioned, yoga therapy will often include different aspects to help with physical, mental and emotional needs. It can also include other aspects, like pilates. If you chose a yoga therapist that is also a pilates instructor (like myself) then both practices can be combined to help you overcome your injuries. This is especially important with physical injuries. Bringing in pilates will teach you how to isolate specific muscles and teach you how to use your core in everything that you do. Whether you have a knee injury or a back injury, combining yoga and pilates will really help you to heal from these injuries, or help you to maintain them so that you can carry on with your regular life.