What is Yoga Therapy?
A Definition of Yoga Therapy
When I say I’m a Yoga Therapist the next question is usually ‘what’s Yoga Therapy?’ So here is the definition provided 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.”
However I prefer Michael Lee’s definition:
“Yoga therapy is a holistic healing art. Rather than prescribe treatments, it invites presence and awareness. Using age-old yogic approaches to deeper presence and awareness, we are able to know ourselves more fully. Out of that knowing, we are more easily moved to embrace the opportunity for change, growth, and enhanced well-being in body, feelings, thought, and spirit.”
Michael Lee, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy
But what does that mean in practice?
What to expect from a Yoga Therapy session:
Initial sessions are usually 90 minutes long with subsequent sessions being either 60 or 90 minutes. Before we begin you’ll complete a Health Information Form to outline what brings you for therapy and any other relevant information.
The first session will usually begin with a discussion around your Health form and what brings you for Yoga Therapy. We’ll then look at how you stand, how you move and how you breathe.
Together we’ll agree on the goals and priorities of our sessions and I will then guide you into a relaxation or meditation as appropriate to your goals.
During the final part of the session we will co-create a practice for you to take home – one that you are excited and committed to doing regularly until we meet again. Home practices might be 5 or 25 minutes long and anything in-between. Your practice might include breathing practices, mindfulness, a recorded guided relaxation, meditation or visualisation and of course some simple therapeutic yoga postures or movements. It might include only one of these or several, again depending on your goals.
Yoga Therapy is not a miracle cure. It does require you to do the work but by carefully establishing goals that are deeply motivating for you it should be work that you are excited by.
Sessions might be weekly to begin with but then once established might become fortnightly or monthly. It is a highly personalised process and should feel like an available refuge from suffering.
If you’re interested in exploring whether Yoga Therapy might be helpful for you and if you’d like to discuss whether I’m the right therapist then please do get in touch.