I have worked as a yoga instructor for the past 12 years. Even if you've never stepped foot on a yoga mat, you probably still have a basic understanding of what I do. When I tell people I am also a yoga therapist, however, a look of confusion usually precedes a a question resembling, "What's that?" Explaining what a yoga therapist is and what a yoga therapist does is not so simple. Although yoga therapy is an ancient practice, it is relatively unknown as a healing modality. A yoga therapist works individually with a client to promote healing and wellness in both body and mind. When you are ill, a doctor creates a treatment plan that usually includes tests, medication, and/or surgery. Those things certainly are a necessity in many cases, but are they the answer for all? For people who wish to heal or improve their health without the use of medications, invasive tests, and surgeries, yoga therapy is a holistic alternative. Let me illustrate this by giving some practical examples. Over the next few blog posts I will list five common conditions of poor health to which yoga therapy presents solutions. These are five areas of yoga therapy that are seeing increased growth as people discover and appreciate what a yoga based treatment plan can do.
Number Three: Yoga Therapy for Anxiety/Stress
Although these could be classified as more mental rather than physical conditions, people with anxiety and high stress can experience tightness, pain, or chronic illness. Usually rooted in some kind of trauma or grief, anxiety and stress can be significantly reduced with a regular yoga and meditation practice. I have seen in my own clients that even 30 minutes a week of gentle yoga makes a difference. The quiet, peaceful flow of yoga allows a needed respite from the constant stream of worry or chatter in the mind.
A more physical practice also helps divert energy from thoughts to a deeper connection with their body. Breathing techniques specific for stress reduction are part of a yoga therapy treatment plan and can teach people to control their thoughts and enjoy the positive feelings they experience on the yoga mat. You can read more about anxiety solutions in a blog post I wrote here.
I enjoy the work I do as a yoga therapist. Even if few people understand it, it is deeply satisfying to empower another person with the courage and knowledge to follow their own path for healing. When I first started offering yoga therapy , in hubris I believed that everyone should it choose it. But experience has taught me that some diagnoses are very complex, and a healing treatment plan often requires multiple solutions. The protocol a doctor offers can be life saving. Like eveyrthing else in life balance is necesaary. Yoga therapy may not be the only modality for healing what ails you, but it is a viable one which is less invasive, less expensive, and gives you more control over your body. If you have questions about yoga therapy, please contact me and together we can create a treatment plan that is right for you.