If you are suffering from any illnesses, usually there are two approaches:
To be active: doing exercise, eating healthy food,
To be passive: waiting for a doctor to give you certain pills, or asking a masseur to give you a nice massage
Yoga therapy is a relatively new approach to combine active yoga postures, with the alignments, massage or passive stretching conducted by the therapist. Moreover, it usually comes along with health recommendation of food, sleeping, and positive mindset.
If you are running out of options from conventional medicine on your illness, why not try yoga therapy. It will certainly give you a new insight on how a holistic medical system looks like.
What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga comprises a wide range of mind/body practices, from postural and breathing exercises to deep relaxation and meditation. Yoga therapy is the adaptation of yoga practices for people with health challenges which is tailor-made for the needs of the individual. It helps to promote all-round positive health, as well as assisting particular medical conditions. Usually the therapists prescribe specific regimens of postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to suit their clients. The therapy is particularly appropriate for many chronic illnesses, a temporary condition like pregnancy or childbirth, or a chronic condition associated with old age or infirmity. Medical research shows that Yoga therapy is among the most effective complementary therapies.
The first stage of yoga therapy healing involves the movement of vital forces (Qi/energy) in the system. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine believe that every illness involves a certain level of energy blockage. By promoting the flow of Qi/prana, or vital force, yoga breaks through those blockages, restoring the basic condition for health.
More than following just one style or one branch of yoga, Yoga Therapy feeds from virtually all styles and branches, combining the tools that each one of them bring in the design of a yoga sadhana, or a routine that addresses the given condition. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best. Even though different Yoga Therapists follow different procedures to establish the sadhana, a pretty general scheme would first determine the condition to be treated, and then an evaluation of person’s general abilities. Then the appropriate techniques can be chosen from the various disciplines which best serve the therapeutic process.
A typical Yoga Therapy session
Yoga therapy is typically conducted one-on-one or in small groups. A session is similar to an appointment with a physical therapist, rehabilitation specialist or a massage therapist rather than a typical yoga class. What sets this healing modality apart from others is the focus on linking movement to deep, rhythmic breathing and the emphasis on relaxation. In fact, when someone is gravely ill, a therapist may suggest that the entire practice consist only of breath awareness and relaxation until the patient is ready to tackle more.
By combining different techniques such as massage, stretching or alterations of the circulatory patterns, yoga promotes specific changes in muscles, joints and organs altering the vital functions of the body. A good example would be the way Yoga Therapy can help overcome panic attacks. By practicing a balancing breathing technique, a sense of control is gained, combating the fear and anxiety produced by its loss. Additionally, by practicing Tratak, a specific technique that involves eye movement, the pituitary gland is reset via the optic nerve, influencing the ‘fight or flight’ reaction so intimately related with the syndrome.
Here is a video showing how a Yoga Therapy session looks like:
In the east, Thai massage combined massage techniques with yoga postures for hundreds of years, now we can regard it as Thai yoga therapy, here is a video if you are interested:
You can read more about Yoga Therapy here.
If you have any question about Yoga Therapy, or if you want to try a session with me, you are more than welcome to write me an email.
I wish all of you good health!