About Yoga Therapy

Key Principles

  • Yoga Therapy is applicable to groups or individuals with specific health challenges or experiencing life changes and transitions.
  • Yoga Therapy focuses on the path of Yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to the body and mind.
  • The healing journey is unique to each individual so Yoga Therapy selects, adapts and modifies the practices of Yoga appropriately for the individual to facilitate optimal health and healing.
  • Yoga Therapy works to reveal a state of health which is inherent to each individual by recognizing and removing obstructions in the physical body, the energy body, the mind and emotions, in core beliefs  and in the spiritual body.
  • Yoga techniques form the basis for treatment in Yoga therapy, a unique approach to healing that has the heart and feeling of Yoga.
  • Yoga therapy sees the healing process as one of bringing the entire being into wholeness. Relief from symptoms is just one facet of the healing process.

How is Yoga Therapy Different from Yoga?

My teacher, Joseph LaPage, defines Yoga Therapy as "the application of the ancient science of Yoga to enhance health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, psychological and spiritual."

Yoga Therapy is Yoga, with a specific focus on the individual or small group needs, with no prearranged structure and content for the student to fit into. Yoga Therapy, with its focus on the overall well-being of the student, places equal emphasis on the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of being.

What Does a Yoga Therapist Do?

  • The Yoga Therapist serves as a guide or mentor in the student's journey of healing and self-discovery.
  • The Yoga Therapist creates a program for optimal health based on the specific needs of the student or group with which he or she is working, drawing from yoga techniques including asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), mudra (hand gestures), guided imagery and meditation, using Patanjali’s EIGHT LIMBS OF YOGA as a guide.
  • The Yoga Therapist creates a safe learning environment where students can access their own innate healing abilities.

What Happens at a Yoga Therapy Session?

  1. An assessment of the student’s health status at the physical, psychological and spiritual levels, including stress and imbalance.
  2. Perception of areas of balance and imbalance through body awareness exercises.
  3. Yoga history, including Yoga injuries.
  4. Based on these evaluations, the Yoga Therapist selects Yoga techniques to facilitate optimal wellness, and designs a program of Yoga practice to meet the needs of the student.

Who Can Benefit from Yoga Therapy?

  • Those with specific health conditions who can benefit from an approach to Yoga specifically designed for their needs.
    Example: people with hyper-tension, asthma, fibromyalgia, digestive disorders, diabetes, arthritis and depression
  • Specific professional groups such as teachers, health care specialists, or businesses who would like Yoga classes tailored to their specific needs.
  • Those who are out of shape and need a slow and personally designed program to move them toward optimal health.
  • Those who are recovering from injury or illness.
  • Those who would like to use Yoga to explore the full spectrum of their being, including feelings and emotions, in a safe, non judgmental environment.
  • Those who have specific needs related to  age or life cycle status such as seniors, pregnant women or menopausal women.
  • Those who recognize that to follow the yoga path a personal practice is beneficial. The Yoga Therapist can serve as a guide to the development of this practice.

How Often Does One See a Yoga Therapist?

The choice is yours. These are the options:

  • Once – for an assessment and some advice.
  • 3-4 times to develop a personal practice which the student continues on their own
  • Weekly and indefinitely, until the student chooses to stop.