What is Yoga Therapy?
Whilst much of yoga is therapeutic, it is important to understand the differences between a yoga teacher and a yoga therapist. And between a general yoga class and a yoga therapy session.
The British Council for Yoga Therapy states that “Yoga Therapy is the use of Yoga where there is a specific health need or needs”.
A health need can be physical, such as back pain, scoliosis, recovery from an operation, or a medical condition such as cancer. Or it can be anxiety, stress or any other mental/emotional aspect of our being. In a yoga therapy session we are looking at how we can address health conditions being presented, using the various tools of yoga, to help with rehabilitation, manage or improve symptoms and to improve one’s sense of well-being (depending on the condition and the person(s) involved).
From my point of view, the approach is a holistic one and focuses on people as a whole, rather than on a specific symptom/condition. We may treat the symptom(s) but it is vital to consider and look at the cause.
And although we may be using similar tools to those you would find in a regular class, such as the breath, relaxation, meditation, etc, it is up to the therapist to make informed decisions on which tools would best suit the individual and their needs. And to work with the client progressively as needs change. General classes are generic – not specific.
It is important to note that yoga therapy requires separate training and that sessions are usually led by teachers who are specially trained to work with patients suffering from various health conditions.
Below I have provided the following links, which can offer great insight into the above. Please feel free to browse and understand more.