Many people have asked me this question lately - what is Yoga Therapy?
Let’s start with a definition…
According to Yoga Australia, Yoga Therapy is:
The process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga.
Let me expand on that. A Yoga Therapist focuses on their client’s individual needs, working one on one or in a small group setting. It is a holistic approach to healing, and they often work alongside other professionals such as doctors, psychologists or other allied health professionals in order to help their client/s with whatever challenge they may be presenting with. It’s their job not only to use the tools and techniques of Yoga to gently guide the client towards better overall well-being. These tools may include yoga poses (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditations, mudras, visualisations, chanting, sounds, Ayurveda, or other methods depending on what the individual client needs. With the understanding that everything is connected (body, breath, mind, energy, emotions, self) the Yoga Therapist will be able to look beyond just a physical challenge that a client may face, and help them unravel the layers that lead to uncovering the root cause of the issue, ultimately helping them to shift toward deep and true healing. Their role is not to be a healer as such, because, no one can heal you except YOU. But a Yoga Therapist’s role is to understand and determine what they can do to support their client/s on their own healing journey.
The Yoga Therapy Client
A Yoga Therapy client could be anyone who is looking for support and guidance for healing a symptom or health challenge that they may be experiencing. The challenge may be physical, mental, or emotional or a combination of all 3. That’s usually the case, like I said, everything is connected! Though, the less obvious reasons for a presenting challenge may take time to discover. A Yoga Therapy client needs to be willing to do the work, because remember - no one else can do that for you. A therapist may be able to offer guidance to lead you, and walk beside you, but you have to actually walk the path yourself. So, the client will work with the therapist, and the therapist will work with the client to focus specifically on their individual condition and devise an individual practice, kind of like a prescription, containing various yoga based techniques that the client will then practice in between therapy sessions. There is no pre-prepared script, no one size fits all quick fix - it’s an individual approach every time you meet, so the session and the practice given may be adapted and different each time.
How Does LV Chair Yoga Fit In?
When I did my Yoga Therapy training in 2017 with Enlightened Events (who I highly recommend!), I remember so often thinking to myself “the chair would be great for that!” as the teachers were talking or while were discussing particular populations or case studies. Because Chair Yoga was created back in 1982 by Lakshmi Voelker (she’s the LV in LV Chair Yoga) as a form of Yoga Therapy for one of her students who was living with arthritis, I guess that makes sense! Using the Chair, it means that Yoga Therapy is even more accessible and available to everyBODY who wants to access the benefits of Yoga, especially those who find it a challenge getting onto the mat. LV Chair Yoga also has a non-judgemental, trauma informed approach which is fundamental in working with clients who may choose Yoga Therapy as their pathway to healing.
Global Yoga Therapy Day was recently held on 10 August, and I took part by sharing a Chair Yoga Therapy practice that I created to assist with Stress and Anxiety. If you are feeling any of these feelings or would like to experience a practice that's grounding, calming and helpful for balancing the nervous system, I invite you to join me. I hope you enjoy it.
If you are interested in exploring Yoga Therapy further, I invite you to book a consultation with me, so we can discuss your individual needs.
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