What Is Yoga Therapy?
"Yoga therapy is the professional application of the principles and practices of yoga to promote health and well-being within a therapeutic relationship that includes personalized assessment, goal setting, lifestyle management, and yoga practices for individuals or small groups."
International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), 2020
How Does Yoga Therapy Work?
For many years people have known that the ancient tools of yoga have helped people to heal, but didn't know the science behind it. Researchers think yoga works partly because of its ability to regulate the nervous system and possibly to affect the way the brain processes information. Another reason yoga therapy works so well is that it’s not a treatment done to a patient. Under the guidance of a yoga therapist, clients empower themselves to tap into their own innate healing capabilities.
The yogic model of health addresses every aspect of life rather than considering each body part or system separately. A tool applied in one area can profoundly affect a completely different area of the body or the mind. For example, a yoga therapist might teach a client a particular type of breathwork to address anxiety. If the client practices that breathing exercise regularly, she might find that her habitual neck tension has disappeared or that even her digestion has improved.
For selected references on evidence-based studies on the benefits of yoga, visit yogatherapy.health.
What Conditions Can Yoga Therapy Help?
Yoga therapy offers tools that touch the whole spectrum of human experience. For this reason, yoga therapy can address a wide variety of health concerns and ailments.
Pain, including back pain, arthritis, nerve pain, and others such as the chronic pain from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
Sleep issues like insomnia
Mental health including anxiety, depression, trauma and PTSD, and others
Musculoskeletal issues such as scoliosis, sciatica, and sacro-iliac
Neurologic issues and complications of stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, MS, lupus, and fibromyalgia
Respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD
Major illness such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease
Many people also work with a yoga therapist to reduce stress, enhance their overall well-being, and age gracefully.
A Yoga Therapy Session or Plan May Include:
Gentle movement synced with the breath designed to provide relief for your unique conditions. Yoga poses may release tension, increase body awareness, build strength, improve posture, or increase balance. Your sequence will be tailored to fit your range of motion and current capacity.
Simple exercises may improve your breath awareness and will be customized to either stimulate the relaxation response, increase your vitality and stamina, and/or improve resilience.
Soothing mental visuals may be offered that help calm the body and mind and help you to visualize your path to healing.
Short practices to focus and calm the mind that may increase your ability to accept thoughts, feelings, and impulses as they are. These practices may also help foster greater loving kindness for yourself and those around you.
Techniques that elicit deep, conscious relaxation, rest, and encourage a state of letting go.
Resonant sound using your own voice can help to stimulate the relaxation response, break up congestion, increase breath capacity, or even help you find your inner "voice".
Short, positive statements to help develop a healthy sense of self and mental-social-emotional mindset. Affirmations can be repeated to onself out loud or silently.
Other Mindful Action
Certain lifestyle changes may be recommended to support the healing process. Self-reflection through journaling or inspirational reading may also be suggested.
Start Your Healing Yoga Journey
Book a FREE 15-Minute Phone Consultation.
Please contact me directly to request a complimentary,15-minute phone consultation. Gain clarity on what yoga therapy is and if it's right for you.
Booking In-Person or Virtual Appointments
Sessions can be held in person at 434 Bridgewater St in Fredericksburg, VA (where Whole Health Solutions is located) or online through Zoom. In some cases we can hold your sessions in the comfort of your own home. Please email me to make any special requests. Payments can be made online or in person but are due by the appointment.
When selecting your preferred timeslot, please allow enough time to fill out and return both the Yoga Therapy Intake Form and the Informed Consent Form prior to your first appointment. I will e-mail you these forms.
What to Expect
The Initial Yoga Therapy Session will last approximately 60-90 minutes. During this session I will conduct a mind-body assessment. We may explore your movement patterns, breath, sleep habits, pain levels, and stress. We will also set goals and design a personalized, therapeutic plan for you to practice at home.
Follow-up sessions are scheduled every 1-2 weeks or monthly depending on your health picture and are designed to check your progress and evolve your practice. Follow-up appointments are typically shorter than the initial session and last approximately 45-60 minutes. You will receive an updated therapeutic plan at each session or by email soon afterwards.
Yoga is a practice.
For optimal results you must be willing to be an active participant in your own healing process and commit to the practice. In general, a minimum of 5 sessions is recommended.