Yoga Therapy in Boulder Colorado
Yoga therapy is derived from the yoga system of health which aplies techniques and practices to help individuals manage health challenges at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Traditionally, yoga was taught one-on-one through what today we would call private classes. The great ancient teachers understood the importance of individualizing each yoga experience to meet the needs of the individual student. During a private yoga session you can start a new practice, deepen your current practice or spend more time working with an injury or specific goal or concern.
Private yoga classes are beneficial for beginner students who need a basic yoga foundation to safely incorporate into any group class. Private sessions can also help avoid injury during group classes by providing a strong foundation to the main yoga poses and sequences used in the common western classroom.
After a yoga therapy session the teacher will be able to recommend which styles of yoga are best suited for your goals and needs. If you have a specific goal, private yoga therapy can help you focus on your objective, allowing for faster results.
Yoga therapy sessions can benefit experienced practitioners by providing focused feedback on alignment and movement patterns. Cues and modifications can make the difference between taking your practice to the next level and meeting with an injury down the road.
Yoga Therapy as a Form of Complementary Medicine
Today’s group classes are fun, energizing and help to create a strong community and affordable yoga, however, in a group class teachers may not be able to deliver the individualized attention and guidance that we all need at one time or another.
Yoga therapists prescribe specific regimens of postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to suit individual needs. Medical research shows that Yoga therapy is among the most effective complementary therapies for several common aliments.
The applications of Yoga Therapy range anywhere from maintaining health, to recovering from illness - in some cases, even those considered incurable. The first stage of healing involves the movement of vital forces in the system. Practitioners of many Eastern forms of medicine believe that every illness involves a certain level of energy blockage. By promoting the flow of prana, or vital force, yoga combats those blockages, restoring the basic condition for health. Common applications for Yoga Therapy also serve structural problems such as spine misalignments or joint function. Deeper applications may even aid more intractable problems such as AIDS and cancer.
The fact that the different branches of science are now acknowledging that everything in the universe works together with absolute, intimate and exquisite interrelationship is part of the basis of the increasing success and respect that Yoga Therapy is gaining among main stream medical practitioners. As more clinicians use these techniques either for themselves of or their patients, and as more masters design specific applications of yoga, the spectrum of Yoga Therapy grows exponentially.
The Best Way to Start a Yoga Practice is with a Teacher
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. 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.
At last, the logistical aspects of the execution of the sadhana should be determined, such as order of practice and number of repetitions. The person then can practice this sadhana on his or her own, or receive the expert guidance of a Yoga Therapist. The sadhana is then updated according to the progress that the student accomplishes.
Private yoga instruction allows for teacher and student to build a working relationship while examining and identifying specific needs and co-creating a practice that addresses individual goals. Private yoga instruction is a great way to begin, return or advance your yoga experience.
Some of the main ways in which yoga therapy differs from yoga are:
• Yoga therapy works with your goals. Each session is tailored to your needs, whether you want to gain relief from chronic pain, facilitate injury recovery, improve flexibility, reduce stress, improve well-being, get help with depression, or simply retain your youthful appearance and energy.
• Yoga therapy targets the practice to specific disease condition. Most disease conditions benefit from some yoga asanas or yoga breathing techniques and not others. A yoga therapy program for back pain, for example, would be very different from a yoga therapy practice targeting depression. Some yoga therapists specialize mainly in one disease condition, while others have a more broad focus.
• Yoga therapy adjusts the poses to your body's needs. A yoga therapist shows you how to modify and adjust poses to your body’s specific needs, using props, modifications, and alignment assists. This ensures that you get the full benefits from each pose.
• Yoga therapy uses adjunct techniques to speed your progress. When called for, some yoga therapists may use deep tissue massage and fascia release work while you are in the pose to release tight muscle groups and facilitate a deeper core awakening.
• Yoga therapy deepens body awareness. Yoga therapy is offered in individual sessions or small classes, enabling the therapist to guide you in the fine subtleties of muscle relaxation, stretching, and strengthening. This increases body awareness and helps you make more rapid progress in reshaping your body.
Yoga therapists work in small groups or private sessions, addressing specific health problems and adapting poses accordingly.
Many have since used yoga for managing high blood pressure, coping with the effects of cancer treatments, or treating symptoms of HIV, depression or anxiety. But lately it’s become especially popular for musculoskeletal issues like lower and upper back pain, sciatica, and shoulder, neck and hip pain.
Physical therapists use many methods, from targeted stretches to deep tissue massage; exercises with a Theraband, foam noodles, belts, physioballs, bobbleboards, Bosu Balls, or a wall; and heat and/or ice therapy at home. After a physical therapy session, you'll usually leave with a photocopied sheet of exercises.
A yoga therapist works primarily with yoga moves, and clients typically leave with instructions on a custom series of poses that change each week according to the student’s progress.
“Yoga therapy is very much about the whole person,” says Janice Gates, president of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and author of "Yogini." “It is complementary to physical therapy, but we take into account that back pain may be related to an emotional element, or it may be from lifestyle, some pattern that is not serving them, physical movement patterns or other patterns.”
More Thank Just Yoga
One way to think of yoga therapy is as a replacement therapy, that is, replacing old bad habits with better new ones. As such, yoga therapy encompasses not only the body and the movements we do on the yoga mat, but how we live and treat others and ourselves off the mat, which is ultimately what matters for a healthy and whole life.
Trained yoga therapist understands the body/mind connection through the lens and with the tools of yoga. The yoga therapist comes in after the acute phase has subsided, often working with the referring clinician, and helps the individual find a recovery that puts him or her in a better position to avoid recurrence.
The individual will be given a personalized routine to practice on a daily basis to address his or her specific needs, which may be modified by the yoga therapist as strength and flexibility are built.
While yoga therapy is not a cure, it can improve the quality of life, and may augment the efficacy of clinical treatment.