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Yoga Therapy: An Overview of its Benefits and Techniques

Yoga therapy is a system of health derived from the practice of yoga. It aims to help individuals manage health challenges at the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Traditionally, yoga was taught one-on-one through private classes, with each experience individualized to meet the needs of the student. Private yoga classes can benefit beginner students who need a basic foundation and experienced practitioners by providing feedback on alignment and movement patterns.

Benefits of Private Yoga Sessions

Private yoga sessions are beneficial for those who need a basic foundation in yoga to safely incorporate into group classes. They can also help avoid injury during group classes by providing a strong foundation for the main yoga poses and sequences used in the common western classroom. Private yoga therapy can help individuals focus on their goals and objectives, allowing for faster results. After a yoga therapy session, the teacher will be able to recommend which styles of yoga are best suited for an individual's goals and needs.

Yoga Therapy Techniques

Yoga therapists prescribe specific regimens of postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to suit individual needs. The applications of yoga therapy range anywhere from maintaining health to recovering from illness, and 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, and deeper applications may even aid more intractable problems such as AIDS and cancer.

The Design of a Yoga Sadhana

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 brings in the design of a yoga sadhana or routine that addresses the given condition. Different yoga therapists follow different procedures to establish the sadhana, but the process typically involves determining the condition to be treated and evaluating a person's general abilities. Then the appropriate techniques can be chosen from the various disciplines that best serve the therapeutic process. The logistical aspects of the execution of the sadhana should be determined, such as the order of practice and number of repetitions. The sadhana is then updated according to the progress that the student accomplishes.

How Yoga Therapy Differs from Yoga

Yoga therapy differs from yoga in several ways. It works with an individual's goals, tailoring each session to meet individual needs. It targets the practice to specific disease conditions, and adjusts poses to the body's needs using props, modifications, and alignment assists. Yoga therapy may also use adjunct techniques to speed up progress, such as deep tissue massage and fascia release work. Additionally, it deepens body awareness, helping individuals make more rapid progress in reshaping their body.

Conclusion

Yoga therapy is gaining increasing success and respect among mainstream medical practitioners as more clinicians use these techniques for themselves or their patients. Private yoga instruction allows for a teacher and student to build a working relationship while examining and identifying specific needs and co-creating a practice that addresses individual goals. With its many benefits and techniques, yoga therapy offers a complementary therapy for several common ailments, and is an effective way to begin, return or advance your yoga experience.


Yoga Therapy Boulder


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