Yoga therapy may be used as an adjunct that compliments other healing modalities, or it may be used independently to help reduce the symptoms of specific conditions such as arthritis, anxiety, back pain, poor sleep patterns and so much more.
Unlike a standard yoga class, a yoga therapy session is usually conducted within a one-on-one student/teacher relationship or in small group classes. It is a holistic approach to health and well-being that integrates mind, body, and spirit through the therapeutic application of the fundamental principles that underpin Yoga, such as yoga postures, focused breathing, meditation, visualisation, intention setting and so much more. The aim of with the intention to improve mental and physical health. Yoga therapy is a treatment process where it is important for the student to be an active participant. At the completion of a session students are given a take home practice as a reference for the work covered in the session aiding a continuation of practice.
How does yoga therapy assist the student?
Yoga Therapy is an individual approach to wellness. For those students who engage in Yoga Therapy as a means to wellness it is an opportunity to become actively involved in understanding what wellness means for them and guides them to take the steps necessary to positively influence change in their life. Each session is personalised with consideration to their current health status, daily routine, life-style and work commitments, and is structured in a way that is achievable for them. In this way Yoga Therapy allows a student to begin at their own starting point and progress according to their changing needs.
Within the increasing studies in neuroscience and the neuroplasticity of the brain, research has shown that it is through conscious repetition that positive change occurs.
“Deliberate practice is not the same as rote repetition.
Rote repetition – simply repeating a task – will not by itself improve performance. Deliberate practice involves attention, rehearsal and repetition and leads to new knowledge or skills that can later be developed into more complex knowledge and skills. Although other factors such as intelligence and motivation affect performance, practice is necessary if not sufficient for acquiring expertise” (Campitelli & Gobet, 2011).
The process of change
In the Yoga Therapy process consideration is given to understanding the vasanas (impressions from past experiences) and the samskaras (patterns or habitual ways) of a student. With introduction to the concept of ksema, which is the consious stepping towards a goal, over time and by verifying that each step taken is sustained a new positive pattern is established. In the application of Yoga as Therapy we utilise the skill of svadhyaya or interosception (a deeper self study, past the movement of the physical body) and when this practice is sustained over a long period of time and in accordance to the capacity of a student change that is more sustainable.