About Yoga Therapy
According to The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), yoga therapy’s governing body, 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.
What is the difference between yoga therapy and a yoga class?
Sometimes public yoga classes are large, and the teacher may or may not know the students personally. Yoga therapy is practiced one-on-one, or in a small group setting. This way, the yoga therapist can keep track of everyone in the class and give individual attention as needed. Prior to beginning yoga therapy sessions or a yoga therapy class, clients fill out an intake form, talk it over with the therapist, and in the case of a one-on-one session, undergo a thorough assessment. In this way, the therapist is able to customize the practice so it is not only appropriate, but maximally beneficial for the person or people in front of her.
Public yoga classes often have a heavy emphasis on yoga postures, many of which may not be accessible to people with medical conditions, injuries, or the elderly population. Yoga therapy utilizes many tools, and physical postures are just one of those tools. In addition to postures, clients may practice breath exercises, guided relaxation, meditation, and mantra. The therapist may also challenge the client to make some lifestyle changes.
In a public yoga class, the teacher leads the students through a series of practices. In a yoga therapy session or class, the therapist also guides her clients through yoga practices. However, the role of the therapist is to empower the client to take an active role in his or her self-care. The client and the yoga therapist together will form a plan that is both effective and practical for the client to practice on his or her own.