th of the discipline of Yoga has been remarkable. From the early days of its emergence when local Over the last several decades the growteachers shared seemingly exotic Yoga poses directly from the books of seminal teaching pioneers s such as Lilias Folan and Richard Hittleman, to the influx of ancient Yogic teachings from India through traditions introduced to the west in the 60’s and 70’s, all the way to the seemingly ubiquitous presence of so many Yoga programs, variations in the present day it is apparent that Yoga has struck a chord and fulfilled important needs in our lives.
The search for the right Yoga to do at any point in time can be the most important part of assuring you get the most out of what Yoga can offer. If there are more specific medical or physical challenges that are at the root of your search for the “right” Yoga for you this search is even more important.
With this in mind I believe there is one important evolution with this vast discipline of Yoga. It is in the growing specialization of how Yoga is being presented so it may most effectively be used to meet the varied needs of students not well served served in traditional Yoga classes. The emergence of Yoga Therapy as a way of skillfully targeting the application of Yogic practices to support healing from a host of of dis-eases and problems of living is one of the most important developments within the field of Yoga.
In many cases private instruction and this more therapeutic approach to Yoga practice allows affords the best fit for individuals to achieve their particular health goals. Unlike the basic classes, individualized Yoga Therapy sessions are a one on one experience with an Instructor/Therapist that can tailor the techniques practices of Yoga, Meditation and related disciplines to specific needs and personal goals. Students can gain many benefits from individual work, enhancing the basic improvements to mental and physical health Yoga provides so many in a group situation with more targeted fitness, therapeutic or healing benefits.
The International Association of Yoga Therapists, on their Yoga Therapy.Health website, discusses how Yoga therapy is set apart from more traditional Yoga taught in classes as follows:
“Although all yoga is potentially therapeutic and healing, yoga therapy is the specific application of yogic tools—postures/exercises, breathwork, meditation techniques, and more—to address an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional needs. Many people first learn about yoga through its physical practices, but a common misconception is that it’s all about stretching or movement. In fact, yoga therapy can help people who can’t move at all, as well as active individuals!”(1)
Western medicine is coming to realize the value of Yoga as a compliment to traditional healthcare. There is a growing body of research available (2) that is confirming that yoga practices can be powerful tools to support stress reduction, reducing physical pain problems, and used as part of a program to alleviate anxiety and mood issues.
These practices can support other real physical benefits for many, including lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular efficiency, reduced gastrointestinal upset. I look to work with your healthcare provider as needed to help maximize these benefits. This complimentary approach can best support your movement beyond dis-ease into greater overall health and wellness.
The Yoga Therapy work I offer in the Guilford, Madison, Branford and New Haven and Woodbridge Connecticut areas involves individual sessions that allow for this more targeted application of the techniques of Yoga and meditation than is possible in group class settings.
1.)YogaTherapy.health, What is Yoga Therapy
2.) National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health