The International Association of Yoga Therapists defines yoga therapy like this:
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.
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I have been interested and practicing yoga and meditation since college when I was first introduced to the practices. Immediately I felt the anxiety-reducing and joy-producing effects of yoga and meditation and I knew deep in my heart that these practices, called sadhana in Sanskrit, would support my life in a profound way. Some 25 years later, my yoga practice has survived loved-and-lost, love again, family issues, pets, career changes, moves, and band crises.
I’m very pleased to announce that recently, the IAYT accepted me as a certified Yoga Therapist. This represents many years of study, practice, and application in the field. Yoga Therapy is an emerging field, but one that is a natural evolution of continued and perhaps deeper yoga practices. If you are a yoga practitioner, then you already know the personal benefits that yoga may have in your life, whether it is a stronger, healthier body, relief from aches or pains, relief from anxiety and depression, less headaches, a stronger, healthier mind, the list goes on.
Once a student asked me “what is the advanced version of this practice?” And I love the answer… sticking with it. After 25 years, I am here to say, the practice of yoga only continues to enhance your life in more and better ways then you may imagine.
On the physical level, yoga activates muscles in chains. When you take Side Angle Posture for example, the entire side of your body is affected, from the sole of your foot through the peroneal muscles, to the IT band, through the obliques, latissimus dorsi, the scalenes, to the top of your head. There is a connective tissue chain along the entire side of the body that is activated, and not to mention the other muscles supporting your pose, the adductors, the psoas and so forth. So if there is, let’s say, lower back pain, it is addressed in a holistic way. It is not simply one area of the body that receives the focus, yes that area gets addressed, but in context of the entire being. There are refinements to alignment that awaken new avenues of feeling and awareness in the body that help the yogi let go of past habits that were causing the pain in order to establish new habits that better support the body as a whole, and the mind too is effected in a positive way.
Another way to approach these issues is through relieving physical and mental stress. Through the practices of meditation and even breath work, known as pranayama, we find a more subtle and lasting way to make positive changes in your body and life.
Another way to approach these issues is looking at lifestyle habits. How much sleep are you getting? Are you eating well and drinking enough water? What daily habits support you and which ones might be exacerbating your issues? The science of life, ayurveda, offers tools to align your personal habits to access your fullest potential.
Yoga therapy incorporates yoga postures, breath work, meditation, and ayurveda to help you live better. I have been studying and teaching these things for many years now and am so pleased to have IAYT’s recognition. It is an emerging field and so far a little over 300 people around the world have received their certification that represents a significant amount of hours practicing, studying, and teaching; therefore I am proud to be able to offer my services at this enhanced level.
So, if you are wondering how yoga may enhance your life more, if you have been dealing with anxiety, arthritis, osteoporosis, headaches, joint pain, muscle sprains, back pain, shoulder issues, depression, trouble sleeping, or generalized ennui, let’s talk.