Yoga therapy FAQS
According to the International Association of Yoga Therapy, “Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga.” In traditional yoga, health challenges can be the impediments to seeking a spiritual path.
Yoga Therapy may calm the symptoms and aid in the healing process of the following: back, neck, and shoulder pain, joint pain, chronic pain and stress, arthritis, cancer and cancer treatment, anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, addiction, weight management, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, respiratory disorders, IBS/poor digestion, thyroid/hormone disorders, and so much more. back, neck and shoulder pain joint pain arthritis cancer fatigue insomnia anxiety depression addiction chronic stress/pain weight management diabetes heart disease autoimmune diseases respiratory disorders IBS/poor digestion thyroid/hormone disorders …many more!
Yes… all yoga SHOULD feel good and also be healing. With the growing popularity of yoga in the Western world, there are a large portion of yoga classes that are specifically geared toward fitness for young and healthy people. Many yoga teachers are therefore qualified to teach healthy adults, but do not have the training or knowledge base to teach those students that have injuries, chronic illness, or even “older” adults. Yoga therapy began as a way to meet people of all ages and conditions where they are at.
The yoga therapy profession is nearly brand new! The profession guidelines are shifting and being finalized by the board of IAYT (International Assoc. of Yoga Therapy). Yoga Therapy programs all over the U.S. are now able to go through the accreditation process. All YT programs are advanced training that goes beyond yoga teacher training for the healthy and many programs and students focus on specific areas, such as structure, physiological or somatic training. To learn more, find a yoga therapist or yoga therapy training, go to www.iayt.org.
If you can breathe, you can do yoga! It is important to find a class that is the right place for you and finding a teacher who has training and experience with the specific health concern you are experiencing, and also someone you feel comfortable with. Private session with a yoga therapist are a great way to start so you can learn specific modifications just for you!
It is important to get approval from your physician, physical therapist or other health care professional before resuming or beginning a yoga practice. Ensure you have an experienced teacher who understands and has experience with your situation. Consider a private session to help your transition to a class.
Yoga can support whatever is happening in your life, although it may change from the practice you may have had before. To recover from surgery or an injury, a short daily practice that focuses on the breath in addition to simple relaxation techniques is a great start, then adding simple movements to support healing that gradually increases overtime.
Wearing comfortable clothing that allows you to freely move in is ideal. If there is a structure issue or concern that needs attention, it is typically ideal to wear clothing that is more fitted so your teacher can see more clearly. Body temperatures in addition to room temperatures vary greatly over the course of a class and different studios, so dressing in layers is ideal. As for what to bring to class, a yoga mat and water is best, although, most yoga studios have mats available to rent and also provide their own props.
The best part about yoga is starting wherever we are at. There are many offerings at studios and senior centers that offer chair yoga classes. There are classes online at http://yogisanonymous.com/yoga-video-library.php or youtube.com that are chair yoga classes, and also a video from Leslie Kazadi Yoga Therapy on Yogi’s Anonymous that help build strength, flexibility and a game plan to help you get up and down from the floor safetly.
Practicing on an empty stomach is ideal…. But may not be realistic if you get “hangry” (like me – hungry + angry = hangry!), lethargic or distracted. In that case, have something like an hour or so before going to yoga, and plan to eat something after class.
You may feel soreness after yoga. Soreness can be from strengthening or lengthening different muscles and slight soreness is a sign of positive change! If your soreness hinders activity, then that may be a sign that you pushed too far and may need to back off slightly. Sharp pain before/after/during yoga is always a sign to stop what you are doing.
Often times people go to yoga to heal their pain. Understanding the difference from moving through pain and when to back off can be really important. Starting off slow and steady, observing sensations during and after is always best. This is our yoga practice! When you practice in this way, you will begin cultivating a deeper awareness and learn to trust your body and the signals it sends you. Always remember, sharp pain is no gain.
It is best to practice yoga with bare feet. This enhances the strength, flexibility and awareness of the feet/ankles, which is the base of support for you and a key for balance! There are socks with skinless soles that will allow you to move and also stay warm if your feet get cold. There are even socks with skinless soles that separate your toes which is even better!
This is the key to practicing yoga and one of the most challenging at first, even for the most experienced yoga practitioner. In every class, just keep reminding yourself to return to the breath, over and over and trust the over time, it will become more natural.
It depends! I began practicing yoga once a week and it naturally evolved to twice a week and now a daily practice. The most important part is consistency, like anything in life. It is far more beneficial to do a 15 minute practice every day rather than a 2 hour practice once a week.
It depends on both the results you are looking for and also your current situation. Most students feel a sense of well-being after each class; this is because the relaxation response in the body is elicited which reduces stress, enhances immunity and also promotes general healing. If you aren’t getting the results you are looking for, discuss this with your teacher. Perhaps practicing more frequently or a different approach may suit you better.