As we all know, practicing yoga is therapeutic and healing and potentially provides us with a lot of health benefits. On the other hand, we often come across the term “yoga therapy” which involves specific application of yoga tolls, poses, breathing techniques, and meditation to improve on our overall health and well-being.

Yoga therapy caters to the physical, mental and emotional balancing of an individual and it is not at all only about stretching and movement. There’s much more to it.

What is Yoga Therapy? 

The formal definition of yoga therapy is, “it is a process empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and the practices of Yoga.” Yoga therapy is primarily the application of yoga practices on an individual in order to alleviate one’s physical and mental health conditions.

Yoga Therapy By Definition

The definition and explanation of yoga therapy must have led you to wonder, as to how is this very different from yoga practice? Well, the difference between them is very simple and basic. 

While yoga practice aims to cultivate the mind, body, and soul of an individual, yoga therapy, on the other hand, uses particular yoga practices and their known benefits to help improve mental and physical ailments and conditions.

Therefore, yoga practice has the potential of providing therapeutic effects and is done in a broader and general way, while this is a more specialized and designed approach to heal or treat someone already suffering from a particular physical or mental medical condition.

Also, read our post on How To Gain Weight Through Yoga?

Going in Details

To understand better, let us explain to you a little more about this type of therapy in detail. Yoga therapists, experts, and doctors say that yoga therapy, in reality, is a self-empowering process where the yoga therapist designs a personalized and evolving yoga practice to the care-seeker depending on the individual’s needs, requirements, and ailment. 

This personalized yoga practice targets the individual’s illness at the very core, thus addressing the illness in a multi-dimensional manner, complementary manner while being progressive and non-invasive. This can also be preventive or curative and that depends upon the nature and the severity of the illness. 

Therefore, in a nutshell, one can say that yoga therapy is capable of both managing, healing and curing any illness at all levels.

Also Read our Post on Meaning of The Word Yoga

History of Yoga Therapy

“Yoga Therapy” is a relatively modern term that was coined by a yogic named Swami Kuvalyananda back in the 1920's. He believed that the physical and the physiological changes that happened in an individual through yoga practice was measurable. 

This brought about a whole new field and yoga practitioners and medical experts started applying the specific effects of yoga on various medical conditions.

This type of  therapy has gained huge popularity, both locally and globally, in recent years and many doctors are actually now supporting it and are incorporating yoga therapy in the process of their treatment.

Doctors and research journals have revealed that this provides multi-tiered benefits and applying it to those who are suffering physically and physiologically do bring them immense benefits.

Also Read our post on History and Origin of Yoga 

What Happens in Yoga Therapy?

Most of us in today’s times are leading busy and stressful lives and that is having a whole lot of negative impact on us not only physically but also mentally. Stress leads to a lot of medical problems and extending ourselves to yoga or this therapy is the best way we can reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.

This is primarily used to align the unique and price physical and mental needs of the client with specific yoga practice. This is because both medical science and history of yoga have found particular curative benefits of yoga therapy associated with any kind of particular disease. 

For example, there are specific yoga poses and postures which help soothe back pain while there are others that reduce stress. The yoga based therapy used for mental and emotional curing is usually gentler, specialized and are directed to regulate the nervous system to foster the return of the awareness of the body.

These sessions include breathing coordination, breathing techniques, postures, meditation, relaxation techniques and even behavioral changes. However, this depends entirely on the needs and the requirements of the care-seeker.

Also, read our post on What does Namaste mean in Yoga?

What Can Be Cured By Yoga Therapy ?

As mentioned earlier, yoga therapy has gained quite a popularity in recent years and it is used to treat both mental and physical conditions

Mental Conditions

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD
  • Eating Disorders
  • Addiction
  • Autism
  • Post-Natal Depression
  • Physical Conditions 

  • Back pain
  • Muscular skeletal problems
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Parkinson’s
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Brain Injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • IBS
  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
  • Insomnia
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Benefits of Yoga Therapy

    Yoga therapy to a layman is usually viewed as just another form of yoga which is personalized and modified considering the needs, the requirements and the limitations of the person seeking help and care.

    But in reality, yoga therapy has a lot to offer. A skilled and expert yoga therapist helps us develop a range of tools that improves our overall health, wellness, and well-being. In certain cases, they even work for specific health concerns by working on medical practices along with the knowledge from the ancient system of health care.

    So, let us here discuss a little about the physical and the mental benefits of yoga therapy and how they impact an individual’s wellness.

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    8 Clear Benefits

     

    1. Yoga therapy provides benefits to specific physical health concerns. It helps patients acquire specific tools to cater to their specific conditions in order to prevent or cure the ailment and bring about overall wellness.
    2. This is beneficial in managing physical ailments like back pain, neck pain, arthritis, fibrillation, PMS, migraine, menopause, and even weight problems.
    3. This  is also beneficial in managing mental ailments like anxiety, depression, and stress.
    4. Sleeping disorders like insomnia have become a problem from which most people suffer nowadays. The trigger to insomnia is stress and when this reduces stress automatically we cure the sleeping disorders which keep us awake night after night.
    5. This also benefits us by providing us a fulfilling way to exercise. If it is done correctly and on a regular basis it is not only motivating but is also very rewarding in helping us to stay and become fit, burn calories and lose weight. 
      Yoga therapy caters to individual needs and therefore these sessions ensure that one gains the most from the yoga poses and postures thus benefiting them for their personal needs.
    6. This special therapy also helps us by slowing down our aging process and improves our overall health from within. It betters our blood circulation, cardio-vascular functions, muscle movements, and flexibility.
    7. This treatment deepens the awareness and balance of our body and mind increasing our immunity and health from its most subtle level of functioning.
    8. This type of treatment also benefits those who like to develop and take up a fulfilling personal yoga practice and optimize the experience of yoga poses (asanas) as a preparation for meditation.

    Therefore, this therapy alleviates a lot of problems and is particularly effective as a complement to other forms of health care, directed towards health problems both alternatively and conventionally.

    Also, read our post on Can Yoga Build Muscles?


    Is it Safe ? 

    However, this is most definitely a strong medicine but is also a slow medicine. If one wants successful yoga therapy, the key is to have an incremental approach towards it- no matter what kind of a benefit you are looking for. 

    This makes yoga therapy much safer, effective and less aggressive than other forms of strategies and exercises.

    It benefits us the most when we choose to start slowly and gradually ramp up the intensity and duration as per the allowance of the circumstances.

    What yoga therapists do with people with serious health problems, they begin with only a posture or two and that too the most simple ones with coordinated breathing exercises until the care-seeker is ready to do and take in more intensity.

    Also, read our post on How Yoga Works?

    Concluding Thoughts

    In conclusion, after studying everything about yoga therapy in details, one can say that while a general yoga caters to our everyday aches, pains and mood swings, a yoga therapy session goes much further because it is tailor-made in accordance with the individual’s needs- because one size does not fit all.

    Like we can see from the difference between yoga and yoga therapy, there lies a basic difference between yoga practitioners and yoga therapists as well. Yoga therapists are provided with knowledge and in-depth training where they assess their clients individually in order to keep them safe.

    They work with their clients to address their specific goals while keeping in mind their physical or physiological limitations. Thus, what yoga therapy boils down to is it all depends on what you need to increase, prevent or cure your health and well-being.

    Also, read our article on Power Yoga and How Many Calories Does Yoga Burn?