Updated: May 25, 2020
So, maybe you’ve heard of Yoga Therapy, but you’re not sure how it differs
from regular yoga classes? Here are five points to help you decide which
model will best suit your needs.
1. The commitment
The purpose of most yoga classes is to help students relax, breath well and optimise their physical and energetic state. The student is not required to practice at home, although they may be encouraged to do so. This model is uni-directional. In other words, the teacher instructs, and the students follow.
In Yoga Therapy, the purpose is to help the client heal by integrating yoga into their life through the creation of a personal daily practice which is tailored for their needs. Home practice is key to the process. This model is bi-directional; the client and therapist work together. This is particularly suitable for people with specific conditions; physical, mental
2. The setting
Yoga classes are a wonderful way to meet new people and to share a healing and wellness experience together. Chanting and meditation, in particular, are deeply impactful when done in group settings, and the power of practicing in community with others quickly becomes evident.
Yoga Therapy is generally practiced on a one-to-one basis within sessions or at home.
This comes with its own benefits such as self-reliance and the self-confidence to practice alone.
3. The scope
Because people who come to yoga class generally practice only in class, the scope of what is possible tends to be a little narrower. Many of the more advanced yoga practices require a daily commitment in order for the profound effects to be experienced in a meaningful way. Taking this into account, a well-trained teacher will work within this scope. Also, most yoga classes include physical postures and very simple breathing practices that can be remembered and integrated into daily life.
In Yoga Therapy the client practices an individually tailored programme at more regular
intervals throughout the week. Taking this into account, the therapist knows they have a wider scope to work with. Physical postures are often included, but not mandatory. Yoga therapy utilises as a palette the thousands of yoga practices within the vast scope of Eastern and Western traditions. Out of the many practices, only the ones specific to the client’s needs will be chosen.
4. The relationship
Yoga classes don’t require much personal information from students in order to join.
Some classes will request general medical information to make sure the class is suitable for the student and for insurance purposes. Many other classes require no information, and so the student may remain anonymous. They can offer up information which they feel is important, but it is often not a requirement.
The client/therapist relationship in Yoga Therapy is essential. Over time, an atmosphere of trust and sharing is developed, so that the client can benefit optimally from the sessions. In this way, the therapist can take into consideration all the different facets of the client’s current situation and state of being when creating an optimal yoga plan. This brings us onto our final point.
In Yoga Therapy many details about the client will inform their given practice. The information shared over time may include - personal history, cultural conditioning, personality type, gender, health, energetic state, breathing capacity, emotional/mental state, behavioral patterns, physical state, spiritual beliefs and experiences, goals, priorities, life vision and more. This is an entirely holistic approach.
Of course, it would be neither possible nor practical in a public class situation to gather this amount of information about the students. Even if all of this information were taken, it would not be possible for the students to practice together, as each practice would be vastly different. In yoga classes, the student looks for a description of the class, perhaps asks some questions regarding level and intensity and then decides for themselves if this
‘one size fits all’ class will be suitable for them. If the teacher feels that the class is not suitable, they may suggest a different class. A well-trained teacher will also be able to modify practices on the spot, to suit what they know of the student’s needs.
Check out www.yogaroots.ie webpage for lots more information on yoga and yoga
You can also contact me here for a FREE 15 minute consultation!