Yoga Therapy

“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.”

“The yoga tradition views humans as a multidimensional system that includes all aspects of body; breath; and mind, intellect, and emotions and their mutual interaction. Yoga is founded on the basic principle that intelligent practice can positively influence the direction of change within these human dimensions, which are distinct from an individual’s unchanging nature or spirit. The practices of yoga traditionally include, but are not limited to, asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, chanting, mudra, ritual, and a disciplined lifestyle.

Yoga therapy is the appropriate application of these teachings and practices in a therapeutic context in order to support a consistent yoga practice that will increase self-awareness and engage the client/student’s energy in the direction of desired goals. The goals of yoga therapy include eliminating, reducing, or managing symptoms that cause suffering; improving function; helping to prevent the occurrence or re-occurrence of underlying causes of illness; and moving toward improved health and wellbeing. Yoga therapy also helps clients/students change their relationship to and identification with their condition.”

~Definition of Yoga Therapy from the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), Educational Standards for the Training of Yoga Therapists

Who Can Benefit From Yoga Therapy?

Current research shows that practicing yoga benefits a wide range of conditions and illnesses including, but not limited to: hypertension; heart disease; diabetes; cancer; low-back pain; anxiety and depression. Research has shown that yoga reduces stress, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, improves sleep, elevates mood, alleviates pain, improves strength and flexibility, and improves overall quality of life.

It stands to reason that the benefits derivable from yoga generally are even greater when personalized to the individual in a therapeutic relationship.

Yoga therapy, traditionally known as yoga cikitsa, has a long history.  Individuals come with a desire to improve their functioning and are willing to undergo an assessment, work with the therapist to develop a treatment plan using yogic tools, and take the time to direct their energies to the agreed-upon tasks. They check in with the therapist for validation and adjustment to their plans, and also are willing to consult with their medical provider for input and approval in applying yoga to their lives.

What Practices are used in Yoga Therapy?

Yoga is holistic and includes practices for the body, mind and spirit. The scope of yoga therapy practice includes:

  • Asana (physical movement and static postures)
  • Pranayama (breath work)
  • Yoga Nidra (guided meditation while in a relaxed state)
  • Concentration and imagery
  • Meditation
  • Mudra (focused hand and eye gestures)
  • Mantra and affirmation
  • Chanting/sound
  • Self-reflection (setting goals, intentions, finding purpose and meaning)
  • Lifestyle modifications (self-care routine, diet, laughter, music, nature)
  • Seva (selfless service)
  • Sangha (supportive community)

What to Expect in a Yoga Therapy Session

Before your session, I will ask you to complete a detailed intake form, that includes considering what your goals are in seeking yoga therapy.  You will need to be willing to seek out your medical provider’s approval to take part.

If you are able to get your form to be in advance of your first 1.5-hour visit,  I will review it in advance of our meeting and then we will have more time to discuss your history, current situation, goals;  perform assessments; and develop a treatment plan. Assessments that may be conducted during the first session or subsequent sessions may include postural / gait, mood, sleep, nutrition, and/or pain, for exampl. Then we will work together to develop a set of practices designed best meet your goals. Short daily practices have been shown to be more effective than longer periods a few times a week for fostering new healthy habits. Together we will determine the  amount of time you can comfortably commit, usually a minimum of 15 minutes once or twice a day.

During additional sessions we progress towards goals, and your experience with the practice will be reviewed. We will modify and add as appropriate and mutually agreed upon.

I love the late B.K.S. Iyengar’s statement, “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” 

What Does it Cost?

I  recommend a minimum of three sessions to successfully create a daily practice that will help you achieve your goals. The first session usually lasts 1.5 hours. Additional sessions are 60 minutes. Conducted in my studio, the following prices apply. When I travel out, a transportation / time surcharge is levied. I set aside a certain about of my energy to serve those who can demonstrate need. Please enquire if you are in this category and may be eligible for yet lower fees.

Initial assessment and consultation – 90 min $125
1 hour    $80
Initial 3 sessions (3.5 hrs) $245
3 1-hr sessions – Save 10% $216
5 1-hr sessions – Save 15% $340

Permanent link to this article: