Yoga therapy uses movement. stillness, connection, and nourishment to address your specific health and wellness concerns by restoring balance and managing physical symptoms.
Yoga Therapists are yoga instructors who seek out extra knowledge to make the yoga experience accessible more broadly.
Imagine you are a room of 10 students over the age of 55. Look around. You see people in the room who are carers for family members living with chronic or life limiting illnesses. You will also see a couple individuals will have chronic health concerns of their own such as low back pain, diabetes or osteoporosis, or even a bionic hip or knee! Another individual in the room who is seeking the stress relieving activity of yoga may have recently finished cancer treatment. Most would tell you they chose yoga as they want to get moving in a safe and accepting environment where everyone's bodies are unique!
Yoga therapists have more than 800 hours training in yoga anatomy, chronic illness management, pranayama (yogic breathing) and mindfulness practices such as deep relaxation, visioning, and meditation. They learn about the changes in the body through the life cycle and have learned and practiced yoga programming adaptable for pre-natal, mid-life and menopause, seniors and chair yoga and even receive training and practice in applying yogic principles at end of life and for managing grief.
Here is a definition of Yoga Therapy that resonated for me. It is adapted from the accrediting body for Yoga Therapists, the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Yoga therapy empowers individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga.
All yoga could be healing, however, yoga therapists have in-depth specialized training in assessing individual's needs and in designing practices that are unique and safe for those individuals.
In developing safe practices, Yoga Therapists adapt the tools and techniques of yoga to the circumstances of the individual's health or life transition challenges.
If you are a science geek - there are volumes scientific evidence of the effectiveness of yoga in managing depression, migraine headaches and low back pain, for cancer patients, Parkinson's and MS and other neurologic conditions, and for PTSD. For more than 100 health concerns in fact.
Here is a good place for you to find some of these studies if you are into the reading. These 18,000 references are from 2017 to now. I admit I have not read them all.