What is Yoga Therapy? and can it help you?
As you probably know, yoga has been around for over thousands of years. But you might not know that yoga therapy has been around just as long! The Sanskrit word for yoga therapy, is ‘Cikitsa’ Krama. The word 'Cikitsa' comes from the root word 'icca' meaning 'desire'.
A desire to help is really the deeper meaning of the concept of yoga therapy, and it’s said that the desire to help must be there on the part of the therapist, as well as the person who is unwell.
Without this basic desire on both sides, yoga therapy is not possible or effective. Understanding this, it’s clear that yoga therapy is about empowering the individual to bring about health and healing within their own body and mind.
Yoga Therapy is not about a standardised prescription for each condition, i.e. “if you have 'A' then you must do 'B' - no. In fact, a good yoga therapist will spend little time focusing on the condition itself and lots of time focusing on the individual that is experiencing the condition. They will look at their lifestyle, the contributing factors to the condition, how their entire constitution is impacted by the condition and what can help to support and strengthen the entire person.
Who can benefit from yoga therapy?
Every person is different, and we all have different lifestyles. For example, even within a group of 10 people all experiencing back pain, each and every one of them will experience it differently. That’ll require a different approach through yoga therapy to help support them. There is no one size fits all.
Beyond that, there is a connection that happens between yoga therapist and person seeking help and that connection is one that is an important component of the healing process. With yoga therapy both the therapist and the individual are present and clear about what the goals are to be achieved in terms of health. Both are engaged on the path of healing.
How long does yoga therapy take? How many sessions are required?
Lots of people come to yoga therapy with these questions.
This has no simple answer - it's dependent on each individual case, and it’s different from person to person.
For example, someone coming in with neck pain may experience relief and improvements within 3 sessions. While individuals with significant anxiety and depression have worked closely with me for longer. Some I’ve worked with for over 6 months to work towards establishing more balance and stability.
Yoga is taught for the individual, and needs to meet the individual exactly where they are. I've been fortunate enough to work with amazing people who have been recovering from severe traumas, to people who are bed ridden. Regardless of where someone is, we can all use some more support at different times in our lives.
What makes yoga therapy different?
Yoga therapy goes beyond just the physical body, i.e. getting more flexible or building strength. It offers an opportunity for a more holistic approach to managing well-being. The body is so intelligent, and is constantly looking for balance, or 'homeostasis'. As a therapy, yoga looks to support the body’s own natural healing process.
Personally, it's supported me through numerous health conditions and pains and I wouldn't have the appreciation for the complexity of our human condition without having studied and used yoga therapy personally for years now. It's a real gift.
Hope to see you at the studio soon Kxx