Practising yoga has been found to help treat lower back pain, improve joint mobility and build strength and resilience in your body. Yoga also has positive impacts on your mind as it allows you to connect with the present moment, which can be difficult to do when you’re constantly thinking about the future.
For those looking to reap the full mental health benefits of this style of exercise, yoga therapy is the way to go. It combines exercise and meditation with an emphasis on your mind-body connection to help address your personal emotional concerns.
How is yoga therapy different from regular yoga?
In a traditional yoga class, the instructor tends to focus more on the actual practice of yoga in order to cater to the whole class. Yoga therapy, on the other hand, includes a therapist, who according to Greatist, focuses on your individual emotional and physical needs.
A yoga therapy session can be undertaken individually with a therapist or in a class setting and no matter which you choose, your yoga therapist will usually assess your needs before the session in order to cater to your needs. The techniques used within the class will include yoga poses, meditation exercises, guided energy work and breath awareness and control.
What are the health benefits of yoga therapy?
Yoga therapy can be used for a number of ailments and firmly squashes the belief that yoga is only for the fit and able. According to Yoga Therapy Australia, yoga therapy can be prescribed for your personal physical, emotional and physiological needs, whatever they may be.
“A practice may be designed simply to maintain health and fitness, or to help remedy asthma, a back or knee problem, a hormonal issue, an emotional disorder, a chronic physical or psychological condition or disability, to enhance sports prowess or to facilitate meditative practices,” says Yoga Therapy Australia.
“The art of Yoga therapy is to combine and modify a selection of the available tools of yoga in accordance with the needs of the individual to achieve specific outcomes. Each personal practice must be logically planned and prescribed in accordance with the needs of the individual, their attributes and personality, and where they are at the time they commence, and their longer-term goals.”
Unlike traditional yoga, yoga therapy allows you to target whatever your concerns might be, which in turn means the health benefits will be slightly different for every person. When it comes to working through emotional issues with yoga therapy, your therapist can also device individual plans to target these areas of concern.
This practice can help quash stress and anxiety thanks to the focused breathing and slow movements, which have been designed to cater to your particular emotional concern. In 2012, a small study of 72 women who described themselves as “distressed” found that those who practised yoga one to two times a week for three months showed greater improvements in stress management and quality of life compared to those who didn’t do yoga.
To find a yoga therapist in your area, we recommend simply searching via Google, as there are a plethora to choose from in Australia. Alternatively, Yoga Therapy Australia has a search function on its website to find a yoga therapist near you.