Today, we are witnessing the blossoming of this new profession of yoga therapy. A trained yoga therapist understands the body/mind connection through the lens and with the tools of yoga. The yoga therapist comes in after the acute phase has subsided, often working with the referring clinician, and helps the individual find a recovery that puts him or her in a better position to avoid recurrence. For example, in the case of bodily injury such as back pain, the individual will be given a personalized routine to practice on a daily basis to address his or her specific needs, which may be modified by the yoga therapist as strength and flexibility are built.
Not just for back pain or shoulder pain, yoga therapy, in conjunction with clinical care and psychotherapy depending on the situation, can also ease pain and reduce suffering for individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis, PTSD, anxiety and depression, arthritis, diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, cancers (quality of life) and many other conditions for which we might not normally think of yoga as an aid. While yoga therapy is not a cure, it can improve the quality of life, and may augment the efficacy of clinical treatment. For instance, in the case of cancer, it may improve the patient’s ability to comply with difficult treatments. As you might expect, as an adjunct for treatment for such conditions as PTSD, addiction recovery, and other psychological diagnoses, as well as physical diseases that cause great emotional distress, the prescription would not be “do 12 dynamic cobras and call me in the morning,” but rather it may be breath-based, and may draw upon other dimensions of the human experience and spirit.
Yoga therapy is already gaining recognition in the world of complementary medicine and medicine. So the next time you want a fresh perspective on something that is ailing you, please consider yoga therapy as an option.