YOGA as Therapy

“Yoga Therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings  and practice of  yoga” – International Association of Yoga Therapists (definition 2011)

“It’s well known that stress can contribute to back pain and that yoga reduces stress.  Yoga, however, approaches this in a way unfamiliar to Westerners.  We believe our minds cause our bodies to move, our brains sending signals down nerve pathways to our muscles.  And, of course, that’s true.  However, in yoga, the opposite also applies.  The state induced by yoga in our bodies calms our minds.” – Loren Fishman, MD, and Carol Ardman,   Yoga for Back Pain

“The key to right teaching is in the adaptation of yoga to the individual, not the individual to yoga” – T.K.V. Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga

“Tension is your body’s way of getting attention” – Mukunda Stiles, Structural Yoga Therapy

The word “stress” has become so common today and is at the root of many diseases starting with anxiety, backache, cardiopulmonary disorders, diabetes, discomfort, hypertension, insomnia, pain, and essential contentedness and en-joy(mo)ment of life.  There are different things you can do about it, from conventional to alternative medicine, which is where the system of Yoga is placed as a therapeutic discipline since it is a powerful tool for healing the body and relaxing the mind.  More and more scientific research has pointed out the numerous benefits.
The 3 Causes of stress:
Physical -whether you have undergone a trauma, an injury or from sport-specific or other movement patterns that do not reinforce good posture and alignment.
Mental/emotional –whether you are unable to relax, sleep, understand yourself, and make nourishing and supportive choices
Biochemical/environmental – whether your mood is affected or you are involved in circumstances that unbalance you
That being said, homoeostasis/equipoise/balance is the natural state, which Yoga -when used therapeutically, is designed to help you reconnect with.  Perhaps you have been for a massage, a chiropractic or physio therapy session where the practitioner has given you ‘homework’ on how to live in your body with better ease and alignment.  Well, Yoga, when used therapeutically, is a unique and proven process of treating the person as a whole, not just a series of symptoms.   If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, restricted movement, “stress” and the inability to find inner peace, we can explore the use of breath, improved posture, movement, meditation, affirmation and deep relaxation to bring you back to your unique state of symmetry.
Essentially, I work with all the tools of the Yoga systemto find the practises, which will empower you to move towards healing and enhanced quality of life.   I start the first one on one Yoga session with a comprehensive and confidential assessment of your history, lifestyle and musculo-skeletal patterns and design a Yoga program to meet your needs where you are. It is not about doing the same things as 10 other people in a class.  It is personal and productive in different ways.  In a class setting though, you would be encouraged to practice appropriately for you, whether that meant skipping something or doing it differently than someone else.
I continue to realise the tremendous potential, accessibility and transformative power of yoga, not only in working therapeutically with clients for over 17years, but also through personal investigation and introspection. I teach from a place of professional enquiry, study and intuition gleaned from my passion to make sense of modern life in the context of this wonderful system of Yoga.   I believe we need to keep the self-reflection part of the practice, and grow and develop into the highest form of this Self that we can be.  As such it is such a sustainable and wonderful therapy – I look at it as essential vitamins for body, mind, soul.
Om shanty shanty shanty
Rana Waxman Rana Waxman (819 Posts)

Rana Waxman is a registered yoga therapist ERYT-500, with 20 years of teaching experience. Rana is a freelance writer and social media expert in addition to leading yoga workshops internationally and teaching alignment focused private and group Yoga Lessons in Hoboken and Jersey City NJ.

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