What Is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga therapy is the practice where you focus on the alignment of the asana, pranayama, and meditation in order to work through any mental trauma or PTSD along with physical trauma that you are carrying. It is usually a combination of Iyengar-style alignment with Traditional Hatha yoga, using the body, the mind, and the breath for healing. This is commonly practiced without labeling it as ‘yoga therapy’ for all of yoga is healing, but I’m going to break these down by the three parts of asana, breathing, and meditation and how you can create an at-home therapeutic class for yourself. From my experience of being a teacher, I noticed that it is very hard to actually show up to class and work through things and I fully support wanting to stay at home for the first little bit of it — so here are some tools to help you do the work. I hope to see you in the studio soon!
Have you ever heard of yin or restorative yoga? These are amazing practices that actually invite your body to relax and surrender. I have been teaching yin yoga for about four years now and one of my favorite things is when I feel someone release or move through something during the class. The point of these practices is to offer you space within your own body to face with whatever you’re working through while also giving you all the tools you need to succeed in carrying this to your own day to day life! The whole point of the physical aspect is to cleanse any trauma in your physical vessel.
This one is one of the most important in my opinion because pranayama directly translates to ‘breath force’. It’s something we simply cannot live without! There are so many breathing exercises you can do to help you find stability in your life. The ones you’ll really practice with are ones with extended exhales, deep breathing in general, and anything with vibration. To start, block out twenty minutes of your day in the midday and lay down. Hit the pause button on everything and allow yourself to deep breathe very naturally and rhythmically! Make this a habit!
To follow up on what I said above about breathing, breathing is your entire guide while you meditate. I won’t lie, meditating can be a little difficult at first because it’s hard to build a consistent practice with it, but even two minutes is better than none. You can also go on YouTube and find guided meditations which is a great start for beginners! There are even guided meditations specifically designed for therapeutics and healing the mind, body, and soul.
I hope these ideas help you with you and your journey to the road of healing. Remember that even the strongest practitioner started somewhere — we are not perfect and we have all experienced different levels of rock bottoms. But only you have the power to take your life back. It’s impossible to stay permanently sad and happy, but you do have the ability to remain in a peaceful place! Good luck and be kind to yourself!