What is Yoga Therapy?

When people hear the word yoga, they often think of a room full of people on mats practicing poses to feel better in their body, calm their mind, and maybe even know themselves at a deeper level; and they would be right. Group yoga classes can be a beautiful and successful way for people to move toward health and well-being in a general way. 

Yoga Therapy is different.

Yoga Therapists work one-on-one with individuals to address a specific condition or concern.  When an individual seeks out Yoga Therapy, they are usually not coming to learn yoga, but to get help with or relief from some symptom, concern, or health condition that is troubling them.  This can be something small like a nagging back ache to larger, more all-consuming conditions like chronic disease, anxiety, or scoliosis for example.

By working individually, Yoga Therapists are able to take into account each person’s unique make-up of constitution, life events, thinking patterns, and life-style in relationship to their concern.   A Yoga Therapist’s job is to understand why their clients have come to see them and determine what they can do to support them. The focus is on the client condition, and from that orientation, yoga practices are chosen that adapt and apply to the specific, individual concern.  This individualized attention is like a “laser-beam” effect that affords people their greatest opportunity for health and well-being.

The tools and techniques of Yoga Therapy include physical poses, breath work, meditation, deep relaxation, philosophy or point-of-view, and lifestyle considerations through the lens of Ayurveda.  Each of these traditional facets of yoga work in conjunction to reconnect the client to him/herself at all levels – from the physical body, to the breath, mind and emotions, and the spirit. This approach sees the human being as an integrated body-mind-spirit system that is at its best when all parts are in a state of dynamic balance.  No experience is necessary to work with a yoga therapist.

The goals of Yoga Therapy (according to Gary Kraftsow, founder of Viniyoga) are:
•        to reduce the symptoms of suffering that can be reduced
•        manage the symptoms that cannot be reduced
•        root out causes wherever possible
•        improve life function
•        shift attitude and perspective in relationship to life’s challenges

What is a Yoga Therapy session with Lisa like?

During your first session, Lisa will do a thorough intake in order to get to know you and your concerns.  Depending on the nature of your issue, there may be a physical evaluation as well. Lisa will then decide upon a course of action and begin the process of teaching you practices to help work on at home.  Follow up appointments will be scheduled to make sure things are improving for you. Lisa considers herself to be an educator and strives for client independence; you will be taught practices that empower you to fully participate in your own healing process.

Lisa McKenzie, CYT, E-RYT 500, is a Certified Yoga Therapist through Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy and an I-AYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) candidate.  For more on Lisa, see the ABOUT page.

Yoga Therapy offers body-mind practices for health and healing in the following areas:

Musculoskeletal:
chronic back, shoulder, knee, and hip pain; scoliosis; osteoporosis; arthritis

Chronic Disease: Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowl, Crohn’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Mental/emotional suffering:
anxiety, depression, trauma, grief

Cancer:
treatment support, breast cancer treatment support and recovery