What is Yoga Therapy?

Essentially, yoga therapy is the application of yoga practices to alleviate physical and mental health conditions with the view of promoting self-care and encouraging overall well-being. Whilst the practice of yoga in general aims to cultivate the body and mind and hence has the potential for therapeutic effects, in yoga therapy we are using specific yoga practices and their known benefits to help alleviate or improvement mental and physical ailments

The modern term, ‘Yoga therapy’ was coined by Swami Kuvalyananda in the 1920s who believed the changes it would be possible to measure the physical and physiological changes that occurred through yoga practice.   His passion brought foreigner researchers to India to study yoga’s effect, a magazine, an entire yoga institution and a new field.  Swami Kuvalyananda made it possible to start applying the specific effects of yoga to medical conditions.

These days yoga therapy has become so popular, that many doctors are now supporting it.  Various medical journals reveal research as to yoga’s multi-tiered benefits.  Likewise those in the field of mental health often recommend yoga to clients or may even integrate aspects into their work.  At The Minded Institute we train many mental health professionals to bring yoga therapy into clinical practice.

In fact, yoga therapy the evidence and support of yoga therapy is so great that in the USA cardiologist, Dr. Dean Ornish developed a yogic based intervention that can reverse heart disease.  His program was so successful that it is now covered by public health insurance!  Likewise in the UK, the NHS is now also becoming increasingly aware of the potential benefits of yoga therapy to their staff and patients alike and they recommend the British Council of Yoga Therapists in the Complementary and Alternative Therapies element of their service.

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The Top 5 Reasons why you should consider Yoga therapy

  1. A body-centered approach is a highly effective way to treat and heal trauma and usually works more quickly than traditional talk therapy methods.

  2. It is more fun than traditional talk therapy. Using the mind/body connection takes you into a physical realm usually not addressed in traditional therapies.

  3. Trauma is stored in the body. Therefore, a body-centered approach such as yoga-psychotherapy can directly get to the source and root of the trauma, mental health condition or addiction.

  4. The future of therapy is a mind/body approach. The mental health field is moving in this direction as more and more research is available from trauma and mental health experts Bessel Van Der Kolk, Peter Levine, Daniel Goleman, Rick Hansen, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Marsha Linehan, and others who are bringing meditation and mindfulness practices into therapy rooms.

  5. Yoga-therapy can include mind/body/spirit practices where belief of a power greater than oneself (for clients who are open to this) can assist in healing trauma.