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What is yoga therapy?

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We’ve all heard of yoga, the ancient Eastern practice has taken the Western world by storm over the last few decades and is now available in gyms, leisure centres and village halls throughout Europe, Australasia and the US. In recent years yoga therapy has also become more popular practice for a range of reasons by a range of people to benefit the mind, body and spirit. So what is yoga therapy?

Yoga therapy aims, through the practice of yoga, to treat specific areas and injuries, as well as to calm the mind. Yoga therapists are often trained in a range of topics such as kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, and use what is called the ‘science of yoga’ to aid stress and pain within the body; this includes focusing on their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. Techniques are taken from yoga and then tailored and applied to the client.

Factors taken into consideration when undertaking yoga therapy includes the client’s age, culture, background, specific health challenge and sometimes even religion.

Techniques used can include posture and breathing, to deep relaxation and meditation and self inquiry. When many people think of yoga they think only of that physical aspect, but the practice is much more than just the downward dog and sun salutation. Yoga, at its core, is about gaining a state of spiritual insight and tranquility; this has always been the case, but often in the West only the physical aspect of the practice is focused on. Yoga is a complete lifestyle and mentality, which focuses heavily on mental and emotional wellbeing, which makes yoga therapy perfect for those who suffer from common modern health issues such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and stress.

Other ailments that often bring people to yoga therapists include: back pain, neck and sciatic problems.

Yoga therapy is now more commonly used by expecting mothers, as well as those recently having given birth.

In America yoga therapy teachers have used the technique to help ex-service men and women injured during service regain strength, and trunk mobility, for those who have lost limbs. It has also been used for those who have suffered brain injuries during fighting, and has proved a massive success. Not only do the attendees gain physical benefits but they are also taught important relaxation skills to help them deal with the stresses of what they have witnessed, and their emotions. Hospitals around the world are starting to take an interest in yoga therapy, and in India many hospitals already use the therapy to help treat patients. Yoga therapy can be undertaken via one-on-one sessions or in a group, depending on the wishes of the individual or the type of treatment being undertaken.

Ellie Garwood is a freelance writer interested in a diverse range of topics. For numerous yoga therapy related anatomy books she recommends the range available at Lotus Publishing.

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