Have you ever considered using yoga as a form of therapy? In addition to yoga’s many benefits, yoga therapy is a form of yoga that can help with mental, spiritual, and physical healing. Read on to find out more.

What is therapeutic yoga

Elder woman doing yoga

Yoga has many benefits, not the least of which is its therapeutic properties. Yoga is a natural form of therapeutic exercise, aiding the body and mind as you focus on breathing, making the correct poses, and becoming one with your self. Yoga helps give clarity to your mind, calm you down, bring balance and peace to your life and so much more.

While yoga by itself is naturally therapeutic, there is a form of yoga called “therapeutic yoga,” or “yoga therapy,” which takes yoga to the next level, healing wise. Therapeutic yoga is yoga that draws upon and uses yoga principles to help people address and heal from specific mental, emotional, spiritual, physical issues or concerns they may have.

Yoga therapy focuses less on the yoga practices and exercises, and more on the client’s needs.

What happens in a therapeutic yoga class

If you sign up for a yoga class that has been labeled “therapeutic,” is typically means that the yoga instructor of the class has gone through additional training in specifically how to use yoga therapy to help with each person’s individual needs.

As with any yoga class not all are being taught the exact same way, and yoga teachers all having different teaching styles; therapeutic yoga is much the same. It may be in the form of a class- with a group of others also looking for healing through yoga for a specific condition, or it may be one on one with just you and an instructor.

Some specific therapeutic yoga classes may include yoga for pregnant women, yoga for people with limited mobility, yoga for cancer and many more. Yoga can be a great form of therapy for many injuries, illnesses, and health concerns.

A yoga therapy session goes at a slower pace than traditional yoga. You will focus on breath work, imagery, meditation and more. Clients who are coming to a yoga therapy session aren’t  looking just to exercise. They are also looking  for healing, and yoga therapists will use their class to help their clients learn how to function better, improve their outlook on their health condition, and support them through the healing process.

While it is harder to describe exactly what will happen at each yoga therapy session (because they are all different depending on the teacher, health concern, etc,) it can be say that every one will be  focused on your needs and catered on how to help you heal.

Yoga Therapists

Therapeutic yoga is a great form of physical therapy, as well as offering spiritual and mental therapy.  Certified yoga therapists know how to work with clients (and in some cases the client’s physician) to know how to help the client with their individual health goals.

While you may experience therapeutic benefits from doing any form of yoga, yoga therapy or therapeutic yoga is specifically designed to address health needs. Yoga therapists will do their job to understand why you came to them and how they can support, teach, and help you.

They will learn how to do that by listening, talking and observing you. The yoga instructor will help you set goals, work through your emotions and teach you how to achieve the support you need.

Benefits of therapeutic yoga

Portrait of young woman doing yoga at the beach

Therapeutic yoga has many benefits. For a specific health need or concern a yoga therapy session can offer relief, guidance, and hope.

Other benefits include:

  • Relieving mental stress

Yoga is very focus on meditation and providing mental clarity. Your instructor may help you clear your mind and focus on what is most important.

  • Release tension and worry

In a therapeutic yoga session your instructor can help you release tension in your neck, back, or other parts of the body , and help you get rid of worries. They can also focus on specific tight or sore muscles and help alleviate the pain or tension there as well.

  • Helps with depression

The numb or helpless feeling that comes with depression can be addressed and helped through therapeutic yoga. Your yoga therapist will help you clear your mind, focus your energy and find healing and peace. Your instructor will work with you to release negativity and find joy.

  • Controls fears

Therapeutic yoga can help you overcome anxieties and fears. Yoga therapy can teach you how to de-stress and release any fears or anxiety in a natural and healthy way. A yoga therapy session is a safe spot where you can work through any strong emotions you may have or through things that may scare you or put you in fight or flight mode.

  • Helps with insomnia

Another benefit to yoga therapy is help with managing insomnia. Your yoga instructor can help you learn poses that can help promote better sleep and can guide you in principles to help improve your sleeping habits.

  • Help with many different health concerns

Yoga therapy can be helpful in answering and helping many different health concerns, from anxiety to fatigue, cancer, stomach or gut pain, post-injury or surgery care, limited mobility, eating disorders, ADHD, PTSD, substance abuse, emotional abuse, trauma, chronic pain, and more.

Your therapist can talk with you and develop a plan catered to your needs.

It is important to note that all of the above benefits may be experienced in a traditional yoga class. Yoga, in general has many amazing benefits for the body, mind, and soul. Therapeutic yoga however, has certified yoga therapists who can take a deeper dive into these benefits with you and personally help you overcome and physical, mental, or spiritual challenges you may be facing.

Therapeutic yoga at home

Elder couple doing yoga with yoga therapist

While there are many you tube videos and books on the topic of yoga therapy and you can do therapeutic yoga at home, there is also great benefit to be had by meeting with a certified yoga therapist.

Therapeutic yoga is a natural medicine, and is a great tool to help you with any health issues. It can be a great place to start addressing any problems, especially before you have to get surgery or drastic medical assistance. If you feel like therapeutic yoga may be right for you, it might be worth checking out. It also can be a good idea to talk with your doctor and see if yoga therapy could be beneficial.