Community News
Understanding Yoga Therapy (part 2)

In the unfolding of the Human experience, we are in a constant interplay of cause and effect, of outer events and our reactions to them. This unfolding is complex and unique to each one of us. Throughout our lives we may bear injuries and/or illness (short, long term or chronic,) and have an ongoing flow of experiences to some of which we may have challenging emotions. Whether you’re seeking relief from struggles in the physical body, in difficult thoughts and emotions, or (often) both, a Yoga Therapist works with you to create an individualized practice that empowers you to support yourself through recovery, in creating greater ease and/or in establishing meaningful transformation.
The practice of Yoga Therapy is informed by an ancient and profound understanding of what constitutes our Being. This perspective, called Panchamaya (pancha=5, maya=appearance,) suggests that we have five interwoven and interdependent aspects which ultimately form our sense of self. The most obvious is our physical structure of flesh and bone, the musculoskeletal system. Less visible is the Vital life-force, that which animates and gives us life, this correlates to the metabolic system. Moving subtler we recognize the aspect through which we process life’s stimuli, which includes instinct and ego, intellect and emotion. Moving subtler still is that aspect that perceives everything, this facet is discerning, open, creative and intuitive and is also where one’s unique personality is formed (through one’s particular experiences and conditioning). Finest of all is an aspect that we often feel as the deepest part of ourselves, where we experience awe and unbounded connection. While we don’t experience struggle here we can focus on strengthening our connection with it through the introduction of the deeper practices of Yoga. Yoga Therapy concerns itself primarily with the first three as the subtler (fourth and fifth) aspects have more to do with inner refinement, the sphere of the deeper practices of yoga.
Yoga Therapists understand that when one facet is out of balance (for whatever reason) there is a ripple effect throughout and so the totality of an individual needs to be addressed. Each facet is best served by particular types of practice and it is the Yoga Therapist’s job to understand the appropriate practices that will address how and where that ripple manifests in you. For instance, musculoskeletal issues are best addressed using specific beneficial asanas (physical positions and movements) to address those areas where you experience discomfort. For physiological illnesses we include, if not focus on, breath-centred practices. To address emotion, thought and behaviour, we may introduce applicable visualization/energy practices, self-reflection practices, mindfulness, lifestyle and relational practices. To help a student to forge inner connection we turn to particular contemplative and meditation practices. Each student/client comes through the door with a unique confluence of struggles, issues and needs. Therefore, an overall practice may include a selection from the above types of practices depending on each student’s needs and inclinations. As one’s state of being evolves, we follow up every so often to adjust the practice to meet one’s current condition and life circumstance.
To engage in Yoga Therapy is to enter a process of self-healing in a way that acknowledges your wholeness. Dedication in engaging your practice is essential in order to influence change. I offer additional support for those who require help in keeping up their practice.
To learn more about 1:1 personalized Yoga Therapy and group retreats:

Share Button