Yoga Therapy

It means the integration of body and mind. Yoga therapy utilizes poses, breathing techniques, and meditation to benefit and improve overall halth. While any type of yoga can bring health benefits, Yoga therapy involves employing a variety of yoga practices to try to improve a health condition or to ease a natural process, such as preganancy or menopause. Among the yogic tools used therapeutically are asana (the physical postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and guided imagery. Although many people don't realize it. yogis also consider diet an integral part of yoga and therefore of yoga therapy.

Why Yoga Therapy

Therapeutic yoga is an inherently holistic approach, simultaneously working on the body, mind, and spirit. Various yoga practices systematically strengthen diffrent systems in the body, including the heart and cardiovascular system, the lungs, muscles, and the nervous system. Yoga practices can improve function of the digestive system, foster psychological well-being, and improve oxygen delivery to tissues. Yoga also can help the body more efficiently remove waste products, carcinogens, and cellular toxins.

Most people live stressful lives, and yoga—and by extension yoga therapy—is perhaps the best overall stress reduction system ever invented. Stress has been linked to a wide variety of medical problems. from migraine headaches and irritable bowel syndrome to potentially life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Since persistently high levels of stress hormones, particularly cortisol, can undermine function of the immune system, here too yoga can help.

While yoga by itself can alleviate a number of problems, it is a particularly effective as a complement to other forms of health care, both alternative and conventional. Studies suggest,for example, that yoga therapy can lessen the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for people with cancer and facilitate faster recovery after bypass surgery. in clinical trials, many patients with asthma, type diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabets), or high blood pressure who began a regular practice of yoga were able to either lower their drug dosage, or eliminate some pills entirely. Less medication means fewere side effects, and sometimes, very substantial cost savings.

One Step at a Time

While yoga is strong medicine, in general it is slow medicine. The key to successful yoga therapy is an incremental approach, which tends to be safer and more effective than moree aggressive strategies. It is best to begin yoga (therapy) as medicine slowly and ramp up the intensity and duration of practice only as circumstances allow. For some particularly those with serious medical problems, therapeutic yoga might begin with only a posture or two, or a single breathing exercise, until they are ready for more.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Probably the most common misconception regarding yoga therapy it that there is one particular pose or sequences of practices that is therapeutic for a condition. No two people are alike. People have diffrent strengths and weaknesses, diffrent degrees of overall health and fitness, and diffrent levels of experience with yoga. Even people with exactly the same condition-say breast cancer -may vary in disease severity, their stage of treatment, and the amount of time they can devote to their yoga practice. Many people have more than one condition, and practices you might normally suggest for one problem could be contra indicated for another. Each of these factor will have a major impact on your choice of recommended practices.