Yoga is a complex activity. There is a variety of yoga practices that people choose to engage in, as each has its own advantages. But one of the most popular ones is yoga therapy. The benefits of yoga therapy make people consider it as it’s a good ally when it comes to improving your health. How does yoga therapy work?
In the following paragraphs, we will reveal the way this type of yoga works and talk about the benefits of yoga therapy as well. You will also learn about special yoga therapy equipment, such as how to use yoga therapy balls.
How Does Yoga Therapy Work?
Yoga therapy is a way for people to improve both their physical and mental health by using various yoga techniques. With yoga therapy, one would use various yoga practices with the sole purpose of being in a better place from a health standpoint. Although the therapeutic effect is often given by the body and mind cultivation of yoga, yoga therapy is also known for physical and mental improvements.
However, it is important to know that yoga therapy is different compared to your typical yoga class. Yoga therapy focuses on the individual. If you are dealing with certain issues, then your yoga therapist will work with you and make sure you come down to an experience tailored for your issues. In other words, it will meet the needs of each person, instead of making all yoga class participants make the same movements.
Yoga itself may not be for everyone as not every person can deal with all the moves without hurting their shoulders, back, or knees. Yoga therapy is a much better alternative in this regard as it will find techniques that will fix your specific issue and that will not hurt you in the process.
Yoga therapy is different compared to typical yoga classes because it focuses on the individual.
Your yoga therapists will be more focused on teaching you how to use certain techniques to target a particular issue and decrease the symptoms you are experiencing. They will keep the focus on your needs and goals – something that standard yoga classes don’t do.
In yoga therapy, you will use multiple poses, also called “asanas”, combined with meditation and breathing exercises. All of this will happen in a single session. The interesting thing about yoga therapy postures is that each one of them is going to help you reach a specific goal. That being said, while you can be invigorated by backbends, you can get a calming effect if you bend forward with other poses.
The therapy is so popular because it can also help slow down the heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and release serotonin in the brain – and this is known as a feel-good chemical.
It’s important to know that although it is a good practice, yoga therapy is not used as a replacement for traditional medicine. In reality, it’s something to be used together with your medication, especially when chronic illness affects you physically and emotionally.
What Can You Expect from a Yoga Therapy Session?
If you never went to a yoga therapy session before, you probably have no idea how it will unfold.
When you attend the first session, you will meet with a therapist. So, you will talk about your needs and what you’re trying to achieve with your therapy sessions. You will pretty much discuss a proper plan with your yoga therapist, one that will determine what practices you’re going to have to engage in daily. It’s common for a therapist to recommend a minimum of six sessions at first.
Expect your plan to include elements of meditation, as well as breathing techniques (pranayama) and yoga postures (asana). Furthermore, your yoga therapist might prescribe some practices that you can do at home as well. After all, yoga therapy is meant to teach you skills to help improve your condition.
Your therapist will talk about your needs and what you try to achieve with the therapy sessions.
Who Is Yoga Therapy Good for?
After finding the answer to “how does yoga therapy work?”, you may be wondering who is qualified for this activity. Well, the good news is that yoga therapy is good for everyone. While it’s mostly beneficial for people with certain physical or mental conditions, it doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful for anyone who starts the sessions. You don’t need a bad health condition to start yoga therapy.
This type of therapy is just amazing when it comes to stress reduction and an energy boost. So, no matter what, you will still find it beneficial. Compared to normal yoga classes, with yoga therapy, you will get an approach tailored to your wants and needs.
Main Benefits of Yoga Therapy
So, what are the specific benefits of yoga therapy? Well, you will be happy to know that yoga therapy can help with multiple things, both physically and mentally. Here is what it can do for you:
Help for Health Conditions
Yoga therapy is not a replacement for medication or other type of treatment prescribed by your doctor. However, it can be a huge help when it comes to managing the treatment and just improving your condition. It can help you reduce the symptoms or just manage them better.
A number of health conditions can be improved by yoga therapy, and these include arthritis, hypertension, asthma, scoliosis, depression, trauma, and diabetes.
Many people end up with addictions due to various issues in their life. It’s no rocket science that addiction is a pattern that’s hard to break. But when you finally work on breaking free from the cycle, you can use yoga therapy to help you treat substance abuse problems. Through yoga, you can boost the neurotransmitter GABA.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels are not that high for people who deal with substance abuse, so increasing them can help individuals cope with addiction.
Aside from helping with different health conditions, yoga therapy is also known to improve your life in various ways. For example, it can improve your diet and psychological wellbeing in general. It also serves as a great helper when you’re trying to reduce your stress or improve the functioning of your body.
How to Use Yoga Therapy Balls
One of the most popular tools used in yoga therapy is represented by therapy balls. They can help with various things, such as relieving back pain or pain in general. Yoga therapy balls also come in different sizes, and each size will help with various yoga exercises. But many people may not know how to use yoga therapy balls to achieve these goals. So, here are some ways to use the balls in therapy sessions.
Relieving Neck and Shoulder Pain
Start by lying on your back and bend your knees while keeping the feet flat on your floor. They need to be at hip socket width. One ball should be tucked under your left shoulder’s top, and it should be narrower compared to your shoulder blade but wider than the neck. You should repeat the same action on the right side. You can elevate your head to get rid of some pressure in case you feel there’s too much of it. Then, you have to take a deep breath and relax your body weight into the balls’ support. On the other hand, if you would like to have more pressure, you can just lift your hips.
The back is the part of the body that often ends up being painful, especially if you have a physically demanding job. The same could happen if you have to sit at your desk for a long time and you don’t have a healthy posture.
One of the benefits of yoga therapy is that it can help relieve lower back pain. You can use an inflated Coregeous Ball to lie down on your belly. While doing this, you can take some deep breaths into the ball, and also roll it slowly from side to side. Do this between three and ten minutes. This technique is going to help with torso support muscle improvement and will also relax your body when you need it.
Relief for Knees and Hips
Your hips and knees might also be painful if you engage in physically demanding activities quite often. Therapy balls can help in this regard as well. What you can do is pretty much place two balls together along your femur bone inside the right inner thigh while you’re lying on your left side. Afterward, have your therapy balls pinned to a yoga floor while bending your right knee. The weight of the leg should be allowed to drop into the balls. While doing this, you can rest your head against your hand or do a bolster. Take deep breaths while doing this exercise.
Yoga therapy is a great activity that everyone should consider, whether they have health issues or not. It’s a way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. Moreover, if you suffer from different health conditions, it can help you deal with the symptoms. It can also make the journey to recovery easier and more successful.
All you have to do is find the right yoga therapist for you and discuss your needs. Once you discover how does yoga therapy work, you will not regret starting this journey.
Co-founder of MB Zen, digital nomad and yogini. Trying to beat down stress and achieve peace of mind through the daily practice of Yoga. After a while in yoga, I embraced it wholy, and it changed my lifestyle upside down. Now I want to give back , helping others on their journey.