Traditional yoga has long been used to manage high blood pressure, treat depression and anxiety and help maintain or regain strength after prolonged illness or injury. Lately, more and more people are looking to yoga therapy to treat specific ailments such as back pain, neck pain, hip pain, knee pain and sciatica.

Many people take up yoga to enhance health and to heal from injuries. Yoga helps regain strength, flexibility and range of motion after injury. Yoga is a wonderful technique to incorporate into your life; however, not all yoga classes are appropriate for people in need of healing! Unless the teacher is well versed in anatomy and has the time to address your individual issues, you could end up making the situation worse.

Yoga therapy is used to heal specific ailments.

Enter yoga therapy.

Yoga therapy is used more and more often as a cure for chronic lower back pain – one of the leading causes of doctor visits in the industrialized countries. It strengthens the muscles, ligaments and tendons that help support the lower back, and balance muscular strength since back pain is often caused by muscle imbalance.

Many medical practitioners still consider yoga to be a complementary therapy alongside regular physical therapy and medicines, but an increasing number are beginning to recognize yoga’s value as a complete therapy in itself.

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Finding a Yoga Therapist

The emerging field of yoga therapy combines medical knowledge and expertise in yoga. A yoga therapist may or may not have a medical degree; however, it’s best to look for yoga therapists with physical therapy or nursing credentials. Receiving instruction from an accredited therapist belonging to the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) gives you assurance that you are being treated by someone with the right background (many yoga teachers are well-versed in yoga, but may lack advanced knowledge of anatomy and physiology).

Yoga Therapy Sessions

The best yoga therapy sessions are private, although they may be cost-prohibitive if they aren’t covered by insurance. Small group sessions are a second-best alternative – you won’t get individual attention for the entire class, but the cost will be lower.

What happens in a yoga therapy session?

A private yoga therapy session is as individual as you are, and is designed just for your needs. The session may incorporate techniques not normally associated with yoga, such as deep tissue massage and the use of gym equipment such as balance balls, exercise balls and weights. The main focus is usually on gentle stretching using traditional yoga moves. People with limited mobility may use blocks and bands until they develop enough flexibility and strength to hold traditional yoga poses.

The session doesn’t end when you go home; you’ll be sent home with exercises that will keep your muscles and joints supple until the next class. Once-a-week yoga therapy is much less effective at building flexibility and strength than frequent practice – this has the added benefit of creating a habit of frequent exercise, which will help improve health!

The therapy will change as you progress, challenging you to increasingly deeper stretches and poses that are held for longer and longer periods.

Yoga is a holistic discipline.Using the Holistic Properties of Yoga for Healing

Yoga is a holistic discipline that uses the power of the mind to assist in healing. This is important because regular physical therapy and medical treatment doesn’t address the causes of the physical ailments – only the symptoms; and it also doesn’t always address the patient’s mindset. But the mind-body aspect of yoga helps the patient get to the root of the physical problem, and solves it in a very holistic and extremely effective manner.

Some physical ailments are due to chronic and/or severe emotional upset: for example, extreme tightness in the neck or back may be due to stress or fear. Other ailments are due to lifestyle imbalances (too much sitting at an office desk, for example) leading to muscle weakness or inflexibility, or to habitual movement patterns such as slouching.

Yoga is very calming and uplifting. It helps improve moods and gets a person’s mind off their troubles and into the present moment. This helps with pain management, too. When a person is focused on their pain, it worsens; but focusing on proper physical alignment and breathing helps take the focus off the pain, making it dissipate. And when the pain goes away, the patient’s mood automatically improves!

It’s well-known that a positive attitude helps with healing. Yoga helps improve a person’s attitude through gentle yet tangible progress. The more you do yoga, the better you feel physically and that affects your mood; and your mood in turn creates an upswing in physical healing.

The bottom line is, yoga therapy can be extremely effective at curing physical ailments in a holistic way – working both on the symptoms and the cause, and creating a positive upward spiral of improved mindset and improved health.

Yoga therapy can help prevent unnecessary medication and surgery, manage pain and accelerate the healing process. Just be sure that the yoga therapist you choose is qualified and experienced. And, listen to your intuition if you feel that a therapy is not working or if it’s not addressing your specific injury or health problem.

Incorporating Yoga Therapy Into a Holistic Health/Lifestyle Program

Create a positive upward spiral of mood and health with yoga!

When you combine yoga therapy with meditation, you have a win-win situation. Yoga is a form of moving meditation, but adding sitting meditation to your health program will give your body a chance to rest more thoroughly than if you relied on sleep alone. Why is this important? Your brain releases healing substances when you’re asleep or meditating; but if you’re in pain, or you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, you might not be receiving enough healing time.

So for best results, combine Omharmonics meditation and yoga therapy. You’ll have the best of both types of meditation and the fastest progress toward good health!

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