What is yoga therapy and how can it help you?

Yoga is the tool that I turn to first to support me through my life’s ups and downs. If I have an ache or a pain, I turn to yoga to stretch and ease. If I have mental or emotional turbulence, then I use yoga techniques to help calm and steady me. It’s as much part of my first aid kit as plasters and paracetamol. Yoga provides the perfect support system for my life and I believe that it has a lot to offer you too.

While attending a weekly yoga class is a wonderful way to support your wellbeing, there will inevitably be times in your life when more intensive self-care and healing is needed. This is where yoga therapy can help. For thousands of years the philosophy and practice of yoga has been used in India to improve wellbeing and bring optimum health. Yoga therapy brings this ancient wisdom to the West. When applied to your unique circumstances it can help you to manage your health with more ease and confidence.


How does yoga therapy work?

The ancient yogis believed that disease or illness began in the energy body first. Then permeating out into the physical, mental, and emotional bodies or layers. At first, niggly symptoms are felt within your body which, if left untreated, become more serious and pronounced. You can easily see this playing out in real life. For example, if you develop back pain your first response is often to ignore it and hope it goes away. If it persists, you might try changing the activities you do. Only when the discomfort stops you in your tracks will you seek professional help from a GP or physio. Once the initial pain has subsided, yoga therapy could help you to develop a support programme so that the pain does not recur. It might include stretching tight muscles, promoting spinal mobility and learning how to release tension. On a deeper level, it would also help you to increase the flow of life force energy (or prana) around the body and feel more confident moving your body with ease.


It’s not just about the yoga poses

It’s a common misconception that yoga is only a movement practice. This is only a small part of what yoga can truly offer. The scope of yoga includes:

  • breathwork
  • visualisation
  • meditation
  • mindfulness
  • relaxation
  • Sacred Sound
  • and even specific movements for the hands.

This breadth of yoga techniques means that there is a tool to help and support everyone – no matter what level of mobility or yoga experience. Sometimes movement is what you need. Sometimes it’s stillness and rest. It’s commonly accepted that yoga can stretch and release tight muscles and aid relaxation. Movement and breath, attention and intention can also help to clear away emotional blockages and unhelpful thought patterns.


The mind, body and spirit effect

Yoga is a holistic practice that treats the mind, body and spirit together. This is the superpower of yoga and used as a therapy it can help conditions that are not easily treatable with conventional medicine (such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or long Covid). It’s of particular relevance for supporting women’s health – where emotions, stress and menstrual health are interlinked.

Using a holistic approach to navigate menopause can be hugely beneficial, as it’s such a diverse experience – covering biological, psychological, emotional and attitudinal changes. Every woman experiences it differently too. Yoga therapy not only has the capacity to support the physical symptoms and mental health challenges, but also the shift in identity and purpose. Any therapeutic programme is bespoke and supports you in a way that is unique to you and your experience.


What happens in a yoga therapy session?

In your first yoga therapy session I take time to understand your concerns. I will ask you questions regarding your medical history and lifestyle. I may observe your posture, simple movements and breathing. From here I would suggest an appropriate therapy programme for you. To do this I consider who you are, what you enjoy, your experience and capabilities. I also consider what your goals and aspirations are for yoga therapy. We would then discuss the programme further to ensure that it’s not just what will work but what will work for you.

At subsequent sessions we would review, develop and revise the yoga therapy programme. We’d take into account your progress and any changes in your needs.


Who is yoga therapy for?

Yoga therapy is appropriate for people – from a wide range of ages and lifestyles – looking for a healthier way of life. It can help with many aspects of physical or mental health.

For instance, I have worked with clients to:

  • address a specific physical concern (like a bad back or sore shoulder)
  • support low mood or manage stress
  • build confidence after illness or injury (before coming to a weekly class)
  • support a long-term health condition such as long Covid
  • navigate perimenopause with more ease.


If you would like to find out more about how yoga therapy could help you, email me at info@yogatherapystockport.co.uk with the subject line Tell me more.

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