There is a special day, week or month for just about everything these days!  Have you heard about the inauguration of Global Yoga Therapy Day– August 14, 2019?  This is a special, collaborative, world wide effort to educate the community on “what is yoga therapy”.

If You Can Breathe, You Can Practice Yoga

Perhaps you have heard that yoga is good for you and thought “I could never do yoga because… I’m not flexible enough… I’m have too many health issues… I can’t get up and down from the ground… I’m in a wheelchair… I’m too old… you fill in the blank!  Repeat after me “if you can breathe, you can practice yoga”.  Say it slightly differently, “I can breathe, so I can practice yoga”.

What is Yoga Therapy?

Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga.  These applications include yoga postures (which can vary from movement, stretching and restorative stillness), breathing techniques, and various practices of relaxation, concentration and meditation.  Yoga can be practiced sitting on a mat, in a chair, in a wheel chair, lying in bed, standing – no excuses… everyone can practice yoga.

What is a Yoga Therapist?

Yoga Therapists are highly qualified yoga professionals specifically trained to work with individuals working through various health concerns (i.e. stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, insomnia, and more!).   Yoga teachers begin with a minimum of 200 hours of generalist yoga teacher training. Certified yoga therapists have 1000+ hours focused on integrating yoga techniques to alleviate specific health issues.   Yoga therapists assess and craft customized practices for their clients.

Yoga Therapists can be found in wellness centers, hospital settings, outpatient clinics, physical therapy and rehabilitation centers, senior care facilities, prisons, private practice, among other places. Yoga therapy is a growing profession. According to the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) there are over 3,700 C-IAYTs (yoga therapists certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists).

A Typical Yoga Therapy Session

Sessions can either be one-to-one or in small therapeutic groups.  Some yoga therapists even conduct online sessions reaching remote populations.  A session is typically one hour to one and half hours long.  The initial session includes an intake form, a discussion between the yoga therapist and the individual regarding their health issues and goals, assessments, and initial yoga practices customized for the individual.

How can I find a Yoga Therapist?

You can find a certified yoga therapist through the IAYT website:  Find a yoga therapist here

There is also a new app, Yoga for Better Health, that was created to better educate about safe(r) therapeutic yoga practices and to get you thinking more broadly about how yoga can benefit your own health and well-being.  The app and the website connect the public with qualified yoga therapists and specialists and can be downloaded freely at www.yogabetterhealth.com.

Think Global – Participate Local

Four Pillars Wellness Center in Lakewood Ranch, Florida is participating in Global Yoga Therapy Day with a complementary workshop “Experience the Difference of Yoga Therapy”, Aug 14, noon-1pm.  The workshop is offered by Nancy Sinton, C-IAYT, a local certified yoga therapist.  You will learn more about yoga therapy and have a chance to experience the difference! Come as you are, leave feeling more relaxed!

Also offered at Four Pillars is an 8 Week Course “Yoga Therapy for the Mind”, Saturdays 11:30-1:30pm. The next session starts Sept 21, 2019. Over the course of 8, two hour classes, you progressively learn how to manage stress, anxiety and depression through movement, breathing, relaxation and meditation.  The course includes a manual and CD download for home practice.  For a complete description of the course visit: Breathlink Yoga Therapy 8 Week Course.  To sign up for the workshop or the course call Four Pillars 941-373-3955 or visit the website www.fourpillarsflorida.com/yogaor search for Four Pillars on the Mindbody app.