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What is Yoga Therapy?

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Yoga Professionals have been promoting yoga therapy and spreading awareness of yoga for its holistic healing techniques. Daily practice of yoga leads to complete personal transformation. Yoga has different dimensions to its practice and combines mind, physical body, breath, emotions, and works on its integration to one another. Since yoga therapy does not require the intake of any medicines or chemical treatments, it is complementary to all kinds of treatments.

In yoga therapy, patient is the active recipient of the treatment

Yoga therapy focuses on active participation from the patient in his own healing process. The patient understands benefits of each asana or breathing technique and mindfully concentrates on the transformation he is going through. This makes him an active recipient of the therapy and gives spectacular results from positive thinking and training the subconscious mind for the desired results.

The teacher guides the student to use different yoga asanas and pranayama techniques for his recovery. It is then the student’s responsibility to diligently practice and observe changes during the recovery process. He should inform the teacher about the changes so that teacher can adapt to his needs.

For thousands of years, individuals have sought yoga as a solution to their problems. However, yoga therapy has gained traction only recently after the announcement of International Yoga Day which is celebrated on June 21st every year.

Benefits of yoga therapy:

  1. Yoga therapy improves the overall quality of life and provides relief from insomnia or sleep disorders.
  2. It promotes relaxation of mind and body through certain gentle asanas practiced along with pranayama and meditation.
  3. Yoga therapy can also be used to improve focus and concentration. This helps in increase in productivity and ability of a person in multitasking.
  4. There have been various studies that claim yoga shields the brain from memory loss. A famous researcher, Rui Afonso (who is a master in Science from University of Federal de Sao Paulo) and currently a PhD student at the Brain Institute at Hospital Isrealita Albert Einstien claims in a study published in journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience that “Cortical thickness in the brain in elderly women who practiced yoga regularly was greater as compared to elderly women who did not practice yoga. Cortical thickness in the brain regions is associated with cognitive functions consisting of focus and memory.
  5. Yoga therapy assists in weight loss as well as weight gain if practiced regularly along with dietary recommendations.
  6. Yoga therapy is also used in treatments of substance abuse, addiction to alcohol or smoking.
  7. Yoga has various physical benefits such as relief from pain, increased ease in breathing in case of respiratory disorders, increase the ease of movement, improvement in joint stability, spinal strength, improvement in joint mobility and overall strength and flexibility.
  8. Psychological benefits include emotional stability, increase in confidence, reduction in depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Yoga increases the alertness of mind and makes it sharp.
  9. Physiological benefits of yoga are improved blood circulation, digestion, immunity, oxygen supply in blood. Yoga also regulates heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.

Yoga has been rapidly emerging in Western countries as a new way of life for integrating body, mind, and soul. Yoga has been increasingly used as a complementary therapy for treatment of depression, anxiety, and stress. Yoga may not be a full proof method of cure from various diseases but can be definitely looked at as a holistic approach to healing.

Aditi Phadnis

Aditi is a Yoga instructor from Bangalore, India and she specialized in Power Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and Ashtanga Yoga.

What is Yoga Therapy?
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