Yoga is an ancient philosophy originating in India. It has become increasingly popular in the United States as a form of fitness, although its benefits reach far beyond just physical health. This eight-limbed path includes learning to adapt more ethical behaviors and personal practices, physical poses for strength, flexibility, balance, and overall health, breathing awareness and practices, mental focus, meditation, and connection to higher consciousness. Not everyone practices each of the pieces of the yoga puzzle, but together they create a lifestyle of greater self-awareness, self-control, and self-mastery. Clearly, the focus is on the self, and ultimately the understanding of one's higher self or true nature. There are a great many lineages and traditions, as well as modern interpretations of these practices; it is a lifelong journey to understand the depth and breadth of yoga, and well worth the effort.
Yoga therapy differs from a traditional group yoga class because it is done individually, and is structured around the unique needs of the student/client. Yoga therapy can be done in tandem with other healing modalities to treat all levels of disease, injury, trauma or illness. Yoga looks at a human as a system of five layers (physical, physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual), each overlapping to create a complex system and a unique individual with specific needs, desires, strengths, weaknesses, habits, body constitution, diet, family and cultural history.The yoga therapist's job is to help guide each person to unpeel the layers of dysfunction to help facilitate the body-mind-spirit back to it's natural state of calm, balance, and wellness, using all of the tools of yoga. Although yoga therapists are highly trained well beyond a yoga teacher, they are not medical professionals; therefore testing and diagnosis are recommended prior to sessions. In choosing to work privately, make sure your therapist is a certified yoga therapist accredited through the International Association of Yoga Therapy.