What Is Yoga Therapy?

Although all yoga is potentially therapeutic and healing, yoga therapy is the specific application of yogic tools—postures/exercises, breathwork, meditation techniques, and more—to address an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Yoga therapists have in-depth training to help them assess and keep their clients safe. They work with you to address your specific goals while considering any limitations you might be experiencing. The practices your therapist recommends may include:​

  • Breathing techniques

  • Meditation or visualization practices

  • Movement ranging from gentle to vigorous

  • Body scanning

  • Physical postures that address specific areas of discomfort or musculoskeletal imbalances

  • Any combination of tools like these

Many people first learn about yoga through its physical practices, but a common misconception is that it’s all about stretching or movement. In fact, yoga therapy can help people who can’t move at all.

The yogic model of health is unique because it addresses every aspect of your life rather than considering each body part or system separately. 

A general public yoga class can certainly ease everyday aches, pains, and mood complaints. But a yoga therapy session, whether one-to-one or in a small group, goes much further because it is tailored to the individual.

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga

Yoga for trauma helps people learn to regulate their nervous system and get back in touch with their bodies. When we have an imbalanced nervous system we often cannot tolerate certain physical sensations and therefore do not feel safe inside our own bodies. Yoga that is specifically designed for survivors of trauma has modifications when compared with traditional yoga teaching. The approach for trauma-sensitive yoga varies for each individual.