As yoga therapy is an emerging science, and since yoga itself is therapeutic, trying to figure out the difference can be confusing. My intention here is to clarify so you can decide which one may be right for you or a loved one.

In this 2 part post, Part One will discuss these differences and Part Two will discuss why the difference my be important.

Yoga is generally practiced in a group class format, and depending on where you take a class, could have anywhere from a couple of people to upwards of 40 or more students in that class.  The focus is usually on the physical postures, with some emphasis on breath.  Occasionally a class may begin or end with a seated meditation.  The therapeutic value of these classes is immeasurable – people slow down, and depending on the style, focus on their movement, breath, alignment or some combination therein.  They breathe, stretch, strengthen and feel better in their bodies, which has the added benefit of ease of mind and sense of peace.

Yoga Therapy is generally performed one-on-one or in small therapeutic group classes.  The focus of the session is to help the individual(s) with a specific physical issue or disease. The class(es) are specifically tailored to needs of the student and vary widely in the techniques used.  For example, someone with low back pain would be given very different tools than someone with Multiple Sclerosis. Although techniques used vary on a case-by-case basis, all sessions have an emphasis on body and breath awareness and relaxation and meditative techniques to bring the student in touch with their innate healing abilities and to promote stress reduction and relaxation.

I have included a link to Dr. Timothy McCall’s article on conditions benefited by yoga therapy:

http://drmccall.com/yoga/54condwithrefs.pdf

 

Coming Up:
Part Two, Why Understanding The Difference Between Yoga and Yoga Therapy May Be Important

 

“Alicia has been great to work with. I really enjoy our sessions and I am learning so much. She is very in tune with my goals and has been very encouraging... It truly has been a great experience overall!”

Jennifer R.