Yoga therapy is taught by yoga teachers with additional training and experience in the therapeutic adaptation and application of yoga. People may be taught one-to-one or in a therapy group setting.
In 1989 I began specialist training in remedial or therapeutic yoga (yoga therapy) at the Yoga for Health Foundation in Bedfordshire. This was a residential and training centre set up by the late Howard Kent, producer of BBC TV’s Yoga for Health series. Everyone was welcomed, though the centre specialised in adapting yoga to work with people with a wide variety of health conditions e.g., multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis, disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, stress etc. In this way, therapeutic yoga was offered as an adjunctive therapy to support recovery alongside medical care.
You can read more about yoga as an adjunctive approach to health in my article published in AMRITA, the journal of Yoga Alliance Professionals.
Since then, I’ve gone on to complete training in Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness with David Treleaven, and a foundation course with the Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga. My training in Somatic Embodiment and counselling psychotherapy continues.
Much of my work today is in the area of psychiatric and mental health working closely with a team of mental health professionals to provide therapeutic yoga to support people’s recovery within hospitals and wellbeing centres.
Yoga therapy may help with many issues and can be appropriate for a wide range of ages and lifestyles as well as those looking for a healthier way of life. All that is needed from the participant is the desire to help her or himself and the willingness to practise regularly.
Through practising a yoga therapy programme the participant may, for example, become more aware of posture and breathing. She/he may also find regular practice can help to promote relaxation, aid sleep and relieve tension; it may help to contribute to an increased sense of wellbeing and a positive mood.
In a typical first yoga therapy session a medical history will be taken. The body, posture, simple movements and the breath may be observed and issues and concerns discussed. Working with yoga therapeutically is about the whole person.
A yoga therapist will then assess how yoga therapy may help before planning and teaching tailored to the needs of the client. Practices may include one or more of a range of techniques such as posture work, breathing, relaxation, working with sound, reflection, and/or meditation. A number of sessions are likely to be needed to confirm safe and appropriate practice.
This type of yoga can be delivered on a one-to-one or small group basis to support a person with yoga’s whole-person approach to healing and recovery, fostering the natural connection between body, mind and emotions.
Individuals may be referred by their GP, an allied health professional, counsellor/psychotherapist or via self-referral.
***Please note that I don’t accept new male patients by self-referral – if not referred by a GP or allied health professional, then they are accepted only by referral from students long known to me. ***
What to Expect & How to Book
The first session is a consultation between a client and the yoga therapist to consider medical history, assess the body & mind, and discuss concerns before agreeing on a plan for a course of therapeutic yoga that is tailored to the person’s needs.