Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy is the adaptation of yoga for people with health problems. Although ordinary yoga classes can improve general health and resolve mild complaints, they may be ineffective - or even harmful - for serious conditions. In such cases, yoga therapy can help people by tailoring yoga to their individual needs, taking into account their health problems, constituition and circumstances.

Yoga is a holistic system for promoting homoeostasis at physical, mental and emotional levels. When this balance is disturbed by illness, or the stress created by illness, yoga can help restore it, and help cure or manage the illness.

Yoga therapy practitioners are qualified yoga teachers with further training in medicine and applications of yoga to medical conditions. Yoga therapy utilises practices from India which date back thousands of years and are part of traditional Indian healthcare. Just as traditional herbalism contributed to pharmacology, so traditional yoga can contribute to behavioural and attitudinal practices in modern healthcare - as illustrated by the widespread adoption of relaxation techniques in clinical psychology.

Critical research trials show that yoga therapy practices are among the most effective known methods for managing the psychosomatic, stress-related conditions, which are so common today. This is because they bridge the gap between body and mind, ranging across the whole spectrum from physical to mental. Conditions treated include asthma and COPD, hypertension and heart conditions, back pain, arthritis, hyperacidity, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, migraine and headaches, multiple sclerosis, and cancer (coping with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, rehabilitation from surgery, and reducing anxiety).

Yoga therapy starts with a one-to-one consultation to ascertain the presenting condition, associated health problems and related lifestyle factors. This is followed by a series of one-to-one or specialised group classes teaching yoga regimens for different conditions. Yoga therapy consists primarily of postural, breathing and relaxation exercises. It starts with very simple exercises, so that clients can begin to practise and benefit right away, even if they have no prior experience of yoga. Yoga therapy is very safe, when taught by a qualified yoga therapist. In addition to helping manage the presenting condition, it often yields other health benefits.

Yoga therapy empowers people to look after their own health, thus leading to patient satisfaction and reducing NHS expenditure on consultations and drugs.