WHAT IS YOGA THERAPY?
Yoga Therapy is a holistic modality that applies modified yoga techniques to generate healing and growth based on individual assessment.
Working with a combination of physical movement, breathing, sound, sensory, meditation and mindfulness-based practices we work with individual goals for deeper integration and growth.
This can increase vitality, promote healing, bring greater ease to the body/mind and improve overall health and well-being.
Through a one on one consultation, that includes a discussion and a physical assessment, a personal home practice is prescribed for specific individual needs to empower the individual to take their health into their own hands.
WHO CAN BENEFIT?
Regardless of age, background or belief system, Yoga Therapy welcomes all. If you can breathe, then you can do yoga.
From focused sports enthusiasts wanting to improve their fitness and stamina both mental and physical to those living with chronic pain, recovering from an injury or in a wheelchair. If you have the capacity to breathe, we can work therapeutically with yoga.
There are infinite ways that the yoga postures, the breath and the practices can be modified to suit individual needs. It is possible to work on a scale from very simple gentle and dynamic movements to more complex and strengthening and longer held movements to create change.
Adherence to your daily personal practice can help with rehabilitation from injury, musculoskeletal issues, relief from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular conditions, poor mental function, poor circulation, allergies, endocrine conditions, fertility issues, auto-immune conditions, sciatica, nervous system conditions, general maintenance... As well as improving physical well being, bringing balance and strength to the entire human system.
~ Yoga Therapy has something to offer everyone~
THE TOOLS OF YOGA THERAPY
Depending on individual needs, a combination of the tools and techniques listed below are skillfully selected and crafted into a specific and individualized personal practice to create healing and balance in your body, mind and life.
Asana - Body Movement
The use of the physical postures of yoga is applied in a MODIFIED form to suit the needs
of the individual to help create mobility and articulation, greater ease, freedom and balance in the body and mind. With thousands of postures to choose from and modified versions are applied, the potential and possibilities are limitless.
Pranayama - The Breath
A variety of yogic breathing techniques are used in therapy to bring the body either up from an under-stimulated state (think lethargy) or down from an overstimulated state (think anger or anxiety). Thus finding a middle ground that is balanced and energized yet calm and stable.
Focused breath awareness taps directly into the nervous system and helps to soothe and balance a multitude of conditions.
Breath techniques focus on all aspects of the breath; The inhale, the exhale, and the quiet spaces in between. As we progress, different elements may gently be introduced including retention after both the inhalation and exhalation (kumbhaka) to enhance the desired effect of the practices.
Mantra - Chanting and Sound
Sound as music can profoundly alter the way we feel. The use of sound through your own voice in Yoga Therapy can assist in creating a healing effect.
The use of vibration and sound connects us to a thousand-year-old tradition. It is understood in the tradition, that specific syllables and mantra's carry particular vibrations that connect with our physical, emotional and energetic systems to bring harmony, peace and clarity.
Sounds as syllables can be introspective, opening or harmonizing. A mantra can be used to help heal an aspect of your life related to the enhanced meaning and vibration of the mantra- depending on the needs of the individual.
Nadi Pariksa - Pulse Diognosis
Our unique pulse rate presents a deeper awareness of the physical and emotional state of the individual. Through careful listening to the quality, rate and rhythm of the pulse we can pick up subtleties that are manifesting at a deeper unspoken level.
Depending on what is read in the pulse, different movement and breath techniques are applied and either a more stimulating/energizing or more relaxing/grounding practice may be prescribed.
Dharana - Meditation
It is stated in the ancient yogic text The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali that the purpose of the physical yoga postures (Asana) is to enable us to sit comfortably for long periods of time so that the physical body does not distract the focused mind during meditation.
Meditation has been proven to increase concentration which in turn has a ripple effect on healing and positively transforming all levels of our constitution from the gross physical body to the deeper subtle energy bodies.
Bhavana - Mental Focus
The use of a good mental focus in Yoga Therapy can be an incredibly powerful tool on the path to healing.
Once the body is in a state of relaxation, the effects of focus can take hold at a deeper level free of fear, judgement and our habitual behavioural patterns (Samskaras).
We may draw on the healing qualities of the moon or the energizing power of the sun as internal visual tools- by inviting these qualities into our lives, we embody them and they become a part of us.
Chakra and Nadi - Subtle Energy Body
The Nadi are channels that transport Prana (life force energy) around our physical body. The number is unknown and is beyond our scope of understanding, however, in Yoga Therapy, we focus on three major Nadi that feed into the peripheral.
Ida Nadi governs the Left side of the body, Pingala Nadi governs the right side of the body and Sushumna Nadi travels up the centre of the body.
At seven major junctions along the centre of the body front and back, these energy channels or Nadi cross and form the Chakra system. Starting from the base of the Pelvis (Muladhara Chakra), travelling up to the lower abdomen (Svadisthana Chakra), to the navel (Manipuraka Chakra), to the heart Center (Anahata Chakra) to the throat (Visshudhi Chakra) to the centre of the brow (Ajna Chakra) and finishing at the crown of the head (Sahasrara Chakra).
These powerful energetic junctions govern Pranic energy that flows throughout and around our bodies and connects us to the greater cosmos.
Physical weakness on one side of the body can be an indication of a blockage in a Nadi and certain imbalances in the Chakra can affect different areas of our emotional lives depending on where the symptoms are manifesting.
Although we can not physically see or dissect the Nadi and Chakra, by applying different breath techniques, yoga poses or specific mantra we can directly affect these subtle energy bodies and help to open up blockages that inhibit healing.
Rather than focusing specifically on one symptom, we as Yoga Therapists aim to bring relief to the most pressing symptoms then examine deeper into the other systems so that we create an environment in the body where all systems can once again communicate and work together in a harmonious state. The ultimate goal is always balance.
It is for this reason that Yoga Therapy is a very effective, powerful and accurate form of therapy when applied correctly and practised regularly by the practitioner.
It was such a rich and growthful experience to be immersed in the study with Dr N Chandrasekeran between 2015 - 18. We learnt how to apply multifaceted and in-depth advanced learning that encompassed all areas of healing through yoga, on the physical, mental, emotional and deeper energetic planes.
Spanning three and a half years, seven modules and an internship in India at Dr NC's Yoga Therapy Centre in Chennai, it feels like no stone was left unturned.
Dr N. Chandrasekaran is a hands-down master of this field. As a Western medical Doctor and Yoga Therapist, he offers a unique understanding of the complexities of the human body, mind, breath system both from a yogic perspective and allopathic perspective.
Having studied and worked alongside the late Great Desikachar for over 2 decades, Dr NC is extremely experienced in this field.
Yoga Therapy has proven time and time again to be a powerful and effective healing modality that empowers individuals of all walks of life and health to take their own health into their hands via the application of the age-old tradition of Yoga wisdom and practical techniques.