Is Yoga Therapy Always Gentle? It Depends
Therapeutic yoga is often considered to be a gentle practice. This is not always the case and it will depend on the person you are working with.
Myth debunk: Therapeutic yoga is boring, slow and for the old and the sick
In therapeutic yoga a range of yoga based practices may be recommended for our clients. And sometimes it is more appropriate to offer a strong asana practice based on the breath.
For example: It could be appropriate to offer a strong therapeutic practice for a person who is constitutionally relatively fit and athletic in nature. In fact a gentle yoga practice may not provide the motivation to inspire this person to commit to their practice daily.
It is important to note that we can work with a stronger physical practice that is therapeutic while maintaining a sense of steadiness and ease. The practices we design meet the student where they are at.
Case Study: MARY
- 43 year old female (married, mother of 3)
- Physically able
- Enjoys exercise – attends gym 4 times per week
- Currently feeling exhausted by the demands of work and family
- Lacking energy (often wakes feeing tired and feels fatigued at the end of the day)
- Mild digestive issues (bloating, poor appetite)
- Mary has a ‘push push push’ ‘go go go’ mentality. She often is thinking about others and has a desire to remain fit and strong for her family.
Yoga was suggested by her GP for:
- Stress management
- Maintaining physical strength
- Increased energy levels
- Improved digestion
- Improved quality of sleep
Mary was advised to substitute her gym training sessions for a daily yoga practice.
The task of the Yoga Therapist is to find an appropriate yoga practice that will support Mary’s physical and mental health.
In summary the practice is:
- A morning practice that includes both energising and calming aspects
- Focused on postures that facilitate the exhalation.
- Includes moments of rest
This is a great example that debunks the myth that yoga therapy is ‘slow and boring’. Yoga therapy is about meeting the client where they are at and designing a practice that will best support their physical and mental health.
Written by Lisa Grauaug B AppSc (Nursing), B Psych, M Psych, Adv Dip Yoga Teaching, Ayurveda Lifestyle Certificate, Perinatal Mental Health Course (USyd), Registered Psychologist, Registered Yoga Teacher, Registered Yoga Therapist (YA & IAYT), Yoga Australia Member.