Yoga Therapy: Definition, Perspective, and Principles
Richard Miller, Ph.D. TKV Desikachar, Dr. Kausthub Desikachar and Gary Kraftsow.
Yuliana believes in yoga’s potentially therapeutic and healing possibilities, yet she could see how a deeper study into the application of yogic tools—postures/exercise, breathwork, meditation techniques, and more—to address an individual’s physical, mental and emotional needs could be beneficial for herself, and ultimately for her students and clients. She began her Yoga Therapy studies in 2016 with Prema Yoga Institute and will be certified under the International Association of Yoga Therapists by 2020.
Yoga therapy, derived from the Yoga tradition of Patanjali and the Ayurvedic system of healthcare, is the application of Yogic principles to individuals facing health challenges at any level manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, and create more vitality. The means employed are comprised of intelligently conceived steps that include but are not limited to the components of Ashtânga Yoga, which includes the educational teachings of Yama (restraint), Niyama (observances), Asana (physical postures), Prânâyâma (breathing practices), Pratyahara (withdrawal of sense), Dhâranâ (concentration), Dhyâna (mediation), and Samâdhi (absorption or bliss). Also included are the application of meditation, textual study, spiritual or psychological counseling, chanting, imagery, prayer, and ritual to meet the needs of the individual, while respecting the individual differences in age, culture, religion, philosophy, occupation, and mental and physical health. Yoga therapy can be empowering for the individual as they learn how to become an active participant in their own healing. Under the guidance of the Yoga therapist, a personalized and evolving Yoga practice that addresses the illness in a multi-dimensional manner, but is also directed to alleviate his/her suffering in a progressive, non-invasive and complementary manner will be created and implemented. Depending upon the nature of the illness, Yoga therapy can be preventative or curative, as well as becoming a means to manage the illness, or facilitate healing in the person at all levels. More importantly, it can serve as a wonderful complement therapy to whatever traditional therapies the individual is undergoing. The Yoga therapist tries to work alongside any other caregiver or healthcare provider, all in an effort to help facilitate the best outcome for the individual.