Yoga Therapy & Ayurveda
The target of Yoga is ‘svatantra’
which means to discover our own technique.
‘Sva’ means itself and ‘tantra’ means technique.
The techniques are in oneself and we must discover them;
if not we will depend on others. I am sick and I go to the doctor;
but finally I must become my own therapist.
This is ‘svatantra’.
– TKV Desikachar
“Yoga therapy is a self-empowering process, where the care-seeker, with the help of the Yoga therapist, implements a personalised and evolving Yoga practice, that not only addresses the illness in a multi-dimensional manner, but also aims to alleviate his/her suffering in a progressive, non-invasive and complementary manner. Depending upon the nature of the illness, Yoga therapy can not only be preventative or curative, but also serve a means to manage the illness, or facilitate healing in the person at all levels.” — TVK Desikachar
Over the last 4 years and under the guidance of my teacher Colin Dunsmuir, I have been studying the use of Yoga and Ayurveda as complementary therapies and understanding their real life application in a therapeutic context: from the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of both health and disease.
Yoga therapy aligns the unique and precise health needs of the client with yoga practices that both the yoga tradition and medical science find to have curative effects. For example, with lower back pain, there are very specific yoga positions and postures for strengthening and supporting the back and soothing the symptoms of issues such as herniated discs. Likewise, with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), there are gentle, specialised ways of regulating the nervous system and fostering the return of an awareness of the body. In Autism Spectrum Disorders, specific yoga postures can be used to reduce heightened sensory arousal and promote emotional regulation.
In recent years the support of yoga therapy in the medical field has steadily increased. American cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish developed a yogic based intervention that can reverse heart disease, and his program was so successful that it is now covered by public health insurance in the USA. The NHS is also becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of yoga therapy to their staff and patients, and they recommend the British Council of Yoga Therapists in the Complementary and Alternative Therapies element of their service.
What happens in a Yoga Therapy session:
Yoga Therapy is a little different from a normal private yoga class. You might be coming with something in particular you want to work on, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. During the first session we will discuss symptoms and look at your wider life too: your diet, lifestyle, emotions, relationships, etc. We will look at your alignment and the way you stand and hold yourself, observing how you move, breath and communicate, and I will also take your pulse.
We will work together to devise a practice for you to do each day that will involve elements of asana, pranayama (breathing), and meditation. The practice will go alongside any other treatment you are currently having and we will make sure that it complements how you live your life. Yoga therapy is about teaching people the skills to help themselves in their own lives. It is about empowerment.
'Yoga therapy meets each and every person where they are. No health presentation is too great nor too small. Yoga therapy sessions are client-led, client-focused, and compassion-focused. The client is the master of their journey with their yoga therapist being a knowledgeable accompanier on the journey towards health and healing’ — The Minded Institute
The practices and outcomes will be based on the principles of Ayurveda, the Indian science of life. If you are interested to know more, we will be looking at your constitution, or dosha, and the practices will be geared to getting you back in step with your perfect balance, so you can return to optimum health in all parts of your life.
Yoga Therapy can be used to treat:
High Blood Pressure
Mental Health Conditions: