We live in a demanding and complex world that conspires to keep us moving too fast and doing too much. The impact of the pace and demands we face is evident in the numbers of people who live with chronic stress, emotional overwhelm, and persistent low moods.
Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and obesity greatly decrease our quality of life and are slowly killing us. Stress makes each of these conditions worse, and in addition to these physical illnesses, our lifestyles put large numbers of us at risk for developing mental illness, too.
Depression is the number one source of disability world-wide. Many more people live with sub-clinical despair or anxiety, and there are not many organized options for preventative and whole-person complementary care.
This is where the emerging field of yoga therapy comes in - both as a source of support for addressing concerns before they blossom into diagnosable conditions, and for rounding out care that is focused on only one aspect of a person's health concern.
Yoga therapy is whole-person care, using an array of evidence-based tools to address the physical, mental & emotional, social, and transpersonal needs of a people seeking optimal health, balance, and well-being.
Finding a qualified yoga therapist can make the difference between surviving and thriving, and one of the first places to check about the credentials of a yoga therapist is the International Association of Yoga Therapists - they maintain a searchable database of yoga therapists who have gone through the stringent certification requirements to become a C-IAYT.
There is a big difference between a yoga teacher, who typically can become eligible to register with Yoga Alliance after anywhere from 14-21 days of training, and a yoga therapist. The training to become certified in yoga therapy takes at least two years.
It's equally important to look for what other qualifications and training the certified yoga therapist has, including advanced degrees in a health-related field and clinical training in a discipline related to their specialty.
Content for sessions are tailored to each client's needs. A yoga therapist may include physical postures, breath practices, lifestyle changes, encouragement of social connection via involvement with a yoga community, guided self-inquiry, meditation, and a clarification of a client's values and life intentions as part of an overall personalized yoga practice plan they develop for you. Each yoga therapist works differently, so it's important to ask questions and be clear about expectations and limitations of the work they do.
Yoga therapy provides a pathway to hope for people who sense that they need to engage the whole-person to achieve balance and optimal health, and certified yoga therapists are working hard to bring awareness to our field and to the resources we provide.
My yoga therapy practice is currently full, but you can contact me to be put on my waiting list. My practice is housed primarily at Ease Mountain Yoga & Nourishing Arts in Ben Lomond, California, but I also work with people at a distance via video conferencing and can help connect you with local teachers, classes and other yoga therapists as needed.
Ease Mountain Yoga & Nourishing Arts
9573 Highway 9
Ben Lomond, CA 95005