Yoga therapy is difficult to define, in part because of the tremendous depth of the tradition itself, and just like Yoga, yoga therapy as a discipline can be also be approached in so many different ways.
Nonetheless, just like any other scientific discipline in order to better understand Yoga therapy accepted socially, it is necessary to have a reasonable and pragmatic definition for two major reasons: –
- It should be simple enough to be understandable to those without experience with Yoga.
- Yet it’s still acceptable to those who have years of experience in the practice and philosophy of Yoga.
According to the International Association of Yoga Therapists:
“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga.”
Essentially, yoga therapy is a form of applied yoga or the application of yoga practices to alleviate physical and mental health conditions with the view of promoting self-care and encouraging the overall well-being of a person.
Yoga practices in general aims to cultivate the body and mind together and hence they also show the tremendous potential of therapeutic effects.
Contemporary Definitions of Yoga Therapy
The integrated approach to yoga therapy (IAYT) model developed by Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samasthana (S-VYASA) is based on the principle that “the root of all psychosocial illnesses is in the mind; which causes an internal imbalance due to long-standing stressful and demanding situations of life.”
Based on the above Pancha Kosa concept, the IAYT model incorporates varied yogic practices at each level to help patients with different disorders deal with their problems.
Ref: – Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy for Positive Health. Bangalore: Swami Vivekanand Yoga Prakashana; 2004.
Legends of Yoga
The concept of Yoga therapy has been derived from the ancient tradition of Yoga which extends from the tradition of Patanjali to the Ayurvedic system of health care.
In the traditional sense, Ayurveda is intrinsically linked to yoga as we refer to it for the adaptation and application of Yoga techniques and practices to help individuals facing health challenges at any level manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality, and improve attitude.
– Ayurvedaacharya Guruji Shubham Barwala Ji
Yoga therapy is that facet of the ancient science of Yoga that focuses on health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, mental, emotional psychological, and spiritual.
Yoga therapy focuses on the path of Yoga as a healing journey that establishes a balance between the mind and body through an experiential understanding of the primary intention of Yoga: the awakening of the Spirit, our essential nature.
-Guruji Neeraj Ji
Yoga therapy adapts the practice of Yoga to the needs of people with specific or persistent health problems not usually addressed in a group class. Yoga therapy is the application of Yoga to individuals to empower them to progress toward greater health and freedom from disease.
– Yogi Ravana