Yoga Therapy for Your Body and Mind
Yoga Therapy for the Body
Yoga Therapy is the adaptation and application of yoga techniques to help individuals manage conditions such as chronic pain, injury and other health or movement concerns. The focus is not on yoga poses but on how you move and what will help create resiliency in your body. Why practice yoga therapy? The body is not divided up into parts where we “fix” what is broken, we treat the whole person with a customized approach. During each session, the goal is to increase self-awareness, slow down the heart rate, calm the breath, and start allowing the body to turn on it’s healing mechanisms to restore and enhance function. Through yoga therapy, we use natural alignment, movement, breath and relaxation to slow the flight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. From this place, we can help individuals reduce symptoms, restore balance and increase vitality.
Yoga Therapy for the Mind
Often, when we feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, we don’t know where to begin to change our situation. The beauty of the mind body connection is that we can instigate emotional and mental shifts by creating small changes in the ways that we move and breathe. Many times, we are unaware of how we are holding tension in our body and limiting our breath. By working with our practitioners in a yoga therapy session, you are supported in learning to recognize where you are holding tension in your body and how to let it go. Tension can arise in the form of aching muscles but it can also be held in locked breathing patterns and ways that we neurologically respond to circumstances we encounter such as stress or trauma. In a private appointment, you are assisted in finding your place of ease in both your body and mind through discussion, breath work and therapeutic postures that are specifically chosen for your individual needs.
What does a session look like?
At the start of most sessions, we begin with a gentle restorative yoga pose on the floor. In a restorative pose, your body is supported with props so that you can facilitate the release of tension that is held in your body. Taking time to slow down and connect with your breath, we can begin the process of settling the monkey mind. Through respectful dialogue we tune into how you are feeling physically and emotionally in this moment, choosing postures and breathing techniques to support you in bringing balance to your body and mind. Movement begins in a simple, uncomplicated way and we work from the ground up, lying to all fours to standing. The simplicity allows you to cultivate awareness of what your body is doing, what is moving that shouldn’t, what isn’t moving that should, how muscles respond and really feeling if body tension is rising in an unhelpful way. As complexity in movements increase we continue to focus on the same elements of awareness with the goal being ease and resilience in stillness and movement. At the end of most sessions, we return to a restorative posture where we explore a brief meditation or a return to soft and easeful breathing. Yoga Therapists with a background in Thai Yoga Massage may weave in additional massage techniques into the session to support you in letting go of tension and dropping into an easeful and spacious place.
Yoga Therapy is covered by some Health Care Plans and healthcare spending accounts in the province of Alberta. Our senior practitioners are both Registered Massage Therapists and Certified Yoga Therapists. We can integrate many aspects of yoga therapy into your massage therapy session, should that be your preference.
Somatic Movement Sessions
Somatic Movement sessions invite slow voluntary movements, at times guided by the Practitioner, which aids in releasing held tension. With commitment and time, the client gains freedom from old habitual patterns through sensory motor awareness. (Neuromuscular re-education by slow voluntary process) This technique is ideal for relieving chronic pain, tight muscles and stress.
Restorative and Somatic Yoga Sessions
Restorative & Somatic Yoga are key components for restoring harmony while decreasing pain, stiffness and inflammation throughout your body. Over time your body learns to naturally activate its’ own Relaxation Response whereby your system let’s go of held chronic tension. These styles allow for you to move again in a safe, comfortable environment at the stage you are at.