Do I need Yoga Therapy or a Yoga Class?


Although yoga as a practice is therapeutic, there are significant differences between a yoga teacher and a yoga therapist and between a yoga class and a yoga therapy session.

The Yoga Class

Yoga classes vary according to the tradition, the experience of the teacher and needs of the group. Generally, it’s a one size fits all approach and may have a focus on prenatal, vinyasa or yin. Some classes have a therapeutic focus and require the teacher to have specialized training in this area, and the intention in these types of classes is to teach these students how to practice yoga while respecting their health conditions.

The Yoga Class provides tools for self-development and ultimately spiritual awareness. However the general public think of Yoga as a series of exercises. Those who practice Yoga arrive at understanding it’s so much more than exercise and begin to explore its other aspects, such as pranayama or meditation.

Yoga classes can also be private where the teacher focuses on teaching yoga to the individual. There is usually a focus on correcting and modifying postures and breathing, although teachers are limited to their skill set from teacher training and supplemental education. Some teachers prefer working privately and therapeutically with students and go on to become a Yoga Therapist with an additional 1000 hours of training, mentoring and clinical hours.

The Yoga Therapy Session

Rather than focusing on teaching yoga or a health condition,

yoga therapists fundamentally focus on their clients needs.

Yoga Therapists have been in a personal practice for many years and have embodied transformation processes. They have additional qualifications, specialised skills and knowledge in the application of Yoga within a therapeutic setting. A Yoga Therapist draws from the principles of Yoga and the full range of Yoga practices, bio-medical knowledge and assessment skills to establish a professional relationship with clients.

The Yoga Therapists aim is to support the whole person through their challenges within a therapeutic relationship. Therapists look for ways to reduce their clients suffering, manage symptoms, adopt lifestyle changes and ultimately support the clients self-healing capacity. The obvious magical ingredient in Yoga Therapy is;

how the client learns to actively engage and trust in their own healing capacity.

There is usually a 3 part process where the therapeutic relationship can develop and includes an initial assessment involving questioning, counseling, movement, appropriate touching and observing. Therapist’s then set appropriate goals, develop and practice a personal yoga program that is reviewed and finely-tuned together. The therapist will recommend regular follow-up reviews depending on clients’ needs and whether their goals have been achieved.

Whilst Yoga Therapy is based on the traditions of Yoga it is also an evidence-based practice which also draws on the skills and knowledge of modern medicine.

Yoga therapy classes are taught by Yoga Therapists where students have been through some assessment process and have a similar focus to everyone else in the class, for example; yoga for depression.

Clearly there are distinct differences between a yoga class, therapeutic yoga and yoga therapy. As yoga becomes a popular choice for many and medical practitioners begin to refer their patients to yoga, it’s important that we as a community become clear about the differences.

Kendra is offering a Self Care Yoga Therapy Package that includes 3 one hour face to face sessions and a take home printed yoga ritual.

Got a question about Yoga Therapy? Please post your question below or Call Kendra on 0417423804

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© 2014 by Kendra Healing Arts

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