You might be wondering how you can use yoga as preventative medicine. Isn’t it just exercise?
The thing is, a true yoga practice goes way beyond asana (the poses). Unfortunately, there is a wealth of “yoga” out there that doesn’t amount to much more than aerobic exercise. But focusing on fast movement, loud music, and sweating was not the original intention of the practice.
In fact, a well-rounded practice consists of the poses working in tandem with stress management practices.
A Tailor-Made Practice
A thoughtful asana practice can go a long way toward helping prevent or slow the progression of conditions related to being sedentary. These include aging issues such as sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and issues with balance. This is the ultimate in yoga as preventative medicine.
Practices can be designed to focus on particular conditions. For example, say the health of your heart is a top priority. The practice can be tailor-made to emphasize cardiovascular health practices. On the other hand, maybe you’re concerned about a condition like osteoporosis. A practice that emphasizes strength practices to build both bone and muscle strength would be just what the doctor ordered (so to speak).
Furthermore, stress management practices are an inherent part of a traditional yoga practice. Performing intentional breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness serves as good preventative medicine for physical health. But it also fosters steady and positive mental health.
Add Yoga Therapy…
Yoga therapy isn’t new. But most people still aren’t familiar with it. Even among the most avid yoga practitioners.
Yet, it has tremendous value. So much so that hospitals are offering it as preventive medicine and a healing modality.
When used as a component of a holistic health plan, yoga therapy aims to create balance and harmony. It does this while simultaneously focusing on the mind and body connection. Yoga therapists can address physical, intellectual, and/or emotional stress. They do this through practices including:
- pranayama (breathing exercises)
- vibrational healing
- good old asana
In fact, it may be used to correct alignment in the asana practice to restore balance to the energetic body.
Yoga therapy is also effective for those working with a psychotherapist to address trauma.
Part of what makes yoga therapy unique is its no one-size-fits-all approach. Yoga works from the understanding that there are physical characteristics and qualities that make up each person’s individual experience.
How It Works
Yoga therapists are trained to understand the unique structural anatomy of each person’s spine in relationship to asana. They are well versed in the science of sequencing and the energetics of practice. And they learn adaptive asana in a therapeutic context. With this crucial information, they design a plan that addresses imbalances in the body that are creating havoc.
Once the initial plan is designed and implemented, clients can choose how much they wish to work with a yoga therapist. Some may choose to work with a yoga therapist for the long term. Others grasp the learnings and practices very quickly. They then incorporate them into their yoga practice and life at large. (Though one could argue that all of life is yoga practice.)
Even though yoga therapy is used in cooperation with cognitive therapy, it’s not meant to be a substitute. Yes, it treats PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other trauma. But it’s still important for patients to maintain their connection with talk therapy.
It is also not indicated as a replacement for massage therapy or physical therapy. It does wonders to complement one’s recovery. But it’s intended to be part of a larger picture of integrative healing.
Interested in Yoga As Preventative Medicine?
The list of yoga benefits keeps growing. So yoga therapy is just the natural next step in this upward progression.
Not yet ready to explore yoga therapy? That’s okay. You can still start experimenting with yoga as preventative medicine in your own life. Contact us today to find out how we can bring yoga, meditation, and mindful practices right to your place of work!
We offer both online and in-person instruction for a full range of populations. Why not start your yoga journey today?