By Kelli Bethel, PT, C-IAYT, Director of Yoga Programs and Yoga Therapy
As researchers continue to show the benefits of yoga, it is important to recognize that there is a difference from going to a yoga class for general benefit vs yoga therapy which is an individualized approach using yoga to address specific goals.
A general yoga class is an excellent way to learn tools and strategies to stretch, strengthen one’s body and mind. Yoga teachers can provide excellent instruction in breath work, physical poses and asana. Yet for those with chronic medical conditions a general yoga class may not be appropriate and is some cases contraindicated. An evaluation and treatment by a yoga therapist for these individuals is recommended.
In yoga therapy, clients work with the yoga therapist to get help with or relief from a symptom or health condition. The goal is to focus on the condition and empower the patient with tools and techniques that they can use to improve their function and/or reduce their symptoms. A Yoga Therapist meet with clients and completes an appropriate intake and evaluation. At the completion of the evaluation, the yoga therapist and the client work together to establish goals and develop an appropriate treatment plan. The treatment plan may include movement, breath practices and guided imagery.
The Therapeutic Yoga for Cancer Program at Maryland Proton Treatment Center is delivered by a Maryland licensed Physical Therapist and a Certified Yoga Therapist. Each client is assessed prior to treatment and an individualized treatment plan is created to based on the assessment and the client’s goals. Treatment sessions are modified based on the participants day to day needs and goals. Sessions may include breath work, gentle active yoga pose and guided meditation.
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