The current 'short' definition developed by the International Association of Yoga Therapists is: "Yoga Therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga." The practice of Yoga therapy is aimed at developing self-knowledge through a process of personal witnessing and understanding the self. From the Yoga perspective, self-knowledge is health in the most complete sense. It focuses on healing at all levels of the person: physical, energetic, psycho-emotional, and spiritual. It's a modality that can be applied to groups or individuals with specific health challenges. Yoga therapy is non-sectarian and non-hierarchical. Yoga therapy recognizes that relief of symptoms is just one facet of the healing process and that not all illness and disease can be cured. It does, however, provide a methodology to heal lives, reduce pain, and stress, and relieve physical symptoms and psychological suffering. Yoga therapy recognizes that the healing journey is unique to each individual and so selects, adopts and modifies all practices appropriately for the individual and/or group depending upon age, physical condition and ability, religion and culture.
What is the Difference Between Yoga and Yoga Therapy?
All Yoga is considered therapeutic but Yoga therapy is Yoga with a specific focus on health and healing. It is distinct from other systems of Yoga where the class structure and content may be pre-structured and the student molds him/herself to the form of Yoga being taught. Yoga therapy is based in creative, student-centered education, where the teachers are facilitators rather than gurus in the traditional Indian sense, because it is only by awakening the student's connection to his or her own true source of wellness that healing can occur.