Yoga can be found everywhere and that is how most people start their yoga journey. Yoga studios may offer a diversity of styles, all meant for the student to find the type of yoga and teacher that they can connect with. You can even find classes that target individuals or groups of people with specific conditions. Common examples include pre-natal yoga and yoga for cancer survivors. Yoga teachers who lead these classes must learn the contraindications for working with people that have these conditions and then teach the students how to practice yoga while respecting their own health conditions.
The purpose changes when we move from the yoga class to the Yoga Therapy sessions for individuals or groups with specific conditions. After an initial intake and assessment (of the individual or of each member if a group), Yoga Therapists will often concentrate on the specific symptoms that distress their clients and identify methods to help them manage those symptoms. Methods can include a wide range of both mental and physical techniques, all depending on the unique history of the individual. Personalized programs can include helping clients with pain management, fatigue, or sleeplessness. In addition, the Yoga Therapist aims to empower clients to take a more active role in their self-care, often helping clients to challenge old habits and develop new habits that will bring positive change. Yoga Therapy is less about teaching yoga postures and more about helping clients to overcome their unique challenges and gain independence from whatever they are struggling with both mentally and physically.