We take a look at yoga therapy, which bridges the gap between natural healthcare and modern western medicine
Yoga therapy is fast becoming a leading discipline, popular due to its all-round treatment of the mind, body and spirit, combining art and science to give you the key to your own self-healing. We spoke to Larah Davis, a yoga therapy expert and founder of Ibiza Retreats (ibizaretreats.com), to get the low-down.
“This type of therapy uses asana (postures), pranayama (breathwork), meditations and guided visualisations to calm over-stimulated minds and nervous systems, along with other tools such as yoga nidra (yogic sleep) and restorative yoga,” explains Larah.
“The therapy is great for those who get highly stressed or anxious, suffer from panic attacks or depression and are looking for a holistic solution to create more balance, calm and a lasting sense of control in their lives. Likewise, if you have any physical ailments or injuries, are in recovery from a long-term illness or are suffering from auto-immune related conditions, IBS and fertility concerns, then this method is definitely for you. The therapy is also great for anyone who feels regularly exhausted or is looking to replace ‘props’ such as caffeine, painkillers or alcohol with proven bodymind relaxation and energy rejuvenation techniques.
“A practitioner would typically use ancient yogic models combined with an in-depth anatomical and physiological assessment to create a personalised homepractice programme for their clients. The aim is to address the immediate pain or symptoms, then raise awareness of the links between the mental, physical and energetic issues and the root causes that stem from emotional ‘blockages’ and lifestyle patterns.
“The first session begins with assessing postural issues such as stiff necks and frozen shoulders. It then continues with reviewing breathing patterns that reveal energetic and emotional blockages. Throughout the session the therapist will be encouraging you to self-observe so that you can become aware of links between mental, physical and emotional issues.
“As little as one session can offer a powerful springboard into new levels of self-awareness.”
All you need to know about your first time
For the session, wear loose-fitting clothing that feels comfortable and you can easily move around in. Make sure the clothing you choose is warm, too, as you can get cold when completely relaxed. At your first meeting you will have to talk your therapist through your current health, highlighting any areas of pain or tension both physical and emotional. The therapist will look at your posture and give you breathing exercises and yoga poses to help, and will lead you through guided relaxation or talking therapy. Your therapist will then recommend a customised home practice plan.
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