What is Yoga Therapy?
Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or you don’t know your asana from your elbow, therapeutic yoga sessions can help fix what hurts. I recommend a private session or two before enrolling in my Yoga to the Rescue class so I can assess your posture, strength, flexibility, balance, and limitations. These sessions are designed to empower you to become an active participant in your own healing, as you begin to understand how simple bio-mechanics and attention to the breath can speed recovery from injury, chronic pain, or illness.
What to Expect
Please let your health care provider know that we plan to work together so they can inform you of specific limitations for your condition. Then in our first session, we review the cause of the pain, treatments that you’ve received, how those modalities have helped – or not, and discuss any contraindications that you’ve been given by your physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist. I will evaluate your overall posture and look for patterns of misalignment in the body that contribute to your symptoms. We then begin to move into a few simple poses appropriate for your body, modifying the poses and using props as needed. To help integrate proper alignment, I will often use hands-on assists to direct your arms, legs, or torso into the poses, but I don’t have to touch you if you’d prefer not to. Throughout the session, I will continue to instruct your breathing techniques, and most of the time we finish with a brief relaxation session, savasana, or viparita karani (legs up the wall pose).
Moving Forward on Your Own
Yoga therapy is most effective if the recommended poses and alignment techniques are practiced frequently. You may have difficulty remembering how to do the subtler aspects of the poses, or even how to place your feet or hands. Many of my clients benefit from an individualized sequence document. While we work together, I can take photos or short of you in the poses and add these to clear step-by-step instructions. I also include photos of how we modify with props or furniture, and often include images of common pitfalls and misalignments so you can learn what not to do. These custom sequences are more helpful than yoga DVD’s or books because they are designed for where you are in your rehabilitation, right now, in your body – not where the model on the page is. While yoga can heal your body, you can re-injure yourself or slow your recovery if done incorrectly. Preparation of your customized yoga therapy protocol entails an additional cost of $75, and can be emailed to you as a downloaded file or provided on a DVD.
Moving Forward in a Class Setting
I offer regularly scheduled therapeutic yoga classes called Yoga to the Rescue. These
classes are 75 or 90 minutes long and will probably contain a wider spectrum of poses than you were exposed to in our private session. Because the class uses the same Anusara Yoga alignment principles you learned on your own, you can begin to expand on practice intuitively even for new poses. You will continue to build core strength and improve your balance and flexibility. This is also a great place for the yoga novice.
But what about Bikram? What’s Ashtanga? Should I do Kripalu?
Hatha yoga is a terrific way to keep your body performing at its highest, and with the plethora of yoga styles and studios even here on our tiny island, it can be confusing to figure out which one is right for you. We are blessed to have some incredibly talented and dedicated yoga teachers on Martha’s Vineyard, and after working with you privately I will refer you to an appropriate teacher. It is imperative that you tell your teacher about your injuries before the class so that they can keep an eye on you. Trust me – yoga teachers really appreciate when a student shares this information so we can use the full complement of skills and experience we have, while keeping you safe throughout your practice.
The most rewarding part of teaching Anusara yoga for me is when a client or student has, even for the briefest of moments, an experience of freedom from chronic physical or emotional pain. If for any reason financial constraints prevent you from scheduling a session with me, please know I am open to creative bartering arrangements for my private sessions, workshops, and Yoga to the Rescue classes. Just ask.