Yoga for therapeutic purposes
Yoga for therapeutic purposes
Yoga is an ancient practice originating in India as a spiritual practice and slowly developed into a practice enhancing physical and mental fitness. It typically includes four practices: savasana (relaxation) dhyana (meditation), pranayama (breathing techniques) and asana (poses). Clinicians have been advising yoga to promote mental health as well.
What to expect?
Recent research have indicted yoga enhances the ‘quality of life’ , which is a measure of wellbeing. Ryff (1995) uncovered six dimensions of wellbeing: Self-Acceptance, Environmental Mastery, Positive Relations, Purpose in Life, Personal Growth and Autonomy. Self-Acceptance is the ability of an individual to accept themselves and their actions in the past and the present. Personal Growth constitutes a coherent sense of continued growth and development. Purpose in Life includes feelings of having meaning and a purpose to one’s life. Satisfying meaningful and fulfilling relationships constitute the Positive Relations dimension. A sense of control over oneself, awareness of one’s abilities and self-determination are part of the dimension of Autonomy, and Mastery of one’s Environment is the capacity to manage and cause changes in one’s environment.
How does it work?
There are various types of yoga that cater to the different needs of different
individuals. The eight most popular types of yoga practices are:
1. Vinyasa Yoga: The word “vinyasa” means ‘to link breathing and movement’. This is the most popular kind of yoga and is taught mostly in gyms. It includes a sequence of postures sometimes, performed in the dark or with the eyes closed.
2. Ashtanga Yoga: The word “ashtanga” means 8 limbs and it is the most ancient form of yoga. It includes synchronised pranayama and changing asanas. They are usually performed in the absence of music or even verbal instruction.
3. Jivamukti Yoga: The word Jivamukti literally translates to a “liberated being”. This form includes chanting in sanskrit, prayanama and changing asanas, with a theme or a lesson.
4. Iyengar Yoga: It was named after BKS Iyengar, a famous Yogi from India. This form includes the use of props that assist flexibility in deeper positions, like straps, bolsters and blocks. It is performed without music at a slower pace.
5. Bikram Yoga: It was named after Bikram Choudhury and it is practiced without music in a 40 degrees Celsius with 40% humidity in a bright room.
6. Power Yoga: In this form of yoga, the music is faster paced, there is a faster transition of asanas and more emphasis is on the building of strength and stamina.
7. Sivananda Yoga: This form is based on more holistic values, like a proper diet, and positive thinking in addition to pranayama and asanas. It was popularized by Swami Vishnudevananda. There is usually no music during practice.
8. Yin Yoga: This yoga focuses mainly on meditation and on being comfortable in a position while not moving. It is also called Taoist Yoga and aims to lengthen the body’s connective tissues. Props are used, and music is not played.
When is it used?
Many yogis, fitness enthusiasts, trainers, physiotherapists and doctors have stressed the efficacy of yoga for weight loss, lowering of stress levels as well as pain management.
Role of the trainer:
The main role of a yoga instructors is to create a curriculum and lead groups through various levels and types of yoga practice. This can include doing administrative work for the class and getting to know what participating clients want. Yoga can be practiced both in group or individually.