The practice of yoga is much more than a system of physical exercise for health, yoga stems as an ancient path to spiritual growth. There is much obscurity and uncertainty when it comes to the origin of yoga. The development of yoga can date back to over 5,000 years ago, maybe even 10,000 according to some researcher’s findings. Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which loosely means ‘union’. It is a path through which an individual unites with the entire existence. This is said to increase your consciousness and make you realise your true self clearing the clutter which is part of you culture, family and education – this then makes you realise that there is something more than what you see around. Yoga is a deeply spiritual practice that Is part philosophy, religion, science and exercise.
We hear a lot about the benefits of yoga, from its ability to decrease stress, chronic pain, as well as the risk for chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Yoga has become a therapy within the medical world it uses postures, breathing, exercises, meditation, and guided imagery to improve mental and physical health. The focus of yoga is to encourage the integration of mind, body and spirit.
Yoga is a growing field within science, and it has begun to emphasise its efficiency in treating mental and physical health issues well established as a treatment for depression and anxiety. Studies have also shown the beneficial use of yoga as an effective treatment for substance abuse issues as yoga positively impacts parts of the mind and body susceptible to addiction. Due to its focus on the mind and body, yoga therapy can be used to address physical health issues and has proven effective within the treatment of; back pain, heart conditions, asthma, chronic fatigue, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, and side effects of chemotherapy.
Yoga can be performed in a wide range of formats and techniques can range from simple to advance and enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Physical therapists may implement yoga techniques in their delivery of massage, however a yoga class can be provided as an adjunct therapy to compliment other forms of treatments or directly used to treat a specific issue. Yoga can benefit an individual within therapy by including stress reduction, psychological well – being, improved diet, and efficient functioning of bodily systems.
Yoga is a practice which allows its students to find stillness in a world consumed by chaos, the deep breathing and meditation practices help promote an inner shift from everyday stress and worries relieving stress and decluttering the mind in turn helping you become more focused.
When deciding if Yoga therapy is right for you a therapist will conduct an initial assessment which is designed to;
- Identify Health Problems
- Assess lifestyle and physical capability
- Discuss reasons for seeking therapy
- Create a course of treatment
When you have been assessed and a treatment plan has been discussed, therapy sessions will more than likely include;
- Breathing Exercises: The therapist will guide you through a series of breathing exercises which can range from balancing to energising breaths.
- Physical Posture: Appropriate poses will be given to address the problem areas.
- Meditation: Relaxation and mindfulness are the focus of meditation when combined with yoga poses.
- Guided Imagery: Guided visualisation and is intended to bring inner peace, as the therapist attempts to calm the body and mood.
- Homework: It is important when taking on yoga therapy to practice and incorporate yoga into your daily life.
Yoga is perfect for everyone and anyone of any age and fitness level, yoga is an invaluable tool when it comes to navigating out lives mentally and physically, when practiced regularly can become the force that anchors.
- Is Yoga only for Women? This is a strong misconception, men can benefit from yoga just as much as women.
- Is Yoga for Old People Only? It’s true that old people would benefit tremendously from yoga, this is usually the only form of physical exercise open to them.
- Do I Have to be Flexible to do Yoga? There is a misunderstanding when it comes to yoga, that the participant needs to be flexible, this isn’t true because you are too stiff, you should start a yoga practice before your physical stiffness becomes worse.
- Do I Need a Calm Personality to do Yoga? Yoga is not just for those who have power of concentration, studies have shown yoga can be used and practiced by anyone.