If you have ever practiced Yoga, you will know that the postures, breathing techniques and mindful approach to each exercise can leave us feeling more grounded, open and calm. By its very nature Yoga is a therapeutic system designed to enhance the balance between body and mind.
However, the adoption of yoga in the west has often seen the popularization of large, mixed level yoga classes focusing on dynamic flowing styles rather than graded, slower practice that can allow for students to experience the therapeutic benefits of Yoga more easily.
Health professionals are stepping into teaching Yoga to share these therapeutic benefits with students wanting to focus on precision and those who are injured with acute or chronic musculoskeletal injuries. Health professionals have a lot to offer the Yoga world but can the system of Yoga also offer something potent for health professionals?
My experience combining Yoga, Meditation and Physiotherapy has undoubtedly led to greater results for my clients and for a long time they didn’t even know that what we were doing was Yoga. For years in clinical practice, I cued client’s breath and used yoga postures for myofascial release and for gaining greater stability and balance with potent results. Yoga has so many tools that can access the parasympathetic nervous system, challenge proprioception, strength, flexibility and balance, making it very useful in assisting patients with any variety of injuries.
However the most powerful tool that Yoga offers our patients is greater self-awareness. This may not initially seem like a primary focus for managing our client’s injuries however in my experience this has transformed my clients approach to their own health and wellbeing in a way that has resulted in shorter recovery rates, better management of chronic issues, greater independence, improved emotional wellbeing and patients taking responsibility for their own recovery and prevention of injuries.
Yoga at its core is a practice that teaches you to pay attention; and to flip that attention from the senses being absorbed with the world outside of us, to exploring our inner world of body, emotions and thoughts. Without initially seeking to change anything about ourselves, we learn to observe our habits and tendencies and soon we begin to realise which beliefs and actions lead to positive outcomes and which lead to less desirable outcomes.
Through embodying mindfulness ourselves and teaching our clients to pay attention during our sessions with them we transform the way they see their body and mind. Greater self-awareness leads to greater understanding that many of the postural overuse issues that we treat through physiotherapy/ osteopathy are preventative and our lifestyle and stress levels can have a large impact on the system of mind-body.
My most powerful realizations have come not even from my own clinical practice but from the feedback of the dozens of health professionals who have completed the Therapeutic Yoga courses over the last 2 years. Their stories of working with patients individually or in groups has shown me that Yoga and Meditation are a wonderful complement to the best practice therapy that we currently provide for our patients. This may appear as a mindful moment pre-treatment to connect to turn the attention inwards and connect to breath or it may be using a yoga sequence for a rehabilitation program. The benefits for our patients are many and varied.
A final thought is an invitation to anyone wanting to use Yoga and Meditation in their clinical practice to embrace their own practice. Our deepest understanding of the therapeutic application of this system comes from our own embodied experience of it and the benefits that we experience not only physically but mentally and emotionally. Whilst instant benefits can be experienced to calm the nervous system after several deep breaths the most powerful benefits of yoga come from practice.
Watch this short clip of just some of the asanas you will learn on Therapeutic Yoga Level 1
Irene Ais - Creator Therapeutic Yoga Level 1