frequently asked questions
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient philosophy and science. Early yoga masters devoted their lives to discover the path of human happiness and enlightenment. For many years, yoga philosophy and practices were passed on through an oral tradition with roots in Indian spiritual texts the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Samkhya Karika. Drawing from the oral teachings, the sage Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras in approximately 400 CE; this work is commonly referenced as the authoritative text on yoga. The Baghavad Gita and The Hatha Yoga Pradipika are additional oft-referenced texts that inform our current understanding of yoga philosophy and practice. Much later, Sri T. Krishnamacharya (1888 – 1989) acquainted over 500 yoga postures, known as asanas, to the modern world. His students brought asana practice to North America and they largely shaped how yoga is viewed here to this day. It is less well known that T. Krishnamacharya rigorously developed the modern practice of yoga-cikitsa, or yoga therapy.
What is the difference between a yoga class and yoga therapy?
A yoga class is educational; you learn general poses and practices. A yoga therapy session is transformational; you and your yoga therapist work together to develop a specialized plan of care unique to you. A yoga class is taught by a yoga teacher and designed for a group of participants and it may have a theme or a therapeutic focus. A yoga therapy session includes a comprehensive assessment; yoga practices are tailored to individual goals, needs and preferences. Yoga teachers have a minimum of 200-hours training, while yoga therapists have a minimum of 1000 hours of training. An article called "The Distinction Between a Yoga Class and a Yoga Therapy Session" by Gary Kraftsow at yogainternational.com gives a great overview.
Is there a comprehensive list of the conditions that yoga can help?
Dr. Timothy McCall keeps a running list of health conditions benefited by yoga, which includes research links. As of February 2017, his list includes 101 conditions.
Is yoga a religion? Do I need to be a vegetarian to practice yoga? Do I need to be flexible?
The simple answer to these questions is no. You don't need to be any way except yourself. Yoga is an experiential philosophy. At its core, it is about deepening your connection to your most authentic self. Everybody has their own path. My job as the yoga therapist is to give you tools, suggestions and guidance based on your goals, my understanding of you as a person and my knowledge of yoga. If you are religious, yoga can help deepen your connection to your faith; if you want to change your diet, yoga can help you understand your motivation; if you want to increase your physical and/or mental flexibility, yoga offers many practices that are helpful.
Yoga Therapy Resources yogatherapy.health
A new website hosted by the International Association of Yoga Therapists with resources for clients, healthcare providers and anyone who wants to learn more about yoga therapy.
International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) www.iayt.org
This association accredits yoga therapy training programs and certifies individual yoga therapists. They publish the International Journal of Yoga Therapy and provide resources and guidance around the growing profession of yoga therapy.
Yoga International yogainternational.com
One of my favourite resources for articles, recordings, online classes and workshops
Yoga U www.yogauonline.com
Another great resource for everything yoga, including updates on the latest in yoga research
A new website developed by yoga therapists. It includes a whole section of community resources.
Sounds True: many voices, one journey www.soundstrue.com
Books, podcasts, music and other resources related to health and healing.