FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a Yoga Therapist and how will I know they are qualified?


Yoga Therapists have undertaken specialized training beyond that of a Yoga Teacher. Included in that training is over 1000 hours of education and clinical practice to gain a deep level of expertise in the body, both anatomy and physiology, working with mood disorders, grief, trauma, cancer or cardiac conditions, the aging body, addiction, pain, and many more.

Yoga Therapists are certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists and will have a C-IAYT behind their name if credentialed. You can also visit IAYT.org to search for a certified yoga therapist in your area.

Yoga Therapists draw from the principles of yoga and the full range of yogic practices and assessment skills. Your Yoga Therapist will work with you to develop and implement a self-empowering therapeutic plan appropriate for your needs and oriented around prevention and health promotion.

Included in working with a Yoga Therapist, are regular check-in intervals, education about Yoga Therapy and your condition or needs, yogic lifestyle and dietary advice (that falls within the Yogic framework).

Your Yoga Therapist also has a basic understanding of different treatments and procedures from a variety of sources, and can identify and source credible and relevant information on other healthcare modalities for you, as needed.




What is Yoga Therapy?


Yoga Therapy is a therapeutic approach that empowers you, as the client or patient.

The overarching goals of Yoga Therapy include eliminating, reducing, and/or managing symptoms that cause suffering; improving function; helping to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of underlying causes of illness; and moving toward overall improved health and well-being.

One of the most important philosophies in the Yoga tradition, is that each person is viewed as a multi-dimensional being that includes body, breath, mind, emotions, and spirit. Yoga literally means "union." As such, a Yoga Therapist will assess your condition and develop a therapeutic plan that creates balance and alignment (i.e., union) across all layers of your being. A yoga therapy plan is tailored to your needs, physical ability, lifestyle and emotional state. Yoga therapy aims to create balance, such that your body is positioned for optimal healing.




What is the difference between Yoga Therapy and a yoga class?


A hallmark that differentiates group yoga therapy from group yoga classes is the presence of an individual intake and assessment for each person from Group Yoga Therapy session prior to commencing the class, personalization of the practice (s) based on the individual assessment, and re-assessment at regular intervals through out a series of classes.

Yoga classes at a local studio are most often generalized so that most of the class can enjoy it and feel better after they leave. Although they treat everyone in the class the same, the classes are still very beneficial, particularly if one is most interested in increased flexibility, mobility, and strength only.




What kinds of things are included in a Yoga Therapy Plan?


Your Yoga Therapy plan is unique to you and your condition and will likely be adjusted over time as your body and mind heal. A typical yoga therapy plan will include elements of some of the following practices:

  • Gentle movement
  • Breath practice
  • Mantras and/or chanting
  • Lifestyle modifiations (postural adaptations, nutrition)
  • Sleep hygiene recommendations
  • Deep relaxation
  • Suggested modifications for exercise and/or yoga classes




Will my Yoga Therpist work with my doctor and other health providers?


With your consent, your Yoga Therapist will contact your Health Care Provider with an outline of your Yoga Therapy Program and Progress Notes as you work together.

Your Yoga Therapist creates a specialized and tailored therapeutic plan for you that supports any prescriptions, may help mitigate side effects of treatments, recommendations, or treatments that your Provider may be treating you for.




How many times will I need to come for Yoga Therapy?


It varies. Your condition, disease, and overall therapeutic plan will dictate what and how your sessions are created, including the number of times per week or length of time.

For example, the published literature suggests for people with breast cancer, a minimum of 2 times/week for 60 minutes provide substantial benefit for managing side effects of treatment, whereas for people rehabilitating after heart by-pass surgery, the recommendations are 5 days/week for 60 minutes for a minimum of 12 weeks, along with other interventions.

Talk with your Yoga Therapist for specific recommendations.




What is Group Yoga Therapy?


Group Yoga Therapy is a series of session(s) in which your Yoga Therapist works with a small group of people who have a similar conditions or symptoms. Small groups are limited to 10 people and are great option for clients seeking community support or affordable therapy options.

These sessions are typically offered in a local studio, private office space, or clinic.




What if I've never done yoga before?


No problem! Yoga Therapists work with people with a wide variety of backgrounds and conditions. Some are brand new to yoga. Others have a regular yoga practice, but have been sidelined by an injury or illness. Yoga Therapy spans age and ability. We work with kids, adults, and seniors. We help athletes recover from injury and regain optimal performance. We help seniors develop strength, balance and flexibility to maintain independence and quality of life. We work with adults looking to improve well-being by reducing stress, managing physical pain, and coping with emotional mood disorders. All bodies and abilities are welcome. And, NO special equiipment or fancy yoga clothes are required!




Will my insurance pay for Yoga Therapy?


It varies. If you are working with a Yoga Therapist in a clinic or hospital, your insurance may reimburse you OR the Health Care Provider may submit your claim for your specific condition to be paid and then pay the Yoga Therapist. For example: Yoga Therapy for specific back pain, Cancer, and Cardiac Rehabilitation may be covered.

If you have a Flex Health Care Spending Account or a Health Spending Account, your Yoga Therapist may accept that for payment and provide you an invoice or a receipt for payment for your records.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) is currently working on this issue with policy makers and insurance companies to support broader coverage of Yoga Therapy.





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