Posts Tagged ‘yoga therapy’

Yoga Instructor Training: Sciatica

Friday, July 27th, 2012

yoga trainingBy Faye Martins

Of the many ailments we may study during a yoga instructor training course, back pain and headaches are most common for the average person.  Sciatica is fairly well known among people who experience pain in the back.  Chances are you are already familiar with sciatica, a relatively common condition that occurs when a nerve root is compressed in the lower back. Although the disorder can often stems from a herniated lumbar disk, various causes can be as temporary as pregnancy or as complicated as tumors on the spine. Medical care can be difficult and lengthy, but studies show that Yoga can be an effective complementary treatment.

The sciatic nerve travels from the spinal cord through the buttocks and down the back of the legs, giving feeling to the muscles in the hips, thighs, legs, and feet. Compression of the nerve usually affects only one side of the body and may result in symptoms varying from sharp pain and numbness to tingling and problems with bladder control.

While many Yoga instructors teach asanas that can be beneficial, other asanas are contraindicated. Acceptable levels of activity vary depending on the cause of pain and the severity of symptoms, and a Yoga training session should always be supervised by an experienced instructor. With that in mind, there are specific types of poses that may hurt or help, based on individual needs.

Asanas that Help Sciatica

• Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana I)

• Bridge Pose

• Bharadvaja’s Twist

• Sage’s Pose

• Tree Pose

• Staff Pose

• Lotus Pose

• Extended Triangle Pose

• Extended Side Angle Pose

• Reclining Big Toe Pose

• Upward-Facing-Dog Pose

• Downward-Facing Dog Pose

• Mountain Pose

• Warrior I and II

• Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Five Ways to Protect the Spine

• Straighten and extend the spine in order to create distance between the disks.

• Never force the back into a forward or back bend.

• When seated, maintain a natural curve in the lower back.

• Tone and strengthen core muscles.

• Stretch hamstrings and rotator muscles to keep the pelvis moving freely.

Side Notes for Yoga Instructors

Postures that stretch the legs and strengthen core muscles help with sciatica while forward bends aggravate the condition, especially when hamstrings are tight. For these reasons, Seated Forward Bend and Head-to-Knee Forward Bends should be avoided entirely or made safer by widening the sit bones and lengthening the spine during practice. Twists can also irritate the piriformis muscle and contribute to sciatic pain.

According to proponents of Yoga therapy, exercises recommended for specific ailments should be practiced twice daily, preferably with the supervision of a competent Yoga instructor or therapist.  It is absolutely necessary that all graduates of Yoga instructor training understand the skeletal body. Anatomy should be part of every Yoga certification syllabus.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our selection of Yoga teacher training and continuing education courses, please visit the following link.

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Can Power Yoga be Practiced as Therapy?

Monday, May 7th, 2012

yoga certificationBy Faye Martins 

Does Power yoga have a place in yoga therapy? Power yoga is a generic form of physical yoga that tends to emphasize physical fitness over yogic philosophy and wisdom. However, although power yoga attempts to be a challenging series of poses that even the most in-shape or athletic beginners will struggle with, part of achieving and maintaining physical fitness means that most power yoga instructors incorporate poses to balance the mind with the body. Often power yoga, despite its focus on the practice as exercise, does concern itself with personal transcendence, a form of self-actualization. 

What is Yoga Therapy? 

Yoga therapy aims to heal the body of any physical, mental, emotional or psychosomatic ailments by identifying the root of a dysfunction and practicing a set of techniques (asana, pranayama, meditation or relaxation techniques) intended to address the problem. It seems obvious to yoga teachers that people who suffer from problems ranging from persistent lower back pain to depression have been flocking to our classes in an attempt to alleviate their symptoms. 

For example, a person suffering from intense lower back pain as a result of a ruptured disc might see a physical therapist and come away with some exercises that help stretch the back and correct any misalignments. Similarly, someone who sees a yoga therapist for the same problem will likely come away with a series of yoga techniques to practice in order to accomplish the same purpose of stretching the back and correcting the body’s bad habits. The difference is that physical therapy is truly focused on the physical, whereas yoga therapy works holistically to address the health of entire person on all levels of existence.  In turn, student become more aware of methods to reduce or prevent pain.

This self-awareness is also a reason that people with psychosomatic ailments like depression or anxiety try yoga. Not only are there physical and hormonal benefits derived from the exercise part of yoga, but achieving personal balance and more complete awareness can lead to the improvement of problems rooted in the psyche as well as the body.

Can Power Yoga be Practiced as Therapy?

Due to the fact that power yoga is a physical challenge, the answer to whether it can be used as therapy depends on the problem as well as the approach of the instructor or therapist. Many therapists prefer to work through poses at a slower pace to allow for more concentrated effort on each pose, but some advocate power yoga for certain cases. Clearly, because of the individualized nature of yoga therapy, power yoga can also be used as a form therapy, or adjunct therapy, for mental and emotional balance.  However, it is not always the preferred school of yoga for cases where students have physical ailments.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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What Is Yoga Therapy?

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

yoga certificationAmruta Kulkarni, CYT 250

Yoga therapy has made its way into mainstream medicine as part of health treatment programs. Many health care professionals recognize the therapeutic value of practicing Yoga in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. The postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) can help manage symptoms of disease and mental health disorders.

While western medicine primarily treats the body or the mind separately, Yoga therapy approaches healing and wellness holistically by focusing on all levels of the person. These levels are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. For true healing to occur, all aspects of a person must be addressed as a whole.

When practiced with concentration and body awareness, Yoga helps promote greater health and vitality, thus providing therapeutic effects to mind and body. The long, slow stretches and deep breathing induce a sense of relaxation and well-being. Practitioners who practice Yoga often tend to develop a more optimistic view of life. They may look at life in a deeper, calmer way and develop a newfound awareness of experiences.

Yoga students often come to classes with a goal in mind. It might be from too much stress, grief, a specific health issue, or to change their bodies. Regardless of their initial goal, practitioners begin to see the deeper benefits of living a quality life. The emotional and mental benefits of Yoga turn a beginner into a steady practitioner.

By strengthening and relaxing both the mind and body, Yoga therapy can help patients cope with health concerns more effectively. The therapy session is private or for a small group that shares the same problem. Yoga therapy can target a practice toward specific health concerns, such as diabetes, depression, back pain, heart disease and more. For example, a Yoga therapy program targeting depression would not be the same as one geared to relieve back pain.

There are many different needs for the therapeutic application of Yoga. For example: Practicing Yoga postures, pranayama, mantra, and meditation purges depression while improving one’s overall well-being. Those suffering from stress find that the deep breathing and stretches draw the tension out of their bodies so that they can relax. Yoga therapy can also aid in the healing of psychological disorders, when combined with traditional approaches such as counseling or psychotherapy.

Yoga therapy has been used by psychiatrists to help calm agitated patients. Also, Yoga may enhance the results and alleviate the side effects of medical treatments. When the body is relaxed, it is easier to cope with treatments like chemotherapy or radiation for cancer, and unwanted side-effects of conventional health treatments may be prevented while improving overall health.

People continue with Yoga therapy sessions to relieve chronic pain, recover from injuries or illnesses, reduce stress, improve well-being, relieve depression, and many more reasons.  Yoga teachers should expand their knowledge of therapeutic applications of Yoga to meet student needs.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our selection of Online Yoga teacher certification courses, please visit the following link.

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Yoga Therapy and Medical Treatments

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

yoga teacher certificationBy Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 250

For people with medical conditions, one of the most freeing and uplifting treatments for them can be Yoga. Yoga truly has the power to transform lives and work as a miracle in the lives of people with cancer and other stressful medical conditions. Many doctors have even begun recommending that patients join a Yoga course as a way to achieve peace of mind, in order to help a patient battle a disease or medical condition.

Yoga has the ability to allow the body to achieve an optimal relaxed state. When the body is fully relaxed, it is able to take in the full benefits that prescription drugs can have on a person. When a person’s body is fully relaxed, he or she will also be able to better take in the benefits of treatments like chemotherapy as well.

When a person partakes in Yoga, he or she may actually be able to decrease the amount of drugs he or she takes to get over an illness. Many patients love doing Yoga, because it has the ability to make the body so strong it no longer needs certain types of medical drugs. This enhancement of internal healing can be one of the most gratifying reasons that people can benefit from Yoga therapy.

In addition, Yoga therapy can serve as an effective treatment for those people who undergo psychiatric counseling. Many people dealing with emotional issues can benefit from the relaxed state of mind that Yoga brings them. Yoga truly clears the mind and allows a person to focus on what is important in his or her life. For people with mental conditions, Yoga can be the key that solves all of their problems.

For people that suffer from medical conditions such as obesity, Yoga has also been discovered to help. Yoga can be an effective way for any person to achieve gradual moderate weight loss in his or her life. By strengthening the core muscles that one uses in a given day, a person can truly change the lean muscle to body fat ratio. Many doctors recommend that obese individuals join some sort of Yoga class as a part of an overall medical weight loss treatment.

Overall, Yoga has the ability to greatly impact the lives of people with medical illnesses and mental health issues. If a person has never tried Yoga before and suffers from a medical condition, then he or she should definitely try out Yoga to enjoy a new perspective of life.

© Copyright 2011 – Amruta Kulkarni / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Amruta Kulkarni is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

To see our selection of Online Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.

http://www.aurawellnesscenter.com/store/

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FREE CONTENT: If you are a Yoga Teacher, Yoga studio, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!