Yoga Therapy

11 Jan 2022

At Inspired Practice, we offer many different types of therapy, one of which is Yoga Therapy. Yoga Therapy is a unique experience that can address both physical and emotional ailments using breathing exercises (pranayama), physical postures (asana), and meditation techniques. 

In the pancamaya model of yoga, there are five distinct and interconnected dimensions of the human system. The physical body, vitality/breath, personality/behavior, mind, and emotions.

Physical Body (Annamaya)

The physical body looks at the anatomy and physical structure of your body. Do you have pain, physical ailments, stability, and balance? The physical body is made of food; we are what we eat. What we take in and digest will contribute to our physical body, which is why it is important to nourish our bodies. Annamaya, which literally means to nourish [or] not. One practice to address the physical body in yoga therapy is asana: physical postures. 

Vitality/Breath (Prāṇamaya)

The vitality of your body is looking at the physiological functioning of your body. This is how your body is operating as a whole. What does your organ function look like? Breathing, sleeping, circulation, intake, and stress management are important areas to discuss and address in this dimension. One way you can address this area in yoga therapy is to practice breath-centered asana: physical postures that include focused breath work. 

Personality/Behavior (Vijñāñamaya)

Your personality and behavior are unique to you. For instance, siblings who grow up together can have very different personalities, despite being raised in the same environment by the same guardians. Our inherent tendencies, or natural behaviors, can be affected by the different experiences we have in life. What is specific and unique to you? How have your experiences shaped your personality and behavior? This area explores your faith, spiritual beliefs, ability to trust others, confidence, and convictions. You may also explore attachment, communication, identity, and creativity. Often when looking at these things through the lens of yoga therapy, you may practice self-reflection through different exercises, and meditation techniques. 

Mind (manomaya)

The operation of your mind can affect your entire system. This looks at what you have learned, the ability to retain or remember information, and ability to make decisions. This area can also look at spirituality, creativity, and your daily life. What does your daily life look like? How does it affect your mind, your thoughts, and your ability to focus? Skills you may learn in yoga therapy include learning through psychoeducation and practicing affirmations. 

Emotions (ānandamaya)

Your emotions are typically referred to as the deepest level in the pancamaya model. Your emotions are the source of everything. It’s what you hold dear, what’s important to you, how you experience joy, and what your expectations of others are. Emotions are the source of how we relate to others and how we connect to something greater than ourselves. When you explore emotions, you may look at tools like prayer, affirmations, and meditation.1,2

It's important to remember that your therapist is not going to require you to do anything that is uncomfortable to you, and the specific exercises and techniques used in therapy will be unique to you and addressing your needs. While many therapists can include aspects of yoga therapy practice in sessions with you, if you are looking for someone specifically trained in yoga therapy, check out Inspired Practice’s yoga therapist, Jena Vasquez, PhD, LCSW-S. She is an International Association of Yoga Therapy Certified Yoga Therapist (IAYT-C) and specializes in trauma. 

One of the benefits of online yoga therapy is the ability to have sessions from the comfort of your home, outside, or even on a beach! If you have connection and are located in the state of Texas, you get to play a part in creating an experience that is supportive for you. If you have any questions about yoga therapy, you can contact an Inspired Practice therapist through our online contact form on the website.

1: sequencewiz.com

2: Chase Bossart at yogawell.com

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