Yoga therapy represents a new approach to mental health that seeks to alleviate emotional pain and restore well-being through a series of meditative practices that involve both the body and mind.
Over the last decades, researchers and mental health professionals have realized what Hindu monks have been teaching for thousands of years – a holistic approach to psychological and physical health is the key to balance and well-being.
Yoga – which is the foundation of yoga therapy – is an extremely complex spiritual tradition that has a history of roughly five thousand years, rich literature, and clear practice guidelines.
Luckily, over the years, practitioners have simplified this approach and made it accessible to anyone who’s interested in self-exploration and self-growth.
Yoga Therapy: What is it?
Considered both an art and a discipline, yoga is an ancient Indian practice characterized by meditation and physical activity, which can improve the body’s flexibility, reduce stress, and cultivate an overall state of health and well-being.
Yoga therapy represents a collection of principles, techniques, and practices derived from Hindu philosophy and adapted to clinical settings. By using meditation, breathing techniques, and body poses, this approach aims to improve our overall health and promote a state of calm and well-being.
According to a 2013 study , yoga therapy helps people with mental illness by cultivating a state of calm, increasing awareness and focus, promoting acceptance and adaptability, and cultivating a sense of security.
Yoga Therapy Theory
In Sanskrit (a language of ancient India), yoga means union. In other words, yoga therapy promotes an integrative and holistic  approach to mental health.
The union that yoga therapists and practitioners often mention is that between body, mind, and spirit. Yoga teachings stipulate that once we unite these three fundamental aspects of human experience into one element, we can reach a state of balance and health on all levels.
Some practitioners go so far as to believe that spiritual enlightenment and true unity can only be achieved in India, the birthplace of Yoga.
However, this doesn’t mean that yoga – as a series of health-promoting practices – can’t be effective in other parts of the world. In fact, countless practitioners have successfully promoted and implemented this approach all over the globe.
How Does Yoga Therapy Suggest the Mind Works?
In yoga therapy, the relationship between body, mind, and spirit represents a fundamental element that can serve as an explanatory model for the cause of physical and mental illness and also provide a pathway to balance and healing.
We all strive, more or less consciously, to free ourselves from the limited notion of what we are or, more precisely, what we commonly believe we are. In broad lines, we tend to identify with our body, mind, possessions, relationships, social status, bringing all these elements into one comprehensive picture we call ‘life.’
But these mental constructs are merely shadows of the truth that lies within ourselves; a truth that’s often hard to understand because of ignorance, narrow-mindedness, or lack of self-awareness.
By taking a holistic approach to health, yoga therapy seeks to restore balance and well-being through a series of physical, mental, and spiritual practices.
Read more about yoga therapy HERE.