Yoga Therapy is quite a new term and is pretty often confused with Yoga Classes. There have been many times that I have had to explain the difference between the two since I began my Yoga Therapy training in March 2018. I thought writing a few words about it would be helpful for those who aren't sure which would be more beneficial for them. Group yoga classes in yoga studios, health clubs, gyms, community centers, etc. usually consist of yogic postures called Asana, as well as some breathing and relaxation. Breathing exercises called Pranayama can be either incorporated into the movement like for instance in Vinyasa style of yoga or be a separate segment of the class, like in some more classical Hatha Yoga styles. Relaxation, shorter or longer in some cases you will find between the postures, or sometimes just at the end of the class, you will be guided into a pose called Savasana. Depending on the style and teacher, some yoga classes are more energetic and workout-like, while others are slower and more restorative. Some are more alignment oriented; others allow more prolonged and deeper stretches. How is Yoga Therapy different than all these styles and classes? Firstly, a Yoga Therapist, most of the time, works with their clients in private sessions. This way, they can address the specific needs of the client, which is impossible during group classes. The Yoga Therapist incorporates a wide range of yogic techniques like breathing and movement, meditation, and philosophy to teach the client how they can help themselves feel better. Yoga therapy is a holistic modality that helps to improve health and alleviate suffering. It works as a complementary therapy together with traditional western medicine and other more mainstream treatments. Often, when physical therapy or mental health medications aren't fully solving the problem, yoga therapy can help.
Yoga therapy can help in such issues as back pain, some postural misalignments, sciatica, scoliosis, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, PTSD, depression, and many others. My colleague, Joe Simek, compiled a table that may help you in deciding whether yoga classes or private Yoga Therapy sessions would be more beneficial for you.