Yoga Therapy could be called a system of health care that helps treat human indispositions as naturally as possible, to alleviate pain and suffering through set of exercises, both physical and mental. Ideally, yoga therapy is preventive in nature, as is Yoga itself, while being curative in many instances, soothing in others, and restorative in most.
Yoga therapy is of modern denomination and represents man’s first attempt to combine age-old concepts and techniques with contemporary medical and psychological know-how. So, where traditional Yoga was primarily concerned with spiritual transcendence, yoga therapy aims at holistic treatment of a variety of psychological or psychosomatic disorders ranging from sinusitis and asthma to emotional distress.
On a psychological level, the introspection promoted by yoga is essential to the self-knowledge process that fuels psychic transformation. The different relaxation techniques allow the troubled mind to calm and decrease its activity while promoting stability. Yoga considers the psyche to be spread in different centers along the body (chakras). Each related to a nervous plexus, an endocrine gland, an organ or group of organs and specific psychic qualities. By acting upon the chakras, yoga brings light to any psychic blockages, making them available to the conscious mind. The modern western correlate of this scheme is in the core of psycho-neuroimmunology, a branch of psychology that studies the interaction between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems, explaining some of the subtle mechanisms of psychosomatic medicine.
The following is a list of tentative definitions of Yoga Therapy by the International Association of Yoga Therapy:
Yoga therapy, derived from the Yoga tradition of Patanjali and the Ayurvedic system of health care refers to the adaptation and application of Yoga techniques and practices to help individuals facing health challenges at any level manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality, and improve attitude.
-American Viniyoga Institute Gary Kraftsow
Yoga therapy is that facet of the ancient science of Yoga that focuses on health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, psychological, and spiritual. Yoga therapy focuses on the path of Yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to the body and mind through an experiential understanding of the primary intention of Yoga: awakening of Spirit, our essential nature.
-Integrative Yoga Therapy (U.S.A.) Joseph LePage, M.A.
Yoga therapy adapts the practice of Yoga to the needs of people with specific or persistent health problems not usually addressed in a group class.
-Samata Yoga Center (U.S.A.) Larry Payne, Ph.D.
Yoga therapy is the use of the techniques of Yoga to create, stimulate, and maintain an optimum state of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.