Therapeutic Yoga classes can be a valuable part of a Yoga Therapy practice because they offer a group environment that is more therapeutic in nature than a general yoga class but are more financially accessible than a one-on-one yoga therapy consultation.
While all general yoga classes have the potential to be therapeutic in nature, Therapeutic Yoga classes are more targeted to those with specific health concerns and who might find it difficult to attend a general class.
There are two major types of Therapeutic Yoga classes:
Therapeutic Yoga for Clients with a specific health condition.
In these classes, there is a focus on a single, common condition or concern, such as anxiety, cancer or back pain. The class can then be an exploration of particular yoga practices most relevant to and effective for that condition. Health conditions are often very complex in their effects on the mind and body. So these classes allow a Yoga Therapist to specialise in a particular condition and gain in-depth knowledge and experience about the condition, the range of treatments available and how to best apply Yoga Therapy.
Therapeutic Yoga for Clients with a range of different health concerns.
Alternatively, you may design a class for people who have a range of different health concerns that prevent them from participating in a regular yoga class may be due to an illness or injury. These types of Therapeutic Yoga classes can be more challenging as the Yoga Therapist will need to juggle very different needs and abilities. While this type of open class may be broad and universal in nature, there are obviously some aspects that will have to be individualised. For example, some people may be able to get on to a mat, while others need to remain seated, or some people may need specific physical work, while others need psychological-based practices.
Where you run your classes from may also impact on its structure.
• Private Studio Classes. Privately run classes allow more opportunity for a Yoga Therapist to take medical histories and develop individualised programs and make individual case notes after each class.
• In-house Classes. It is becoming more common for health/wellbeing organisations to offer yoga to their patients/clients, for example in-patient or out-patient clinics at hospitals dealing with specific conditions such as anxiety, trauma or breast cancer or clinics for those with addictions. These classes are often more informal, may include drop-ins and have a constant flow of different people in the classes. In these circumstances it is not always possible to take detailed medical histories, develop comprehensive case notes or even develop a sequential type of program.
In all these cases therapeutic group skills are crucial as you may be working with vulnerable people with increased needs relative to the general population.
The establishment of Therapeutic Yoga classes in the community offers people a wider range of yoga and wellness options and is an important step in engaging the broader medical/healthcare community in the recognition of Yoga Therapy as a valuable healthcare modality.