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  • Writer's pictureDebbie McCulloch Hopkins

What is Yoga Therapy?

And how does it work?

Yoga therapy combines ancient yoga tools and philosophy with current biomedical research to develop self-empowering, practical individualized plans of care for balancing emotional and physical needs. These tools are designed to build inner body awareness, physical strength, and stability, while cultivating emotional resilience that

can maintain and optimize health and well-being.

The expanding body of peer-reviewed research demonstrates that therapeutic yoga helps relieve symptoms of many health conditions, including muscular-skeletal pain, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, asthma, COPD, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune disorders, anxiety, depression, insomnia, grief, and trauma. 

As a team we start right where you are, be it a physical or emotional condition, or injury rehab. I will offer you postures, movement, breath-work, and other yogic tools such as mindfulness that may or may not resonate with you. This is where inquiry begins. There is no prior yoga experience required. What is required? Providing me with your full health history, current issues of concern, sharing your health goals with me, plus the will to explore your mind/body/spirit through self-curiosity.

After an initial physical assessment to understand your strength, stability, flexibility, posture, and balance, we will discuss how current problems may be impacting your quality of life. This will better help me craft a plan of care tailored to meet your unique needs.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists have developed a professional code of ethics delineating scope of practice. As a yoga therapist I don’t have all the answers and may feel the need to refer you to another yoga therapist or practitioner who specializes in your particular health condition.

Your safety is of the upmost importance to me. If there is any question in regards to your medical health treatments related to medications, weight bearing, or range of motion that may be contraindicated with the practices of yoga therapy, with your written permission, I will reach out to your health care provider or physical therapist for clarification. Your yoga therapist is here to successfully co-manage your care.

You’ve got one body and you have chosen to seek relief with the help of a yoga therapist.

After each session you will go home with a list of postures, breathing exercises and other yogic practices that will introduce you to some of the many different styles of movement, breath-work and meditations. Your homework is designed to help identify the best fit for your lifestyle and becomes part of your ongoing healing process, that is if you practice. Upon subsequent visits you will notice that yoga therapy works best when there is full and honest team communication describing the physical and emotional responses formed by your plan, where then together we can decide to modify or advance it as tolerated. Together we will help you live your best life.


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