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Yoga Therapy

What is Yoga?

Yoga is not a particular denomination or religion, but an age-old practice based on a harmonising system for the body, mind, and spirit to attain inner peace and liberation. Yoga is a tool that can deepen and benefit anyone, of any religion. It does not conflict with personal beliefs; it is simply a vehicle to help one transform oneself by promoting conscious connection with oneself, the world, and the highest truth.

Within the past decade, yoga has infiltrated not only Western culture, but also Western medicine. The more we learn about this ancient practice, the more we realize that its benefits go far beyond increased flexibility and muscle tone. A common misunderstanding is that yoga predominantly focuses on increasing flexibility; however, although Hatha Yoga, or the physical practice of yoga, does emphasize appropriate postural alignment, musculoskeletal strength and endurance as well as balance, the study and practice of yoga incorporates mindfulness-based practices such as mindful breathing techniques, focused concentration, meditation and self-reflection.

Yoga as a Therapy

Yoga Therapy is the dynamic state of physical and mental ease, coupled with spiritual well-being.

Yoga Therapy is the use of yoga practices for the prevention and treatment of medical conditions. Beyond the physical elements of yoga, which are important and effective for strengthening the body, Yoga Therapy also incorporates appropriate breathing techniquesmindfulness, and meditation in order to achieve the maximum benefits.

Multiple studies have shown that yoga can positively impact the body in many ways, including helping to regulate blood glucose levels, improve musculoskeletal ailments and keeping the cardiovascular system in tune. It also has been shown to have important psychological benefits, as the practice of yoga can help to increase mental energy and positive feelings, and decrease negative feelings of aggressiveness, depression and anxiety.

The Impact of Yoga Practices on the Body

Yoga-based practices of postures (asanas) and movement sequences are usually taught in conjunction with some type of breathing and/or meditation techniques. This type of mindful movement with slow, rhythmic breathing is more likely to promote parasympathetic and vagal tone compared to other forms of exercise.

Improved vagal tone is reflected by increased heart rate variability, which is the variation in the time interval between heartbeats. This physiologic phenomenon can be predictive of how readily the heart rate returns to normal, or quiets down, after increasing in response to a stressor. Increased HRV with high frequency activity is associated with increased parasympathetic activity.

Yoga practices can increase multiple neurotransmitters and hormones such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine—all natural anti-depressants. They have been shown to increase levels of melatonin, helping to initiate sleep, improving sleep quality and sleep regulation, as well as increasing levels of oxytocin, the “bonding hormone”, thus helping with feelings of connectedness and “being seen and heard”.

Yoga at Wellness on Alon

At Wellness on Alon, Yoga therapy is an individualised, personalised and holistic approach that takes into account not only the patient’s mind, body and spirit, but also their family, support network, work situation, and culture, as part of the patient’s individualised treatment plan.

As an example, if one is diagnosed with anxiety, a physician trained in Yoga Therapy may prescribe specific breathing techniques calming postures, mindfulness-based practices and/or meditation, as well as other lifestyle guidance. The mindfulness and meditation aspects of yoga are ways of training the mind so that one is not distracted and caught up in its endless churning thought stream. These practices build resilience, help the patient cope with stress and manage potential triggers for anxiety. They can also promote self-reflection that may uncover the source(s) of one’s anxiety.

Meet the Therapists

At Wellness on Alon our Yoga Team are skilled as they are colourful. Their strong yet gentle approach to yoga and life make them inspiring yogis. Our therapists often host full day and destination retreats. Book an individual session or go to our Events What’s on page and try a Group class and see information for upcoming retreats.

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