Accessible yoga, yoga therapy, & building a universal practice

Certified yoga therapist Steffany Moonaz, PhD, C-IAYT, discusses the distinctions between yoga therapy and accessible yoga, both of which can help a range of people experience yoga’s therapeutic potential:

“It is sometimes said that all yoga is therapeutic—and I would agree…when it is actually yoga. Which means that it must be practiced mindfully, in unification, and without harming oneself.” (Unification here refers to union among body, mind, and spirit.) It’s worth remembering that, “just because all yoga can be therapeutic does not mean that all yoga is yoga therapy.”

Accessible Yoga, on the other hand, describes itself as an “organization dedicated to sharing yoga with everyone.” It’s also simply the idea of making yogic practices as widely available and inclusive as possible. As Moonaz puts it, “The accessible yoga movement aims to make yoga more accessible to populations that may have previously felt excluded because of size, age, race, ethnicity, ability, language, income, zip code, gender, sexual orientation, clinical diagnosis, and the like.”

She continues, “Some people come to yoga for exercise, some for stress reduction, some for peace of mind, and some for transcendent bliss. Those individuals may be relatively healthy, or they may be chronically or acutely ill. And some people seek yoga in order to better manage the symptoms and challenges of chronic or acute conditions. They may want to attend general yoga classes that are accessible for people with limitations or challenges. Or they may want to work with a yoga therapist for a specific, individualized, focused approach.”

Read the entire article here.