Yoga therapy meets people where they are, connecting them to their own innate healing potential. Yoga therapy clients report experiencing improved mood, decreased stress and chronic pain, and more. See a sample list of research articles on yoga therapy and yoga.
One mechanism researchers have uncovered is yoga’s ability to affect the nervous system by improving our ability to self-regulate. The practice uses methods that work via both the mind and the body, known in research as top-down and bottom-up regulation. Put simply, top-down regulation uses cognitive tools like meditation and ethical inquiry to affect the state of the body, whereas bottom-up regulation uses the body itself, through movement and breathing techniques, to change the state of the nervous system and to affect thoughts and emotions.
In short, the practice of yoga equips us with a comprehensive toolkit to help support regulation and resilience in the mind-body system. Yoga therapy is the specific use of these tools by a trained practitioner.
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- Chronic pain, including low-back pain, arthritis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and other types of pain such as that associated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Mental health, including concerns like anxiety, depression, trauma and PTSD, insomnia, and others
- Neurological issues and complications of stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Support for illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
- Overall well-being (you don’t need to be sick or in pain for yoga therapy to have value!) and healthy aging