Yoga Therapy &
Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT
What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga Therapy is a holistic health treatment that uses the ancient techniques of yoga to create optimum health. Yoga therapy draws knowledge from both modern western health care and traditional eastern concepts of health. The central focus of Yoga Therapy is to empower you to take an active role in your own healing journey.
The sessions are conducted one-on-one with a Yoga Therapist so that your individual health concerns can be addressed on all levels:
Treatment is focused on fostering independence with your health routine and building a home yoga practice that will help you to reach your goals. Consistent daily practice of your therapeutic yoga program is essential to the success of the treatment.
An important aspect of Yoga Therapy is Relaxation Training. Stress has been found to increase the incidence of health conditions; therefore any therapeutic practice should encompass stress management. These techniques may include: Deep Breathing, Guided Relaxation, Yoga Nidra, Visualization, Reiki, Mindfulness, Autogenics, Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Laura uses several different models of evaluation during her Yoga Therapy sessions. These systems include the 5 Kosha system and Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. See below for more information on these systems.
Yoga Therapy is Designed To:
- Decrease & manage symptoms
- Address the cause of symptoms
- Support the body's natural ability to heal
- Cope with symptoms that cannot be cured
- Cultivate an attitude of self care
- Improve self-awareness and monitoring your health
-Establish a balanced daily routine to avoid creating or increasing dis-ease in the body
What is a Yoga Therapist?
A Yoga Therapist starts as a yoga teacher, then goes through an additional 1,000 hours of specialized training. This includes anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, physical conditions, mental health conditions and the therapeutic application of yoga to bring the individual back into balance.
What Conditions benefit from Yoga Therapy?
Orthopedic, neurological, autoimmune, mental health and emotional conditions including, but not limited to:
Back Pain, Joint Pain, Arthritis
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Grieving
Post Traumatic Stress, Insomnia
Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain
Brain Injury, Attention Deficit Disorder
Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis
Addiction, Eating Disorders
Weight Management, Obesity
Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure
Endocrine & Thyroid Conditions
Yoga Practice Modification:
Yoga Therapy sessions are ideal for training seasoned yoga practitioners to modify their practice to accommodate new injuries. It is possible to modify the way that you do poses so that you can continue to practice yoga without aggravating these conditions.
- Herniated disks
- Rotator cuff tears
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Meniscus tear
- Tennis elbow
What Should I expect during the Sessions?
Evaluation: (60-90 minutes) The first session will be used to go over your intake form to understand all aspects of your health. Bring the completed form with you and you can review any sections you are unsure of with the therapist. The Evaluation will then involve some basic assessments of your movements, posture, flexibility, strength, balance and breathing patterns.
Treatment: (60 minutes) the second session will begin your treatment. The session will be specially designed based on the findings in the evaluation and your own personal goals. The purpose of the Yoga Therapy treatment session is to create a daily practice for you to do at home. The practice will vary from 10 minutes to an hour long, and it will be done 1-2x each day. Consistency of practice is the key to success in Yoga Therapy. 2-3 treatment sessions will be used to establish your home program. Treatment may continue for as many sessions as you feel are beneficial.
Follow up Treatment: Once you are independent with your daily home yoga practice you will continue on your own for a few weeks. When you feel that you are ready for an upgraded practice you can return for another Yoga Therapy session. The Therapist will evaluate how you are doing and what needs to be added or modified to update your home program. This may consist of 1-2 visits each month depending on your needs.
The End Result: Once you are comfortable with what is safe and appropriate for you to practice it is possible to transition into a group class. You will use your training from Yoga Therapy to modify the group class to meet your needs with support of the teacher. In addition to group class you will have various home programs that you can follow based on how you are feeling that day.
- Wear comfortable clothing & bring a water bottle
- Be prepared to take off shoes and be barefoot if possible
- Use the bathroom before the session starts
- Avoid eating right before a yoga session
90 minute session: $95
60 minute session: $65
4 session package: 10% off
Coming soon: Skype Sessions
What are the “Tools” of Yoga Therapy?
Your Yoga Therapist will create a program using the “Tools” of Yoga Therapy, based on what you want to work on during your treatment sessions. The wide variety of techniques used in treatment make Yoga Therapy a truly holistic system.
1. yoga postures and stretching with the use of props
2. assisted stretching, Thai massage and hands on adjustments
3. deep breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques
4. balance training
5. strength and stabilization exercises
6. coping strategies & gratitude training
7. journaling, affirmations, mantras
8. changes to your daily schedule and dietary habits
9. positive psychology and cognitive retraining
10. energy techniques
11. sound therapy
13. self-massage techniques
During the treatment sessions your Yoga Therapist will use various props. These props can either help to make some poses easier, or to increase the challenge. Props include:
- yoga blocks
- Kneeling pads
- The wall
- Yoga strap
- Yoga blankets
- Ballet bar
- Stall bars
- Suspension training straps
- Wrist wedge
- Foam roller
- Tennis balls
What You Should Know About Yoga:
- No Yoga Experience Needed – the one-on-one sessions are great for beginners
- You Do Not Have to be "Flexible" – your program will be adapted to whatever your current physical abilities are
- You Do Not Have to Get on the Floor – Programs can be modified to be performed in a chair or on a raised mat.
- Yoga Isnt Always About doing "Poses" – Relaxation techniques, meditation and deep breathing are central parts of a yoga therapy program if physical conditions prevent you from practicing yoga postures
- Adaptations for any Health Condition – Yoga therapy uses props to make each pose or technique accessible working around your restrictions
- Adjunct to Traditional Treatments- You are encouraged to continue seeking traditional treatment while adding Yoga Therapy to your health routine
Yoga Therapy at the Wall:
Laura’s specialty as a Yoga Therapist includes the use of a wall to enhance body awareness and alignment. The wall is a valuable tool when working on postural training, balance training and stabilization. Like many props, the wall can be used to make some poses easier or to increase the challenge of a pose. Laura’s book, “Yoga Therapy at the Wall” will be released in 2017.
8 Limbs of Yoga:
The term “yoga” is a broad concept that encompaces a large scope of traditions, teachers and practices. There are 8 main aspects to a complete yoga practice that are utilized in Yoga Therapy to create a holistic treatment system. These 8 limbs are:
- Yamas: guidelines for personal conduct and morality
- Niyamas: observances for proper behavior in the world
- Asanas: postures performed with the body to maintain physical health
- Pranayama: breathing exercises
- Pratyahara: control of the senses
- Dharana: concentration, inner awareness
- Dhyana: devotion, service
- Samadhi: union or connection with all things
Types of Yoga:
Over the 5,000 year history of yoga there have been many different types of practices that formed. These schools of yoga each have a unique focus, specific techniques and movements that they employ. In yoga therapy techniques are used from various forms of yoga to achieve the desired effect. These can include:
- Iyengar Yoga: use of props to enhance awareness of alignment and safe movement
- Vinyasa yoga: continuous flowing movements linked with breath
- Kundalini Yoga: strong sets of movements (kriyas) to increase energy
- Viniyoga: a gentle form of therapeutically based movement with focus on breathing
- Yin Yoga: poses are held for 3-5 minutes for deep stretching of soft tissue
- Restorative Yoga: floor poses using props for a deeply relaxing experience
- Chair Yoga: performed seated or standing using a chair for support
Ayurveda: The Sister Science to Yoga:
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. It works on the basic principle that our daily habits, diet and activities can be used to keep the body in balance. When something is out of balance the result is disease in one of the layers of our body.
The Ayurvedic system believes that people are comprised of three different doshas. A dosha is a group of characteristics that are present in varying levels from person to person. Our dosha is what makes us prone to a particular body type, to prefer certain foods and to have a specific sleep pattern. Since we all have different combinations of doshas what is healthy for one person may put another person out of balance. It is essential to understand your personal dosha composition so that information can be used to bring you to optimum balance. A detailed questionnaire can be used to determine what your dosha composition is and where you may be out of balance. This will be included with your Yoga Therapy intake form.
The three Doshas are:
Vatta: Thin build, creative, dreamer, tendency to anxiety and inattention
Pitta: Medium build, motivated, tendency to frustration and anger
Kapha: Larger build, calm, stable, tendency to fatigue and depression
The 5 Koshas: A system to Understand our Health:
In the Kosha system the body is seen as having 5 layers around our soul. Each of those layers represents an aspect of our existence that can be healthy or out of balance. An imbalance on one layer will impact all of the other layers, therefore it is important that any therapeutic program address all layers. You will notice that the intake for Yoga Therapy will touch on all of these areas.
Kosha 1: Physical Body
Kosha 2: Energetic Body
Kosha 3: The Mind
Kosha 4: Our Inner Wisdom/ Intuition
Kosha 5: Our Bliss/ Inner Happiness
The Center: True Self/ the Soul
For more information about Yoga Therapy or to make an appointment contact Body in Balance: 609-365-8499