Written by Rebekah Debono
Rebekah is a CIBTAC qualified holistic therapist. She specializes in Aromatherapy, Reiki, Stress Relief Meditation, Body Massage and Muscle Manipulation. She is a Yoga Alliance qualified, Yoga Therapy & Alignment teacher & practitioner. As an innovative entrepreneur, Rebekah has cultivated many experiences over the last 12 years as a freelance practitioner. These have magnified into the creation of Rhiyz and the Yoga Therapy & Alignment sessions which she offers daily.
Rhiyz stands for Restorative Holistic Integrated Yoga Zone and is a homonym of the word Rise – which matches the holistic vision of attaining new heights, despite one’s age and physical ability.
Yoga Therapy vs Yoga Class – What’s the difference?
Yoga is an ancient practice of harmonizing the physical body, the breath and the mind, using postures, breathing and mindfulness, according to references made by the Yoga Sutras of Patangali and Ayurvedic contexts related to Yoga in the 20th Century.
As a hands on practice, it is a process of self discovery.
Yoga therapy is a process of one’s empowerment through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga, thus enhancing health and wellness …. sounds just like Yoga right?
So, what exactly makes them different?
As a matter of fact, Yoga & Yoga Therapy seem similar and sound similar too.
Although all Yoga is therapeutic to some extent, not all teachers, classes or practices could be considered Yoga therapy.
The most relevant distinction lies within the application of the technique of Yoga, the understanding of a specific issue, the experience and locating the matter to alleviate, whether physical, emotional or transcendental.
Still all sounds a bit same same…
Well, aside from the educational organizations that define their differences within the YA (Yoga Alliance) and with reference to their definitions, there are skill sets where the mat meets the floor.
According to the IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapy), with reference to their definitions, the role of a Yoga therapist is founded on a different focus, a diverse education and an alternative set of skills. Furthermore, although a Yoga therapist can also be a Yoga teacher the roles are specific and cannot be swapped.
So, what’s in a term; session & class, don’t I reap the same benefits?
According to a recent article by Gary Kraftsow which caused quite a stir in the Yoga community.
Yoga classes are as a standard more about the transmission of methodology and education while, Yoga Therapy sessions are geared more into healing and the treatment of conditions.
This distinction also lies within what clients seek. There are hundreds of reasons one searches for Yoga.
In general, the public, view Yoga as a form of exercise, some come to understand it is more than that and explore more of its perspectives to establish a deeper practice.
Regardless, self empowerment is assured.
Those seeking Yoga as a therapeutic tool, are usually in search of relief from a symptom or a condition, like for example, a client or a small group might be hindered by insomnia issues related to being highly stressed or due to other stress related conditions (resulting from illness, medication, environmental or personal), in which case the Yoga techniques or methods assigned, improve their function and make them feel better.
Teacher vs Therapist?
Yoga teaching styles may vary greatly on a global level according to references in line with the RYTA (Registered Yoga Teachers Association), instructions have a purpose within guidance and assistance on posture, breath and mindfulness and can also be educational, thus empowering students practice.
The target focus of a Yoga therapist is the application of energy on their clients. Through a consultation the client’s needs are located and understood. The therapist supports the client by listening, questioning, observing and through physical contact. A tailor-made yoga practice is then developed and attainable goals are highlighted. All of this being in line with the professionals’ qualifications to manage the administration of therapeutic benefits to the client.
So will I benefit from both Yoga classes and Yoga therapy sessions?
All in all, due to the therapeutic potential and nature of Yoga with reference to many articles, experienced professionals & Yoga journals in recent years, no matter what type of session or class one chooses, one stands to receive a multitude of encompassing benefits.
The distinctions between Yoga Therapy sessions and Yoga classes are subtle and also relative to the intentions of students and clients and needs alike. So, essentially, clarity when seeking a Yoga professional is also integral.
Briefly, both Yoga therapy & Yoga are gilt-edged professions.
Those who seek any Yoga practice, can only benefit of what they stand to receive through its practice and inclusion in their everyday life, this in accordance with its wholesome transmission by a professional within the field as a complementary tool to Rhiyz onwards and upwards beyond any limitation.