Yoga vs Yoga Therapy – what is the difference? The answer is quite simple: ‘Yoga’ usually refers to a combination of general yoga poses, done with breath and includes stand alone specific breathing exercises along with relaxation or meditation. When applied to children’s yoga, this might also include things like yoga games the use of props, songs, partner work, massages or craft activities.
Yoga Therapy, however, is a specialised form of yoga where we use corrective exercises and specific breathing exercises to target an issue the individual or child is suffering from.
Yoga Therapy works to find the cause of the problem and correct any imbalance that may have manifested within the body or mind.
When working with Yoga Therapy and children this can be a magical experience, because they change fast. An issue that may take an adult to fix over 3 months, like an ovarian cyst, may take a teenager only a few weeks. Digestive issues can clear up overnight, as can bed wetting.
For fast and effective results , a combination of corrective exercises as well as changes in diet will make a huge impact for children. I have seen amazing results. For example, one four year old boy came to see me because of digestive issues, lack of energy, redness around his lips and a constant runny bottom. In fact for 4 years, he hadn’t had many solid stools. I gave him specific yoga therapy exercises to strengthen his large intestine and suggested stopping the foods that would weaken the large intestine function, namely: fruit, sugar and fruit juices. Within one day, this little boy had his first solid poo in years.
Sophie, a beautiful 9 year old girl came to see me for tummy aches and allergies. A general yoga class would have focussed on a range of general yoga poses that hopefully might have targeted her tummy. Using Yoga Therapy, however, I was able to diagnose the issue as an overload of acidic food in her system. However, this wasn’t the main issue. When I asked her questions and diagnosed her tummy and face, I could see a weakening in her kidneys and bladder. Her mum told me that she had problems with bed wetting most of her life. Ah ha! So, I gave her yoga therapy exercises to help her kidneys clean out excess toxins in her little system and exercises to strengthen the bladder function. I recommended adding sea salt to the cooking and eliminating sugar, fruit and eggs. Guess what? That night, she had her first dry night in forever. Her mum told me that the boost in confidence this gave Sophie was priceless.
This is the difference that yoga therapy can make. Instead of working generally or hoping for change, yoga therapy can provide the exact answer that the body needs in order to heal. It is the ability to work with children suffering from asthma, diabetes, digestive issues, back problems and know the exact corrective yoga therapy moves and specific breathing exercises that will help.
Yoga Therapy works just as well with emotional issues and the mind. Children with ADD, Aspergers, Autism, behavioural issues, stress and anxiety also benefit. I have seen a 7 year old boy with severe ADHD lie completely still and calm within 45 mins of a yoga therapy session, another 11 year old boy with behavioural issues find a place of calm inside for the first time ever and a 15 year teen boy with Aspergers enjoy 20 minutes of relaxation in his first ever yoga therapy class.
In the words of Amelia, a 17 year old girl, who suffered from debilitating stress and anxiety during her final year at school, “after yoga I am so happy.”
If you would like to learn more about Yoga Therapy and be able to help yourself, your family and friends and many many little lives, join us at one of the upcoming Yoga Therapy Courses. Hope to see you and share the magic of yoga therapy.