What started out as being seen as an esoteric practice that was relegated to the hippie generation (and later defined as the sport of the affluent), yoga is now a force in the world of complementary therapy. Where the Chiropractic discipline once tread is now the stomping ground of yoga and yoga therapy (as well as meditation). Despite the fact that more and more people afflicted with stress-related illnesses are flocking to yoga to help with managing the symptoms of these illnesses, there are still questions swirling about the realm of yoga therapy. How is it defined? What does it mean? What should a yoga therapy training program look like?
The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) has been struggling to define yoga therapy for some time now. Just recently they released an overview of their efforts to support the development of standards of training for yoga therapists. This is reminiscent of the development of standards for massage therapy training. The question is — will yoga follow the way of massage therapy?
Regardless of the future of yoga therapy definitions and training guidelines, I’m heartened to see more people turning to yoga to as a complement to their medical treatments. If you’re a yoga teacher who is being approached by your students to assist them with healing or if you’re a yoga student who wants to transition your practice to a more healing one or if you’re someone suffering from an illness and are interested in yoga as complementary therapy, here are a few interesting resources:
- The Urban Zen Yoga Therapy Training Program is putting yoga in the hospitals. 2009 is the inaugural year of this training program. Click here to read about how the trainees of this one-of-a-kind program are faring in the hospital system.
- Meditations for dealing with chronic illness — the folks over at YogaBear offer a number of short but powerful downloadable MP3 meditations that can help one deal with pain, find hope in a cancer diagnosis, and decide on a treatment plan. Click here for the YogaBear podcast page.
- Yoga and the laws of complementary medicine — if you’re curious about how yoga fits into the laws of complementary medicine, check out this excellent blog covering a wide variety of topics relating to yoga.
I think the next 10 years are going to be interesting ones in terms of public acceptance and use of yoga and meditation as a complementary therapy. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves. Until things are more set in stone, I’m rounding out my training as best I can so that I feel competent to work with folks in a therapeutic way. It’s exciting to be involved in a movement that’s bringing therapeutic yoga to the masses.