Frequently Asked Questions

What is Yoga Therapy?

What I always say to my clients is that it’s not yoga and it’s not therapy- at least not in the mainstream sense of the words. It’s a curious mix of postures, breathing techniques, mindfulness training, emotional release exercises, assisted self-study, and body-centered therapy techniques that help us become more in-tune with our world & increase mind-body union.

“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga…Yoga therapy is founded on the basic principle that intelligent practice can positively influence the direction of change…implement a self-empowering therapeutic plan appropriate to the client’s needs and oriented around prevention and health promotion” (International Association of Yoga Therapists, 2016).

We tend to live inside our minds nowadays, with our thoughts always racing, ruminating on the past, attempting to predict the future- but life is more beautiful when we learn to live in the here & now. We learn to inhabit the body, listen to our intuition, connect with the present moment, recognize our unconscious behavior & thought patterns, turn off autopilot, and choose to live life in line with our values. The power to choose how we live makes life more fulfilling, real, and whole.

Who is it for?

Yoga therapy is for everyone. While it can be used in conjunction with medicine, psychotherapy, and other treatments to improve various physical & mental health ailments, it’s also used to promote general wellness in the absence of specific conditions. You can benefit from yoga therapy no matter what your current state of health looks like. The goal is to promote general well-being, build skills and knowledge for self-efficacy, and provide you with an extra level of support in your everyday life.

However, I specialize in yoga therapy as a means of promoting mental wellness. In many cases, I do not accept clients who are seeking help with a physical condition. This is because my trainings focus on yoga therapy for mental health. Contact me to learn more.

Why Yoga Therapy?

Yoga therapy is an evidence-based practice for improving mental and physical health & wellness. Yoga helps to release pent up emotions and memories, improves metabolic functioning, and can improve your attitude towards life.

Yoga therapy is beneficial for everyone, regardless of health status, because it:

  • Promotes mindfulness, which slows down the mind, decreases stress, and improves mood
  • Increases circulation & improves cellular functioning
  • Increases immune function through lymphatic pumping
  • Enhances mind-body communication, which promotes physical & mental well-being, supports appropriate proprioceptive processing, improves coordination & balance, & more
  • Increases own ability to regulate autonomic nervous system functions
  • Promotes proper heart function through cardio workouts & increased CO2 tolerance (retention & suspension training)
  • Increases strength & flexibility through physical asana
  • Acts as a moving meditation practice which relaxes the body & mind
  • … & So much more!
Show me the evidence!

You got it! There have been hundreds of studies conducted on the efficacy of yoga for numerous mental & physical diseases. Yoga has been proven to improve conditions related to heart problems, cancer, insomnia, diabetes, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, autoimmune disorders, PTSD, and other metabolic dysfunctions. Here are some studies & further readings that you can check out:

  • Chandwani, K. D., Thornton, B., Perkins, G. H., Arun, B., Raghuram, N. V., Nagendra, H. R., Wei, Q., & Cohen, L. (2010). Yoga improves quality of life and benefit finding in women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 8(2), 43–55.
  • Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Christian, L. M., Andridge, R., Hwang, B. S., Malarkey, W. B., Belury, M. A., Emery, C. F., & Glaser, R. (2012). Adiponectin, leptin, and yoga practice. Physiology & Behavior, 107(5), 809–813.
  • The Body Keeps the Score – Bessel van der Kolk
  • Yoga Skills for Therapists – Amy Weintraub
  • Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness – Donna Farhi

World-renowned trauma researcher, doctor, and scholar Bessel van der Kolk says he will not treat patients who are not involved in yoga as a conjoint therapy, because he believes yoga to be essential to healing trauma. Check out his take on yoga therapy:

How do sessions work?

Individual Sessions

Individual yoga therapy begins with a holistic health assessment. Together, we map out your needs, goals, and means of working towards your goals. We’ll start by exploring what prompted you to seek out yoga therapy & what you hope to gain from starting a regimen. The modalities we use in yoga therapy range from mindfulness, breathing techniques, physical & mental exercises, visualization & meditation, nerve flossing, educational activities, progressive relaxation, emotional regulation skills, & body-centered therapy techniques. In session, we engage in silent, mindful self-study in order to bring perpetual, unconscious habits to the conscious realm.

Most importantly, we build an at-home regimen to compliment in-session work, which is designed to promote wellness in all areas of your life.

Group Classes

In groups, we progress through a set curriculum that is tailored to apply to each participant’s presenting concerns. In order to maintain confidentiality of each individual, we do not discuss individual health conditions openly, although we might cover them in general terms. For example, a group member experiencing anxiety might indicate this information in their confidential intake form, and so anxiety might be one of the weekly class topics covered. However, this member would not be asked to speak openly about their anxiety in the group setting.

General classes cover the following topics, including but not limited to: anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, &/or stress management, to name a few. In this context, yoga therapy is not directed as a prescribed medicinal treatment for these ailments; rather, I try to offer a yogic perspective on how to improve quality of life while living with these conditions.

Sometimes, I offer 4-12 week classes on a specialized topic (for example, a 6 week class focusing solely on depression). I try to collect feedback and tailor the content to the wants and needs of interested participants. Simply contact me to request a topic!

We build skills pertaining to affect regulation through breath, trauma releasing exercises, titration & pendulation, and mind-body conjoining exercises. Mindfulness is central to every session, so mindfulness skills are always the first topic covered & the main group of skills we refer back to.

Where are you located?

All classes are facilitated via an online platform (Zoom).

If you live in Toronto and would like to have sessions in a public park or beach, contact me.

How is Yoga Therapy Regulated?

Yoga therapy is unregulated in the U.S. and Canada, meaning there are no government laws & policies dictating standards of education and practice for this modality. There are some independent regulatory bodies, such as the International Alliance of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), who provide formal trainings, professional networks, and guiding regulatory standards for yoga therapists who choose to train under their programming. The title ‘Yoga Therapist’ often denotes someone who is certified by the IAYT, but not always. I do not identify as an IAYT yoga therapist, but rather, I identify as a yoga teacher with additional trainings in yoga therapy, as well as a background in clinical applications of yoga, and I use this experience to inform my practice of yoga therapy. Another name for this kind of personalization of yoga & therapeutic yogic techniques is viniyoga. Training in the viniyoga tradition (Krishnamaracharya lineage) can also constitute yoga therapy education. In all, yoga therapy is not delineated by one single educational path, nor is it officially regulated by a state body; it is up to each practitioner to be open and honest about their lineage, type of formal training, and comfort level working 1-on-1 with clients in a yoga therapy capacity.

What are your credentials?

I am an advanced yoga teacher (CYT-500) with additional trainings in yoga therapy for anxiety, clinical yoga applications, and trauma-informed yoga. I am a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher, but I am not a C-IAYT yoga therapist; IAYT yoga therapy is one of several different certification bodies, and there is no universal regulatory body that accredits yoga therapists. Since yoga therapy is a new and emerging field, it is important to understand the background of the practitioner you choose to work with, because there are no universal standards that all yoga therapists must adhere to in the U.S. & Canada.

Why are sessions so low-cost?

There are a few reasons why I can manage to keep costs low. Firstly, all sessions take place virtually, so I don’t need to rent a studio space. I am also a sole-proprietorship, which means I work alone and don’t incur as many business liabilities. Thankfully, I have the latitude to be able to work around these operating costs, which helps align services with my hope of making yoga and yoga therapy more accessible to everyone.

How can I book a session?

Contact me to have a conversation about whether yoga therapy is right for you and whether I’m the right practitioner to help.