Yoga Therapy for Health & Wellbeing
Second Nature Yoga Therapy™ takes a broad perspective on health and healing, addressing not only the more obvious physical issues but also underlying factors which affect health and wellbeing such as habitual movement patterns, lifestyle choices, stress and anxiety, and mental outlook. Yoga Therapy sessions provide personalized therapy to heal or recover, and offer a lifelong means of self-care. With guidance from a yoga therapist, yoga is safe, gentle, and appropriate for a range of health challenges and life challenges. We endeavor to make yoga therapy sessions accessible to all—yoga therapy is offered in-home in Bloomington Indiana, Indianapolis and local areas.
Supportive, long-term yoga therapy programs are provided by a C-IAYT yoga therapist specializing in yoga therapy for neurological conditions and movement disorders, therapeutic rehabilitation, chronic pain management, and disability. Yoga therapy is wonderfully versatile and adaptable: Its effects may be readily appreciated whether able, less able, or confined to a wheelchair or bed. Regardless of your perceived abilities or inabilities, we would like you to experience the subtle and sometimes dramatic effects of yoga therapy, both in body and sense of wellbeing.
Therapeutic yoga is a means to create a positive change not only in the physical body, but by improving overall quality of life. Yoga therapy, or Yoga Cikitsa in historical context, is unlike physical therapy in that it is not solely based upon the 'doing' of techniques and exercises, or 'fixing' a specific issue—instead, a person is viewed as a whole. It is both an integrative and holistic approach to overall health, known as Svastha in Ayurveda. For some clients, yoga becomes "second nature"—an acquired, deeply ingrained habit, characteristic or skill, so deeply fixed as to seem part of a person's nature.
The therapeutic benefits of yoga and increased mental awareness gained in practicing yoga on a regular basis are well documented: alleviating or managing chronic pain, reducing side-effects of cancer treatment and supporting recovery, restoring or maintaining range of motion, improving balance or easing rigidity and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's. With regular sessions and a self-care practice, yoga has been shown to be beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety, as well as lowering blood pressure and improving sleep.
Sessions are tailored to the individual and are highly customized to the client's therapeutic needs, physical ability and current circumstances. Clients complete an initial, comprehensive intake session including medical history, physical assessment, mental and emotional outlook, lifestyle habits, and substantial discussion and question-answer time in order to better understand each person as a whole. Going forward, clients follow up with the yoga therapist after each session, as well as discussing the effects and perceptions of the previous session(s) and independent self-practice.
Yoga Therapy for Neurological Conditions
We specialize in NeuroSupportive Yoga Therapy™. Neurological conditions and movement disorders present long-term challenges that often surpass the reach of conventional therapeutic intervention. Symptoms are varied and unpredictable, ranging from imperceptible to profound, and may include cognitive impairment, gait disturbances, vision disturbances, chronic pain, muscular weakness, joint contracture and muscle spasticity, abnormal sensations (paresthesias), and depression or severe anxiety. Clients living with multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's (PD), cerebral palsy (CP), ALS, Huntington's (HD), partial paralysis, epilepsy, or with neurological impairment or deficit due to injury or stroke receive long-term therapy from an experienced C-IAYT yoga therapist rather than intermittent, short-term courses of therapy from various providers. This ensures that each session builds upon the next, providing a continuum of care and support. Simplicity and personalized therapy are key, with an eye to improving or sustaining day-to-day wellbeing and quality of life. NeuroSupportive Yoga Therapy™ is provided in-home in Bloomington and the Indianapolis area in hopes of offering ease of access to therapy while easing issues related to fatigue and mobility.
Yoga Therapy for Chronic Pain
Yoga Therapy may ease, or help in the management of, chronic pain due to injury or long-term health conditions. A study supported by the National Institute of Health NCCAM showed markedly positive effects of a regular yoga practice on pain perception and tolerance, as well as improved pain coping mechanisms. Anxiety and stress can significantly contribute to chronic pain through holding patterns and physiological and emotional changes associated with long-term caregiving, trauma, unresolved pain issues after injury or surgery, or unaddressed consequences of living with neurological conditions.
Regular sessions and commitment are necessary in order to maintain long-term benefits; however, yoga therapy can be a significant part of pain management when turning to non-pharmaceutical interventions. According to a national analysis of pain by the National Institute of Health NCCIH, "pain is one of the leading reasons Americans turn to complementary health approaches such as yoga ... which may help manage pain and other symptoms that are not consistently addressed by prescription drugs and other conventional treatments."
Yoga Therapy may help in managing pain associated with neurological and neuromuscular conditions. For those with persistent, unresolved back pain, yoga therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing back pain. A meta-analysis of clinical yoga studies for yoga and back pain concluded that "the practice of yoga can decrease pain and increase functional ability in patients with chronic low back pain. Yoga may be considered an effective treatment for individuals with chronic low back pain that are seeking non-surgical intervention."
Yoga Therapy for Rehabilitation & Recovery
Gentle yet moderately challenging yoga therapy is an accessible, self-sufficient alternative to conventional physical therapy programs. It provides insights and practical skills for self-care, as well as increasing awareness of the body-mind connection which is intrinsic to rehabilitation and recovery whether the need is immediate and acute—injury, surgery, post-stroke, amputation—or long-term, such as maintaining walking ability, proprioception and balance, or regaining range of motion and visuomotor skills.Please contact us to discuss therapy and support for amputation and limb loss, knee and hip replacement, rotator cuff damage, as well as restricted range of motion due to extensive scar tissue, muscular atrophy, joint contracture.
We are frequently asked if we offer gentle yoga, or chair yoga. Although a chair may, at times, be a necessary and positive addition to Yoga Therapy, a chair can also be more of a hindrance than a benefit in regaining or maintaining balance, proprioception, and stability. We encourage simplicity, reducing use of props both for ease and practicality; generally, all that is required in a session is a towel, which can take on multiform uses. This said, yoga is wonderfully versatile and adaptable: Its therapeutic effects—however subtle or gentle—may be readily appreciated whether able, less able, confined to a wheelchair, or in a hospital bed.
Yoga Therapy Options
Mentoring and lifestyle therapy sessions include yoga therapy which is appropriate for women—respecting their body, health circumstances and life-stages. Yoga for women is sensitive to cultural customs as well as the need for a safe space, providing private yoga for women in their own home. Mentoring offers thoughtful, individualized support, delving into unhelpful lifestyle habits or patterns of thinking and providing a compassionate, open space for discussion and reflection on subjects such as anxiety and stress, disordered eating, neurological conditions, cancer treatment and recovery.
Restoration Yoga Therapy™ sessions provide gentle yoga therapy for persistent, chronic pain. Unresolved neurogenic pain, pain due to injury, or the stress and anxiety of having an unpredictable, life-altering condition may each contribute in a different way to losing one's sense of self—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Chronic pain is directly associated with high levels of anxiety and long-term stress, as well as lack of sleep, which in turn lead to chronic pain. Breaking this cycle, even momentarily, can help ease pain patterns.
Food for Thought Yoga Therapy™ supports women of all ages who are challenged with disordered eating or recovering from an eating disorder. For some, food is not seen as a source of life-giving nourishment or form of sustenance; instead, it becomes an enemy. Yoga therapy with an experienced yoga therapist may be beneficial in reducing overall anxiety, laying a foundation for coping with stressors, and creating an outlook of compassion, rather than judgement or criticism, for oneself.
Yoga therapy for idiopathic, functional and degenerative scoliosis, as well as persistent, unresolved back pain due to injury, sciatica, post-surgical scarring, extensive use of a wheelchair, and occupationally related back pain.
NeuroSupportive Yoga Therapy™ is uniquely suited as a long-term, sustainable therapy for those with neurological conditions such as MS and movement disorders such as Parkinson's, focusing on the overall wellbeing and quality of life of each person rather than merely physiological symptoms. Although the benefits of yoga may be experienced differently by each person, yoga therapy’s effectiveness in managing pain, fatigue and depression, and in improving gait, balance, and proprioception for those with multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson's and other neurological conditions is consistently recognized and acknowledged by our clients.
Cancer creates a sense of separateness from the body, a loss of feeling whole. This is partly attributable to pain or the side-effects of treatment, but is also due to the overwhelming focus on the cancer process itself rather than the person. WellBeing Yoga Therapy for cancer and recovery is focused less on the physical body and more on restoring a relationship between the body and mind, increasing quality of life and providing a means of gentle, therapeutic self-care for those undergoing cancer treatment or in remission.
The Nature of Yoga Therapy™ is a simple equation for those who would like to move a little more and either find themselves unmotivated, or are hesitant due to chronic pain, injury, or fatigue, as well as those who wish to regain or retain a means of self-care and perhaps gradually shift toward a less sedentary lifestyle. Walking—because just about everyone can, to some degree. Yoga—because it offers a gentle, life-long means of self-care. Nature—because sunlight, trees, and natural beauty are good for the physical body and mind-body.
Whether due to cancer, diabetes or injury, limb-loss is not only a physical happening: it may alter the emotional, mental, and for many, spiritual outlook on life and living. Yoga Therapy for Amputees approaches limb-loss with a 'person first' outlook, combining both practical guidance and yoga therapy for self-care.