By Sarah Cummins – Founder of Waterfall Yoga Therapy
Somatic Yoga Therapist, Pain Management, and Senior Fitness Specialist
C-IAYT, E-RYT500, CPT, YWT, YACEP
As a retired military spouse and business owner in the field of yoga therapy, one of the most common questions I get asked is “what is yoga therapy?” Often confused with mainstream yoga, yoga therapy is a new modality that requires explanation on how it can be an effective treatment for achieving your health goals.
Yoga therapy focuses on the needs of an individual client, often with health challenges, and works with the individual to create a treatment plan fit to the person’s goals, abilities, and time availability. A yoga therapist will assist in getting to the root of complications by applying the applications of yoga and Ayurveda and empower them to take ownership of their personal health.
Yoga therapy is an accredited and integrative field that compliments Western medicine and is supported by the growing scientific evidence of mind body practices. The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) is the governing organization that sets accreditation standards for the field, training yoga therapists with a minimum of 1,000 hours and two years of education in psychology, pathophysiology, anatomy, and biomedicine. Traditionally, yoga therapy is provided one-on-one, but can also be provided through small groups with similar health conditions such as persistent pain, cancer recovery, grief, addiction, trauma, or depression.
A yoga therapist performs three key elements a yoga teacher does not; an intake, assessment, and treatment plan. A yoga therapist requires a comprehensive intake that covers health history, medications, daily routines, goals, and insights into the individual’s motivations. Following the intake, a thorough assessment evaluates physical abilities and posture, breathing patterns, emotional concerns, and energy levels. The treatment plan can be effectively performed at home in between sessions and ties back to the findings in the intake and assessment. The consistency of the treatment plan is critical to the success of the individuals’ goals. A yoga therapist meets the client where they are, assists them in tracking progress towards goals, holds the individual accountable, and celebrates their successes.
A yoga therapy session may include functional movement, breathing techniques, stress management tools and lifestyle adjustments. Yoga therapy is tailored to your specific experiences, goals and needs, and is not a one-size-fits-all approach and for this reason is often not covered by insurance. However, currently in the state of Alabama, yoga therapy may be covered under HSA/FSA/Flex plans with a referral from your physician. In other states and countries, yoga therapy has established programs in major health care centers, in outpatient and physical therapy clinics, oncology, and rehab departments.
If you are wondering if yoga therapy can assist you in achieving your goals or become a part of your facility, schedule a free consult with me at 256-299-9269 or visit my website www.waterfallyogallc.com for more information.
Empowering clients through holistic pain management to create sustainable change in mind and body.
Author, Sarah Cummins of Waterfall Yoga Therapy, is a Certified Somatic Yoga Therapist, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, and a Pain Care Aware Yoga Instructor, trained to work with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and amputees. Services include: virtual and in-person private yoga therapy, couples yoga therapy, workshops, pain care aware yoga classes and wellness retreats.
Sarah specializes in alternative treatments for persistent pain, complicated injuries, inflammatory conditions, and chronic illness. You can find Waterfall Yoga Therapy on Facebook, Instagram, Insight Timer meditation app, and YouTube.