Positive Side Magazine Spring/Summer 2009

Temmi Ungerman Sears
Certified Iyengar yoga instructor, Director of YogaBuds Studio, Toronto

 

Therapeutic yoga is a branch of yoga that seeks to heal or treat the root causes of illness or injury. In our studio, all of our classes, including therapeutic yoga sessions, are taught in the Iyengar system of yoga, which seeks to achieve unity of mind, spirit and body — along with a meditative state — through breathing techniques and a system of asanas (poses).

Iyengar practitioners are trained to work with people with medical conditions and believe that certain poses benefit certain conditions. For example, chest openings and inversions can aid a compromised immune system by increasing lymphatic flow and reducing stress. And someone with gastrointestinal problems may benefit from poses that increase circulation to the pelvic area or cause the abdominal organs to relax.

For a student who is a beginner or is limited by pain, fatigue or another condition, yoga teachers can use props such as ropes, blankets or chairs, to modify poses and so allow the student to experience postures more fully. The props also help the students hold poses for longer, which allows the deeper therapeutic benefits of yoga to happen.