Questions & Answers
__What is yoga therapy? What is a yoga therapist?
A Yoga Therapist provides individualized, customized yoga therapy sessions or programs which seek to ameliorate chronic pain, assist in recovery, or manage symptoms associated with long-term conditions or illness. Yoga Therapy emphasizes self-care and the individualized nature of yoga, supporting each individual as a whole rather than simply addressing symptoms. Sessions are one-on-one with an experienced yoga therapist, and include assessment and supportive follow-up. Yoga is therapeutic in and of itself when practiced with a mindful attitude, lack of competitive spirit, and without strain, yet how one does the yoga, why one does the yoga, and who is guiding the yoga influence the outcome and overall benefit gained from yoga therapy.
We are a C-IAYT yoga therapist specializing in NeuroSupportive Yoga Therapy™ for neurological conditions and movement disorders, as well as yoga therapy for disability, therapeutic rehabilitation and cancer recovery. Our primary interest is to improve client wellbeing and quality of life, focusing on the person rather than merely targeting a specific issue or condition. Learn More About C-IAYT Yoga Therapists
__I am unable to walk or stand on my own. I use a wheelchair. How can yoga therapy help me?
Hatha yoga, in its original form, was an intense practice focused primarily on the breath. Despite the current, modern-day accentuation on exercise and 'doing', the foundation and basis of all yoga practice should come from a sense of ease and awareness which comes from the proper use of breath. Regardless of perceived ability or inability, yoga therapy sessions can be modified and tailored to the individual: Sessions can be as simple, yet as important, as working with someone who is bed-bound to increase their ability to breathe freely and with less strain, or providing stretches and gentle approaches to yoga which will benefit someone in a wheelchair or with limited mobility due to limb-loss. Learning how to mobilize a sluggish digestive system due to lack of overall movement, restoring circulation to sedentary limbs, and gently mobilizing the spine to ease pain and restore some core support are not small things.
__Do you offer Chair Yoga or Gentle Yoga?
People are resilient: If a yoga teacher or yoga therapist assumes that a student or client who is elderly, injured or disabled must always be tethered to a prop or chair in order to practice yoga, something has been lost in translation. It is obvious that some people will, without question, require a chair for support... More often than not, working slowly, carefully, and with moderation, a chair is rarely needed, or its use may be delayed for years.
The definition of Gentle Yoga is rather open-ended. What may be 'gentle' yoga to one person may be challenging –if not impossible– to another. Simply asking someone to get dressed for a session may be too much if they are in cancer treatment; a person with multiple sclerosis or lupus may find that gentle yoga involving multiple props, getting to a class and returning home, and then showering are enough to bring on several days of utter exhaustion. In contrast, our expectations and presumptions can hinder an individual: many amputees can actually do quite a regular yoga practice, with specific modifications, if fully healed; someone with Parkinson's can get up and down off the floor much more readily than they are given credit for— if they are shown how, rather than simply offering them a chair.
__How does a yoga therapy group differ from a regular yoga class?
A yoga therapy group is led by a yoga therapist rather than a yoga instructor. Yoga therapy group-classes are small to ensure safety and proper supervision, and have a specialized therapeutic focus, following the guidelines set by the International Assoc. of Yoga Therapists. The yoga therapist makes an individual therapeutic assessment of each attendee and follows up regularly outside of class hours, including scheduling customized yoga therapy sessions. Yoga therapy classes are gentle, simple, and modified as needed, while emphasis is put on use of breath, emphasizing ability rather than dis-ability, reducing stress patterns, and learning self-care and injury prevention. Specialized yoga therapy groups run in three-month modules in Bloomington Indiana.
__Do you teach mindfulness and meditation?
These are very different questions: Mindfulness techniques and learning to observe the activity of mind and body are not meditation. Meditation is defined as engaging in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. Meditation should be learned from someone who has the ability to guide one both deeply into, and safely out of, a meditation or meditative state. Such a person has themselves been highly trained, either by a spiritual guide or master-teacher, and is able to distinguish between (and teach a student to distinguish) between stream of consciousness, rumination, psychism— and true meditation.
Such training does not occur over a week, but over years, if not decades, of tutelage and introspection. For most of us who do not seek an ascetic life, meditation can be a goal, however first learning the most basic techniques and methods which might allow one to sit comfortably for extended periods of time, or calm the mind enough to even begin to focus on a single concept or visualization... are an arduous task! First learning mindfulness of the mind and it fluctuations, as well as awareness of the body, can be lifetime pursuits.
This said, mindfulness and awareness are intrinsic to yoga. More specifically, if challenged with PTSD, anxiety, or chronic pain (among others) mindfulness and awareness techniques can be drawn upon in yoga therapy sessions to help restore a balance between body and mind, as well as encouraging and guiding clients to bring these techniques into a self-practice.
Thai Bodywork & Therapy
__What is the difference between Thai Bodywork and Thai Yoga? Aren't they the same thing?
Thai Bodywork (Nuad Borarn) is not Thai Yoga. The terms 'Thai Yoga' or 'Thai Yoga Massage', 'Thai Yoga Therapy' and 'Yoga Massage' are not Thai terms, and are a casualty of westernized marketing and an attempt to draw direct similarities between India's Hatha yoga tradition and stretches used in traditional Thai bodywork. Another common claim is that Thai bodywork and therapies are part of Ayurvedic medicine, once again leading to fabricated terms such as 'Thai Ayurvedic Massage'. Traditional Thai bodywork and therapies are solidly rooted in the Thai medicine tradition as well as the practice of Reusi Dat Ton, a Thai tradition with influences predating Indian yoga.
__Why are herbal packs used in Thai Therapy? Do they have added scents or oils?
Herbal compresses are included in Therapeutic Thai Bodywork sessions at no additional charge. We use a fresh, organic, non-commercial blend from Thailand with no added oils or perfumes. Steamed herbal compresses are part of the Thai medicine tradition, effective in increasing circulation in stiff or swollen joints, reducing tissue inflammation, and easing pain. Their warmth and unique herbs are also calming to most clients, and are appreciated as part of therapeutic bodywork sessions. We will not use them if a client has contraindications or asks that the compresses not be used.
__Do you offer 'Thai for the Table'?
Although raised platforms are sometimes used in villages in Thailand they are ample, wide and solid: the practitioner works directly on the platform, thus the effect is the same as working on the floor in that the practitioner can use their bodyweight effectively and safely. This said, in exceptional circumstances we do use a table —such as for paralysis or for the frail elderly— or by law when working in a clinic or nursing home. However, with patience and care, or a Hoyer lift and a second pair of hands, a Thai bodywork can usually be done in the traditional manner, on a thick mat on the floor.
Training & Workshops
__What trainings and workshops do you offer? Will I receive continuing education credit?
An intensive, specialized yoga therapy training and IAYT APD course is open to C-IAYT yoga therapists. NeuroSupportive & NeuroPalliative Yoga Therapy™ Training is offered as a two-level training. EquiLibrium Yoga Therapy is an International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) member school— yoga therapy training is provided by a C-IAYT yoga therapist.
In-depth Therapeutic Thai Bodywork apprenticeships focus on treatment and therapeutics. CEs are available for NCBTMB and ABMP. Please check with your local and state certifying or licensing boards for restrictions. Apprenticeship applicants must be licensed massage therapists.
__Can we host a Yoga Therapy workshop at our clinic or wellness center?
Introductory yoga therapy workshops focused upon neuropalliative care and long-term therapy may be arranged for in-clinic staff awareness and practitioners in mind-body or integrative wellness programs.
__Where are you located? Where do you offer appointments?
We are based in Bloomington Indiana, offering therapeutic services and comprehensive therapy programs in a broad area including Bedford, Ellettsville, Nashville, Greenwood, and Indianapolis. Therapy appointments are in-home with no travel charge for locations within Bloomington. Please contact us for scheduling options and long-term therapy programs.
EquiLibrium is not a yoga studio. Yoga therapy sessions are primarily offered one-on-one in a client's residence, or in-clinic when offering a program through a hospital, integrative health / wellness center, or rehabilitation center. Specialized Yoga Therapy Groups are formed by request from a group with a chronic condition or therapeutic need, or by clinic / health / wellness center request.
__Do you offer Wellness Programs?
It is hoped that all our therapies lend themselves to wellness and wellbeing.
Comprehensive Therapy Programs combine the diverse and multidimensional aspects of yoga as a therapy (recovery support, therapeutic rehabilitation, mind-body techniques, chronic pain management) with therapeutic Thai bodywork (passive range of motion, neuromuscular therapy, joint mobilization, neurodynamics, stretching, acupressure, visceral manipulation) as a means to bring long-term therapy and support to individuals with neurological conditions, a disability, in recovery, or to those actively seeking a self-care program.
Mindful Mentoring for Women provides ongoing support for life circumstances, health challenges, and specific concerns such as stress, chronic pain, and disordered eating.
A support group for women with MS, Parkinson's, Huntington's, ALS and other neurological conditions is offered in Bloomington. The Bloomington NeuroSupport Group is focused on wellbeing and quality of life.
__How do I pay for appointments?
We accept cash, checks and credit cards.
__Do you accept insurance?
We regret that we cannot accept insurance. Some insurance providers may partially cover fees associated with yoga therapy or therapeutic bodywork sessions with a doctor's referral. With the consent and referral of a physician, insurance may cover yoga therapy sessions as physical therapy. We cannot be responsible for claims which are not reimbursed: Please check with your insurance carrier and be sure you understand what your policy covers. HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) or Flex accounts can sometimes cover bodywork, massage therapy and yoga therapy sessions up to a designated amount. Again, please review your policy or contact your provider.
__What is your experience and background as a therapist?
Learn more about EquiLibrium here. A CV and professional referrals are available to hospitals, therapeutic rehabilitation clinics and integrative health centers interested in offering yoga therapy programs and neurosupportive / neuropalliative therapy for their patients.
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