Frequently Asked Questions



How is Yoga Therapy different than a regular yoga class?

What should I bring?

What is the cancellation policy?

What are the benefits of Yoga Therapy?

Is Yoga a religion?

Who is Sri Krishnamacharya?

What is the right kind of yoga for me? (Group, Private or Therapeutic Yoga)

Why is a therapists lineage important?

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Q: How is Yoga Therapy different than a regular yoga class?

A: There are four points that characterize the main difference between a Yoga Therapy approach and most other forms of asana practice:

1. Repetition & Stay: The use of repetition into and out of postures in addition to holding postures

2. Function over Form: The emphasis on function rather than form in asana practice, and the science of adapting the forms of the postures to achieve different results

3. Breath & Adaptation: The emphasis on breath as the medium for movement in asana, and the science of adapting the pattern of breathing in asana to produce different effects

4. Art & Science of Sequencing: The refined art and science of combination which allows teachers to create sequences of different orientation, length, and intensity to suit the intention and context of each practice.

Q: What should i bring?

A: You need to only bring along/be in Yoga wear (which is a soft-banded waistband and some layers, eg: tank or t-shirt, long sleeve shirt or sweater) and your Yoga mat (if you have one), though I do have all the props you would need.

Q: what is the cancellation policy?

A: 24 hours notice is required in advance of our session, via telephone/voicemail ( e-mail does not suffice).  Cancellations provided with less than 24 hours notice will be charged a $50 cancellation fee.

Q: What are the benefits of yoga therapy?

Benefits may include, but are not limited to:

Quality of Life

- Eliminate insomnia
- Improve quality of sleep
- Promote relaxation
- Improve quality of relationships
- Assist with weight loss
- Promote healthy food habits (less emphasis on - sugar, caffeine)
- Promote healthy life habits (decrease craving for alcohol, smoking)

- Decrease pain
- Increase ease of breathing
- Improve ease of movement
- Improve joint mobility
- Decrease risk of falls
- Improve spine / joint stability
- Increase strength and flexibility

- Increase circulation (especially peripheral)
- Improve digestion
- Improve immunity
- Increase distal sensation
- Increase amount of O2 in blood
- Regulate heart rate
- Regulate blood pressure
- Regulate respiratory rate

- Increase emotional stability
- Increase confidence
- Reduce depression
- Reduce panic attacks and anxiety
- Reduce fear
- Increase level of alertness and sharpness of mind
- Acceptance of limitations

Other Benefits

- Reducing pain and discomfort, overcoming physical or emotional trauma, and recovering from illness, injury, addiction, or other health concerns.

- Maintaining current health and well being, preventing illness or injury, and increasing flexibility and strength including preparing for, or complementing an existing health maintenance or fitness program.

- Reducing stress, overcoming depression, anxiety, and psychological trauma, and helping to manage and deal with life-threatening illness.

- Personal and/or spiritual growth. In the case of spiritual growth, it is important to note that the course followed would be initiated by the student's own interest and complimentary to the student's personal spiritual practices, beliefs, and preferences.

Q: Is yoga a relation?

A: No, not at all. This confusion arose in our culture because Yoga evolved over thousands of years in the context of the spiritual and religious traditions of India. The practices of Yoga were appropriated into most of the different religious traditions of the East, and when these teachings were first transmitted in the West, they were often taught by teachers who were also also Hindi, Sikh or Buddhist. Therefore, the teachings of Yoga were often mixed depending on the teacher.

Although the practices, or yogic tools, were appropriated by these traditions, most religious individuals dismissed Yoga as a secular science. In actuality, Yoga is most correctly understood as a science of mind oriented towards understanding the mind-body relationship, and a tool of transcendence, transformation and self-discovery with a philosophical streak.

Yoga has no theological orientation historically or contemporarily. Practitioners of Yoga, which can be any individual of any orientation/age/ sex/gender/political view/economic standing , can and do practice Yoga. Many of these practitioners share that their practices makes them feel more devoted to their faith and practitioners of Yoga can be found all over the globe.

Q: Who is sri krishnamacharya

A: The source of our teaching was Sri T Krishnamacharya was regarded as the grandfather of modern yoga. In addition to being a yogi, he was also a well known healer, linguist, musician, researcher, author and expert scholar in the six Indian Schools of Vedic Philosophy. He was a true pioneer in his ability to translate ancient teachings and make them relevant in a modern context.

As a teacher his principle was "Teach what is inside you, not as it applies to you, to yourself, but as it applies to the other." He taught that Yoga should always be adapted to the unique needs, circumstances and goals of each individual. In refusing to standardize the practice and teaching methodology, he demonstrated a deep understanding of Yoga relevant for all students.

During the one hundred years of his life (1888-1989), he inspired thousands of practitioners worldwide and today his teachings have become very popular through his many students - notably his son TKV Desikachar, Indra Devi, BKS Iyengar, and Pattabhi Jois.

Q: WHy is a therapist’s lineage important?

The school where I completed my certification, Yoga Therapy Toronto is modelled after the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM), a highly regarded Yoga Therapy Clinic and Centre for Yoga-Related Research and Educational Programs in Chennai, India.

TKV Desikachar founded the KYM as a public, non-profitable charitable trust in 1976, in honor of his father and teacher, the renowned Yoga master T. Krishnamacharya. The KYM is dedicated to making the benefits of Krishnamacharya's Yoga methodology and teachings available to everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, and nationality. Today, it is considered one of the most important centers for the study of Yoga in the world.

This lineage structure is a reflection of the heart of Yoga – relationship. The Yoga we practice today is a gift we received from thousands of men and women we will never know – the gift of a complete, holistic healing system.

Relationship also defines the way you learn Yoga – as a student. To be a student implies that you have a relationship with a teacher and the teachings. Neither role exists without the other. If you are a student and teacher of Yoga, then you are part of a lineage, just as Krishnamacharya or any of the great masters: a chain of unbroken relationships stretching backwards and forwards, into the past and into the future and infusing the present. This is part of the beauty and also the responsibility of practicing Yoga.

Q: what is the right kind of yoga for me? (group, private or therapeutic?)

A: Function Over Form
Yoga is taught in three basic contexts: the context of a group class (these vary from the very general to classes with a specific goal or designated for a specific group of people), private instruction for developing a personal practice, or Yoga Therapy.

The goals of each category of class (group, private, and therapeutic) vary. However, a principle that holds true for each of them is that when applying the tools of Yoga, function is more important than form. In other words, as teachers, it is our responsibility to adapt the tool to suit the needs and abilities of the student, so that he or she may get the desired benefit from it.

Typically, improvement in "form" will come with time and effort. Improvement does not imply that a perfect forward bend or perfect chanting pitch will be achieved for certain, but perfection is not the goal: improvement in the student's health and sense of wellbeing is.

Group Yoga Classes
Group classes are for personal maintenance, self-education, and general well-being. They also provide students with a positive and enjoyable experience of community. The teacher makes every effort to honour each student's abilities and needs, however, group classes, by their nature, work at a "common" level, as they need to address a broader range of criteria to keep everyone safe.

Not every group class is for every student, we should choose a class pertinent to our needs, goals, and stage of life. For example, a female athlete in training might choose a vigorous, strengthening vinyasa class that assists in developing stamina, as well as a meditative class to enhance mental focus. If she becomes pregnant, she would very likely switch from her vinyasa class to prenatal to support her throughout pregnancy.

Private Yoga Sessions
As a student progresses further along in their practice, it may becomes clear that group classes are useful in ways while limited in others. We begin to understand that each of us has a unique physiology, skeletal- muscular structure, mental patterns, energy level, etc. To heal these areas of the body and mind a very specific Yoga practice ought to be followed on a daily basis. This is when we look to our teacher for one-on-one instruction - the ideal and traditional form of Yoga instruction.

The student consults with their teacher regularly and practices daily on their own using a practice designed for them by their teacher. Also, the student provides the teacher with feedback so that the practice can be refined, as needed. In this way, Yoga becomes a personal journey, and the student develops the skills to observe the subtle changes that occur in his or her own system.

Yoga Therapy
Like private instruction, Yoga Therapy is offered on a one-to-one basis. In this case, the teacher adapts the tools of Yoga to help heal the student of a specific problem. Where general Yoga keeps us on the steady path of wellness and regular practice provides the equanimity to cope with the stresses and various stages of life, Yoga Therapy specifically targets the root cause of affliction. Or, where this is not possible, as with HIV for instance, the goal of Yoga Therapy is to heal by appeasing the symptoms, positively enhance quality of life and thereby reducing suffering. Because it is not chemical, Yoga Therapy is a complement to other systems of treatment.

An Individual Process
To make healing effective and potent, we must understand and interact with students individually, rather than prescribe practices in groups, though some exceptional situations may even allow that. When we interact with students privately we can understand their individual illnesses, their causes and what are the individual abilities of the student, which can help us design practices that will be the perfect fit for them. Can a doctor prescribe the same pill to patients irrespective of their complaint? Similarly a yoga therapist has to interact with the student privately to guide them in their healing. Otherwise it will not be an effective process.

A Self-Empowering Process
A powerful component of the healing process in yoga is that it empowers the student to heal themselves. Unlike surgery, where a surgeon operates on a passive and often unconscious patient; or massage therapy, where the therapist works on a patient - in yoga the student has an active and often complete responsibility in the healing process. The Yoga Therapist's role is limited to one of understanding the student's illness, and teaching appropriate practices that the student will have to do on their own. An important job is also to review and verify the appropriateness of the practice.

Since much of the healing happens due to the regular practice by the student, a key responsibility of the Yoga Therapist is to inspire and motivate them to maintain the practice. This is often the key to the success of a good healing process.

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