Structural Yoga Therapy™
What is Structural Yoga™ Therapy?
Structural Yoga™ Therapy is a method that adapts yoga to the individual’s unique needs. When health is optimal, the body assumes a natural balance of muscle strength and range of motion. However, when illnesses, injuries or structural anomalies are present, they disrupt the body’s innate harmony and its ability to respond in a healthy way. Structural Yoga™ Therapy permits the therapist to assess the client’s imbalances using yoga and physical therapy assessment procedures and create an adaptive yoga program uniquely tailored to the individual. This therapeutic modality holds the potential to eliminate or greatly alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by misalignment or injury.
This method was created in 1976 by Mukunda Tom Stiles, author of Structural Yoga™ Therapy, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Tantra Yoga Secrets. Mukunda was on the Advisory Board of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and founded the Yoga Therapy Center.
The Structural Yoga™ Therapy Approach
The Structural Yoga™ Therapy approach seeks first to relieve pain. Structural Yoga™ Therapy also takes into account the client’s personality, lifestyle, attitude, and stress level, and draws practices from classical yoga that can further enhance the client’s rehabilitation and overall well-being. Yoga practices that are typically used include movements and positions to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and realign the body, breathing techniques, relaxation training, meditation techniques, and lifestyle changes.
Yoga postures are adapted for each individual so that the client can move in harmony with their unique mechanics. The Structural Yoga™ Therapist observes the client doing the therapeutic practices and polishes them for optimal home practice. Handouts are provided for home practice. Client education, and the designing of a program that will encourage client participation, are important components of the overall Structural Yoga™ approach. As clients work with their individualized programs, reassessments are made, and the program is adjusted to address changes and encourage further progress and optimal healing.