I teach several beginner Hatha Yoga, gentle yoga and restorative classes. Most of my students know I am a certified yoga therapist. Word gets out to those who attend my class, and frequently a student will approach me before or after class and ask me "What can I do for _____ condition?" (fill in the blank: Shoulder injury, heart condition, rheumatoid arthritis, rod in spine, piriformis syndrome, sciatica....). Or, someone will tell me they have pain in some place in the body and ask me what that means. First of all, as a yoga therapist, I do not diagnose. That is beyond my scope of practice. I also do not "treat" a symptom. When someone comes into a group class presenting chronic pain in an area of the body, or some other symptom, I typically urge them to see their doctor; or, if they have a diagnosis from their doctor, I urge them to take private sessions. In a private yoga therapy session I can work with YOUR body and help you on your personal journey towards wellness. The yoga tools that are best for you may be different from everyone else in a group class. In some group classes, I know I have someone with high blood pressure, someone with osteoporosis, someone with rheumatoid arthritis, someone who is a breast cancer survivor, someone who has PTSD, and so on.....It is difficult to tailor a practice for you in a group environment. I can (and do) give modifications, but the very best way you can be on the road to health and healing is to practice in the way that fits your body and your state of mind. Yoga is a very individual path - There are many tools a person can use to facilitate healing on their journey. My role as a therapist is to help you find the tools that suit you. The client participates in the journey towards wholeness in Yoga therapy. One of my yoga teachers said, "If it doesn't empower you; it isn't yoga."
Yoga therapy is not a prescription of moves that you do to relieve symptoms of an underlying illness. Rather, Yoga therapy is a personalized journey towards wholeness that utilizes the tools of yoga to empower the individual to be a participant in their own healing.