The Benefits of Yoga in Occupational Therapy
My relationship with yoga started when I graduated from undergrad in 2015. Growing up and living in Los Angeles, I always knew about yoga but had never tried it. Like many, I enrolled in a yoga class with the intentions of becoming more fit. Fast forward 3 years later and I not only practice yoga 5-6 times a week for my own physical and mental healthy but I have also received my yoga teacher training certification with the intentions of using it within my occupational therapy practice. Not only has yoga transformed my physical health but my entire way of living. Through yoga I have cultivated an overall healthier lifestyle. Specifically, yoga has positively impacted my sleep, stress, eating, and exercise habits and routines.
As occupational therapists we understand that not every activity is going to reap the same benefits for every individual. We all have different preferences. With this in mind I plan on helping individuals who are interested in yoga, use it as a tool to meet their health goals. One of the many things that I love about yoga is that there are so many variations. There is hot yoga, power yoga (vigorous), kundalini (psycho-emotional focus), chair yoga, aerial yoga and the list can go on and on. Even within the yoga practice, it is not only about postures but also about strengthening one’s breath work, meditation, concentration, and so on.
With the huge variations in types and focus of yoga comes the wide range of ability to grade yoga to match the client’s needs and desires. As an OT, grading the activity to find the just right challenge for the individual is crucial for optimizing health. Yoga gives you so many options to be able to successfully meet the client where they are, at any given moment.
Yoga can be a community or an individual practice, it can be practiced in the hot or in the cold, rain or shine. Yoga is all about what you make it and what you take from it. It is such a giving practice with many styles and techniques. With the design to keep the mind and body healthy, it is a perfect tool for OTs to use to help their clients reach optimal well-being in a meaningful way.