The Yoga Therapy Toronto website offers a clear explanation of many Frequently Asked Questions.
Some excerpts are included below:
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 honor 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. In keeping with the principle of viniyoga (proper and continuous application of the tools of yoga), we should choose a class pertinent to our needs, goals, and stage of life. For example, a pregnant woman will switch from her usual “energizing” practice, which can be quite vigorous, to a prenatal class to support her throughout her pregnancy. An athlete training for a competitive event might choose a vigorous, strengthening class that assists in developing stamina, as well as a meditative class to enhance mental focus.
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.
Since the practice of Yoga is modified to suit the individual, the person does not need to meet any requirements of fitness, age, or health in order to start a Yoga practice. Almost everyone would benefit from Yoga regardless of his or her medical condition.
Please note that Yoga Therapy is used as a complimentary system of health, not as an alternative one. It supports and works in conjunction with your normal medical treatments. Medically, speaking, the practice works to support the healthy functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn supports homeostasis and healing.
Benefits of practicing Yoga may include, but are not limited to:
Quality of Life
No. 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. When these teachings were first transmitted in the West, they were often taught by teachers who were also practicing one of the many forms of Hinduism, Sikhism, or Buddhism. The pure teachings of Yoga were therefore often mixed with the cultural and religious associations of the particular teacher.
Although the practices of Yoga were appropriated by these religious traditions, most of them dismissed Yoga as a secular science. Yoga is actually more correctly understood as a science of mind oriented towards understanding the mind/body relationship. Indeed we can see that many similar practices evolved and were appropriated into the religious traditions of the West. The pure teachings of Yoga have no theological orientation. The practices of Yoga when correctly taught will help anyone of any religious tradition deepen their own faith ‐ it is often said that the practice of Yoga can make a Catholic a better Catholic, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Buddhist a better Buddhist, etc. That is why we find practicing Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, and Non‐Theists among the countless Yoga enthusiasts around the world.
Yoga Therapy Toronto is modeled after the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM), a successful Yoga Therapy Clinic, Yoga School, 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 centres 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.