Yoga therapy is personalized yoga instruction, tailored to your lifestyle, health, physical state and time availability. It does not require any prior knowledge of yoga.
Yoga is a balanced system of health and fitness, the practise of which promotes health physically, physiologically and emotionally. Yoga helps people transform from conditions of illness and dependency to wellness and self-sufficiency.
If you start young, it will help the body to develop in a balanced way; and as an adult will help restore and maintain physical, physiological and emotional balance.
Madeleine teaches Vinyasa Krama, which differs from other schools of yoga as it works with the function of the pose or what it develops physically through the dynamic process, rather than the goal being the end posture itself. In vinyasa krama, one begins with easier vinyasas that develop the function and prepare the body to progress onto harder ones. Each important posture is practiced with many movements and variations.
Through the process of conscious movement in and out of postures, we program and learn to use our bodies more efficiently with correct movement patterns.
This means the balanced development of antagonistic muscles across joints, keeping our joints congruent and healthy and improving our structural alignment. Changing our programming means changing habitual patterns at a neuromuscular level to follow new patterns of movement, which decrease physical stress and promote skeletal alignment, mechanical freedom and optimum wellness.
Who Can Do Yoga?
Vinyasa krama is accessible to all ages. Your yoga practise will be adapted specifically for you and your body. This applies equally to older beginners who may suffer postural problems, severe stiffness and weakness; and who might otherwise be put off a practise that is too strong and which over challenges the body. Vinyasa Krama helps you as an individual increase your own unique movement potential by working with relevant asanas. Through steady persistence, your body will transform towards greater balance, strength and flexibility.
Essential to this practise is carrying out each movement synchronized with a slow deliberate breath; yoking the mind and the body through the breath. This serves the dual purpose of;
- Cultivating deep and even inhalations and exhalations,
- Presence of mind. By keeping present and focussed, the ceaseless procession of thoughts which traverse the mind and generally keep us in the flight-fight response is stopped.
Deep and even breathing profoundly calms the nervous system, helps us control our emotions and makes us more grounded and better able to make decisions. Madeleine teaches groups or individuals.
Who Does Yoga Therapy Benefit?
- Those who want to develop their own self practise; working with sequences that are appropriate for their life style, and who wish to maintain a good posture and health.
- Those recovering from injury or illness, who need to re-establish correct basic movement patterns, and strengthen their bodies in a gentle yet holistic fashion.
- Those whose sporting or vocational activities have seriously imbalanced their bodies, due to the repetitive action of particular muscle sets; and who wish to have a more balanced and symmetrical work out.
- Those who require a mentally and emotionally calming practise; to counteract the fragmenting and stressful effects of work or life in general.
- Those who wish to improve their breath work as a precursor to a meditation practise.
What Does A Yoga Therapy Session Involve?
Yoga therapy involves designing a practise of a specific set of postures for you, taking into account your health, time available to practise, and your desired goal. There will be an initial assessment, with the establishment of balanced steps leading to that point, after which the practise will be continuously revised as progress is made.
Why Yoga Therapy?
As most of us live in a busy world with limited time that can be allocated to personal health regimes, it is better to be doing what is specifically appropriate and beneficial for you. Sports or random generic fitness activities may unknowingly exacerbate particular weaknesses and misalignments, and in the long run cause more harm than good. This does not mean that you should not engage in different activities, but keep the body balanced.
What Are The Benefits Of Yoga?
1) INCREASED STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY – to move with vigor and ease, muscles require a balance of strength and flexibility as they move across joints. Yoga postures increase flexibility by moving joints through their full range of motion, and increase strength through the controlled movement in/ out of postures.
2) IMPROVED ALIGNMENT – the balanced action of muscles across joints cultivates correct movement patterns, which with time improves physical alignment and posture. Yoga is a symmetrical form of exercise. Most sports are asymmetrical which in the long term can cause many physical problems in the form of injuries, restricted movement and pain
3) STRONG SPINE – Our spine is the structural basis of our bodies, and in its functional state has 3 curves, designed specifically to give us maximal strength and movement. Yoga postures increase the strength and flexibility of the spine and in the process restore its natural curves and verticality. All bodily movements indirectly move the spine and are compromised if it is stiff.
4) IMPROVED PHYSIOLOGY – by flexing, extending and side bending the trunk, blood is squeezed through our internal organs, which rely on movement for their optimal function. At the same time, such movements free up the spinal nerves which arise from the spine, improving our physiology, hormonal balance and feeling of well being.
5) INCREASED VITAL CAPACITY – The function of the heart and lungs is referred to as vital capacity. Bad posture and gravity play havoc on restricting and distorting the chest or thoracic cavity in which they lie. Yoga postures are unique in effectively working the chest, improving vital capacity by increasing thoracic movement and volume and aiding the return of blood and lymph to the heart.
6) PEACE OF MIND – the state of our mind and emotions are intimately related to the depth and steadiness of our breath. Disturbed emotions are usually the product of an undisciplined mind, or of an uncontrollable procession of thoughts. Slow steady breathing whilst moving in/ out of postures gives the mind a one pointed focus, keeping it in the present and less distracted by other thoughts. Breath is the link between body and mind. It brings awareness. Time spent in a present state every day considerably reduces mental stress and tension, and helps clarity of mind and good decision making.
Yoga Therapy And Structural Integration
Old alignment issues in the form of postural deformities caused by life or injury can be very difficult and slow to change. Structural Integration treatments can help with this as they are specifically designed to re-establish natural alignment by working on myofascial structures. However to put life in that re-newed posture, neural re-wiring still needs the help of correct movement patterns learnt through yoga therapy. The two perfectly complement each other.
‘Yoga’ although originating from the East, is not an eastern religious practice as such. Rather it is a practical methodology, enabling us to look after ourselves effectively, such that our ‘real’ lives can be lived in a more pain free, happy and productive fashion.