What is Occupational Therapy combined with Yoga Therapy?
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What is Occupational Therapy combined with Yoga Therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy combined with Yoga Therapy?

Oct 02 2019

Lynn Palfenier - Occupational Therapist and Yoga Therapist

Lynn Palfenier
Occupational Therapist and Yoga Therapist

I am an Occupational Therapist at Renew Neurotherapy and offer yoga therapy sessions. These are one-on-one sessions, either in your home or at our clinic, that can be combined with other treatments to help you overcome a wide range of issues such as brain injury, concussion, trauma and PTSD, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, arthritis and chronic fatigue.

If you think yoga therapy could help you or a friend or relative in some way, please give us a call on

(613) 809 1770

So, how does this work? Well, let's begin by answering a few questions:

What is Occupational therapy?

I have worked as an occupational therapist for more than 15 years helping people to engage fully in what is meaningful to them after a disruption from an injury, illness, or chronic condition. For example, helping people get back to work after head injury from a car accident.  Or helping someone to return to socializing after being isolated by anxiety or depression. Or maybe returning to gardening and walking their dog when limited with chronic pain. As an occupational therapist I use the activities of daily life as a means to re-engage. Occupational therapists are experts at modifying activities and the environment where they occur in order to help you do what you want to do. Because occupational therapy works with engaging in meaningful activity it can support all people depending on your needs.

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient wisdom system that for years has been helping people to heal from physical difficulties such as back pain and arthritis as well as from mental health difficulties such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Yoga is a mind-body practice that helps people to reconnect with their bodies for improved health and well being.

What is the difference between a yoga class and a yoga therapy session?

A yoga class consists of group of people and a teacher who guides them through a series of physical exercises and also some breath exercises and a short meditation practice. Yoga classes vary significantly depending on the style of yoga and the teacher’s approach.

A yoga therapy session is a one-on-one meeting with a therapist that will be tailored specifically to your needs, interests, physical limitations, and life goals. A yoga therapy session will consider all aspects of your life and person to help with optimizing health as yoga is a truly holistic approach.

What is Yoga Therapy?

Occupational Yoga Therapy Session

Yoga therapy is about supporting well-being through embodiment. Embodiment is about building relationships with all aspects of self: mental, physical, emotional, energetic, and spiritual. In our current fast paced culture, we are often tired, stressed out, and disconnected from ourselves and the important relationships of our lives. This can result in an experience of anxiety, physical pain, poor sleep, lack of meaning. Re-connecting with ourselves through mindfulness, gentle movement, breathing exercises, and meditation can help to restore and revitalize. Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being.

Yoga therapy can be helpful for people experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, pain, relationship issues, focus and attention difficulties, difficult emotions, addictive behaviours, and other issues related to personal suffering. Yoga therapy is therefore not just for people who already practice yoga but for any human being who is attracted to the holistic perspective that yoga encompasses.

 

What is occupational therapy combined with yoga therapy

Occupational therapy can help you to return to meaningful activities that you are not able to engage in anymore; and yoga therapy uses movement, breath, and mindfulness to support health and well-being.  So occupational therapy combined with yoga therapy is a perfect blend of considering how health conditions affect function in daily life; and how movement and mindfulness can improve health. Both of these mutually support each other.

As an occupational therapist, I can also use modern medical assessment tools and consider medical history, medications, physical injuries, and chronic health condition. With an understanding from a yogic, functional, and a medical perspective I can create a unique, individualized plan for the client.  We like to call this unique approach movement and rehabilitation psychotherapy.

What happens in an Occupational Yoga Therapy Session?

Here are some examples of what a session could be about:

  • wanting to learn about yoga practices as a complete novice
  • working with breath to help with stress reduction
  • restorative poses to support sleep 
  • linking routines with natural rhythms of the day and of the seasons
  • lifestyle choices (diet, sleep, movement) to support health
  • meditation techniques to help with pain management 
  • approaches to deal with difficult experiences such as anxiety, grief, sadness.
  • discovering safe and useful yoga poses to integrate into your life and improve physical health
  • movement to produce relaxation and for stress management
  • developing strategies to cope with pain
  • how to modify yoga and movement to support physical limitations due to injury of anykind
  • how to do yoga or movement practices on a chair or in a wheelchair 
  • considering new ways of thinking about the body mind continuum and integrating this knowledge into your life for improved health and function
  • learning to meditate or integrating mindfulness into your life
  • effecting behaviour changes to promote optimal functioning in your life
  • learning what patterns are creating limitations in your life and how to explore create new patterns
  • body-based emotional and physical resilience
  • how to return to a previous yoga practice disrupted by injury
  • techniques to improve memory and concentration
  • ways to improve self-awareness and develop emotional regulations skills
  • how to integrate healthy self-care practices into life 
  • understanding and managing stress and anxiety
  • improved functioning in activities of daily life
  • empowerment towards improved health and well being
  • understanding and working with trauma symptoms
  • development of interoceptive awareness
  • attaining an integrated experience of mind, body and breath
  • improving physical stability, mobility, strength, stamina, balance, flexibility, and vitality following an injury

How do I find out if Yoga Therapy can help me?

If you identify with any of the example sessions listed above or you think yoga therapy could help you in some other way, please give us a call on

(613) 809 1770