What is Yoga Therapy ?

Yoga Instructor vs. Yoga Therapist

It’s not that one is better than the other – you can be a yoga therapist and also an yoga instructor but that does not hold true the other way around due to the more extensive training one must undergo to be certified as a Yoga Therapist. Often, someone who is already a therapist in a traditional definition of that profession – someone who counsels those going through emotional, psychological, interpersonal strife or challenges in need of help- may also add-on yoga, and that professional may call themselves a “therapist” with Yoga as one of the tools used in helping the client. BUT she/he is NOT a yoga therapist.

This is the latest update from IAYT:

Yoga is a scientific system of self-investigation,self-transformation, and self-realization that originated in India.The teachings of
yoga are rooted in the Vedas and grounded in
classical texts and a rich oral tradition.

This tradition recognizes that the human being’s
essential nature is unchanging awareness that
exists in relationship to and identification with
the changing phenomena of the empirical
world. The yoga tradition views humans as a multidimensional system that includes all aspects of body; breath; and mind, intellect, and emotions and their mutual interaction.

Yoga is founded on the basic principle that intelligent practice
can positively influence the direction of change within these human dimensions, which are distinct from an individual’s unchanging
nature or spirit.

The practices of yoga traditionally include, but are not limited to, asana,
pranayama, meditation, mantra, chanting, mudra,ritual, and a disciplined lifestyle.

Yoga therapy is the appropriate application of these teachings and practices in a therapeutic context in order to support a consistent yoga
practice that will increase self-awareness and engage the client/student’s energy in the direction of desired goals.

The goals of yoga therapy include eliminating,reducing, or managing
symptoms that cause suffering; improving function; helping to prevent the occurrence or reoccurrence of underlying causes of illness;
and moving toward improved health and wellbeing.

Yoga therapy also helps clients/students change their relationship to and identification with their condition. The practice of yoga therapy requires specialized training and skill development to support the relationship between the client/student and therapist and to effect positive change for the individual.

Yoga therapy is informed by its sister science,
Ayurveda.As part of a living tradition, yoga therapy continues to evolve and adapt to the cultural context in which it is practiced, and today,
it is also informed by contemporary health sciences. Its efficacy is supported by an increasing body of research evidence, which
contributes to the growing understanding and acceptance of its value as a therapeutic discipline.

exerpt from latest IAYT publication

Hope this clarifies those who wonder what’s the difference between a yoga instructor and yoga therapist. Both teaches yoga but I yoga therapist is more customized and personalized … which makes it very difficult to teach remotely.

Wouldn’t you also agree that – at least for me – it’s the environment and the vibe – the ENERGY – an escape from the ordinary – to go to a yoga class held at a PLACE other than your own home. We can combat this by creating your own sacred place within your home. Then, you need the ENERGY – THE VIBRATION. To find the extraordinary or the unique special miracles in the ORDINAY EVERYDAY often dismissed – is what this shelter in place teaches us.


“We can B better”

The chalk writing on the street says – we can be better. Agree.

By the way,

We can DO better too.

And I know that’s not very yogic maybe as in many yoga classes, yoga instructor will say stuff like “Just BE” “Just Breathe” ” Just be present” to negate our constant pressure to do to feel validated or to be accepted or … we have been taught from an early age – so to negate that constant obsession to seek self-worth by being busy, yoga instructor may focus on the BE. BE You; Just Be … Be One … Just be & meditate on that …

Ahhhhhhhhhh PLEEEEEASE I have been guilty too.

“Just BE” … just be the true source, not striving or doing – not busy but just BE … sometimes all that BEING is done on the MAT, we still have to get off that mat of self-care, self-soothing, self-focus, self-love, self-realization, self-affirmation to … Do. Roll off that may guys – and – off into the world and do practice peace and do show up.

I DO me. You do you. We can be that. Sure. Still.

We can not only be better but … we have to actually take action.

We can DO better.




Face Masks 

The New Normal – the old Normal? What does that mean – New Normal?

The old normal is not to be expected until Fall 2021 is what I am hearing so… we must adjust to the New Normal as gracefully as we can. With ease; with acceptance (no, that does not mean we are a “sheep” – please study up science and data), and care.

Face masks? Yes, yogis wear them too …

It’s common for people to wear face masks in Japan during the flu season so culturally, it’s something I see as benign, even beneficial. BUT I was aware that culturally in the US, wearing face masks would have been equivalent to alarm and ostracization. Maybe any face coverings bring on the association to bank robbers in the wild west days, gangs and thugs? In fact, back in the day when I served as a cultural ambassador? a liaison? , an executive, a VP, came to me to ask me to tell a Japanese exchange/trainee to please take off a mask she came to work wearing. The VP looked very troubled, had lines on her forehead and deeper lines between her eye brows as hissed – get that mask off ! It’s scaring everyone!

So… I had to go to this young lady to inquire as to why she’s wearing a face mask (well, culturally I knew why but) to which she replied she has a cold and thus, did not want to spread the germs/virus to others. She explained that she’s a responsible employee and she’s doing her best by wearing it to the office. I told this to the VP and the VP was livid – if she’s sick, tell her to go home ! She should not be coming to workplace if she’s sick and besides, she looks like she has a plague and is scaring the clients ! I had the enviable job, caught in the middle, of going between these two opposite sides of the culture to “bridge” them to come to an understanding. Had to explain to the American VIP that it’s out of consideration that the trainee is wearing a mask; and to the Japanese young lady who did’t “get it” that in American culture, wearing a face mask in public was so alarming, it was not socially acceptable. Both looked puzzled and unconvinced as I just got them to compromise … Sometimes, it’s not just translations and interpretations that’s lost … localization means bridging the cultural divide … and I feel I am about balancing in the middle.

That’s then, and now is NOW …

Well … how time’s changed. All it took was a … Pandemic ! Now it’s recommended by WHO and required by CDC, yes, here in America which is number one even in the realm of notoriety – ranked number one in Covid-19 infection cases and death toll. Sad. Rather be ranked number one in other terms more inspiring and positive … you know like, highest rate of longevity for example. Or highest quality of living or how about highest literacy rate but nooooo, it’s highest in Covid killer virus infection rate. Quite a status to hold in the worldwide arena.

In an effort to make the best of the worst situations, I have come up with some FASHIONABLE face mask sites you might find helpful in this new reality. These are of course not meant as PPEs but one “could” wear them over the N95s or surgical masks if you need better protection. I am not sure about the comfort level to such use … Here again, stronger lungs and proper breathing methods – yoga breath !!! helps:

  1. These are handmade and lovely … Of course SOLD OUT but if you don’t mind the wait – check it out – here:)
  2. For dog lovers ! Check it out – woof !
  3. For cat lovers ! These are sold out though … check often and see:)
  4. Either way – all good:)
  5. For Chakra tuning ? I found this !
  6. For girls – dreamy but a bit pricey … for special occasion?
  7. Sense of humor always helps at times of crisis !!! Laugh when you feel like crying and see what happens!

The above are just a sampling – you can make your own with so many DIY online and if that’s not for you Etsy is another place to see all the creativity that spurred on by the requirement for all to wear face masks that need not be medical grade for regular folks.

So much has to do with breath … in fact, one might say, EVERYTHING has to do with BREATH. So if you are suffering from anxieties from wearing these face masks, let’s look into ways to strengthen your lung capacity; your nerves to promote this certain ease to which you breathe. Many complain that they cannot breathe wearing a mask – or that it’s bad to breathe back the breathe you just breathed out … okay. SO it’s about the power of breath; resiliency. Or how we we manage our mood, our emotions, our nerves … via breath.

For yoga therapy to help you breathe better and feel better, feel powerful and vibrant like a VIP:) reach out to wagayoga@gmail.com:) Remote Reiki healing also available with your very own customized “mantra” to help you through these moments of … utter overwhelm for some. It’s okay. You are not alone. We may be physically distanced and apart but together in spirit !