Susi Hately Aldous is a renowned yoga teacher, kinesiologist and author of several international best-selling yoga books including Advancing Your Yoga Practice: the Art of Slowing Down, Therapeutic Yoga for the Shoulders and Hips, Yoga for the Desk Jockey and the Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries Series. Her yoga skills are combined with her B.Sc. in kinesiology, post-graduate training in mind-body medicine and ergonomics and practical field experience assisting companies with disability management and workplace safety issues. Susi is currently working with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) setting the standards for yoga therapy in North America among yoga teachers, yoga therapists, healthcare professionals and yoga researchers.
Here Susi responds to questions addressing yoga therapy and how it differs from other forms of yoga:
What is yoga therapy?
Susi: Yoga therapy, as a technique, combines the art of traditional Hatha yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation with the modern scientific understanding of kinesiology, anatomy and physiology. It is a balanced and mindful approach to health and healing which enables you to develop awareness and a sense of ease.
Yoga therapy is a personalized approach to relieving your pain, improving your flexibility, enhancing your strength and developing the ability to become relaxed and connected to what is important to you. Based on my clients’ current state of wellness, we design a program of yoga postures, meditation and breathing techniques that are specific to the needs and goals. During a session, I will guide clients through a program, that results in progress at the most appropriate pace.
How is it different from other types of yoga?
Susi: Yoga therapy caters to people with pain or injury. While it is true that people with pain also benefit from regular yoga classes, many people with pain and injury are unable to handle the strenuous nature of a regular class. One of the tenants that I share is that if you feel your level of stress, pain, fatigue, tightness, or injury or there is an illness that is standing between you and the rest of your life, then yoga therapy is for you.
Who should try it and who will benefit most from yoga therapy?
Susi: Most people who are seeking yoga therapy have an issue of pain or illness that is really bothering them. They may have attended another class but because of class size, or the strenuous nature of many classes, the regular classes may not have been suitable.
I have successfully worked with people with:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Cancer / Cancer survivors
- Disc issues
- Frozen shoulders
- Heart Disease
- Orthopedic Conditions – back, shoulder, neck, foot, knee, hip, si pain
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
The key factor is if people want to use an approach that improves their functioning, improves the mobility and stability of their joints and overall strength of their body, then this is for them. They want to get well, and they want to use the practice of yoga. The goal I am hoping to achieve with my client is that at the end of a series of sessions I would like to see the client be able to take part in a regular yoga practice by the end of their time with me.
Will yoga therapy provide a good “workout”?
Susi: If someone is in pain, a workout will only force the issue for them. If someone wants to alleviate or lessen their pain, then I can help! If you give your body pain, it will return the favor. A regular workout – works you out and makes you tighter – does it help alleviate the pain and dysfunction? If not, then yoga therapy can help, and can maybe help get you to the point where you can do those workouts.
What’s the background of yoga therapy background?
Susi: Yoga therapy originated in India and there are several different permutations here in North America. Some focus on body specific therapeutics, other work with more esoteric perspectives.
Is there any research available proving the effectiveness of yoga therapy?
Susi: Yes, the Yoga for Caner Survivors (www.yogaforcancersurvivors.com) is one. There is a journal called the Yoga Therapy Journal available through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) that keeps an update on new research and studies.
Susi Hately Aldous is a renowned yoga teacher and author of several international best-selling yoga books. Her latest title, Advancing Your Yoga Practice: the Art of Slowing Down launched in September 2008 and follows her other titles including Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga for the Desk Jockey and, Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries Series. Her yoga skills are enhanced by her B.Sc. in kinesiology, post-graduate training in mind-body medicine and ergonomics and, practical field experience assisting companies with disability management and workplace safety issues.
Susi’s main focus and expertise is in helping people overcome pain and injuries with her customized yoga therapy programs. Since 2004, Susi teaches a comprehensive therapeutic certification program for aspiring instructors to learn the importance of well-being as it affects various conditions. This training program, based on the Hatha yoga method, encompasses her wide range of acquired disciplines including kinesiology, yoga iRest (yoga nidra), rehabilitation, modern mind-body science and practical experience as an exercise therapist and ergonomics consultant. Find more info at www.functionalsynergy.com.