Healing yoga is any type of yoga exercise undertaken to facilitate or support the restoration of the body and/or mind to health. There are many different schools of yoga, and techniques from each of them can be employed as methods of healing. Yoga instructors will often develop classes in healing yoga, leading practitioners through a series of poses that aims to remedy general health problems.
Therapeutic yoga practices can aid the body in repairing and trigger the innate processes of self-healing. The practices can be done alone or in conjunction with other mainstream or alternative therapies, depending on the condition and the preferences of the practitioner. Conditions often improved by healing yoga include addictions, asthma and skin disorders.
This method of healing exercise can benefit the mind as well. Studies have demonstrated that yoga decreases the heart rate, relaxes the mind, lowers blood pressure, and regulates brainwave activity. Long-term effects of healing yoga therapy are abundant; they include a reduction in stress and anxiety levels and healthier brain performance.
Using yoga for healing involves identifying the right poses and postures that work in conjunction with the practitioner's particular condition. For example, if the practitioner struggles with high levels of anxiety, more relaxing positions, such as corpse pose, may be employed to great benefit. If an individual has lower back problems, postures that address the area, either directly or indirectly, may help release tension, allow blood to flow more freely, and bring a mental awareness to the afflicted region.
Healing yoga is mostly considered a treatment for the practitioner's overall health and well-being. In both the yoga and medical communities, the body is viewed as a vast interconnected network of systems that work in tandem with one another. Yoga poses for healing tend to honor this viewpoint and encourage the use of yoga for the practitioner's general health benefit.
There are, however, yoga books and classes geared toward specific conditions. These resources still focus on the body as a whole, but the poses taught focus on healing the identified condition. Practitioners can often find healing yoga instruction for conditions as varied as depression, pregnancy, and scoliosis.
The movements of healing yoga traditionally go hand in hand with other alternative healing methods. Silent meditation is a major element to proper yoga practice, and centering the mind and awareness have shown to bring great benefit to both body and mind. Other methods of healing used with yoga might include visualization exercises, conscious breathing techniques, and guided, instructor-led meditations.