That’s right, yoga therapy supports the work you’re already doing with your therapist.
Integrated Movement Therapy (IMT) is a type of yoga therapy that combines cognitive-behavioral approaches with physical movement, breathing, utilization of yoga philosophy and relaxation.
IMT is a safe and effective way to improve mental health and can be a helpful adjunct to traditional mental health therapy, such as psychotherapy or medication. It prioritizes partnership between the therapist and the student, to focus on desired outcomes as well as creating and implementing a plan to get there, using yoga tools.
Here are 5 of the top ways that yoga therapy can help improve mental health:
Reduce stress: Yoga therapy can help reduce stress by figuring out what kinds of breathing and embodiment practices help you relax. For some it means stretching, others guided relaxation, while others it could be a specific breathing technique. Stress is a major risk factor for many mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Improve mood: Yoga therapy can help improve mood by finding accessible, interesting and appropriate movement practices. Then, how do we get this movement into your life on a regular basis? This sometimes takes some trial and error, but with support, you can utilize the accountability that comes from an ongoing relationship, and create new movement habits. When we move, we increase levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters play a role in regulating mood, sleep, and appetite.
Increase self-awareness: Yoga therapy can help increase self-awareness by teaching people how to pay attention to their bodies and minds in a more compassionate and increasingly subtle way. This can be helpful for people who are struggling with mental health conditions, as it can help them to identify triggers and warning signs.
Improve sleep: Yoga therapy can help improve sleep by improving your relaxation skills (and yes, relaxation is a skill) and reducing stress. Sleep is important for mental health, as it allows the brain to rest and repair itself.
Increase energy: Yoga therapy can help increase energy by learning to understand and manage your own energy for this stage of your life and healing. Energy is an important part of our experience as humans, and most health interventions don’t have ways to learn about these subtle realms. When we increase our awareness of what is going on with us energetically, and understand which tools help us manage our energy, we can learn how to influence energy levels, reduce fatigue, and feel effective in how and what we put our energy toward.
Yoga therapy is a safe and effective way to improve mental health. You can find Integrated Movement Therapy practitioners at Unfold, who are qualified, experienced and credentialed.
If you are interested in trying yoga therapy, there are a few things you can do to get started:
Find a qualified yoga therapist: There are many qualified yoga and IMT therapists who specialize in working with people with mental health or other specific health conditions. You can find a qualified yoga therapist by searching online or asking your mental health professional for a referral, by looking at the International Association of Yoga Therapists website (www.iayt.org). Some people choose to have their mental or medical health professionals talk, to build upon current insight and successes.
Set aside time: Yoga therapy is not a one-off intervention. It is often dealing with complex challenges. Plan to start with 3 sessions, scheduled every week or every other week. Sometimes people see their yoga therapist over many months, but it depends on how much support is wanted or needed at any given time.
Be patient: It takes time to see the benefits of yoga therapy. Be patient and consistent with implementing new strategies and practices, and you will see the benefits over time.
IMT is a safe, effective, and affordable way to improve mental health. If you are struggling with a mental health condition, yoga therapy can be a helpful adjunct to traditional mental health therapy.
Here are some additional benefits of yoga therapy:
Improved physical health: Yoga therapy can help to improve physical health by reducing pain, improving flexibility, and increasing strength.
Increased self-esteem: Yoga therapy can help to increase self-esteem by helping people to feel more confident in their bodies and abilities.
Improved relationships: Yoga therapy can help to improve relationships by teaching people how to understand themselves better, reduce reactivity and increase compassion for oneself and the people we are in relationships with.
If you are interested in learning more about yoga therapy or IMT, lookup providers in your area for in-person or online services. Check out our IMT providers here.