Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy


Yoga Therapy (Yoga Chikitsa) integrates traditional yogic concepts and techniques with a Western evidence-based approach and provides the student with an in-depth analysis of their presenting problem and an appropriate personalized daily practice. The sessions address the person as a multi-dimensional energetic being and the personal practice is prescribed according to the physical, emotional and physiological needs as well as the circumstances of the individual. The health or sickness of any dimension affects the other dimensions and vice versa.

A yoga therapy practice is progressive (Vinyasa Krama), and changes as the client’s requirements change or develop. A personal practice is exclusively tailored to the individual as there is no pre-ordained “recipe” for a person’s condition. This style of yoga is referred to as Viniyoga (Desickachar 2005).

A daily therapy practice does not always involve the prescription of physical postures (asanas) and a student may be given advice on mindfulness/meditation, breath work (pranayama), lifestyle advice or relaxation. Yoga Therapy is not the same as a one on one yoga session, as a therapy session delves much deeper into the root cause of suffering (Dukham) and seeks to assist healing from a holistic perspective. Yoga Therapy is not supposed to take away from medical intervention and works as a complementary therapy rather than an alternative.

Yoga therapists draw on knowledge from the ancient Vedic teachings and philosophies of the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali (circa 400CE) such as the causes of suffering (the Kleshas), therapy also draws from the principles of Ayurvedic Medicine such as identifying your body type (Dosha), the qualities of your lifestyle pertaining to the Gunas (rajas, tamas and sattvic) and the five elements (fire, air, space, earth and water).

Yoga Therapists utilise the Pancha Maya Model, first depicted in the Taittiriya Upanishad, to delve into the five sheaths/layers of the human energetic system (the physical body, the breath body, the emotional body, the wisdom layer and the bliss layer). This model serves as the basis for the therapeutic application of the postures and breathing exercises. By analysing the interaction of all these bodily systems and their inherent qualities we can establish any “conditioning or patterning” (samskaras) which may be affecting us in each layer.

There is a growing body of evidence within the medical field which embraces therapeutic yoga as a clinically effective intervention for many conditions such as  chronic back pain management (Chang et al 2016), diabetes (Innes & Selfe 2016) osteoporosis (Motorwala et al 2016), stress reduction (Sharma 2014), neurological disorders (Mishra et al 2012) , management of oncology patients (lymphatic drainage, pain management, acceptance, grieving) (Kiecolt Glaser 2014).

A consultation will consist of a full subjective and objective assessment to establish the problem (Hetu) and cause (Heyam). Your personal journey will be listened to without judgement and all your needs will be incorporated into your practice. You will be provided with a personalised daily yoga practice which will be set to fit in with your lifestyle and for an agreed length of time. As I mentioned earlier anyone can do yoga, and by doing the practice you will see a change. So why not book in or come to a class to find out more.

Don’t hesitate to contact me for any further information and if you want to book for a consultation please see my advertisement.

Sarah Reid, Certified Yoga Therapist

BSC (HONS) Physiotherapy, MSc Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise.

About Me:

My fascination with human movement was established at an early age and as a child I found myself naturally drawn towards dance. I loved the feeling of escapism that accompanied a dance composition and the ability of the body to perform with such grace and flow.  I believe that experience first moulded my pursuit of a career in physiotherapy. I graduated University in 2001 with a first-class honours degree and began to work in a large teaching hospital in Scotland.

Whilst studying Karate at university and then later, whilst studying acupuncture for pain relief, my interest in Eastern philosophy and Medicine was sparked, which I questioned further whilst completing my master’s thesis in 2005, in Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise.

I began studying Yoga after emigrating to Australia in 2008 after a career break traveling the world and my love of human movement, now through my yoga practice, was reignited.

My own personal Yoga practice has got me through some difficult times and after having my first daughter, my priorities and attitude towards my career and life were challenged.  I felt drawn to further study yoga and commenced my teacher training. After having my second daughter, I realized that I was naturally incorporating more and more yogic principles into my physio practice and realised how similar the two disciplines were. I became slightly disheartened from the way yoga was being portrayed in the media as “acrobatics for beautiful people in tight clothing” and how as a physio I would see many clients injuring themselves trying to do advanced asanas or inappropriate techniques.  I felt I needed to explore more of the ancient principles and original teachings and decided to pursue a post graduate diploma in yoga therapy.

For me, I feel that Yoga therapy and physiotherapy therapy (Yogio) go hand in hand and I now draw from my knowledge of both these areas to provide sound evidence-based practice of exercise prescription and movement analysis to assist with healing.

“If you can breathe you can do yoga” Krishnamacharya

I want to be able to make the principles of yoga accessible to all and demonstrate how the smallest change in our perception or by just slowing down and taking a breath we are doing “yoga practice”. I would like to dispel the image of yoga as a form of acrobatics or an exercise that can be taught on mass and bring the true essence and heart of yoga into our daily lives.

I teach small Yoga, Physio, Pilates (Yogio) style classes at the Surf Club in Palm Cove on Wednesdays and you can find me in “A Fuller Life Massage Therapies” on Tuesdays and Thursdays for both Physiotherapy and Yoga therapy consultations.


Chang DG, Holt JA, Sklar M, Groessl EJ (2016). Literature. Orthopaedic Rheumatology. 2016 Jan 1;3(1):1-8

Desikachar K (2005) The Yoga of Healing: Exploring Yoga’s Holistic model for health and Wellbeing. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. No 15 pgs 17 – 39.

Innes KE & Selfe TK (2016). Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials.

J Diabetes Res.2016;2016:6979370. doi: 10.1155/2016/69

Kiecolt Glaser JK, Bennett JM, Andridge R, Peng J, Shapiro CL, Malarkey WB, Emery CF, Layman R,

Mrozek, EE, Glaser R: Yoga's Impact on Inflammation, Mood, and Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial.J ClinOncol2014.

Krishnamacharya cited in Desikachar (1995) The heart of Yoga, developing a personal practice. Inner Traditions international. Rochester, Vermount,

Mishra SK, Singh P, Bunch SJ, and Ray Zhang (2012). The therapeutic value of yoga in neurological disorders. Annuals Indian Academy of Neurology. Oct Dec; 15(4): 247–254.doi:  10.4103/0972-2327.104328

Motorwala ZS, Kolke S, Panchal PY, Bedekar NS, Sancheti PK, Shyam A (2016)

Effects of Yoga asanas on osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Int J Yoga. 9(1):44- 8.

Sharma M (2014). Yoga as an alternative and complementary approach for stress management: a systematic review. Journal of Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine.2014 Jan;19(1):59






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