Everything You Need To Know About Adaptive Yoga Therapy

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Starting a yoga regimen is intimidating for most of us because we don’t know what it entails or whether we can do the poses. Adapting yoga; or Trauma sensitive yoga therapy, is to fit your level as the norm. But, for people with anxiety, mobility issues or other restrictions, trauma sensitive yoga is more than just chair yoga; it can be part of a life-changing therapy to help relieve symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. That is what trauma-sensitive yoga therapy does.

What is Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training or TSY?

Yoga means “yoke” or “union.” Thus, yoga is automatically inclusive, helping people create bonds and connections between the self and the world on every level.

Trauma Sensitive yoga training is “yoga” because it uses yoga poses and techniques to help you find energy, clarity, calmness, and stability as well as physical exercise. The yoga is “adaptive” because it is designed to fit each student’s needs, as opposed to teaching set yoga poses and practices that everyone must attain; it is unique to the individual. And, adaptive yoga therapy is “therapy” because it helps with the following:

  • Reduce your symptoms

  • Manage symptoms that cannot be reduced

  • Identify causes and root problems

  • Learn how your anatomy compensates for your conditions that lead to imbalance

  • Holistically find your balance

  • Improve functioning of your body, mind, emotions, and spirit together

You may wish to read these articles:

Yoga for Post Traumatic Symptoms

Research on Yoga & Epilepsy

Brain Concussion & Yoga Therapy

Training for trauma sensitive yoga therapy focus on the healing benefits of yoga rather than perfecting a yoga posture. According to Samy Mattei, an adaptive yoga specialist, “All yoga poses are based on physical alignment. Adaptive yoga keeps the alignment, but you do it from modified positions.” So, adaptive yoga therapy adjusts poses specifically for your body while remaining within yoga’s traditional alignment to manage your conditions with calm and focus.

young man struggles with mental health, when trauma sensitive yoga may help
suffering from anxiety, a young man considers trauma sensitive therapy

5 Most Significant Adaptations in TSY & Adaptive Yoga Therapy

Adaptive Yoga Therapy is absolutely inclusive. When Mattei conducts her adaptive yoga classes, she says that all of her students “look different on the outside: it looks like everyone is in a different pose. But we’re all really doing the same alignment with different adaptations to do it.”

Mattei continues, “asana means ‘find your seat,’ or to find your peace sitting still.” She explains, “this means that yoga helps all of us to find our inner peace.” Adaptive yoga therapy helps students find their seat in each yoga pose with various modifications, support, and the assistance of props.

Top 5 Specialties For Adaptive Yoga Therapy:

1. Yoga for pregnancy

Yoga for pregnancy consists of almost every yoga pose available, with two exceptions: inversions and lying prone on your belly after the first trimester.

However, inversions, like head stands or shoulder stands, may be completed by pregnant women only if you have performed these poses regularly in your pre-pregnancy practice. But if you have not done inverted poses regularly, then you should avoid doing them during your pregnancy, as the risk of falling out of the pose is greater. This increases the risk of injury.

Similarly, lying prone on the belly is neither advisable for pregnant women after the first trimester, nor is it comfortable!