What is Therapeutic Yoga?
There’s a dramatic shift happening in the nation’s mindset these days. More and more people — and their doctors — are looking toward alternative methods for preventing, relieving and curing diseases. Instead of just seeking treatment when they’re sick, many Americans are turning toward healing practices like therapeutic yoga to support a lifetime of well-being.
Finally, yoga is getting the recognition it deserves for its curative promise. In fact, therapeutic yoga has become one of the top natural therapy choices in America. The number of people doing yoga in the US grew by more than 20 percent in the first decade of the 21st century. If you practice therapeutic yoga, you probably didn’t realize you’re on the leading edge of medicine!
As awareness of yoga has grown, so has the level of instruction. Yoga instructors now create personalized programs for clients with specific needs. They also teach general yoga classes for health while building relationships with the mainstream medical community to provide holistic treatment options for patients.
Using Yoga Eggs for Therapeutic Yoga
We asked our friend and yoga studio owner, Ferris Fakhoury, what her favorite uses of the Yoga Eggs are for yoga therapy. Ferris is also a physical therapist and teaches weekly therapeutic yoga classes in Asheville, NC. Here is what she had to say:
"Three Minute Egg ® makes wonderful yoga props! Their unique ergonomic design contours to the body providing assistance and support for a variety of yoga postures; ranging from the challenging arm balance to the more relaxing restorative yoga pose. The Eggs come in a variety of sizes and densities, adding to their versatility. I often use the Medium Density Eggs and smaller Junior Eggs in my Therapeutic Yoga class at Anjali Hot Yatra Yoga and Physical Therapy.
My top five picks for using Three Minute Egg yoga props in a therapeutic yoga class include:
1. Using the smaller Junior Eggs in Soft or Medium Density to support wrist movement in Table Top.
The student is asked to hold an Egg in each hand (preferably near the upper 1/3 of the Egg). Placing the Egg slightly in front of the shoulders, the student is then asked to rock forward and rock backward while pressing their hands into the Egg. This movement and position provide a source of weight bearing with reduced force due to the Egg’s softer density. Persons with arthritis and/or weak wrists can benefit from this use of the Yoga Eggs.
2. Using the Eggs to support a mild inversion.
With the student lying on their back, I place two Junior Eggs longitudinally along (parallel with) the spine near the lumbar curve of the back. The student is asked to engage their abdomen while lifting their legs straight up with feet reaching toward the ceiling. Students can hold this posture and receive the benefits of slight compression to the low back (this promotes relaxation); or students may slowly bring legs toward their torso in a modified Plow position. The latter posture provides a gentle prolonged stretch of the low back.
3. Using the Namasteggs as a support during Reclined Goddess (Bound Angle) Posture.
Place either the Soft or Medium Eggs (Namasteggs or Junior) under the outer thighs, with the curved edge of the egg slightly lateral (at a angle) to the middle of each thigh. The Eggs provide support to the thighs so that a gentle stretch can occur in the medial muscles of the thighs.
4. Using the Egg in supported Child’s Pose.
Students who experience limitation in hip, knee, or neck flexibility can benefit from using an Egg placed directly beneath their forehead. This supports their neck while providing a curved surface on which to gently rock side to side, stimulating a sense of relaxation to the temple. More Eggs can be layered underneath the torso to take pressure off of the knees and hips as needed.
5. Using Medium Density Eggs (Juniors are recommended for most people) in Legs Up the Wall Pose.
Two identical Eggs placed longitudinally, round side up across the sacrum to lift the pelvis off the floor, provides the perfect support to the student who has slightly tight hamstrings. The contoured shape of the Egg provides support for the back in a more comfortable way than the conventional square yoga block."
ABOUT FERRIS FAKHOURY MS, PT, RYT-200
Ferris is the owner/founder of Anjali Hot Yatra Yoga and Fakhoury Physical Therapy. She received her bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from the Medical College of Georgia and a Masters degree in Human Movement Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Upon graduation from Chapel Hill, she accepted a faculty position at the Medical University of South Carolina as Assistant Professor in the School of Physical Therapy. She taught for four years before deciding to return to her clinical roots. Ferris accepted a position as lead Physical Therapist in the Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children-Greenville, SC.
Ferris has always been an exercise enthusiast. After discovering her first Hot Yatra Yoga class in 2008, Ferris began a disciplined practice ultimately resulting in the decision to become a registered yoga teacher. She studied under Allison Lindquist, the creator of Hot Yatra Yoga, and received her RYT-200 in June 2012. In addition, Ferris has studied with Jnani Chapman, at the Satchidananda Ashram in the Integral Yoga Teacher Program, completing level 1 of her training in Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness.
Ferris’s yoga classes are structured, yet organic and motivational. She integrates her knowledge of anatomy and physiology with the ancient practice of yoga to create a transformative experience for all people, regardless of their physical abilities.
Visit Anjali Hot Yatra Yoga's website at anjalihotyatrayoga.com