Yoga Therapy 
for Children with Juvenile Arthritis

What is Yoga Therapy?
‘Yoga Therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the applications of the teachings and practices of yoga,’ as defined by the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).

What is Yoga Therapy compared to Yoga?
Yoga Therapy focuses on the individual or small group audiences and the source of suffering beyond diagnosis whereas modern Yoga focuses predominantly on general audiences in studios and gyms of the urban West with an emphasis on asanas, the physical postures.


The Yoga Therapist understands the effects of yogic techniques, which are comprised or meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques) and asanas; the science of Ayurveda, the ancient medical system of India, defines the scope of practice and tailors this multidimensional approach to the needs of the individual. The emphasis in Yoga Therapy rests on its self-healing nature rather than on being healed. The Yoga Therapist is the facilitator of self-healing by igniting the individual’s own healing potential.


Pain is a topic of considerable importance to Yoga Therapists. Pain in the body may spread to pain in the mind and spirit. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage and chronic pain as pain in one or more anatomic regions that persists or recurs for longer than three months and is associated with significant emotional distress and significant functional disability and interference with activities of daily life and participation in social roles’.


According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), meditation, pranayama, asanas, and the sciences of natural healing are some of the most commonly used complementary and integrative healthcare modalities.

 

How will you (in your role as a Yoga Therapist) help my child?
I will assess your child's situation and begin to work with her individually by building mutual trust and respect for her needs and learning style. I will observe how your child breathes and carries her body, where she may hold unnecessary tension and compensation patterns of functional deficits. I will communicate with you, the parent, educate you and address the importance of adhering to self-care home practices, which are critical to your child’s healing potential. I will provide an individualized home plan of care for your child. You and your child will receive the tools, which are comprised of conscious physical, mental and spiritual practices, remedial dietary measures, and the support to learn to take charge of her own life and health challenges. In consultation and coordination with your child’s primary provider, I recommend integrating Yoga Therapy between doctor visits and monitoring potential benefits of this whole person care approach.