Yoga Therapy: Foundations, Methods, and Practices for Common Ailments

Yoga Therapy: Foundations, Methods, and Practices for Common Ailments

by Mark Stephens


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From the best-selling author of Teaching Yoga, Yoga Sequencing, and Yoga Adjustments comes this essential resource for learning how to adapt yoga practices to best accommodate and heal a wide array of common injuries and ailments. Surveying historical writings on yoga, ayurveda, and scientific medical approaches to health and healing, Mark Stephens distills this received wisdom of ancient and modern practices for more insightful and practical application in today’s world. He applies these insights to healing musculoskeletal injuries; promoting a healthy reproductive system; and addressing mental, emotional, and behavioral difficulties. With each health condition, Stephens applies yoga to the most recent evidence-based practices for healing, offering an integral place for yoga in integrative health practices.

Yoga Therapy is a practical manual with a systematic approach of considering the nature of each health condition and the specific asanas, pranayamas, and meditations most helpful in healing it. Rather than adopting a narrow medical model of healing as the reduction or elimination of symptoms, Stephens invites yoga theapists, teachers and students to relate to health as a continuous, dynamic process of self-care in which the qualities of personal experience and social connectivity matter. He illustrates that how we live our lives—including our emotional states, nutrition, sleep, relationships, and sense of purpose—is reflected in our sense of balance (or imbalance) and well-being (or disease). Comprehensive, accessible, and informed by Mark Stephens’ decades of deep study, practice, and teaching, this will become an indispensable reference.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623171063
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Pages: 720
Sales rank: 415,526
Product dimensions: 7.97(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.66(d)

About the Author

Mark Stephens is a dedicated yoga student whose personal experience of yoga’s promise to make life better inspires him to share the practice through teaching and scholarly writing.
Described by Yoga Journal as “the teacher's teacher,” Stephens, a certified yoga therapist and member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, is the author of the international best sellers Teaching YogaYoga Sequencing, and Yoga Adjustments, which have been published in nine languages.
From deep study of yoga history and philosophy, human anatomy and physiology, social and interpersonal dynamics, and Eastern and Western theories of being and consciousness, Stephens brings a nondogmatic, accessible, and integrated perspective to yoga therapy that makes yoga a more refined resource for healthy living.
Practicing yoga daily for more than twenty-five years and teaching for more than twenty years, Stephens draws from his prior years in academia, as an education consultant, and as a progressive social change activist to create practical resources for yoga teachers and therapists. In 1997 he founded Yoga Inside Foundation—establishing therapeutic yoga programs in more than 300 schools, treatment centers, and prisons across North America—for which he received Yoga Journal's first annual Karma Yoga Award.
Stephens lives in Santa Cruz, California, and teaches globally.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction: Yoga for Healing and Wholeness xxi

Being Healthy Human Beings xxii

The Promise of Yoga in Healing xxv

Part I The Origins and Sources of Yoga Therapy

1 Yoga Sources 3

What Is Yoga? 3

A Very Brief History of Yoga 7

Hatha Yoga 11

2 Ayurvedic Sources 17

The Origins, Sources, and Development of Ayurveda 18

Ayurveda's Underlying Philosophy and Principles 22

Etiology: The Causes of Disease in Ayurvedic Theory 37

3 Modern Medical Science 39

From Mysticism to the Scientific Method 40

Scientific Advances 45

Conclusion 48

4 Integrating the Healing Arts and Sciences 51

The Efficacy and Limitations of Scientific Medicine 52

The Efficacy and Limitations of Holistic Medicine 55

Healing and Curing: Toward an Integrative Approach 59

Integrative Health in Practice 61

Essential Considerations in Health and Healing 69

Part II The Human Bodymind's Major Systems

5 Skin: The Integumentary System 75

The Epidermis, Dermis, and Hypodermis 76

Deep Fascia 78

Common Integumentary Pathologies 78

Cultivating a Healthy Integumentary System 79

6 Bones and Joints: The Skeletal System 83

Bones 84

Joints 86

Joint Stability and Movement 89

Describing Anatomical Direction 92

Movement in Planes of Motion 92

Common Bone and Joint Pathologies 97

Cultivating a Healthy Skeletal System 98

7 Muscles: The Muscular System 99

The Skeletal Muscle 100

The Musculoskeletal System 106

Common Muscular Pathologies 125

Cultivating a Healthy Muscular System 126

8 The Nervous System 127

The Central Nervous System 128

The Peripheral Nervous System 128

Common Neurological Pathologies 130

Cultivating a Healthy Neurological System 132

9 Kinesiology and the Biomechanics of Movement 133

Moving into Stillness 133

The Nature of Human Movement 134

Proprioception and Refined Movement 139

10 Heart and Blood: The Cardiovascular System 143

Heart and Soul 143

The Heart and Circulation 144

Common Heart Pathologies 148

Cultivating a Healthy Heart 149

11 Cleansing and Defending: The Lymphatic System 151

Moving Fluids 152

Lymphoid Tissues and Organs 152

Natural Defense and Healing Systems 153

Common Lymphatic Pathologies 155

Cultivating a Healthy Lymphatic System 156

12 Breathing: The Respiratory System 157

Pneuma and the Exchange of Energy 157

The Organs of Respiration 159

Common Respiratory Pathologies 164

Cultivating a Healthy Respiratory System 166

13 Glands: The Endocrine System 169

Hormones as Communicators 170

Common Endocrine Pathologies 176

Cultivating a Healthy Endocrine System 177

14 Digestion: The Digestive System 179

How Much of You Is What You Eat? 179

The Digestive Tract 180

The Mouth and Throat 180

The Teeth 181

The Stomach 182

The Small Intestine 183

The Large Intestine 184

The Liver and Gallbladder in Digestion 184

The Pancreas 185

Common Digestive Pathologies 185

Cultivating a Healthy Digestive System 186

15 Letting Go: The Urinary System 189

Filtering 190

The Kidneys 190

The Bladder 191

Common Urinary Pathologies 192

Cultivating a Healthy Urinary System 193

16 Ultimate Human Creativity: The Reproductive System 195

Sexual Reproduction 195

The Male Reproductive System 196

The Female Reproductive System 198

Fertilization and Human Development 200

Common Reproductive Pathologies 201

Cultivating a Healthy Reproductive System 202

Part III Helping Others Heal with Yoga

17 Integrity in Yoga Therapy: Teachers, Healers, and Therapists 205

Yoga Therapy as a Clearly Defined Practice 210

18 Communicating and Interacting in Yoga Therapy 217

Guiding Principles in the Healing Relationship: Kriyas and Yamas 217

Principles and Skills for Interacting with Students and Clients 222

Developing Healing Communication Skills 223

Mindful Listening 226

Attentive Presence 227

Directive Dialogue 228

Nondirective Dialogue 229

19 Assessing and Planning Healing Practices 231

Self-and Client-Assessments 231

Interviewing and Assessing 232

Creating a Therapeutic Yoga Practice Treatment Plan 262

Implementing a Therapeutic Yoga Practice Treatment Plan 268

Part IV Yoga Therapy Practices

20 Asana Practices. 273

The Heart of Practicing Yoga Asanas 274

The Bodymind, Somatics, and Personal Choices in Health and Healing 275

The Essential Qualities of Asana Practice 280

Adaptive Practices 285

21 Pranayama Practices 287

The Discovery and Development of Pranayama 288

Cultivating Basic Breath Awareness 290

Refining the Flow of the Breath 291

Deepening and Refining Pranayama Practices 295

22 Meditation Practice 309

Patanjali's Isolation Path: Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana 310

Taking One Seat 313

Six Guided Meditation Techniques 314

When to Meditate 318

Meditating amid the Body and Breath 319

Part V Healing Common Conditions

23 Healing Musculoskeletal Conditions 323

Feet, Ankle, and Lower Leg Issues 324

Knee Issues 350

Upper Leg and Hip Issues 379

Spinal and Neck Conditions 439

Shoulder, Arm, and Hand Conditions 498

24 Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Conditions 551

Cultivating Emotional and Mental Health 553

Alzheimer's Disease 556

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 558

Substance Abuse 560

Depression and Anxiety 564

Insomnia 567

25 Practices for a Healthy Reproductive System 569

Practices for Women's Reproductive System Health 571

Infertility 589

Endometriosis 590

Male Prostatitis 591

Erectile Dysfunction 592

Part VI Epilogue: The Promising Future of Yoga Therapy

Notes 597

Bibliography 631

Index 679

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