Once you have received the “go ahead” from your physician, you can begin to explore options for private Yoga therapy sessions or a class that suits your needs. After you have found the right Yoga teacher or therapist, there are important aspects to be considered.
1. Are any of your prescriptions producing side effects that may interact with your Yoga practice? For example: Some prescription drugs affect your balance. This may require the use of a chair, pole, wall, or solid fixture, to use as a support, when performing balancing postures.
2. This leads to the use of props and modifications during practice. Your teacher should be completely comfortable with instructing you about the use of props and how to modify any Yoga posture, to suit your needs. It helps if your teacher has extensive training, in the use of props, to modify them for special needs.
3. In some cases, particular Yoga postures may be deleted from your lesson plan (asana prescription). Some postures may create a spinal imbalance, which will bring about more pain; while other postures are too risky for your particular needs.
4. You and your teacher should communicate clearly, when you receive a physical adjustment or an assist. If you are experiencing pain before, after, or during your session, do not keep it a secret. Honest feedback should be a “two way street.”
5. The level of physical challenge should be appropriate for you. In many ways, each of us is different physically. This should be taken into account from the very start of your Yoga therapy sessions. Even in a room full of people with lower chronic back pain, each person has a different spine, skeletal structure, musculature, and pain threshold.
You should not feel like a tiger jumping through a flaming hoop. Yoga therapy is not a “one size fits all” process. Your asana prescription should meet your needs, exactly. Physical rehabilitation, of any kind, is a process designed around the individual, and not the other way around.
6. You will be given some Yoga therapy “homework.” You should be able to practice part, or all, of your session at home. If your sessions meet once per week, your therapist or teacher will advise you to develop a home practice.
When you receive instructions for home practice, please follow them. This one step could be the difference between the pain you normally experience and having no pain at all.