Sequence Wiz electronic health records system for yoga therapists

Step 7. Deepen your expertise

When we discuss the therapeutic aspects of yoga practice, we often group them by condition or symptom, such as yoga for osteoporosis, lower back pain, or better sleep. This classification can give us some guidelines on what to look for when a student with that condition shows up, but does it mean that two people with the same condition should do the same practice? Most of the time, the answer is no. To design an effective and meaningful yoga practice, we have to consider many different factors. But how do we know which factors are important in each particular situation?

As yoga professionals, we benefit greatly from the accumulated experience of yoga therapists who have worked with students one-on-one for many years. Take a peek at the strategies they use to analyze students’ challenges and design customized yoga practices in Real-Life Case Studies. You will see why different things work for different people and how following the client’s lead in this exploration helps us figure out the most effective approach for them.

What factors do you consider when you design yoga practices for your students?

Check out this 3-minute video and detailed PDF handouts below to see real-life examples of students with lower back pain benefitting from different kinds of practices.

Lower back pain can show up for all sorts of reasons. Oftentimes, there is one important factor that either causes the pain or gets in the way of natural healing. We need to use our investigative powers to try and identify this important factor based on our conversations with the client and our observations. The factor can be physical, physiological or mental-emotional, and it is usually not immediately obvious. Here are some examples of those key factors that helped students figure out what was going on and deal with their lower back pain. Those case studies include sample practices.

Case Study 1: Movement patterns

P. is a male in his mid-20s. He is an electrician who works for a hospital chain. He complained of recurring pain in his lower back (right side) and outer right hip. VIEW CASE STUDY >


N. is a lively 60-something-year-old retired female who takes care of her four grandchildren three times a week. She complained of recurring lower back discomfort that she experienced on both sides of her lower spine. VIEW CASE STUDY > 

Case Study 3: Apana Vayu

D. is a female in her early 30s. She was disillusioned with her academic career and became a bike mechanic. She wrote that “walking or standing for long periods hurts my lower back.” VIEW CASE STUDY > 

L. is a male in his mid-30s. He owns a flooring company, does some physical labor himself, and is part of an ongoing meditation group. He reported “lots of low back tightness/stiffness, lack of mobility, and some shoulder issues.” VIEW CASE STUDY >