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Occupational Therapy Yoga

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Occupational Therapy Yoga builds meaningful lives.

Occupational Therapy (OT) Yoga is a unique service offered at Next Wave Therapy in Hilton (Fremantle area) of WA. In the West, people practice yoga for physical, mental and/or emotional health and for some it’s a way of moving toward ‘enlightenment’ or self awareness. Zoe Cole, Occupational Therapist and Certified Yoga Instructor skilfully delivers yoga, in a way that honours traditional teachings of yoga within an occupational therapy framework. In this blog Zoe introduces Occupational Therapy Yoga.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupations include all the activities and tasks that make up our day to day lives. They include self-care activities like showering or brushing your teeth as well as productivity occupations like study or work and leisure occupations like surfing or dancing.

Occupational Therapy (OT) recognizes that having a balance of meaningful and purposeful occupations fosters health and wellbeing. So it’s all about creating meaningful lives!

What is Yoga?

Traditionally yoga was a philosophy and guide to reaching enlightenment. It can all sound a bit crazy when we throw words like ‘enlightenment’ around but in western terms: it’s a guide to reaching your full potential and purpose. Sounds a bit like OT!

Yoga itself is an occupation. For some, yoga practice is part of their self-care, and for others yoga is a leisure occupation. Yoga promotes nervous system regulation, reducing stress, anxiety and fatigue. It also improves cardiovascular fitness and circulation, helping you to maintain a healthy heart. A little less known to most, yoga also helps improve digestion by increasing blood flow to digestive organs. Plus the more talked about benefits of improved strength and flexibility!

Why integrate Occupational Therapy with yoga?

After finishing my OT degree I went and studied in India to be a yoga teacher. During my teacher training all I kept thinking was this is so-o-o-o OT! Whilst the words used in ancient Indian scriptures sounded so foreign at first, when it comes down to it, the philosophy underpinning yoga and OT are essentially both all about creating purposeful and meaningful lives and reaching our full potential!

So given the numerous health benefits, why not use yoga as therapy?

Why not use it in a clinical and safe space for people undergoing rehabilitation to enhance participation in their everyday activities?

How is OT Yoga different from a ‘regular’ yoga class?

OT Yoga is suitable for all people regardless of age, physical limitations or disability. It appeals to people with health conditions such as chronic pain, fatigue, low self confidence or anxiety who may feel unable or afraid to attend a regular yoga class.

OT Yoga is goal focused. Prior to commencing yoga classes at Next Wave, a comprehensive occupational therapy assessment is completed to identify a person’s goals i.e. what they want and need to be able to do.

The question is then asked: Can yoga help?

OT Yoga is individually tailored to the person. Classes include a maximum of 6 people, which means the poses can be adapted to the individuals needs and are pain-sensitive!

OT Yoga is rehabilitative focused. Yoga is used as a mode of therapy to calm the nervous system, reduce pain symptoms and improve movement so the person can manage their everyday activities. For some, the end goal of therapy may be to be able to attend a regular yoga class. For others its a way of learning how to manage pain, increase self awareness and confidence or how to manage stress.

Do you experience chronic pain, stress, anxiety, depression or other health conditions or physical limitations that are limiting your ability to participate in everyday life?

Contact Next Wave Therapy to book your initial OT Yoga Consultation with Zoe Cole.

Private Health and Medicates Rebates may apply

Copyright Next Wave Therapy (2019)

Written by Zoe Cole, Occupational Therapist and Certified Yoga Instructor. Zoe has a special interest in helping people who experience persistent pain, stress or anxiety. Stress management, relaxation training, goal setting, lifestyle redesign, sleep hygiene and yoga are some of the therapies she offers.


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