Introducing Salimah, Yoga Therapist in Toronto
While many people tend to associate yoga with stretching and equate it with exercise, it is actually a science and a tool for health and healing. In this article, we interview Salimah Kassim-Lakha, Director of YogaVision, about the concept of yoga therapy, its benefits and applications, how it different from "normal" yoga, and what sort of training a yoga therapist requires in order to practice.
1. What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga therapy is a therapeutic form of yoga and meditation. A yoga therapist uses specific techniques such as meditation, breath work, movement and other resources to help her clients move through spiritual, emotional, mental or physical challenges. Yoga therapy is a time tested way of using yoga to heal and transform one’s life.
2. How is Yoga Therapy different than a normal yoga class?
Just like other forms of counseling, yoga therapy is offered on private basis. As a client you have the opportunity to work through challenges, goals or intentions in a one on one setting with your yoga therapist. Yoga classes are generally offered as a group experience and consequently will not have the specific goals of the client in mind.
3. What can yoga therapy treat?
Generally a yoga therapist can offer treatment options for mental, emotional, spiritual and physical challenges. Each therapist has a specific focus and speciality and may use additional healing modalities to support your work. Alternative therapies may include energy healing, working with numerology, aromatherapy, sound healing and so on.
4. How is yoga therapy different than physical therapy?
The scope of physical therapy is limited to the body and western anatomy. A Yoga Therapist usually has training from a number of different modalities, blending Eastern and Western traditions for a wholistic healing plan. The sessions may or may not include manual touch.
5. What is a Yoga Therapist?
A yoga therapist is someone who has an advanced level of Yoga training and applies it specifically to helping people heal from specific ailments and transform their lives. These ailments could be physical, mental and/or spiritual in nature. A yoga therapist typically has over 1000 hours of teaching time and various other certifications to confirm their level of expertise and experience.
6. What sort of training is required to become a Yoga Therapist?
A yoga teacher usually has between 200 and 500 hours of training. By comparison, most yoga therapists have over 1000 hours of training. We often specialize in care and treatment for specific populations (women’s health, care for the elderly, men for example). Some yoga therapists develop expertise in specific modalities, tools, or domains of knowledge such as Kundalini Yoga, meditation, anatomy, sound healing, and other such disciplines.
7. How did you become a Yoga Therapist and how much experience do you have?
I’m so glad you asked. I completed 500 hours of Kundalini Teacher Training I. 2008. I went on to complete 200 hours of Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in 2009, followed by Master Laugher Yoga Training in 2010. I went on to complete 5000 hours of Kundalini Yoga Therapy training in 2015. This certification included Numerology, and specialization in Kundalini Yoga for Women. Since that time I’ve taken dozens of trainings in Energy Medicine, Breath Work and Plant Medicine, in addition to counselling psychology. I’ve found all of it fascinating and each person I work with is a unique and complex array of experiences that pull on all my training to ascertain the best treatment program. I’ve worked in the health and wellness field for 15 years. I owned a Yoga Studio for 6 years and now consult with clients worldwide in addition to running my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training program.