The first definition of therapeutic in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “producing good effects on your body or mind”. The second is “of or relating to the treatment of illness”. Fittingly, the sentence in this dictionary that illustrates usage of the word happens to be “The therapeutic benefits of yoga.”
I am as guilty as any teacher in using the term “Therapeutic Yoga” to identify only some of what I teach to students. At our studio it refers to a specific type of practice aimed at using yoga to address specific health issues and physical conditions.
The unintended consequence of using this label is that it implies that for yoga to be therapeutic, it needs to be aimed at addressing a particular health condition. By saying that one mode of practice is therapeutic what are we saying about other types of practice?
Don’t we all benefit from the healing power of the practice? Shouldn’t all yoga practice be therapeutic for us? If it isn’t, then perhaps it is worth taking a look at why we are doing it.