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Rehabilitative Yoga

Rehabilitative Yoga combines physical therapy research principles, theory and treatment with the adapted practice and poses of Yoga.1 Patients learn to become stronger, more balanced, more flexible, and more coordinated through strengthening, breathing, stretching and relaxation exercises.2 Moving in and out of the poses in a controlled manner will also help the patient with stamina, posture awareness and motor control. Posture and alignment are emphasized and coordinated with breathing. 2

Yoga began as a holistic practice connecting the mind, body and spirit. The combination of these two professions, Yoga and Physical Therapy, results in a more holistic approach to your rehabilitation experience. Physical therapist are able to adapt the Yoga poses and practices to safely meet he needs of individuals with chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, Parkinson’s disease, etc.3-9

Rehabilitative Yoga differs from yoga or yoga therapy, because it is delivered by licensed physical therapist.1 Physical Therapists use evidence-based treatment methods to help patients restore and maintain optimal movement and function, as well as provide education on health maintenance and injury prevention. As Physical Therapists, we have extensive training, knowledge, and clinical experience to have the competency to assess, diagnose and treat a variety of injuries, dysfunctions, disease symptoms, disabilities and imbalances. Using this knowledge, Physical therapist adaptive and modify Yoga practice to safely meet individual needs.1 Physical therapists are able to include Yoga exercises and poses into the treatment plan to achieve physical therapy goals.1 Rehabilitative Yoga is a medically targeted program.1 Physical therapy assessment is performed prior to participation Yoga class or individual treatment.

Rehabilitative Yoga differs from regular Physical Therapy intervention, because it uses yoga to guide the treatment approach, which results in a more holistic approach to healing. Yoga is modified and adapted by the physical therapist to meet the patient’s needs and incorporated into the treatment plan to improve balance, strength, flexibility, posture, alignment, motor control, and coordination as well as to reduce pain and stress.1

The focus of Rehabilitative Yoga is placed on a mind body connection, combining breath with movement for awareness of posture, alignment and positioning. The deeper breathing brings more oxygen into your body which nourishes the cells of the body replenishing the blood and stimulating the healing process. The slow, rhythmic breathing brings more flexibility to stretches and helps to calm the mind.

GroupHab Physical Therapy offers small group Rehabilitative Yoga classes. Assessment is performed prior to attending class. If you are looking for safe Yoga practice in a rehabilitative setting, GroupHab Physical Therapists often incorporated Yoga into individual treatment plans for holistic approach to healing.


  1. Wojciechowski M. PT practice settings: Yoga. PT. 2008;16(4):28-33.

  2. Wang M, Yu SS-, Hashish R, et al. The biomechanical demands of standing yoga poses in seniors: The yoga empowers seniors study (YESS). BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;13:8. doi:

  3. Taylor M. Yoga therapeutics in neurologic physical therapy: Application to a patient with parkinson’s disease. Neurology Report. 2001;25(2):55.

  4. Cramer H, Lauche R, Azizi H, Dobos G, Langhorst J. Yoga for multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014;9(11):e112414. doi:

  5. Van Uden-Kraan ,C.F., Chinapaw MJ, M., et al. Cancer patients’ experiences with and perceived outcomes of yoga: Results from focus groups. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2013;21(7):1861-70. doi:

  6. Middleton KR, Ward MM, Haaz S, et al. A pilot study of yoga as self-care for arthritis in minority communities. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. 2013;11:55. doi:

  7. Bosch, Pamela R,PhD., P.T., Traustadóttir T, PhD, Howard P, M.D., Matt KS, PhD. FUNCTIONAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF YOGA IN WOMEN WITH RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: A PILOT STUDY. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15(4):24-31.

  8. Cheung C, Wyman JF, Resnick B, Savik K. Yoga for managing knee osteoarthritis in older women: A pilot randomized controlled trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;14:160. doi:


  10. Park J, PhD., McCaffrey, Ruth, DNP, ARNP,F.N.P.-B.C., G.N.P.-B.C. Chair yoga: Benefits for community-dwelling older adults with osteoarthritis. J Gerontol Nurs. 2012;38(5):12-22. doi:

  11. Selman LE, Williams J, Simms V. A mixed-methods evaluation of complementary therapy services in palliative care: Yoga and dance therapy. European Journal of Cancer Care. 2012;21(1):87-97. doi: doi: .

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