Sometimes a yoga class may leave you feeling more refreshed, peaceful, and grounded than a traditional psychotherapy session. For me, it was a night and day difference. Many times after leaving my therapist’s office, I felt more keyed up and anxious from reliving and retelling the stories of my frustrations than when I started the session – I reached no resolution from rehashing out the details. Simultaneously, I noticed my confidence, creativity, and inner calm peaked after yoga. Becoming aware of this difference was a huge “aha” moment! It ignited my quest to learn more about yoga as a healing art and to share this knowledge with my clients.
Yoga therapy is a holistic approach that helps people discover and reach their personal goals by applying the principles of yoga. Yoga encompasses “eight limbs” which are best practices for the following: ethical behavior, healthy attitudes, bodily postures, breathing exercises, non-attachment, concentration, meditation, and a profound peace of mind. Yoga therapy includes these techniques in an individualized approach to health and happiness.
The goal of yoga is to provide clients with relief from suffering. Suffering comes in many shapes and sizes, and clients see me for many different reasons. Read on and find your reason to give yoga therapy a try!
For those of us who don’t move much, living a sedentary lifestyle will eventually catch up to you. In yoga therapy, you learn a set of simple poses to try on a daily basis. Going through this routine helps lubricate your joints, stretch your muscles, and wake up various parts of your body that you may have never felt before. Getting out of your head and into your body is so good for you!
But, in yoga, there’s much more than just the physical component. When you learn to move your body and link this movement with breath awareness, you begin to relax your body, which helps you relax your thoughts, too. When you learn to hold your own thoughts more lightly, it matters even less what other people’s thoughts are. Yoga therapy teaches you ways to relax and combat the negative effects of worry, stress, and tension.
You may not be able to tell when you are reaching your threshold and you are about to snap from pent up emotions. Learning yoga techniques helps fine-tune your awareness of bodily sensations so that you can learn indicators for when you’re at your limit and techniques to unplug. You may become more skilled at witnessing and catching a self-critical thought before it spirals out of control or at feeling that telltale knot in your stomach alerting you to anger. Even simple things like recognizing when you’re hungry, or tired, or stressed can become much easier after you’ve practiced yoga a few times.
This leads to another very important reason to try yoga therapy: making time for yourself. Like many of us, you have a hard time setting aside time free from distractions or the needs of others. A regular yoga therapy session quickly remedies this struggle by committing you to a weekly appointment dedicated to just you! This structured time gets you in the habit of giving yourself the attention you deserve and need. Together, you and your therapist will find the best way to incorporate a breathing/meditation practice (even it it’s just 5 minutes a day) into your busy schedule.
Self-reflection is paramount in learning to stop the re-occurrence of bad habits. When yoga becomes an integral part of your life, you become acutely aware of the impact your lifestyle decisions have on this good feeling you have harnessed. Not only do you learn self-awareness, but through yoga you will also learn compassion for yourself, so you can make healthy changes and move past mistakes.
Yoga just may be the fresh perspective you need to straighten out your affairs. Make your first appointment and see for yourself! If you need help finding a yoga therapist, check out the International Association of Yoga Therapists’ online database for a practitioner in your neighborhood.