Have you ever participated in psychotherapy before? Did you find it helpful? Over my years in therapy practice, I have often found that people can gain terrific insight into their lives — relationships, family, careers, etc. — through “talk therapy”, and they can tell you eloquently all about these insights, but sometimes they still feel “stuck”. All that insight didn’t help them to take the next step — take action to make positive changes in their lives. It’s no wonder that this sometimes happens — after all, our brains don’t live in a vacuum separated from our bodies.
Holistic approaches, which treat mind, body, and spirit as interconnected, are not as well received among those who are committed to traditional “modern” medicine, but around the rest of the world they are considered to be far more effective. I first got excited about mind-body techniques such as yoga therapy when I realized the profound effect that my personal yoga practice had on my own life — it led to increased energy, decreased stress, increased peace of mind — and it even helped to relieve my sinus problems.
Yoga therapy is swiftly emerging in western culture as a way to use the ancient tradition of yoga for therapeutic purposes. It is sometimes put in the category of “energetic bodywork”. Most people in the western world think of yoga simply as a series of physical postures which are used for either relaxation or physical exercise (or both). However, the physical practice is only one small piece of what yoga really is.
The term yoga means “to yoke”, and it refers to a yoking, or union, of mind, body and spirit that develops from regular practice of yoga — which can include physical poses, breathing exercises, concentration and meditation exercises, and following certain ethical guidelines.
In relation to psychotherapy, the yoga techniques of deep breathing exercises, relaxation and concentration exercises, and gentle physical poses can be a wonderful component of counseling. Just the breathing exercises alone can help you to achieve increased relaxation, focus, mental clarity, and the ability to be “mindful” — being in the present moment without getting easily distracted or sidetracked.
There are several different training programs for yoga therapy. Many incorporate “prescriptions” of specific poses to address specific ailments, such as anxiety, stress, insomnia, or chronic pain. Other techniques looks at the physical yoga poses (called “asanas” in Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga) as a conduit to help you access and release emotional blocks (old trauma, etc.) that may have been stored in the body.
I have been trained in both these modalities, having completed a 200 hour Hatha yoga certification, which has a more physically therapeutic focus, and having trained in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, which has a more emotionally therapeutic focus. I am equally at home adressing your physical needs as well as your emotional ones through yoga. My goal is simply this, “how can yoga benefit you?” I find frequently that when we work to clear physical pain or tension, emotions get released, too, and the opposite can occur – when we use yoga poses and dialogue to address and release emotions, sometimes your physical discomfort disappears, too.
Private, therapeutic yoga is a wonderful, special, even pampering experience, and I believe strongly in its healing potential. However, it is not necessarily for everyone. Some people may be uncomfortable with such techniques. It is most important that you feel comfortable with your treatment; in fact, that is the most important factor to a successful outcome! Please be assured that we will devise a treatment plan that is best for you, and that I will put all my energy into your well-being and peace of mind.
- Private, therapeutic yoga lessons
Private yoga can be offered in either 55 or 90 minute individual sessions. Either length of session can be very beneficial, though certainly longer sessions give you more time to really move through breathing, meditation, poses, and processing afterward. If interested, I will also teaching you some gentle poses and breathing exercises you can practice at home. However, keep in mind that if you are using your insurance to pay for services, insurance generally will not reimburse for 90-minute sessions. Private yoga can form the basis of your counseling sessions, or can simply be a component of them, depending on your needs, goals, and interests.
Yoga therapy techniques can also be used, to some extent, in couples counseling. Rather than physically assist each person one at a time through poses, I will teach both of you breathing and relaxation techniques that you can practice either alone or together. I will also teach you both, if interested, some gentle poses in which you can assist each other, which is a wonderful tool for improving your communication and trust with each other. For information on yoga therapy techniques in group counseling or workplace seminars, please visit the “counseling services” and “workplace seminar” pages.