What the Heck is Yoga Therapy?!

GOOD QUESTION! I've been trying to answer this question for years! And considering I have been doing this work full time since September 2016 and studying it since 2013 it's getting pretty damn important I know what it is! But God has his own timing for things and I knew it would come eventually. Last May something loosened and the message broke free flowing down river to me in a crystal clear pool of clarity. Yay! Thank you.

Here is my message on the subject of yoga therapy as it pertains to children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families, addicts and trauma survivors. For many of us we grew up in an unpredictable environment with little to no consistency. This made us hyper-sensitive and always on guard never knowing what was coming next. Children are vulnerable and wide open and when violence, aggression and abuse happen they take it on fully unable to protect ourselves. This creates a memory in the body and a nervous system overworked and burnt out. As a result children grow up into anxious and depressed adults who will do anything to “keep the peace” and “please others” including sacrificing their own needs. Including doing all sorts of self-destructive and addictive bahviors to numb the pain. The basis of my work with trauma survivors, addicts, and adult children is the disconnection to intuition and listening to the body's cues. If people pleasing is a primary drive then honoring your own needs will be ignored. Same for those addicted to a love relationship or work. Same for those who have disconnected from their body because the pain is too unbearable due to trauma or abuse of any kind.

I write this to those off of addictive substances. The subtly of the body and listening to it's wisdom is unreliable if under the influence. Not to say you cannot do the work to reconnect and relearn intuition and become an integrated person. Integrated in mind, body and higher wisdom. While under the influence of a substance though it is too easy to escape and ignore what the body has to say.

So what is that again?

Let's not say the Self is “re-learning” to connect and hear intuition. The use of “Self” here comes from yogic terms meaning your soul, your immortal untouchable pure Self. For many this is a process of Learning for the first time; coming home for the first time to Self. To an integrated Self who trusts body cues; to a Self with an inner knowing. An inner knowing that is not constantly shut down by the minds thinking. Here is the crux of the problem and where yoga therapy can facilitate change. mind is always thinking and the body is always communicating but the mind is very quick and the body is constantly reacting to the minds thoughts. So in order to start we need to find a balanced or peaceful state where the mind is settled enough to stop barraging the body with emotional reactions to thoughts. With a balanced state insight and truth are accessible. Finding balance is like learning an instrument. anyone can pick up a guitar and make a few nice sounds by plucking the strings. But once you try to play a song you realize you must practice in order to play. Balance or Sattwa in yogic terms is like this, you can access it immediately if you just give it a sincere try but in order to sustain it a level of commitment is needed. A yoga therapist functions as a helper in this process.

Then the bodies inherent wisdom is accessible including intuition and needs. Places that need healing speak through the body and deep listening occurs.

A few common themes:

  • Reestablishment of inner and outer boundaries

  • Clarity around an attitude, approach or belief system

  • Learning and “a-ha” moments

  • Connection with childhood or recent memories held in the body

  • Exploration of long held belief systems

  • The body says “No” and “No” is honored