Sara Merrick-Albano

Foundations Program Graduate
Advanced Program Graduate
C-IAYT Yoga Therapist
Watertown, CT
Yoga Therapy Case Study: Crohn’s Disease

Since starting as a student with Breathing Deeply, my work has become meaningful and impactful. I also have a deeper personal practice.

I had always been interested in yoga therapy even before I started teaching yoga but I thought it was out of reach for me – too time-consuming and too expensive. When I enrolled in the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Program, I had recently completed a 500-hour certification but I felt like it wasn’t enough.

I was getting ready to start a new job and I had a few months of downtime. I started researching yoga therapy programs to see what was out there and realized that programs were becoming more flexible. I was looking at a few other programs but what stood out to me about Breathing Deeply was the self-paced format of the Foundations Program and the module-based format of the Advanced Program. I could take the time I needed to complete it and I could budget for it. There was also so much information about the program and the Breathing Deeply philosophy on the website. I appreciated the transparency.

The Breathing Deeply philosophy is grounded in what works. The Breathing Deeply approach to using yoga to balance doshas is different than other techniques that I learned, and I find the Breathing Deeply approach is actually effective. My personal yoga practice changed significantly since starting the program and as a result, I feel that I am more calm, grounded, and resilient.

When teaching group classes, I now feel confident that I can teach any student that walks in the door. This program helped me understand why I am teaching certain postures or breathing and meditation techniques, and who might benefit from some techniques over others.

For me, learning a framework for yoga therapy as opposed to learning specific protocols is the most useful part of the program. I know that someone can approach me with a problem they want help with and even if it’s not something we specifically covered in the course, I can think through it using the framework and develop effective practices for that person.

Also, the weekly Q&As were valuable not only for covering coursework but also for learning more about yoga and yoga therapy in general. They also helped me feel connected to the community.

I expected to learn about how to use yoga to help people with specific issues. This program exceeded my expectations. I did not expect it to dive so deeply into how to work with the whole person, from assigning simple practices that work across multiple levels for multiple issues, to the importance of respecting the therapeutic relationship between client and yoga therapist.

I’m now working as a yoga therapist working with clients one-on-one. I’m able to transition away from teaching general population asana-based yoga classes.

An example of one case study that I am (still) working with is someone with Crohn’s disease. When we first started, they were unsure of how they were going to manage the disease. After a few months of working together, they told me that they experienced a shift in how they were thinking about their treatment protocol and were able to get some clarity, and they attributed it to the practices that I had given them. They also feel that their stress is now manageable.

I can honestly say that this program changed my life and how I think about, practice, and teach yoga. So, to anyone considering joining this program, be prepared for some transformation.

Info Session

Brandt talks about common questions applicants have about the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Program. Tune in to get the full program details.