Yoga Therapy—Breathwork As a Way to Quiet The Mind

If you are an experienced yoga student, you understand the importance of the breath during asana.

You may also have explored various pranayama techniques—ways of controlling the breath to move energy in the body.

As a Yoga Therapist, knowing various pranayama techniques and how and when to use them is an important tool in helping clients move toward their own healing.

We are all continually learning during our yoga therapy journey, and new questions constantly arise.

How can online learning account for this? Breathing Deeply’s approach is to provide access to Brandt, our lead teacher, at regularly scheduled, live Q&A sessions.

No question is too simple, or too far-fetched.

In the video below, Brandt responds to a question from a student about kumbhaka, or breath retention, explaining the process and when it might be used effectively with yoga therapy clients.

Ready to begin your yoga therapy studies and deepen your own practice?

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Yoga Therapy for Muscular Distrophy

As Yoga Therapists, we will often be approached by clients who report that they have received little help from western medicine.

Or we may see clients with conditions for which medicine has few answers.

Some conditions severely limit or make it impossible to practice asana, even chair asana as we know it.

Should we be intimidated by the idea of working with these people?

In this video, Brandt discusses working with muscular dystrophy, a particularly debilitating and challenging condition.

Ready for a challenge? Apply to become a yoga therapist. A new class is starting soon.

Sattvic States vs. Symptom Reduction–What is our Goal as Yoga Therapists?

Clients who come for yoga therapy are interested in one thing–relief from the condition they are suffering from.

As westerners, we are conditioned to respond to these calls for help by tackling the symptoms. But we need to keep reminding ourselves that as yogis our goal is to help our clients achieve a more sattvic state–to bring them into better balance as a mode of healing and achieving long-term results.

This is especially true when working with people suffering from chronic conditions.
How do we do this?

While working to alleviate symptoms, we also look for deeper causes of the problem, and we work with clients to help them achieve greater awareness and find ways to heal the whole self.

In this video, Brandt explains why helping people become more sattvic is an important foundation of yoga therapy, and key to our effectiveness as yoga therapists.

Point of View Matters—A Yoga Therapy Perspective

It seems like almost every day we see a new article pointing to scientific evidence for the effectiveness of yoga in treating various conditions.

This is definitely good news for us as Yoga Therapists. And we are seeing more and more people without a yoga background coming in for treatment–some even with referrals from their physicians.

In working with western clients, we want to make yoga practices more accessible and avoid using yoga terminology that certain people might find off-putting, or even threatening. But it’s essential not to forget or ignore the cultural framework within which yoga has been practiced for thousands of years.

—Listen in as Brandt explores some challenges and tips in sharing classical yoga teachings with clients unfamiliar with these concepts.

5 Reasons To Work With A Yoga Therapist

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Yoga therapy is an emerging field. As such, most of the public doesn’t know what a Yoga Therapist is or why they would want to work with one. I thought I’d do my part and write the top reasons to work with a Yoga Therapist.

1) Head To Toe Thinking
For physical concerns, Yoga Therapists are trained to think about the whole body. In a world full of never-ending specialization, Yoga Therapists are uniquely positioned to see connections that others may miss. In practice, this often involves strengthening or stretching structures seemingly unrelated to one another. The result is a whole body approach to healing that often has amazing results.

2) Time
Yoga therapy sessions are often an hour, sometimes more. Unlike healing professions that are constrained to short sessions because of insurance and other factors, Yoga Therapists have the time needed to take in your full story. It makes us well positioned to see connections that others simply don’t have the time to make. Sometimes we not only need practices to help heal us, we also need someone to help us connect the dots in our daily life. Are we getting enough sleep? Do we need to re-think our medications? Are we unknowingly creating stressors that can be cut out? A Yoga Therapist is able to take in your entire picture and help you make beneficial shifts that others often miss.   

3) Education Not Dependence
The goal of the Yoga Therapist is to educate people so that they may heal themselves. Working with a Yoga Therapist should leave a client feeling empowered to self assess as part of their healing process. Independence from the Yoga Therapist is the goal.

4) Commitment To Relationship
Yoga is relationship. Yoga Therapists understand that relationship is a key part of any healing process. This mostly applies to our relationship with ourselves, but it also applies to the therapist/client relationship. A Yoga Therapist is a friend on the path entrusted with a certain role and a good therapist is committed to a relationship that benefits all involved. When working with a Yoga Therapist, a client should always feel on equal ground within the confines of healthy boundaries.

5) One Stop Shopping
Yoga therapy is interested in all aspects of the self: the physical body, pranic body, mental states and emotions, the unconscious workings of the mind, the heart and its connection to all. Yoga Therapists are trained in practices to facilitate healing connection and balance within all of these parts. For many, this holistic approach can alleviate suffering across the spectrum of their experience. This may eliminate or reduce the need to obtain help from different individuals which is often important since the cost in both money and time can be overwhelming, especially when working with chronic conditions.

There are of course, many more reasons to work with a Yoga Therapist! May this short list inspire you to continue your healing with yoga therapy and please spread the word by sharing this writing. As always if you have any questions or comments please write me [here].

May the healing power of yoga continue to spread,
Brandt