Yoga Therapy For Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

In the segment of a Yoga Therapy Program Q&A session, Brandt Passalacqua, founder of Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy, discusses how a Yoga Therapist can work with the physical symptoms of MS, as well as how to think about the disease throughout the other koshas.

Yoga Therapy For Pain Management: A Real Opportunity [Outside Of Opioids]

pilltrayThere has been so much news this year on the raging opioid epidemic in the US. Doctors have over prescribed addictive opioids for pain syndromes for years. The result is a population needlessly addicted to pharmaceutical drugs—drugs that often stop providing the pain relief they were prescribed for.

The nation (and world) is now looking for alternatives. How can people work with and take charge of their pain without dangerous drugs?

Yoga therapy is an extremely effective treatment for so many pain syndromes. On a physical level, properly prescribed asana (postures) can realign structures, create strength in weak muscles, stretch muscles and reshape fascia to facilitate joint mobility. Asana has provided relief for many musculoskeletal complaints including back pain that affect 80 percent of adults lives.

Studies have also begun to confirm that yoga including meditative practices increase pain tolerance dramatically. In one study, adults who practiced yoga regularly increased their pain tolerance by 2x. Another study found that pain and anxiety tolerance increased in individuals after a 3 day meditation retreat. And there are dozens more of these studies. The take away is that yoga therapy is uniquely positioned to help with conditions that affect most people and is a lower cost remedy, without the extensive lists of side effects.

So is yoga addictive? Well that’s for another day.

Please find me (here) if you are looking for help in this arena. May we all find health, peace, and light today.

How To Help Chronic Pain: Working With The Koshas

neck pain imageLong term chronic pain can be so difficult to work with. We as Yoga Therapists often see clients with pain that has been present for years. In most cases, these clients have already sought western medical treatment and have not achieved satisfactory results. The koshic model can give a much needed fresh look at a long term pain condition.
The koshas are an elegant way of viewing ourselves. (graphic). As yogis we may already be use to contacting each level in our practice. Asana for the physical body, pranayama for the pranic body, chanting, meditation and ritual surrender for the deeper layers.

What we may not realize is that these very practices can balance the koshas in a way the keeps our entire system balanced and functioning properly. Modern science is just beginning to understand how the different layers of ourselves effect seemingly mechanical systems in our body. For instance, there is research on how mental states (such as depression or anxiety) can manifest in physical pain. If we look at people through the koshic lens we are led to this conclusion easily. Since all of the koshas affect each other, it is essential that they be looked at as a pathway to healing. When we see people in chronic pain we might want to only address the physical. But what if the problem stems from another kosha? What if it’s a mental issue? Or an issue of depression from being disconnected from the bliss body? Or what about a pranic problem which could be addressed directly?
When we work with long term chronic pain, we always assess the person in front of us from this perspective. We are then able to suggest practices that might help. In the case of chronic pain the results can be astonishing. We have seen pain reduced by 75% from practices which at first glance would seem unrelated. Breathing practices reducing back pain. Meditation practices allowing clients to sleep through the night for the first time in years.
Basic kosha balancing is available to everyone and is easily taught to most people. More specific suggestions require a good client/therapist relationship. But all in all the koshic model empowers clients to shift their own pain response and is an effective tool in dealing with chronic pain.
May we all be free from suffering,
If you’re interested in knowing more about the koshic model, look at our course, The Radically Balanced Yogi. Designed for anyone, you will walk through the koshas in 6 weeks helping to restore balance to your entire being.
Want to learn to share this information with others? Consider taking our training: the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Program.

5 Reasons To Work With A Yoga Therapist


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,