What is Yoga Therapy?

Everything You Need To Know Is Inside Of You …

By: Jae Jessie Lee, Certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist

Everything you need to know is inside of you, and a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session will guide you there.  That’s the belief that fuels a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practice.

Whether you enjoy daily yoga practice or you never intentionally stretch your limbs past the refrigerator door, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy may be the answer to some questions you haven’t even asked yet.

What is Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy?

Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is a holistic, body-centered modality that combines the practice of assisted Yoga postures coupled with a non-directive dialogue technique. Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy techniques help the client focus awareness on sensations, feelings, and thoughts.  Each session is geared to the client’s in-the-moment experience.

The philosophy of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is that there is a profound link between the body and the mind.  Let’s call it the “body/mind.”  This link can be thought of in several ways.

On one hand, unexpressed or blocked emotions can become stored or lodged in the body, creating tension or blockage of free-flowing energy in the body/mind.  On the other hand, the link can look like sensations that get expressed through the body/mind as thoughts or feelings through words.  In essence, sensations can be seen as a metaphor or physical presentation of what’s happening in one’s life.

What Makes Yoga Therapy “Yoga Therapy”?

Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, while based in traditional practices of Hatha Yoga, is more than just a series of postures strung together and held at some depth for some duration.  A Yoga Therapist assists the private client in using yoga postures as a vehicle to examine beliefs, conditions, issues, or situations.  Unlike a solitary hatha yoga practice, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy uses a contemporary dialogue technique to help the client make a conscious connection between body and mind.  By the end of the session, the client will likely have turned awareness to the specific issue or condition and will be able to translate that awareness into a clear, definable, manageable action.

The word “therapy” here can be misleading.  Although much of what occurs in a session may be experienced as “therapeutic,” Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is neither psychotherapy nor physical therapy.  Though assisted practices of breathing, being in the body, focused dialogue and moving the body through assisted yoga postures, Yoga becomes the doorway to body and to soul, honoring the body’s wisdom as the source of experience.  Thus Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy empowers the client rather than creating a dependency or reliance on the practitioner to make something happen.

Also, with Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, there is no attempt to palliate or move away from feelings or behaviors.  The emphasis of a session is on exploring sensations, feelings, issues, conditions, not obliterating them.  It is through this recognition and loving acceptance that the client moves to a deeper, healthier, richer way of being in life.

What Happens in a Session?

While each client-centered session is unique, here are several common features you may experience in your Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy.

First, you’ll make yourself comfortable on cushions and the yoga mat spread on the floor.  (If you’re not comfortable sitting on the floor, you can always use a chair.)  If you haven’t had an opportunity to “warm up” you may do some light stretching to prepare your body for the postures to come.

After this light, physical preparation, you’ll warm up inside with a centering, like a guided meditation.  You’ll be asked to stay aware of sensations in your body, feelings that come up, thoughts as they occur, and issues current in your life.  You can share these at any point in your session, and from time to time the Yoga Therapist will ask you to tell her about them.

The Yoga Therapist may lead you through a body scan, a kind of guided meditation where you tune your awareness of physical sensation at a deeper level.  You’ll get to say what you notice about that experience too.

What does the Yoga Therapist Do?

The Yoga Therapist ‘s main role in this process is to coach, encourage, witness; in short, to be an unconditionally loving presence.  A Yoga Therapist does not attempt to cure conditions or issues.  Her job is to support, encourage, and empower self-awareness such that the client’s own Inner Wisdom can manifest a conductive lifestyle.  The Yoga Therapist, therefore, does not offer magic or curative power, but instead supports the client’s self-directed, self-empowered process of transformation, a process which the client can be taught to practice independently.

The technical job of the Yoga Therapist is to select one of dozens of yoga stretches to assist you in holding.  You may be holding a posture for a few moments or for a couple of minutes.  The assist comes in the form of the Yoga Therapist actually holding, propping or in some way supporting parts of your body so that you can focus your attention on what’s happening in your body/mind.

The Yoga Therapist considers your physical condition and ability to move in certain ways when choosing a posture.  She’ll respect your limits and restrictions and can modify postures for those requiring only a gentle stretch.  The Yoga Therapist also selects postures base on their metaphysical relevance to your issue or condition.  And indeed, some Yoga Therapists engage their own Inner Wisdom or intuition to determine the postures to assist.

While you hold the assisted postures, the Yoga Therapist will help you focus your attention on your breath, sensations, and feelings, and invite you to share your awareness, feeding back what she hears you saying.

After you complete the posture portion of the session, the Yoga Therapist will again lead you in a centering somewhat like the one you began with.  This time you will meditatively review your session and be guided to make connections between your experience in the session and your experience in your life.  You will have an opportunity to explore that connection from the point of view of your own Inner Wisdom, allowing it to guide you to a relevant action step for integrating your experience into your daily life in a practical, concrete, and usually simple way.

What are the Benefits?

Although the specific outcomes vary from session to session and from client to client, the general benefits most people note are:

* Deep relaxation

* Enhanced body awareness

* Greater mental clarity and emotional stability

* Easier and deeper breathing

* Release of blocked energy and tightly held beliefs

* Spiritual attunement

Often, if one can simply and deeply relax, many conditions seem to improve almost without strain or undue effort.  People get the most out of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy when they are willing to simply be present to their experience in each session without expectation.

While each client’s Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy experience is different, most people find that they gain something in each session.  Clients generally experience a deepened self-awareness, a sense of their own self-healing Inner Wisdom, and an opportunity to make a plan of action to bring their awareness to fruition.

Many clients use Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy to explore stress-related issues and health concerns from both a physical as well as a mental standpoint to support and sustain permanent lifestyle changes.  As a healing modality, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is quite cost effective because clients can affect life-changing, self-empowering growth in as little as one or two sessions.  The client can “move forward” in life more quickly than with some other, more prolonged treatment modalities.

Center for Total Wellness®