Yoga and Mindfulness
Yoga encompasses a variety of practices employed to harness our innate energy so that we may live a full, healthy and satisfying life.
Yoga and the west
Many people have the perception that yoga is about moving your body into a pretzel or only for the young and thin. It is no surprise, since the commercialization of yoga bombards consumers with images that seem to only target a set demographic. Yet yoga practices include more than physical movement, or "asana." Dating back thousands of years, yoga practices have only recently been introduced and are now transforming the western psyche.
According to yoga tradition, there are eight "limbs" of yoga, ranging from meditation practices, living by specific ethical standards, or specifying breathing techniques to manage the mind and body, to name a few.
Mindfulness traditions also date back thousands of years.
Relatively speaking, western psychology has only recently come to appreciate the benefits of mindfulness practices. These practices can include being mindful or "present," not only when you sit down to formally meditate, but also when going about your every day life. Imagine a mindful shower, in which you are sensing and appreciating every component: the warmth of the water, the rich smell of your soap, or the pressure of the water on your skin. What a wonderful shower you can experience if you are being present, and not, perhaps in your head, worrying about the day's activities.
Only relatively recently has the west begun to reap the benefits of yoga and mindfulness.
Yoga and mindfulness can be considered a "marriage made in heaven."
This can be exemplified by being present or mindful on the yoga mat, focusing on sensation when practicing a meditation or breathing technique, as well as being conscious of your relationship patterns or personal behavior towards others. With consistent practice of yoga, the benefits shift beyond the yoga mat and can become incorporated in your everyday life.
Style of yoga
I teach a style of yoga that incorporates a wide range of techniques that help facilitate a healthy alignment of the body and mind. With consistent practice, the yoga practioner may become "mindful" of the body, it's physical boundaries, and may even become more aware of how to innately nourish the body, mind, and spirit. My teaching may also include using imagery, theme work, and practicing meditation or breathing techniques, in addition to the physical poses or asana.
Training and Experience:
Align & Flow Asana
As a student for many years, there were certain components that I was looking for in a teaching program. I wanted a program that would combine healthy body alignment, flow and movement of breathe, in addition to honoring yoga philosophy and the deeper insights to practice yoga. Shaktiyoga New York fit the bill, and I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2014 with expert teacher, Julie Dorhman. This program taught me the history and philosophy of tantric yoga, strong alignment techniques, breath work, satisfying flow, in addition to guiding students to connect to their personal reasons for practicing yoga. I finished this program in 2014, and am now registered as a 200-hr RTY (registered yoga teacher) with Yoga Alliance.
Yoga for Mood Management
LifeForce Yoga was founded by Amy Weintraub, as a method to manage her own struggles with depression, when psychotherapy was not enough to relieve her symptoms. Taking her life and mental health into her own hands, she developed this empirically-supported method of yoga to help manage not only depressive symptoms, but also anxiety and PTSD.
This program combines several different yogic techniques that I utilize in my integrated therapy sessions. These include breath work to energize or calm the nervous system, movement (asana) to connect to the body, mudras (hand gestures) to bring seal an intention or stimulate certain body parts, mantra (sounds) to ignite healing vibrations, yoga niidra for deep relaxation, bhavana for imagery work, as well as sankapla (intention setting) to connect to your heart's desire. I finished training in this method in the summer of 2017.
I have sought out practices that will allow me to guide clients and students towards more equanimity in their emotional lives.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
I was first introduced to mindfulness concepts in graduate school, and was somewhat familiar with John Kabat-Zinn's take on this concept throughout the years of attending conferences. After becoming more involved in the yoga world, studying mindfulness was an organic marriage.
In 2014, Time Magazine featured a cover stating that there was a "Mindfulness Revolution," in the making. However we want to put it, mindfulness is taking the U.S. by storm, with apps such as Headspace, offering easy to use products to teach people the benefits of being present in one's life.
Completing the 8 week program in MSBR in the summer of 2013, as well as various workshops in mindful psychotherapy, I now utilize and will guide clients using these techniques as well. I have also completed trainings to incorporate mindfulness techniques in the therapy office with psychologist and mindfulness educator, Ron Siegel.