What is Yoga Psychotherapy?
"Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the philosophy and practice of Yoga." ~International Association of Yoga Therapists
Yoga is an ancient set of practices developed in India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga means "to yoke" or "union" and the practice is about creating relationships - with our minds, bodies, emotions, breath, environment, other beings, and our spirituality.
The system of yoga is based on the 8-Limbed Path codified by a yogi named Patanjali over 2,000 years ago, and includes principles of ethical behavior and personal observances (e.g. non-harming, being honest with ourselves and others), physical postures called asanas, breathing exercises, meditation, concentration, and samadhi, or joyful union with the object of our concentration.
Yoga psychotherapy utilizes the practices of both yoga and talk therapy to provide individuals or small groups with strategies to address mental health concerns, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma. Participants will be led through yoga postures, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation designed particularly for their area of concern. Group members are encouraged to process their experiences, feelings, discomfort, and successes with other participants and the yoga therapists. Participants are also encouraged to offer support, observations, and shared wisdom with other group members. Through these practices, participants can develop compassionate awareness of their habitual ways of responding, cultivate more effective ways to cope with their difficulties, and create a sense of community and shared empathy with others in the group.
Laura Sherr, Ph.D., L.P. and Angella Kocian, Psy.D., L.P, are licensed psychologists and certified yoga instructors.
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