f you’ve spent some time on my site, you already realize that my perspective on Meditation and the relationship between Mind, Body & Spirit is different. So why would it be any different for Yoga Therapy? Yoga Therapy was my doorway … the invitation to step across the threshold to experience a new relationship between my Mind and my Body. I didn’t consciously know it at the time, but my Spirit had been calling to me to make some serious changes in my life, but I didn’t know how. Yoga Therapy provided me with that how.
So it is worth sharing in the hopes that my experience speaks to something deep within you that is yearning to have a fuller, more vibrant experience of your own life.
or years, I struggled to find words to describe what Yoga means to me. And then in the middle of a yoga class with my current teacher, Saul David Raye, I heard these words: “Yoga happens when the Mind drops into the Heart” and for a change, both my Heart and Mind said “YES!”. According to Saul, these are words made famous by T. Krishnamacharya, the grandfather of modern day Yoga.
What does that quote even mean, especially, for someone like me who is really, really good at living life from her head? When I am in my head, I create my life based on “shoulds”. I look around me and see what other people are doing, and think, “Oh! Well, since that is what I am seeing then that is how it must be for me.” And so my life becomes an cage-like invention, where I am trapped by what I think my life should be and my expectation of what it must be like. Input from other people, based on what I see as examples or advice that I request, may or may not be what is right for me. I ended up living a self-made facsimile. Even though I had repeated wake-up calls that something had to change, no one bothered to tell me that the fundamental problem is that you can’t figure your way out of something that your Mind has created. I had to bring my Body into the equation to gain that insight! The challenge is that my Mind is powerful and serves me well in what I am creating in the world … I don’t want to fight to put it on a shelf in my closet and then walk away (believe me, my Mind won’t be easily silenced). But there is a time and a place for it and I do not want my Mind to be in the driver’s seat all of the time.
When I can allow myself to get out of those “shoulds”, I can drop into my Heart … my Heart, which communicates to me what is alive for me, what it is I value, what I hold precious, what I am passionate about, my pain, as well as what I am not willing to put up with. I equate my Heart to my Spirit, both of which speak to me through my Body … all three of which contain precious information about ME. Yoga is the Balance that happens when I start living my life in connection between my Mind, my Body and my Spirit. When I am in Balance, I experience a life that is purposeful, passionate, and exciting.
What is this thing called Yoga Therapy? According to Krishnamacharya, the teacher must remember that every person is absolutely unique. At a given point in time, each person will leave the same conversation having learned something different. That’s because each person will take away the insight that is most relevant for them … at that point in their lives. Accepting that basic truth results in a very different relationship between you and me. For you, it means no longer blindly conforming to either something the teacher says or something you see in class around you. For me, it means including Mind-Body demonstrations throughout my programs, so that you can try and see for yourself whether there is something for you in what I just taught. It means that I value your experience of what I teach, more than the words that I have to share. For both of us, it means listening carefully to what makes you uniquely you … your Spirit, your Body and your Mind. That distinction deserves its own name. This is Yoga Therapy .Y
our Body is how you experience those expanding moments when your Mind drops into your Heart. Why? Because your Body constantly communicates your current state of being to you. Are you in a state of Stress? Are you in a state of Relaxation? Are you excited about something? “Stop and watch that amazing sunset!” It is your Body that tells you the truth of all of that … face it, your Mind can’t because it is caught up in worry about what you forgot to do, or in overwhelm about what still needs to get done. By choosing to listen carefully to your Body (these are the Body-Focused Meditations that I teach), and then taking steps to align your state of being to what best supports you in the moment (this is the Yoga Therapy piece), you can create your life based on what you love, instead of what you think others expect of you.
And so what I discovered and teach is a Yoga Therapy that’s both practical and life-changing because:
y Yoga Therapy has to be practical. Let’s face it, we’re Overworked Overwhelmed Overachievers, so it is a given that we’re busy! Yes, there are some postures involved, but the reality is that “postures” is just a fancy word for how you’re holding your Body right now. A “posture” does not have to look a certain way — like you see in the yoga magazines. Sitting at the computer, my Body is in a posture; walking around the grocery store is another posture; eating breakfast is another one … you get the idea.
Ultimately, the focus of my Yoga is on noticing how I feel when I’m grounded in Alive, Balanced and Vibrant versus When I Am Not. That way, when I notice that I am not (that’s meditation again), I know how to find my way back (that’s Yoga Therapy). If what I have shared calls to you in any way, know that my programs have evolved from a deep personal awareness of wanting to help others to get out of their heads and to wake up to life. This is what I seek to bring to other Overworked Overwhelmed Overachievers like me.
~ T. Krishnamacharya, grandfather of modern Yoga