Yoga can be thought of as an ancient body-oriented therapy. The word “yoga” actually means “to yoke” or “bring together”–so a goal of yoga is to peacefully reconnect the body and mind.
Yoga therapy brings the yogic techniques of mindfulness, movement, breath, and meditation to support the health and healing of the whole person. Clients practice finding balance and flexibility, both physically and mentally. They learn to accept and meet their body and mind as they are while simultaneously challenging themselves to grow, change, and build strength. Yoga therapy also helps achieve relaxation, enjoyment in body sensations, and a sense of inner peace. To learn more, click on each question below.
What do you do in a yoga therapy session?
• Breathing techniques (pranayama) to bring balance to the nervous system
• Movement and body postures (asana) to learn to listen to your body and develop strength, flexibility, calm, and energy
• Meditation and guided visualization (yoga nidra) to focus the mind, develop insight, rest the body, and increase ability to cope
• Mindfulness and compassion techniques to improve your relationship to thoughts, feelings, and behavioral change
• Lifestyle tools to deepen emotional regulation
How does it work? Is it part of psychotherapy? Or do we just do yoga?
Suzannah offers yoga therapy in a variety of ways. Some options include the following:
• A stand-alone format for healing, self-exploration, growth, and general well-being
• A set of tools to be integrated into talk therapy sessions
• As an addition to standard psychotherapy—continue with your regular psychotherapist and use yoga therapy to gain tools that will enrich your healing process
• An opportunity for those new to yoga to learn the basics and develop a safe foundation before taking public classes
• A place to develop and support a consistent home practice
Who can yoga therapy help? What conditions do you treat?
Suzannah specializes in using yoga therapy for conditions that are supported by her training in psychotherapy—stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, and trauma. Indeed, yoga therapy can be especially useful for those whose problems (eating disorders, addiction, trauma history) have led to a disconnect or even animosity between mind and body.
Yoga therapy in general has been shown to be effective for many conditions ranging from those thought to be physical, such as back pain or heart problems, to those thought to be emotional, such as depression or anxiety. Because yoga views and treats the person as a whole, someone may come to yoga therapy to heal back pain and find that they feel more at peace in their day-to-day lives. In some cases, yoga cannot “heal” an injury or illness, but can, instead, help you change your relationship to your condition.
Can I do yoga? I’m not flexible and I can never make my mind quiet!
Yoga therapy is individualized, noncompetitive, and can work for absolutely all bodies. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and you will not be forced to bend yourself into a pretzel. Yoga therapy also respects all spiritual backgrounds and will not interfere with your religious or spiritual beliefs. Yoga therapy does not require a quiet mind or peaceful spirit—it welcomes you just as you are (though you just might develop a quieter mind with practice!).
What style of yoga do you teach? Where have you studied yoga?
Suzannah teaches a sweet, slow, and sometimes strong style of moving through poses with breath. She includes passive yin or restorative poses in every session. She believes deeply in supporting each person to listen mindfully and compassionately to their own body’s wisdom and to discover the unique alignment and form that give them the most space for growth. Each pose becomes an opportunity to make peace with one’s body. Suzannah seeks to provide an inclusive, noncompetitive environment that is welcoming of all bodies.
Suzannah has studied yoga therapy at the Niroga Institute with BK Bose and Antonia Fokken, yin yoga and mindfulness with Sarah Powers, yoga nidra (Irest) with Richard Miller, and prenatal yoga with Jane Austin. She is a C-IAYT, a certified yoga therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists.