I have been thinking of my next step on my journey to becoming a yoga therapist and how very right this feels.  It took me a very long time to make this leap towards becoming a yoga therapist.  I always knew that I had therapeutic leanings in my yoga teachings and really didn’t know what I would do with it.  It wasn’t until I heard about this organization called the International Association of Yoga Therapist (IAYT), that I realized that the field I need to go into is Yoga Therapy. I was pleasantly surprised to know that my inclinations had a profession attached to it.  

Wherever it leads me, it will be exciting!

This was about 3 years ago and since then I have been doing my due diligence to find a program through meticulous research, time and self-doubt.  I knew this was what I wanted to do but could I?  Throw any number of obstacles into the mix and I had an argument for them.  What about my kids?  They will need me?  What about Peter?  He will need me?  Who is going to keep up the house?  What about my existing classes, students and the studio?  I had obligations planted everywhere.  And finally what about me?  Could I be successful in a program so intense and so comprehensive? Did I have it in me?  Doubt, doubt, doubt.   

I wasn’t sure of the commitment it would take.  I threw so many speed bumps into this process, that I  was completely stalled. I made promises to others in hopes that it would keep me on track.  I did not yet own my path.  I had ideas about it but wasn’t fully committed.  It wasn’t until I used use some meditative practices like taking my long walks along the Perkiomen Trail and journaling again that I could finally sit down to process these doubts du jour. Through the stillness, I was able to form an idea of me being fully committed to learning how to be a yoga therapist.  I could now formulate the direction  I needed to take and envision where this training could take me.

I was ready to get down to the business of finding a program again.  I was energized by my new founding, my new direction.  My potential list grew smaller until there was one program that stood out for me.  My instinct told me that this was the right one for me.   Inner Peace Yoga Therapy Program spoke to me with its wide breadth of knowledge from leading teachers, health professionals and incredible staff and faculty.  The timing of the program fit in with my life with a family, teaching schedule.  The program is not completed at breakneck speed but with ample time to study, practice and reflect.  I do not know where this part of my journey will lead me as the field of yoga therapy is in its infancy as well.  I look forward to growing up side by side with such an awesome life purpose.

My path thus far reflects the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and its Four Pillars. These pillars are also known as the path to action. I am looking forward to building these pillars one by one on my way to being in the fullness of my dharma.

  1. Look to your dharma
  2. Do it full out!
  3. Let go of the fruits.
  4. Turn it over to God.

The Poses
Straddle Forward Fold (option for folding over chair, couch, bench)

Benefits: calming, gently stretches lower back, nice transition from the days activities.  A good pose to do if you need a few minutes break from your daily work, easy to do and easily accessible.  Good for headaches.  Breathing is easier since muscles of the respiratory system are relaxed.
Props: bolster, 2-4 blankets, may use a chair, if difficult to reach bolster.

Place blanket single-fold on bolster draping down. Legs can stretch through chair or straddle or cross-legged.  Arms placed folded on chair in front of you. Rest forehead on arms. Tilt chin slightly toward your chest.  Close eyes. For comfort or lower back issues, sit on blanket, add rolled up blankets under knees if legs in straddle, or blocks/blankets under knees if cross legged. May add a blanket at sacrum for grounding.

Mountain Brook (2 Versions)

Props: 2-3 blankets, neck roll, two bolsters

Benefits: counteracts the slumped position of our posture from sitting, computer use, driving, everyday activities. Opens the chest to help breathe easier. Improves digestion, reduces fatigue and can lift your mood.

Just like a babbling brook with boulders (soft ones!), imagine your body like the soft rushing waters laying over those boulders, smooth, flowing.  It will allow the natural curves of the body to be held up gently and the breath to flow.

On your mat, place one bolster where your knees will be and another where your lower legs can rest, one blanket rolled up where the bra line is (base of scapula), and a neck roll for the cervical spine.  Shoulders rest on the floor, arms to side with palms facing up or come into Goddess arms.  If ankles need support, use rolled-up blanket or dish towel.  Eye pillows can lightly rest on eyes or even be used on forehead (useful for headaches) or even on shoulders (wherever you need to release tension). To begin with stay in pose for 10 minutes working up to 20 minutes.  Great to use in savasana. Feel the heart open, the strain from holding yourself up all day evaporate.
Variations: Feeling cranky in the lumbar spine? Place blanket to fill the curves.  Want to feel more grounded while still opening the heart? Place rolled up blanket against wall and soles of feet touching blanket.  Need to feel cuddled? Swaddle your head in a blanket cradle.

Elevated Twist on Bolster

Props:2 bolsters, 2 blocks, 2-4 blankets
Benefits: gentle twist for low back, comforting, grounding, releases tension in the muscles surrounding the hip, easy to meditate on the breath

Create an incline with two blocks and lay your bolster lengthwise on the blocks.  Place a blanket or neck roll for the head to rest on. Another bolster lies next to the first one but on the floor. Sit with your right hip next to the inclined bolster and slightly turn your belly toward the bolster as you lay over the bolster. Legs are bent and stacked, supporting the top ankle with the bottom foot arch. One arm on the floor and one arm resting on the bolster on the floor.  Add sandbag, blanket or any other weight to upper hip or legs to further ground the body.  Stay for 5 to 8 minutes on one side then switch.