Yoga, but different.
Yoga for emotional well-being is different than “yoga practice” at the studio.
Yogic techniques and philosophy are woven into my work as a psychotherapist. In my sessions, implementing yoga into a therapy session often looks like practicing yoga nidra (a powerful guided meditation), breathing techniques, hand gestures (mudras), or mantras (a word or statement repeated frequently) for the specific need of my client. Some clients want a sequence of postures to improve their mood, so this is something I will provide, teach, and they practice outside of the session.
How we work within our sessions is entirely up to the client. If you would prefer to only do yoga, with very little verbal processing, I can accommodate you in your desire. If this changes from week to week, that is ok. Your sessions with me are completely at your discretion.
Why practice yoga for emotional well-being?
The positive impacts of yoga on physical, emotional, and mental health have been been known for many years. Now the science has caught up and we have documented research on the positive benefits. It is a fact that yoga can improve your life.
More Breath Awareness = Calmer Nervous System
One of the primary results of a yoga practice is becoming aware of and present with your breath. Our breath is intimately tied to our nervous system. For example, when we breath shallowly or hold our breath, we are sending a signal that we are not safe so we are ready to fight, fly, or freeze. Yoga itself brings awareness to the breath and specific techniques can improve mood or relieve anxiety. The famous yogi saying is, “If you can control your breath you can control your mind.”
Boost of GABA
Yoga has been shown to increase the level of the neurotransmitter, GABA. Low GABA is associated with mood disorders and anxiety. GABA levels have been found to have increased after a yoga practice.
Better Stress Management
Yoga can modulate your stress response through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, this is the part of the nervous that triggers the relaxation response. Stress triggers the sympathetic nervous system, the ready for action part of us that is rooted in keeping us safe and surviving. It is a fact of life that there is stress, we cannot avoid it. However, we can learn how to respond to stress more appropriately through yoga, meditation, and breathing practices.
Healthier Brain + More Neuroplasticity
Chanting Om stimulates the limbic brain (our emotional brain) and increases gray matter in the brain creating a bigger and healthier brain.
Yoga Nidra Improves neuroplasticity of the brain. Researchers have found that post yoga nidra, practitioners have an increased level of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin that promotes neuroplasticity. What that means is, we are able to change old mental pattern and habits. For example, if you have the tendency to repeatedly make the same mistake over and over, you may find that you eventually make a different choice or find a different, more productive reaction.