My journey from Yoga Teacher to Therapist
Hi, I'm Judy and I haven't always been a confident yoga therapist - here's my story.
It was on my first day teaching yoga in an NHS mental health unit more than15 years ago that I realised I was ill-equipped, lacked knowledge, and had little self-confidence as a newly qualified yoga teacher. My lesson plan started with the students lying in a semi-supine position so I could settle myself and have a few moments when they weren’t looking directly into the eyes of a nervous yoga teacher. I guessed it would also give them time to do the same so we could all settle, relax and feel safe before we started some warm ups. yoga therapy over a ball
As I entered the room, one woman was huddled in a corner crying helplessly, another was standing moving from foot to foot and fidgeting with eyes wide open, one young man was sitting on the floor almost curled into a ball with very long hair and looking totally blocked off from the world... and some other 'patients' who did not strike me immediately by their physicality – a lot of self-doubt and imposter surfaced in me but somehow I found the resources to get through the class – that’s another story but needless to say, I could not start with them all lying semi-supine! the lesson plan was dropped and I had to find some creative ways to hold an inclusive space for all of the students - moving or still, emotional or blank. As I walked across to the Forensic unit for my next new class, I could only imagine who I would meet, and what I might find in my second class. What I knew was that I did not feel equipped to teach yoga in this setting, and I was going to invest in some yoga therapy training to gain more knowledge and confidence!
Over the years, as a yoga teacher, yoga therapist and as a human being, these two classes turned out to be the ones I would look forward to most each week. I received the best learning from not knowing who or what was going to show up, to find confidence in my inner knowing, intuitively making up sequences and affirmations, the power of presence and unconditional positive regard...
and finding out the students looked forward to the sessions so much too! A place of acceptance and choice.
Being a Yoga Therapist
Since then, I have supported students and clients with mental health issues, infertility disappointments, coming to terms with ageing, grief, loss of identity... and when I reflect on their suffering, what I find is probably common to all - 'an ailing spirit with the most amazing capacity for tolerating, adapting and healing'.
How wonderful would it be to support others in tuning into their own knowledge in the body's amazing capacity for self-healing?
I love this work, and I trust the process because I see magic happen in my yoga therapy space most days. To offer clients a yoga therapy experience that is healing and transformative, the therapist needs to be in a continuing lifelong journey of their own - we are also human, we don't have it all worked out, we are not always happy and joyful, we don't have all the answers...so this way of being starts with You! How do you look after your own needs, how do you heal yourself? Just because you practice yoga or are a teacher or therapist, doesn't mean you know how to do this by yourself. Finding peer support, mentoring, therapy for yourself ensures you are always connected to the work, and as you may have experienced with meditation, it somehow has more power with others around you, in it with you.
Tuning into the body and the wisdom that lies within is often described as ‘re-membering’ what is already know deep inside or experienced long ago, or as ‘coming home’, re-establishing deeper psychological, therapeutic and universal connections that can offer new hope, possibilities and new ways of being in the world.
Whether it's an ailing spirit or a bad back, learn skills to tune into your own wisdom, and discover a sensitive and intuitive approach to relationship with which to meet the other person, whether a client or someone in your life.
Let me know how I can support you with yoga therapy journey whether you're looking for 1-2-1, more food for the soul in small groups for your own learning, or through a professional training in yoga therapy.
Set up a discovery call with me firstname.lastname@example.org
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