Lee Majewski C-IAYT is a yoga therapist at Marsden Centre for Integrative Medicine, Vaughn, Canada and visiting senior yoga therapist at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, India. She is a cancer survivor and since 2006 has worked with cancer and psychosomatic chronic disease patients, including running intensive yogic retreats for cancer patients in Europe, North America, India and Australia.
Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is Director of the Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research (CYTER) and Professor of Yoga Therapy at Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University. He is also Chairman of the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India and Yoganjali Natyalayam, the premier institute of Yoga and Carnatic Music and Bharatanatyam in Pondicherry.
Together, they created this book for yoga therapists, health professionals and all those interested in this modality to provide a deeper understanding of yoga therapy, carefully clarifying yogic concepts and exploring how deep yogic work can be practically applied to a range of chronic conditions.
Watch an in-depth discussion with the authors, facilitated by Dr Lori Rubenstein Fazzio, clinical professor of yoga and health at Loyola Marymount University, and owner of Mosaic Physical Therapy in Los Angeles.
Robin Rothenberg, author of Restoring Pranaand forthcoming Svadhyaya Breath Journal: A Companion Workbook to Restoring Prana (June 2020), served for six years on the IAYT Accreditation Committee in addition to running a busy yoga therapy practice. Her yoga therapist training program was one of the first to be accredited by IAYT in 2014 and she has been a yoga therapist for over 20 years. You can find out more about Robin at Essential Yoga Therapy. Below she shares tips for keeping the mind and body healthy through COVID-19.
Over the past few weeks I’ve seen numerous social media posts counseling people to stay calm and stay clean. In my experience, employing good breath hygiene is the most effective way to both remain grounded and support immune and respiratory health. The breath is our greatest inner resource and with a little breath education, you too can develop the capacity to settle yourself, even when fear is gnawing at your gut! Initially, breath hygiene may feel unfamiliar or awkward (much like learning to wipe down everything you touch with disinfectant) but the more you work with it, the easier it gets.
Here are five valuable tips for how you can use the breath as a powerful BFF to enhance emotional regulation, while simultaneously giving your immune system a boost.
The team at Singing Dragon would like to thank everyone who signed up, read, watched, listened or interacted with our first ever Virtual Yoga Summit. We believe that yoga really is for every body and we hope we managed to embrace that in this summit, putting a strong focus on accessibility, body positivity, empowerment and on yoga’s ‘whole person’ approach. Continue reading →
This guided meditation helps with reducing anxiety by releasing deep held tension that is created when we get anxious and our body tenses. It does this by shifting the energy from a anxious state to a relaxed one, using guided imagery of the chakras with a compassionate attention, using a focus of loving kindness towards the self. This meditation creates a deep sense of relaxation and reduces held tension to bring about a sense of inner peace and calm.
The Guided Meditation Handbook Advice, Meditation Scripts and Hasta Mudra for Yoga Teachers Georgia Keal
Help yoga students to access a deep state of relaxation with this guided meditation handbook. Offering yoga teachers scripts for guided meditations, students can learn how to cultivate positive emotions and let go of negative ones. Including practical information on how to set the scene for meditation in a yoga class, using music, lighting and props, the book also advises on how to introduce a meditation practice to yoga students. It explores the benefits of meditation for people from all walks of life, including sleep-deprived parents and those suffering from post-traumatic stress. Read more
Language is powerful, as is pain. Both can be forceful motivators of behavioural change. Spoken language can be interpreted in many ways. Sometimes we even question whether words mean what we think they mean. Pain can be the same. We wonder whether pain really is intended to “get us to stop or change our behaviour”. We might also wonder “exactly what is it that I am supposed to change? Maybe the change I need to make is to stop responding this way to my pain!”
As a yoga teacher, leading groups in asana requires instructions that will keep your students safe. As such, cognitive contemplations such as the above are not well-suited as part of an asana practice dialogue. We use language that guides our students to be aware of what is happening in the present moment. We guide them to find the right challenge so they can explore preconceived notions, all the while staying present with, and not ignoring what’s happening now. We use language that provides options for change. “What would happen if you changed the way you are breathing right now?” “Or what you are thinking?” “Or if you let go of some of the aversion to the emotions or tension that you are feeling in your body right now?” In other words, we use language that encourages awareness and language that encourages self-regulation – often of body, breath, thoughts and emotions. Note that this language of awareness is not the same as asking a student to be aware “as the first step to change”. This is language that focuses on awareness as important in and of itself. Continue reading →
Charlotta is considered the world expert in yoga for teenagers. Her book, Teen Yoga for Yoga Therapists (Singing Dragon, 2018) was published in August 2018 to high acclaim among both yoga researchers and school teachers worldwide, selling 2,000 books in the first 6 months. Charlotta also speaks on the BBC about yoga and young people. She is the director of the global charity Teen Yoga Foundation, which exists to promote yoga among young people as a tool for wellbeing.
Teen Yoga For Yoga Therapists A Guide to Development, Mental Health and Working with Common Teen Issues
Charlotta Martinus. Foreword by Sir Anthony Seldon
Including yogic and mindfulness exercises that have lasting positive impact well beyond the mat, this book shows how to use yogic techniques in the optimum way when working with teens. It includes advice on dealing with anxiety, depression, addiction and bullying, with examples of asana, pranayama, meditation and much more. Read more
In this video, Beth shares some tips and techniques to use with clients that are dealing with trauma.
Please note that while our summit is open to absolutely everyone from all corners of the world, despite our best efforts we won’t be able to ensure safe, comfortable practice for every attendee nor take responsibility for your own practice. If you have any injuries or are dealing with any conditions that you would normally flag to your yoga teacher or therapist, please seek advice before taking part or following along with any of our classes or sequences.
Yoga Therapy for Fear Treating Anxiety, Depression and Rage with the Vagus Nerve and Other Techniques
Understand how to help clients relieve symptoms of fear and anxiety through yoga therapy. This book explains how to weave feelings of security into daily living, by helping the body to unlearn habit patterns from stored trauma. It features dynamic postures, calming breathing exercises and meditations alongside the latest fascia research. Read more
Since primeval times, people have tried to cope with the adversities of life. There have always been upsetting and traumatizing events, but the methods for confronting the consequences of these shocks have varied greatly. They range from shamanic rituals such as soul retrieval to physical forms of expression such as singing and dancing to cognitive and narrative forms. Many of our contemporary therapeutic approaches in the West are based on cognitive considerations. However, traumatization is not just shown in a change of convictions. Due to the lasting stress response, it is also displayed in the somatic effects that affect posture, physical reactions, and bodily sensations—phenomena that were the focus of treatment at other times and by other cultures. Feelings of numbness and being separated from one’s own body often alternate with strong, overwhelming reactions to triggers, and in many cases make an efficient therapeutic approach more difficult. Instead of introducing a new method, I see body-oriented work as a basis and supplement to the tried and tested techniques of trauma treatment.
WHY I WORK WITH YOGA IN TRAUMA THERAPY
The idea of integrating yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), and mindfulness into trauma therapy arose while working with my clients. When I completed my training in Somatic Experiencing and received my Master’s degree in Psychotraumatology, I was convinced that exposure therapy combined with a body-oriented approach is expedient in treating complex post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs). I am still convinced of this, although it has become apparent to me that progress is not possible with every client when using this approach. For some people with complex trauma, the exposure of traumatic contents was simply not tolerable—relating to their own bodies was so disturbing to them that it triggered a response of panic and dissociation. Continue reading →
Shelly discusses the nuances and different orientations of compassion in pain care and how having compassion for self, and for the other, is critical for better pain care outcomes. She discusses some of the topics of her book chapter about what the current research is saying about compassion, why we don’t always act in compassionate ways, compassion in healthcare, and the value of integrating compassion training along with the wisdom traditions and practices of yoga into modern day pain care without getting practitioner burnout. She explains that yoga is inherently a compassionate practice and can also offer a space for further compassion to emerge. Shelly also shares with us the difference between the terms “Persistent Pain” and “Chronic Pain” and when/why to use them.
Neil is one of the global leaders in pain education, including education on pain biology. He summarizes what the research says about how pain is not an accurate indicator of tissue health. No one diagnostic test or alarm from our body tells the whole story about how we will experience pain, how our nervous system is wired to receive and give danger signals and what other factors contribute to the lived experience of chronic pain. He discusses if we should use pain as a guide for how far to push ourselves in exercise and movement practices. He goes on to explain how education about pain management is an intervention tool.
Marlysa discusses her passion for eudaimonia (finding meaning and purpose in life) when living with chronic pain. She explains when we have meaning, connection and purpose, that numerous (and very fascinating) physiological changes take place in our bodies. These changes have been thoroughly researched in scientific studies, and have been shown to contribute to positive health changes, particularly helpful for people living with persistent/chronic pain. A Yoga Therapist has the potential to help a person in pain find connection, meaning and purpose in life. This will impact the client’s physiology, their perception and ultimately their experience of pain.
The 3 also discuss the White Paper they have co-authored along with Matthew Taylor about how and why yoga therapy can be part of the national Integrative Pain Policy Congress’ strategy towards Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management (CIPM) to address the current public health pain crisis. The paper includes a review of the available evidence we have to support yoga therapy as an important team member of CIPM and outlines recommendations and CTAs to make impactful progress towards better pain care. The paper is currently under peer-review and hopefully published in 2020.
Chapter contributors to “Yoga and Science in Pain Care” include Joletta Belton, Steffany Moonaz, Matthew Taylor, Matt Erb, Lori Rubenstein Fazzio, Tracey Meyers Sondik, Michael Lee, Antonio Sausys Marun-Avisap, with foreword by Timothy McCall, MD.
Yoga and Science in Pain Care Treating the Person in Pain
Edited by Neil Pearson, Shelly Prosko and Marlysa Sullivan. Foreword by Timothy McCall.
This is an integrated approach to pain rehabilitation that combines pain science, rehabilitation and yoga with evidence-based approaches from respected contributors. The book shows how to integrate the practices of yoga and pain science, and promotes the movement to a patient-valued, partnership-based biopsychosocial-spiritual model of healthcare. Read more
“Why does a medical system want yoga?” Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani asked me this in a conversation about yoga therapy and its intersection with healthcare. “Because modern medicine focuses on curing, but when yoga is added to the equation, it can help individuals heal and give them a sense of their own inner wellness.”
Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is both a medical doctor and successor to an ancient yogic tradition and therefore has a foot firmly in each camp of mainstream medicine and traditional yoga. “Modern medicine is good at acute interventions. First, medicine was an art, then it became a science and now it’s more like a business. So is yoga, by the way,” he joked. His view is that medical treatment has changed over time; from treatment of the individual, then to treatment of the diagnosis and now to treatment to the lab report. “But the limitation of modern medicine is the strength of yoga. Yoga empowers the individual and it helps them to connect with their own inner resources. Hence when they come together, they help in the best possible way.” Continue reading →