There is sometimes this assumption that to focus on yourself means that you are selfish – which could not be further from the truth. When you are giving your body what it needs you are sending a message of self love, with actions you are saying “I love myself”. This is such a vital part of your treatment. I want to create a solid base for you to experience self-regulation and emotional decompressing. When you are taking care of yourself you are in a better place to help others. It is a cognitive distortion to think you are being selfish by focusing on your needs and healing. My approach to self care is very much like the food pyramid – if we can create a solid base then you are able to build on those simple (yet powerful) things and have a higher distress tolerance whenever unexpected stress and emotion hits. In this section we will break down this Wise Zen Therapy approach to self-care:
Hatha, Iygengar, Bikram, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Core Power, Restorative, Goat Yoga, Yogamosas, Ashtanga… The list these days seems to go on and on with the types of yoga out there. What started as a religious practice in the East has now become a “workout” in the West. Our collective group think surrounding yoga is that it is a form of stretching, a great and relaxing (sometimes challenging and sweaty) workout. I would like to take a moment to explain my stance and what I have come to learn about yoga in my trainings to become a I-AYT certified yoga therapist (International Alliance for Yoga Therapy). It is not a “workout” but a “workIN”. The modern term yoga refers to the positions (example: downward facing dog, tree pose, etc.) but the poses (or asanas) are only one aspect.
The lineage I have studied under is called Viniyoga. I was trained under the renowned teacher, Gary Kraftsow (author of Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind,and Heart). Gary studied under a man named Deskachar, who studied under his father Krishnamacharia man that is considered the founding father of the yoga we know today. Many people studied under Krishnamacharia and there have been off-shoots of his teachings (Viniyoga, Ashtanga and Iyengar primarily). Where other practices tend to focus on how a pose should look or FORM-centric, Viniyoga examines the breath first and allows the breath to guide the movement so it is very BREATH-centric. Then there are a lot of people out there claiming to be yoga teachers but are in fact making things up or following someone else’s script – which can be dangerous. The reason I was drawn to Viniyoga was that it is very safe and examines the person’s unique qualities and makes a personal practice that is customized to them AND it is a breath-centric form of practice. Meaning every move that is made is dictated by the breath. The breath leads the asana and when that happens the focus really becomes internal. It is transformative. Yoga therapy is a relatively newer modality and is gaining momentum. Why is that? Science and research are now showing the effectiveness of yoga with a wide array of maladies – from depression and anxiety, trauma, sleep concerns, stress management to physical ailments and old injuries, health related problems, addictions. I am excited to guide you into your personal practice and providing you the tools to create meaningful and lasting change.
Developing a personal practice
One of my main goals for our work together is to develop a tailored practice that fits your needs and lifestyle. A practice typically incorporates 5-30 minutes of postures, a breathing exercise and a meditation that relates to your specific situation. Connect with me to start your personal journey and get a custom practice tailored to your needs!
Here is where rubber meets the road, daily practice is a must in order to create discipline in the mind and experience the benefit of the yoga practice. Try to remind yourself what you are hoping to achieve and your goals to help motivate you. If ever this feels like a chore or struggle please communicate so we can modify together and make this something you enjoy and see benefit from.
Chakras, The Endocrine System and Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs
Chakras are energy channel that run in the body, there are 7 (some other lineages ascribe more chakras to the human body). Each Chakra has a name and a corresponding color as well as attributes that align with those Chakra. Chakra in Sanskrit means “wheel” and when all the “wheels” are functioning in alignment then you can experience maximum health. Here are some images of Chakras and what each one means:
In the body there are glands that connect hormones throughout the system, they are the chemical messenger of the body. These glands are located in the genital region/sex organs, the adrenal gland, the pancreas, the thymus near the heart, thyroid in the throat and the pituitary gland and pineal gland in the brain. Well, would you look at that – also 7 and in similar locations to where the chakras are! This isn’t woo-woo stuff, this is evidence based science and we can manipulate or positively influence the relationship with these glands or energy wheels in the body through breath awareness and intentional movement (yoga!).
Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who is best known for his Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health that predicted on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization (the realization or fulfilment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone – basically finding meaning in life and joy with what you were naturally given). Once these needs are met in the base of the pillar to the top of pyramid are we able to find true happiness. Notice, if you will, that the alignment is very similar to the chakras.
This is such an important concept in psychotherapy because we will examine if there is any deficit in any of these areas and work on strategies to heal and provide that need so that you can move more in alignment with your purpose and joy here on this planet.
Let’s explore this concept together!
– Margaret Weisenberger