What is Yoga? What is Therapy? What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga means union between all things, &/or awareness of this union in the present moment. The practice of yoga can be meditation, prayer/chanting, making cool shapes with your body, but most of all, conscious breathing. All you have to do is unite your consciousness with your breath, mind, and body; eventually achieving a sense of one-is-allness with the Universe as a whole. It’s a great feeling!* We good? Good. Moving on.
Therapy (at least according to me**) is a safe space for you to explore what it means to be yourself. True Love is an example of therapy. Not Love the feeling, Love the ACTION. What is Love? Love is patient, love is kind… Love listens for the sake of understanding, not just waiting to speak. Love asks questions to further that understanding. Love encourages true expression with no judgment. Love is curious about who you are the way we’re curious about our lovers’ bodies. If we’re receptive to it, Love ~ &/or Therapy ~ can liberate us from the binds we place around our hearts and minds and actions.
Yoga Therapy is the application of the physical &/or meditative practice of Yoga in any of the ways in which yoga can be therapeutic… there are many. Mindfulness and Acceptance Therapy could cost you hundreds of dollars an hour, and it wouldn’t change your body. Practicing yoga ~ the way I practice ~ is essentially the same thing, only framed as an unapologetic act of Self-Love.
My relationship with myself had always been shrouded by some degree of clinical depression (see what NAMI has to say about dysthymia here!). Very often, the love that my friends and family had for me wouldn’t register, like there was a barrier between their affection and my heart. I now think that was a symptom of me not yet loving myself; I didn’t even know how to start. More on that later.
If you’re reading this, we probably have a lot in common. Maybe you’re Queer or Blaq or FemmeAF or “too smart for your own good” or in recovery (from codependency, organized religion, academia, divorce, abusive relationships, disordered eating, or all of the above), maybe not. Maybe we could stand touching noses for a week and never see eye-to-eye!*** But if you soften your gaze, and listen from a place of Love, I promise you’ll recognize a piece of yourself. It might not seem like it sometimes, but we really are made of the same stardust. Yoga therapy means reuniting all the parts with the whole with Love. I truly hope my words will bring us all closer.
Welcome to my perspective. Namaste, y’all.
*Another way to say it is “Divine Consciousness.” Christians might describe the feeling as “God’s Love.” A Buddhist might say “Nirvana.” FSM-followers (What? You don’t know?) would say they’ve been “Touched by His Noodley Appendage.” Same experience, different words. NOTE: Like all feelings, the sensation comes and goes based on the stimuli in your environment. In other words: the more you practice, the more you feel it; the less you practice, the less you feel it.
** I’m no doctor, but I did spend about 4 years in a Clinical Psychology Doctorate program, 3 years as a patient of psychotherapy, 2 years on-and-off of Fluoxetine (knock-off prozac), and 1 year as a bilingual social worker in Chicago…. That’s just the short story. Eventually I’ll publish a longer explanation of why I’m a valid source of information… or not, lol. If you don’t want to listen to me, listen to your intuition (it speaks from your heart and/or gut). Know that fear and excitement are physiologically the same sensation. Sit with whatever your body is telling you until you know what your truth is.
*** Sooooo many bonus points if you get this reference. Please comment below!