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Exploring the Mental, Physical and Emotional Benefits of Yoga Therapy: A Client Vignette

Updated: Jun 3

What does "feeling better" really mean? Is it possible to improve our well-being by solely addressing physical symptoms, mental state, or emotions individually? Can we achieve our desired outcomes by concentrating on only one aspect of ourselves?

I don't believe so. To truly address our needs, we require an integrated approach that recognizes the interplay between our physical health, emotions, and mental well-being. This holistic perspective is precisely what yoga therapy offers.

It's possible that you are aware of this, or perhaps not, but emotions have the tendency to become "trapped" in the body. When we suppress them, ignore them, or refuse to acknowledge them, they can become physically stuck. One effective approach to releasing these emotions is to first pay attention to the physical sensations present (such as tension, pain, or numbness), identify what alleviates them (like movement, breathing, stretching, rest, or communication), and recognize what triggers their reappearance (such as stress, anxiety, fear, worry, or resentment).

When we do the 3 steps noted above, we enhance our awareness of the connections between ourselves and our surroundings, and the influence our encounters have on us. This method allows us to associate bodily feelings with their psychological and emotional roots. Lack of mindfulness impedes change, and yoga therapy proves to be a powerful tool for elevating our consciousness, enabling us to mold the existence we want.

In a recent session with a client, we saw just how impactful yoga therapy's holistic and integrative approach can be for someone's well-being.

Upon my client's arrival for their session, they mentioned experiencing stiffness in their hip, a feeling of rotation in their upper leg, and pulling sensations along their knee. This was particularly notable since they had reported feeling great during their previous session. What could have caused this change?

As it turned out, a really intense training was taken between the two sessions. It was physically demanding, so it made sense that there was more strain in their body than they’d had the previous week. AND there were moments it was truly scary, which had triggered past feelings of fear from when they had been in a vulnerable situation.

During times of fear, insecurity, and danger, our fight/flight/freeze/fawn response, also known as our sympathetic nervous system (SNS), becomes active. This results in our muscles tensing, heart rates rising, breathing rates increasing, blood pressure going up, and digestion being affected due to inhibited peristalsis. These physiological changes have a direct impact on our body and its sensations, and they were continuing to affect my client a week after the class.

During our session we focused on techniques that facilitated the return to the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) - the state of decreased heart and breathing rates, reduced blood pressure, and enhanced digestive ability. When in a PSNS state, our bodies relax, promoting healing. In fact, the more time we spend in the PSNS, the better our overall health!

By the time the session concluded, the pulling sensation along my client's knee was gone, and they felt more open, expansive, and calm. This contrasted with how tight, guarded, restricted, and tense they had felt when they arrived. 

This session beautifully demonstrated the interconnectedness of our emotional, physical, and mental states, highlighting the importance of integrating these elements for healing purposes. To achieve lasting results, it is essential to address our bodies, minds, and emotions collectively, recognizing their interdependence and impact on our overall health and well-being.

If you find yourself at a standstill in your healing journey, it's possible that a crucial element is absent. Have you solely been tending to physical discomforts through methods like physical therapy or stretching? Alternatively, have you primarily concentrated on the psychological and emotional aspects through psychotherapy? If you're intrigued by a comprehensive approach that considers the body, mind, and emotions, then the personalized, tailored support I offer to each client may be a fit for you.

To confidentially explore your specific situation, send me an email to book a free chat. There's no pressure to book any sessions, just a chance to understand more about what's going on in your body and what may help you move forward with more ease and better health. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised by what you'll learn and the positive influence it will have on your life!

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