& THERAPY ZONE
SELF-CARE & THERAPY ZONE includes materials and offers for people with more specific needs and health issues as the main focus of the practice.
YOGA & MEDICINE
Even though yoga cannot fully replace professional medical or psychological treatments I have no doubt it can be therapeutic.
In a way Yoga saved my life. Of course, it is not a magic wand - yoga doesn’t work in “isolation” - sometimes to get better we need a lot of effort (not only on the mat), time and self-discipline. After practicing for 20 years, and teaching for 12 I can assure you - yoga is a rich source of many healing and empowering practices. At least give it a try!
Yoga is a rich source of many healing and empowering practices
To understand how yoga can help, first we need to exclude what can be harmful. Not everything in yoga is for everybody.
Starting from the beginning: some of very complex yoga poses [‘asanas’] are available only to a few practitioners who have an extraordinary range of motion (ROM) depending on their skeletal system, and more specifically - the shapes of their bones. Today we know a lot about human anatomy and physiology, and we know that certain practices are not the effect of any “hard work” or “regular practice”, but they come from natural predispositions and the shape of skeleton that we are born with.
There are many awesome materials that I share in my courses about that, but you can start from reading an amazing eye-opening book “Your Body, Your Yoga” by Bernie Clark.
Just like in the Olympic Games - to be able to reach certain results you need certain predispositions and a genetic heritage. Training is not everything, even though it is extremely important and can change a lot.
Secondly: yoga is not about aesthetic. The physical aspect of yoga in the past was spectacular for many different reasons (actually similarly to some contemporary Instagram’s yoga representations, being a pure marketing and “who is the best” game) - one of the most important and pretty forgotten fact is that yoga helped India to get back their independence. Having strong and impressive bodies meant being a strong country which could shake off colonial rule. Showing off to the international audience some spectacular yogis who were able to go much beyond the human body’s normal capacity, together with influential Yogis and their teaching (Swami Vivekananda, Swami Sivananda, T. Kirshnamacharya, B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois) - it all became a strong shout out for bringing India back to its power and glory. And it seemed to work!
Yoga that you may know from the famous pictures or stories about Indian yogis in fact had nothing to do with a yoga as a therapy approach or a regular, safe and well designed practice. Exactly like #yogisofinstagram can misguide you about yoga today. As we know better now what is good and safe, and we have scientific research on that - a modern yoga practice can be much healthier and balancing for everyone.
If - for example - the cause of your imbalances is a result of too fast and too intense pace of life - maybe a fast-paced “power yoga" with many challenging poses will bring you more harm than benefits - increasing your fatigue, a risk of burn-out, frustration or a self-judgment. Maybe you would benefit much more from a gentle and nourishing slow flow, grounding hatha or even yin yoga… And in contrary - if you suffer from a lack of movement maybe pure relaxation and only passive yoga stretches or ‘yoga nidra’ (‘yogic sleep’) - even if it feels nice - will not help you feel better at all.
If yoga is supposed to be a therapy it should bring to our life - on a physical or mental/emotional level - practices that compensate for what is missing or needs to be strengthened, not only what we like or feel comfortable with.
What I’m trying to point out here is - in order to find an effective solution we need to understand the nature of our problems, and find right ‘supplements’.
Of course, our lifestyle and challenges are complex - your body can have different needs, your mind - different. Remember, yoga doesn’t always need to be “black” or “white”, “either”/“or”, it can absolutely be a mixture of various energies, many components - both yin (passive) and yang (active). In fact, mixing tools and styles can be so much more effective than sticking to one dogma!
PRIMUM, NON NOCERE [First, do no harm]
YOGA FOR HEALTH SUPPORT
The most common ‘scenario’ that I meet among my clients today is this one: a modern, usually ‘successful‘ woman/man at their 30’s/40’s is suffering from the lack of physical activity, spending hours in the front of the computer, at the office (or home office), but at the same time is having an aggravated hyperactive mind, emotional imbalances, and a lot of mental stress.
Many of my clients tried many things to feel better - jogging, gym, cross-fit. Apart from further injuries (mostly back pain and knee problems) and a short stress release (that’s actually super good!) it didn’t change their overall wellbeing too much. Some try also psychotherapy (and I support that), which helps with the mind, but not so much with the body. I think what yoga brings to their lives is the holistic, total approach.
For a person like this, yoga practice needs to be a well composed combination of dynamic and functional exercises with a nice nourishing and restorative parts for the mind (mindfulness, meditation, pranayama).
Sometimes I also encourage them to read some interesting book or text - not only from vedas, in fact I love modern psychological and self-growth literature!
A good personalised yoga practice includes the tools to support the body, the mind and lifestyle choices.
Jogging, gym or psychotherapy can be parts of our routine, and can play a very meaningful role, but yoga covers what the other disciplines may miss: great tools for our nervous system, our self-awareness and sense of recognition of our true needs.
On the list of problems of my clients, more and more often there are also:
autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto, thyroid problems)
wide range of chronic back pain
indigestion, stomach aches
With each client individually we design the practice which they not only like, but also benefit from, in the context of their own particular needs.
YOGA BEYOND SYSTEMS.
As we are different and we should honour this diversity it is important to design the proper practice according to the “ingredients” that we need.
In my therapeutic yoga classes I use the knowledge of the Western paradigm (functional anatomy, physiology, psychology) and traditional Eastern sciences - Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (meridians, acupressure points, 5 elements, Qi-gong).
In order to get a suitable customised practice, you need to map your needs.
To prepare a good program I would have to get a bit more information about you: what is your daily schedule, your diet, your physical condition, your emotional patterns. But don’t worry - you can share only as much as you want. Yoga therapy is a gentle approach - we don’t need to “fix” anything immediately, and the process is rather slow, sensitive, caring and full of love.
I think the most important is always understanding what we want/need, and what we are ready to work on.
According to Ayurveda - the ancient science rooted in India - we are made of 5 elements that forms 3 doshas (translated as ‘forces’ or ‘constitutions’):
kapha dosha consists of Earth and Water
pitta dosha consists of Fire (and a bit of Water)
vata dosha consists of Air and Space
Each dosha is governing different functions, organs and systems, but also emotional and mental patterns. Each can be out of balance, but we can also take care and support them.
Each of us has all 3 doshas and all 5 elements, but in a bit different proportions. Our unique composition combined with our lifestyle, diet and environment will predetermine our strong points and challenges.
If one or two doshas are predominant in our body-mind complex (and it happens most likely) we may easily experience imbalances (both physical and mental), and we need to take a special care of our inner homeostasis.
Different practices can increase or decrease each dosha. The key is to understand which elements are imbalanced in your particular case, and work on the tools that can help.
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
Traditional Chinese Medicine, just like Ayurveda sees human beings in a holistic way - as a complex of body, mind, self awareness and the environment which we live in. TCM also has a concept of 5 elements (or rather “phases”/ “movements”) which corresponds to 5 seasons, our organs, emotions and energetic channels called meridians. Today Western science accepts many tools and therapies rooted in TCM, in some European countries (France) you can even choose acupuncture instead of painkillers.
Traditional Chinese Medicine classified
5 Elements we are made of, as:
Each of these elements governs certain functions, organs and emotional patterns. By working on all 5 we can reach homeostasis and optimal health. TCM promotes a proper diet, habits, movements (e.g. Qi-gong) and attitude. TCM believes we can always work on our physical and emotional bodies, and this work doesn’t need to be hard or complicated.
Modern yoga inspired by TCM created YIN YOGA - a form of yoga focused on the meridians and our connective tissue (‘fascia’) that targets both physical and emotional layers. Yin can be a very therapeutic yoga practice for many due to its nourishing nature and parasympathetic nervous system as the main aim.
In my therapeutic classes I include tools from different paradigms and disciplines, because I believe each paradigm has something valuable to offer, but also not everything will work on us. Sessions are prepared in a close dialog with the clients - everything in this program should serve them and their needs.
I work with traditional hatha yoga, modern flow, nourishing Yin, often with Qi-Gong and meridian yoga , and usually with the elements of Ayurveda and - if needed - functional anatomy and myofascial release.
Therapeutic yoga classes are always individualised to adjust the tools to my clients, and as much as possible to deliver not only health, but also joy!
Book your first meeting with me to map your needs, and check what’s good for you!