The field of Yoga Therapy is both expanding and deepening.
This became clear at the recent International Association of
Yoga Therapists (IAYT) conference I attended in Austin, Texas.
The range and caliber of the presenters reflected their years
of professional training and on the ground experience.
Much of it was very impressive. Here are a few quick highlights.
May they inform and enrich your healing experience.
Commonweal is a cancer healing program in California.
The program marries the Yogic lifestyle with depth psychology
and psychotherapy.I appreciated the high value President
and Co-Founder, Michael Lerner,placed on soul in the
treatment experience.That it is at its core.He spoke the language
of the depth psychologists,that of connecting with soul as a
pathway to healing. He also spoke of the irreplaceable role
the Yogic lifestyle plays in this journey, and by extension gave
a nod to the inclusion of the body in the healing process.
Together, these healing modalities give cancer patients opportunities
to awaken to themselves, face their pain,make meaning from it and heal.
Michael Lerner also shared the high regard he holds for the skilled
psychotherapist to guide patients along their healing path.
This was so heartwarming to hear.
I also resonated with the work of Yoga Therapist Janice Gates and her presentation on ”The Soul of Yoga Therapy’. She shared her personal journey through a dark depression and how she awakened from it through 3 vital experiences:
1. Human connection through Loving Presence.
Being seen and heard in relationship through Loving Presence.
2. Taking time to be in nature.Merging with it. ”
I am the ocean.” for example, and not separate from it.
3. Connecting with one’s suffering, turning towards it,
meeting it and welcoming it into one’s experience.
Janice spoke eloquently about these 3 elements and how they informed her movement out of depression. Through this process she said she was able to reconnect with soul and see clearly what needed to take priority in her life. And by extension, what needed to fall away. It was through this process that Janice said she was able to leave the depression behind. Bravo to these leaders for shining the spotlight on soul as the place out of which the recovery experience can turn into a truly transformative one. Each spoke honestly and eloquently about the complexities of living and the complexities of the healing process itself. How we must make the descent first into soul before we can heal, integrate, and find meaning in the life lived so far, before moving on. I admire the work of these dedicated leaders in the field of Yoga Therapy. Their approach to healing resonates with our own, where soul is central to the healing journey. From this sacred place, peace can emerge.
For more information about the work of Janice Gates, visit http://www.janicegates.com.
For more information about Commonweal and the work of Michael Lerner, visit http://www.commonweal.org