As a Psychotherapist, and a person who has sat with my own brokenness, I know the difficult journey of healing from pain that life so often presents us with. In my year of practicing Yoga, and even more so since I found a Studio and Teacher, I realize that there are many parallels between Yoga and Therapy.
Yoga, like Therapy, is hard work. It takes a commitment to going deep into places that are new and unfamiliar on many levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It takes a willingness to be vulnerable, and more aware of yourself in difficult and challenging ways. It isn’t always the graceful, easy flow from one pose to the next, far from it (for me at least). In Yoga practice, Like Therapy, there are many small steps on the path to change and growth. And it is in these measured steps that we find the way to discover balance and inner strength that allow the mind and body to eventually get into a desired pose. In Yoga, the sought after pose might be Warrior 3. In Therapy, the pose might be to find the inner Warrior to keep going, but in both, it is intense and gratifying work.
Without the knowledge of how things work, (bones, joints and muscle in Yoga) or (choices and behaviors in Therapy,) the desire to move ahead too quickly, without the right foundation, can lead to a major set back, a downfall…but even in this part of the journey, as we fall, we find the right footing and get back up and keep going.
Yoga, like Therapy, can bring up buried fears and deep feelings of insecurity and thoughts of self loathing or doubt. These feelings are so important to be aware of and without the acknowledgement that they exist, there is no way to dispel them.
In Yoga, my thoughts about myself or my abilities can hurt my focus. When negative fear/performance based thoughts arise, I cannot attune to my body. I can’t even feel myself in my body because the self doubts overshadow everything. Practising awareness, presence and kindness towards myself is the key to feeling the joy and peace that my Yoga practice holds for me. Just like in Therapy, learning to have loving patience with oneself, and total acceptance of all that is, is the key to opening the ability to embrace all the good that life has to offer.
Yoga, like therapy, offers lessons that can lead to new-found awareness and inner growth. It can lead you to the very center of yourself. But it requires a commitment to the process, to showing up and doing the work. And when we do, it can offer the excitement of self discovery, physical and inner strength, new-found balance, accomplishment and a sense of peace.
Last night in Yoga class, after all the hard work was done, and the class was all in shavasana, I was aware of the gentle cycle of my breath, and the weight of my body held by the Mat. And it was there that I found that place of inner solace and a deep knowing that, I had changed, just a little, in my body, my mind and my spirit.
Yoga, like Therapy, invites us to examine the depth of ourselves, and if we choose, grow, change and evolve into the best version of ourselves that we can be. As a Psychotherapist, I try to guide my clients on this path. When I am practising Yoga, it is guiding me.
Yoga is a path that might not necessarily have a destination. It is a journey of choice, and if I am lucky, the journey will last a lifetime.
Photo Credit: Google Images