Yoga therapy is the combination of psychotherapy/psychology and specific yogic exercises and meditation to maximize the benefit of both modalities.
Yoga therapy, taught by Allie, emphasizes cognitive psychotherapy with breathing exercises and meditation. She teaches being conscious of how our thought process influences our emotional, mental and physical well being. She assists you in changing negative faulty beliefs and thoughts to more positive and self-supportive thoughts and beliefs. Allie incorporates the practice of yoga to help you experience lasting changes and learn new coping tools to enable you to deal with the stressors of life.
Yoga therapy is available in Individual Therapy, as well as in a group setting. Group therapy allows you to express openly your challenges and release your suffering by being heard. Specific affirmations, meditations, breathing and chanting techniques are chosen to support you. Meditating and doing yoga in a group strengthens each individual, regardless of their physical ability to participate.
Yoga as a therapeutic tool covers a broad range of modalities, incorporating elements from both physical therapy and psychotherapy. Yoga therapy is a well established treatment for depression and anxiety. These disorders are often seen together; think about how they impact the whole system on a practical level; if the mind and body are sluggish, inward and energy is slow moving then breath work and movements to lift up and energize the system will be offered. If the mind and body are overactive, racing and agitated, then meeting individuals where they are at, and then helping them to slow the system down is the goal.
Trauma informed yoga (also called trauma sensitive yoga) TSY is working with an understanding that an individual who has been through a trauma and experiencing symptoms of PTSD has a fight/flight/freeze system that is most likely experiencing a nervous system dysregulation where the person cannot self regulate, in the way they used to. The person may experience extreme levels of over activation or on the other end of the spectrum, a shut down of the system. Trauma sensitive yoga can provide a physical experience that offers a safe environment, choice, empowerment, and a belief in the individual’s capacity for self healing. It involves working with the breath and body to support the individual in starting to tolerate their internal experience, a greater body awareness and new patterns to allow them to live in the present moment.
As science begins to document the importance of understanding the interrelation of the mind, body, spirit, and all existing things, it looks to Yoga with an intrigued eye. As yoga techniques are researched and new data is gathered, there is hope for being able to help more and more people — not only with symptom relief but also with a cure. The side effects of Yoga therapy are considerably low. As more research is published it is becoming easier for science and the medical field to recognize and promote the benefits of Yoga therapy.
Allie Zachariades 200 RYT, LMHC
Allie has practiced yoga for over a decade across the United States and South America. In February 2023 she will complete her 500 HR yoga teacher certificate specializing in aryuveda and the mind body connect from AmarSer in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Allie has several meditation training specifically in the Shambahla Bhuddist Tradition.