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What is Yoga Therapy?

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

What is Yoga Therapy?

According to the International Association of Yoga Therapists “Yoga Therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress towards improved health and well-being through the application of the philosophy and practice of Yoga.”

Therapeutic Yoga happens when the yoga therapist stimulates ones own healing process. The therapist does not fix the student but empowers the student to heal themselves. It is a partnership in healing and can happen in a one-on-one environment or in a class setting.

Carol Shwidock MA OTR RYT had been an Occupational Therapist for over 25 years when she became a Kripalu Certified Instructor in Jan. 2004. She has taken many certifications since then and teaches Five Elements Yoga, incorporating the 7 Chakras, Mudras, Mantras, and Meditation, Yoga and Ayurveda, Yoga for Grieving, Restorative Yoga, Yoga Dance, Private One on One Therapeutic Yoga as well as Group Classes at her NEW LOCATION 1100 High Ridge Road (2nd floor of the Noelle’s Building within Life Cycle Fitness Studio). Carol has produced 3 Harmony Yoga DVDs and has a FREE DAILY YOGA CLASS at 630am on Her passion is to see Beginners/Intermediate Yoga Students unwind…become present, so present in fact that they can learn the techniques to empower and heal themselves.

Because it is your birthright to be empowered, to heal yourself and to find the Joy that is inside you ALL THE TIME! (if you CHOOSE to notice it)! How does one find the joy in the dark moments? The answer is through becoming present to the Now. Present to all that you are feeling, be it sadness, anxiety, depression in the healing journey. These are the waves one goes through. Sometimes the waves are powerful and strong and initially very close together. Then as time has a magical way of passing, the waves get further apart and maybe not so intense all the time.

So how does one become present, really present? By tuning into your breath! And guess what? You don’t have to go anywhere to go it! It’s always here…in the now…waiting for you to come back…not being stuck in the past or in the future. That is VERY empowering and VERY healing! We ALL have the choice in every moment to find the joy…and one way to come back to the present moment and find the joy is through yoga or dance and shifting your focus from the past and/or future to the present moment.

In a Kripalu Yoga class you focus on the wisdom of the body. It seems many of us live from the neck up,,,planning, organizing, thinking, over thinking and sometimes that means not listening to the messages of the body. Kripalu means giver of compassion. Can you be compassionate and listen to your body? Can you be present and focus your attention on the small stirrings of the heart, notice without judging and use the breath as an anchor to be in the moment? Your healing and empowerment just might begin right at that very moment.

One of the hallmarks of a Kripalu Yoga class is BRFWA, breathe, relax, feel, watch and allow. So when you can tune your attention to the breath, either by doing a conscious breath technique or actually watching/witnessing the breath as it travels in through the nostrils and out again, you begin to become more present. Your body might begin to soften, to surrender a little, and you may be able to notice where you are holding, tight, constricted and without deciding if anything is good or bad, you may become more present, more in the now and perhaps a little softer. In the Kripalu Yoga book by Richard Faulds he defines the term Witness Consciousness. ”Witness Consciousness, the ability to closely observe what is occurring without reactivity or judgment. Witness Consciousness is a homecoming to reality, a silent “yes” to the truth of whatever is happening. Like a mirror that accurately reflects whatever comes before it, Witness Consciousness helps you to know things as they are.”

So, as you breath, relax, feel and begin to watch what is happening without judging it, consciously witnessing, perhaps you can begin to acknowledge what is there. That acknowledging is really powerful! If you are feeling anxious, say Hello Anxiety! If you are feeling sad, perhaps grieving, say Hello Sadness. You know we are all made of energy. Emotions are Energy in Motion. So, once you notice/witness you can begin to allow, allow it all to be and perhaps find your way to letting go, surrendering, accepting…and maybe, just maybe you will begin to heal. Yoga and specifically Kripalu Yoga, can help you to shift your energy. Yoga, brings you back to the now, to being present, to being able to let go, to being able to trust. Trusting in a divine presence, something greater than us, whatever that is, that you are not alone, is so very healing and also very empowering!

For more information on Healing for Lost and Found/Yoga for Grieving, Five Elements Yoga, Yoga Dance Classes, Kripalu Group or Private Classes, Corporate Yoga Classes or Beach Yoga please contact Carol Shwidock or call 203 962 4672 Namaste!

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