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According to B.K.S. Iyengar, yoga means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly. Our ability to observe what appears externally as well as internally becomes a natural progression of our daily existence. We are able to elegantly master the balance of thoughts, emotions and action during this dance we call life.
The practice of yoga has various paths tailored to transform and direct your growth wherever you are presently. There are six most well-known paths, with Hatha Yoga being most popular in Western society.
• Karma Yoga is action through selfless work and duty.
• Bhakti Yoga requires devotion and the personal experience of Love of the Divine.
• Jnana Yoga is the immersion of knowledge and wisdom of the path.
• Raja Yoga focuses on concentration and meditation
• Kundalini Yoga is the experiential study of raising energy through chakra work
• And…Hatha Yoga the combination of breath work (pranayama) and physical postures (asanas) which works toward releasing the body to experience the All.
Yoga-As Above, So Below
At times, we do not see the connection of mind, body and spirit and view them as distinctly separate, therefore requiring individual interventions. Nevertheless, breathing patterns may be a strong indicator of how one is experiencing life. Posture and flexibility tells the history of an individual’s mindset. Body awareness also speaks of self-confidence regarding goals and life mission. Inability to emerge into Savasana may also signal an underlying mental health issue.
The unification of all aspects of the human self as experienced through yoga practice can be an effective tool for dislodging stuck emotions, thoughts and energetic patterns leading to a more peaceful and bliss-filled experience. Recent research has also documented the benefits of stress response modulation through practice of controlled breathing and asanas. Yoga works on varied levels.
Yoga and Transpersonal Psychotherapy
I’m a psychotherapist and like combining yoga with Transpersonal Psychotherapy to help clients. It expands one’s ability to experience all that works for you in life. The modalities used speak of human existence as being more than where you work, what you purchased and where you will eat this evening. We all have an opportunity to transcend into the highest definition of a superior being. The fun part is you get to decide what that means.
Utilizing Yoga within Transpersonal Psychotherapy allows people to connect with therapists in a more creative way. You learn to be more aware of how the body is a reflection of emotional and cognitive states. Sessions are collaborative exercises in creating the aforementioned dance of balance.
As I chart my clients expanding flexibility or chart their resistance to a forward fold, I am able to receive a more integrated picture of how they are viewing life. The flow of shared energy allows me to respond not only intellectually, but more organically to feelings of failure or responses to form correction. We as collaborative partners collect data while directly addressing the mind-body connection. The extra bonus is the increased stamina, strength and body confidence that comes with consistent asana and controlled breathing practice.
Charlene D. Edwards, MA, LMFT, RYT is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Yoga Instructor. She practices in the Atlanta, GA area providing life coaching, individual and group yoga instruction and Reiki services. Check out her website: TheBlissnu right here