Yoga as an emerging therapeutic tool

Yoga Psychology has evolved over the last 5000 years and is now finding its place within the Western Health Model.

The lotus blooms out of the mud just as the beauty in humanity may bloom out of suffering
How can we use Yoga skills as therapists for our own self-care, as well as with clients in session, while remaining within our scope of practice?

In Patanjali’s 8-limbs of Yoga, we learn different paths toward healing and self-regulation. These include Yamas and Niyamas (moral and ethical guidelines) to help us live authentically, A’sana and Pranayama (physical posture and breathwork practices) to embrace embodied presence, Pratyahara (turning inward with a withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (holding steady concentration), Dyana (deep meditation), and finally Samadhi (the bliss we may tap into upon transcending the “personal” and connecting to something larger than ourselves).

Using these different limbs to conceptualize ways to help ourselves and clients connect more deeply to self and others is one effective lens to view our healing potential. More simply stated, we can diversify our services by continuing to incorporate movement, meditation (mindfulness, yoga nidra), and breath-work into sessions with clients and into our own self-care routines as healers.
After all, the meaning of Yoga translates as a verb: “to connect” or “to unite”, which often is a goal of therapeutic counseling and more broadly, a goal in LIFE.
Haley Hewitt, LMFT, E-RYT 200 is in private practice in Lafayette, CA. Her interests lie in merging Yoga therapeutics into the Western Psychological Model.
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