When it comes to my one-on-one or duo classes, I love working more therapeutically. For my students, it means we focus on general themes in their bodies (and lives) but we also get rather specific about what’s going on for the individual student at the moment. Maybe you’re weathering a crisis or simply trying to dismantle some of your stress symptoms. Or you’d like to get a better sense of what it means to be in YOUR body, becoming more conscious of it and the reactions it has to the life you live. These are all topics that can be addressed in more depth when we work one-on-one.
But what does therapeutic actually mean? To me, working therapeutically means I incorporate a lot more props such as yoga blocks and straps, than I can in a group setting. So it isn’t all about learning yet more and more complicated sequences or advanced poses. Rather, it’s about modifying the standard poses to the point that a student can access their benefits without feeling it always has to be the most complicated, impressive-looking pose. In a way, it is putting the original intention of yoga–harmonizing breath and movement– back into the yoga.
Due to my extensive work with a student who had been diagnosed with a very aggressive type of cancer, I learned, for example, how to create a yoga practice, when none of the movements are at all possible. In this case, the greater part of the practice was in preparing for the sometimes unpredictable and always different stages of the illness, phases during which not much could be “done” in terms of battling the disease but where he achieved so much in terms of meeting the experience with courage and even optimism. Most of our practice here lay not in the movement but more in the breath work (Pranayama) and guided meditation as well as Yoga Nidra (“yogic sleep”)
With another private student of mine, it was all about deepening her existing practice as well as supporting her often-times irratic and rarely predictable creative work.
There are so many possibilities for supporting students in a yoga-therapeutic way because yoga therapy is highly individualized and very much in tandem with the students’ own input and self-discovery.