My discomfort started when Pam Greer, who merged her love of yoga and her nursing background when she became a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner four years ago, told me to sit cross-legged on a mat. It was just me and her in the room, you see, and there was nothing to distract either of us from what we were about to do. And what that was, I really had no idea.
What ensued was much like Thai massage, without the massage. And more like yoga, except mostly all I had to do was lie there while Pam bent me every which way. I had kept an open mind about the process. Not the yoga part, which I am pretty comfortable with, nor about the mind-body connection aspect, which I am a big fan of developing and fostering. But the talking bits.
You see while Pam stretched, bent and manoeuvred me around, she asked pretty continuously what I was feeling. Each time I told her, she repeated it right back to me. Without judgement, or comment. I found this very hard at first, the repeating without comment, and also a bit weird. And to be honest, I struggled to come up with things to say that I might not mind hearing repeated. And as it was just our first session, I wasn’t entirely honest with Pam about what came up – choosing instead to focus on physical things, like telling her about the time I dislocated my shoulder. I did feel melancholic in certain poses, the same way I do in yoga. Connecting the position of my body with those feelings – and telling her, which I would feel comfortable doing the next time around – is a vital part of the experience, she explains.
“Because we store memory in our body, a particular movement at a particular point in time might bring up that sense of sadness,” Greer explains. “So our dialogue then would focus a person on what’s happening for them and try to connect them, like ‘where are you feeling that sadness in your body?’ And let them explore that, and maybe explore that in more depth. Maybe something will be resolved and maybe not, maybe it’s just an opportunity to learn a little more about themselves and how they are with sadness.”
Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is clearly a sound option for anyone looking to bolster their mind-body connection. The passive stretching aspect makes it a great physical therapy for anyone with obesity, paralysis, injuries or mobility issues. After just one session of focusing on my body rather than my always-racing monkey mind, I actually felt my entire being become calmer. It was a valuable lesson.
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