Yoga Informed Psychotherapy
What is Yoga Informed Psychotherapy?
Yoga means to yolk, or bring together. The ancient yogis knew that our bodies and minds are integrated, they work together. In that spirit, yoga informed psychotherapy uses yoga practices as a means to integrate our clients’ minds and bodies. Unlike talk therapy, during which you process your thoughts on a topic or event, yoga informed psycho-therapy encourages the client to feel into the body sensations that hold wisdom about that topic or event. For example, if we often feel scared, we may experience the body sensations of tense muscles and shallow breath. That may show up in our thoughts as anxiety. Or, perhaps we notice the body sensations of slumped shoulders and collapsed chest. This may reinforce feelings of sadness and thoughts of hopelessness. Yoga informed psychotherapy first focuses on what is happening in a client’s body to both inform and gently shift uncomfortable emotional, behavioral, and cognitive patterns.
What does a session look like?
No two sessions are exactly alike because our bodies arrive different every day. Also, it will vary on individual client goals. Yoga informed psychotherapy often begins a lot like talk therapy sessions do, with a client sharing an event or emotional state that they’d like to process. Rather than thinking and talking about that event, your therapist will guide you to notice the body sensations you are experiencing as you share. From there, you may practice a body based skill for emotion regulation and/or you may explore that body sensation further. Some skills you might practice with your therapist are breath work, meditation, mantra, restorative yoga postures, or basic movement practices. When the work is more exploratory, your therapist will
guide you to feel into your body sensations and be your own best investigator about what you notice. From there, you will process what you found, and you may go back in to explore more.
Is this a yoga class?
No. Yoga informed psychotherapy is not about exercise or physical fitness. Instead, it uses the body as a means to gain awareness of our emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns.
How is yoga informed psychotherapy different than yoga therapy?
Generally, yoga informed psychotherapy focuses on mental health, while yoga therapy focuses on healing a physical health condition or injury. There is often overlap as researchers continue to discover the links between physical health conditions and mental health. However,
our work together in yoga informed psychotherapy will focus on your mental health.
Will my insurance cover this kind of therapy?
The Awakening Center is in network with BCBS PPO, BCBS Blue Choice PPO, and Aetna PPO. We bill yoga informed psychotherapy as psycho-therapy, just as any talk therapist would. Be sure to check with your provider to gain an understanding of what you would owe at the time
of each session. Please see our insurance Q & A section if you have further questions about this.
What do I wear to a yoga informed psychotherapy session?
Wear something comfortable. Because yoga informed psychotherapy sessions look different every time, you may end up laying on the floor, doing gentle movement, or sitting on the couch the whole session. Yoga clothing is not needed but being prepared for gentle movement is
Do I need to have yoga experience?
No. Your therapist will meet you where you are at. All skill levels are welcome.
Focusing on my body is uncomfortable - is yoga informed psychotherapy for me?
Yoga informed psychotherapy can be particularly useful for individuals who feel uncomfortable connecting to their bodies. Sharing your concerns with your therapist will help them create opportunities to explore that discomfort safely. You may even work together to find neutral or comfortable ways to work with your body. If you are curious if this type of therapy is right for you, chat with one of our yoga informed psychotherapists today.