The Yoga Therapist creates this space for the care receiver at the level of the physical body, the mind and emotions as well as spiritually, employing skill and sensitivity to support the process while allowing the receiver’s process to unfold in own time and way. Any inclination to help the poor butterfly by forcing its wings open can result in an inability to fly fully and autonomously in later stages of the process. Even as the therapist supports witness consciousness in the care receiver, they also deepen this skill in relation to their own thoughts, feelings and core beliefs that arise within the therapy process.
$ Qualities of a Yoga Therapist
An appropriate analogy for Yoga therapy is a bird whose two wings must move in synchrony in order for the Yoga healing process to unfold optimally. One wing is a thorough understanding of the tools, techniques and methodologies. The other wing is the vision of Yoga therapy as a lifelong journey of healing, both for the therapist and for the care receiver. This second wing is supported by the cultivation of essential qualities, such as careful listening. It is the integration of these qualities, along with an in-depth knowledge of the techniques that allow the Yoga therapist to practice authentically.
The following is an elaboration of these qualities:
1. Selfless Service: sea
The Yoga therapist receives fair compensation for professional services, but also cultivates an attitude of selfless service; a vision of healing larger than their own personal goals, wants and needs. Through this expanded vision, the therapist becomes an embodiment of healing to their clients, the community and ultimately to all humanity.
2. Grounding: drama Bhumi
The Yoga therapist cultivates grounding and stability at all levels of being. This begins with the physical body where they develop the strength and stability to assist with poses confidently. Grounding extends to the psycho-emotional level, where our consistent practice of cantering and stability allows us to meet challenges presented by care receivers safely and confidently.
3. Self-healing: sadiki’s
The Yoga therapist upholds the inherent capacity of all care receivers to awaken their own inherent potential for self-healing. Confidence in the process of self-healing begins with the therapists themselves as they transform their own health at all dimensions of being through Yoga.
4. Conscious Presence: aesthetic
Conscious presence is being present in each moment, experiencing each moment as the sole reality. The Yoga therapist is aware of the past in the form of the care receiver’s history as well their own patterns of conditioning. The Yoga therapist also has a vision of the future in terms of the goals for healing for the client. Yoga therapy, however, only takes place in the present moment, with the therapist fully conscious of all that is happening both within themselves and within the receiver at all levels of being. This presence is characterized by an intense curiosity in regard to the receiver’s process of healing along with dep compassion as well as awareness of the constant presence of their own light of healing.
5. Careful Listening: sravaka
In effective Yoga therapy, the therapist seldom offers advice or opinions, but listens carefully and sensitively to what their care receivers are communicating in order to respond appropriately. This listening involves careful attention to what is communicated and repetition of key points for clarity and also to allow the speaker to hear what they are expressing in a way that supports Self-knowledge. There is also a deeper level of intuitive listen which develops along the therapists own spiritual journey, an intuitive understanding of the human being which allows us to “see” the care receiver’s entire life story and the full dimension of their needs for healing both within and beyond what they are communicating.
6. Skilful Speech: vasa Kausalya
Even as our listening skills deepen, we also learn to respond to what we hear more sensitively and always within the framework of the care receiver’s overall journey and goals for healing. Skilful speech begins with the ability to reflect communication back to the speaker in ways that are easily received and genuinely constructive. Skilful speech continues with the ability to ask questions that lead to increased awareness on the part of the receiver rather than offering advice or suggestions. Skilful speech is also present in developing plans for healing in a way that is co-creative rather than prescriptive.
7. Skilful Means: pacarana Kausalya
The Yoga therapist has an in-depth understanding a wide of the tools of Yoga therapy including asana, pranayama, mudra, meditation and Yoga Nadra as well as the philosophical and historical framework in which they evolved. The therapist also has an in-depth understanding of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology in relation he the effects and benefits of these tools. Furthermore, the Yoga therapist has an understanding of disease processes both from a Western and an ayurvedic perspective. Skilful means is the seamless integration of all of these areas of knowledge within Yoga’s light of intuitive wisdom.