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Yoga: A Path to Integrated Healing


Personal agency and responsibility are two potent resources. We all have them, but not all of us use them. If more people brought these resources into their day-to-day, I believe there would be less pain in the world - and this is the reason I get out of bed in the morning.


Agency:

You feel in control, and you have the ability to positively and effectively influence your life.


Responsibility:

You are in the drivers seat, you have the biggest part to play in every aspect of your life. Your situation is a product of exactly the decisions you have made.


Sounds solid right? 🤙🏻


If you find yourself living on the edge of your authenticity, unseen and misunderstood by those who are closest to you, or looking to others in order for you to feel safer, happier and more secure, then it’s time for you to reconnect with your sense of agency and personal responsibility.


Don’t think for a minute that this means I am anti relationship, quite the reverse! I teach couples Yoga and am a HUGE advocate for relationship. In order to have safe, fulfilling and deeply intimate relationships, first you need to get YOUR psychological shit together. Self regulation and co-regulation are essential for coming back into balance.


How I came to this work

I trained as a contemporary dancer, and discovered Yoga in my teens. The Yoga philosophy is beautiful and has been an anchor throughout my life, but the inspiration for my work erupted during my training in India.


When I practiced Yoga, there were a collection of asanas (postures) that I always avoided, but I needed to integrate them into my personal practice during my training, so that I could better teach them to others. Unconscious reluctance was driving my behaviour; I would tie my hair, adjust my leggings, adjust my sports bra, stretch out my ‘bad back’ whenever it was time to do these asanas. I caught myself one day, and realised I do this every time in every class.

So I jumped right in, and started to get familiar with the mechanics of the asanas. Pretty quickly, I felt frustrated, borderline angry and sometimes I had tears in my eyes. I wasn’t in a mood because I couldn’t do it, I was in a mood because I was having an uncomfortable, emotional response. Given that I had only experienced a felling of awesomeness after a Yoga practice, this was definitely new territory. My mind was flooded with memories from a specific point in my childhood, a situation that had settled into my memory bank and I hadn’t recalled in years. I would come to learn this situation informed how I connected to myself, how I connected to others and how I moved through the world.


They say the the mat is a mirror for yourself, and that the asanas will reveal the emotional & energetic pieces that need healing. I have a healthy respect for all things woo woo, and to me it feels comforting to lean into this idea. I also value science. I know that science cannot explain everything, and some of our experience doesn’t need explaining - we know it’s real. Having said that, I get excited when I find a piece of research that gives a nod to the unexplainable.


Any way, I was very curious about what was happening; what was it about what I was doing physically, that was initiating this acute memory response? I figured it would be smart to bounce this off someone who knows their way around the brain, so I headed to therapy when I returned from India.


Forced out of my diffidence by dreams of something bigger

The insights my therapist was guiding me to were illuminating and helped me understand a whole lot about myself, my life, family dynamics and my relationships. But it stopped there. The same old patterns, people and situations were still showing up in my life. It was so frustrating! I was unfulfilled in my work, I was attracting the wrong relationships and STILL running the same strategies that had kept me ‘safe’ in the past. I knew I had capacity for more, and felt like the missing piece would have a significant effect on my life. I knew this next stage would mean stepping up, and this was both exciting and daunting. No more hiding behind old strategies!


I had a sense I needed to get what I had learned, ‘into my body’. I needed integration for real and lasting change. It occurred to me that talk therapy alone might not be the best way forward. Given that the inspiration for therapy came through movement, it made sense that I head back to my Yoga mat. The area of the brain that deals with feelings and emotion does not process language, and emotions are a physiological experience, so to me it made sense that the body should be involved. For some, talk therapy can only go so far. Instead, a multidisciplinary approach will help integrate learning into the physical fibre of your being.


Working with me

The body retains the physiological effect of strong emotion. And whilst our mind will get busy with strategies that help us to avoid the same painful situation, the initial blow remains in the body. I use movement & breathwork as a means to encourage you into connection with you felt sense (interoception), to help discover the disowned parts of yourself and integrate them. The movement aspect of my sessions is informed by the Ashtanga and Yin Yoga vocabulary and you don’t need Yoga experience to get involved!


The felt sense is your pathway to regulation, and when we are regulated we feel balanced. So instead of reaching out both physically and energetically to others to feel better, whole or safe, come back to yourself. Learn to rely on YOU first. Agency and personal responsibility.

Through my Yoga practice, I discovered an emotional trauma that was silently running my life. Back on the mat with clear intentions, I integrated the pieces of myself I lost. Today, I feel connected to myself, my relationships and my work, and when things get crunchy I know I can deal with it. Now, I hold space for others, guiding them through their own Yoga practice, discovering the uncomfortable and supporting its release.


Curious? Email me here.


Emma

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