Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Upward Facing Freud: Yoga + Psychotherapy

“Talk. Share. Cry. Stretch?” These are the words at the start of a Time magazine article about how yoga is being used to help with emotional healing. It’s called yoga therapy, and it’s being offered by therapists, counselors and yoga teachers.

As a beneficiary of both the therapy couch (I’m a longtime member of the obsessive, compulsive, perfectionist club) and the yoga mat, I was curious how the two blended together. The topic also grabbed my interest because yoga is such an emotional release for me. I often get into a pose and something unlocks and I start to cry -- and I have no idea where the tears are coming from.

After you read the article (click here), please share your thoughts on this whole subject of going off the therapist couch and onto the yoga mat. Just click on “COMMENTS” below. (Personally, if my therapist kept telling me to return to child pose instead of warrior, I’d regress to my inner child in no time!)


  1. Mixed feelings about this. I'm glad there are shrinks who acknowledge yoga's benefits but I'm not comfortable with their giving yoga instruction in the same session. I may be wrong but a great therapist could turn out to be a mediocre yoga teacher or the reverse.

  2. I'm on the same page as the other person who commented. That old expression "jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind. Can't someone strive to be the best yoga teacher or the best pyschotherapist instead of trying to do it all???

  3. It's clear that the practice of yoga has physical, spiritual, and mental benefits.

    Therapy--psychotherapy, counseling, and other talk-based sessions--have mental and spiritual benefits.

    The benefits of combining the two need further research and exploration.

  4. Perhaps therapists should "prescribe" yoga in lieu of teaching it. I hear that works pretty well with doctors prescribing exercise to people with high blood pressure.

  5. Being a counselor and a yoga enthusiest I love this idea, in theory. A therapist would have to have all the same training as any other yoga instructor to pracitce ethically. Honestly, while it sounds like a wonderful idea and would most likely be quite effective, I find it unlikely to find enough clients that would be open to this type of therapy to make a practice out of it (at least here in Las Vegas). Using some mudras or basic poses may be very beneficial in session as it is already common to use meditation, relaxation techniques, aromatherapy and sound therapy so, I don't see why that wouldn't be a lovely enhancement especially when working with children. I would say however, a full on yoga session is best left to the yogi's and recommended as a wellness intervention by therapists.

  6. Yoga is a great thing on this world, I have found so far. It was earlier for getting that supremme contact. To meet the hole with soul. To meet finity with that infinity. But, in todays life , one has to practise this yoga for his physical fitness and to b healthy. I found this phrase very well in my mind. What u think? Send me mail on me.karunesh@gmail.com.......i m karunesh/m/48/Yogateacher/India.