Podcast Writer & Presenter
I started doing yoga at age 11 in our small living room in Ohio, watching Lilias Folan on a black and white TV in the early 70s. I was mesmerized by this beautiful woman in a full body leotard doing poses and talking about the power of this thing called yoga. I just followed along; I had no idea what I was doing. My other six family members either ignored me or just rolled their eyes. But, weird as it was way back then, I instantly loved yoga. It has been one of the true constants in my life.
Like most people in the western world, I started with asana practice – the postures of yoga; perfectly happy to keep going deeper and deeper into more and more advanced poses. But, two things happened. Barack Obama was elected president and as I was driving home one day, I heard him say – what can you personally give back to your community? “Yoga,” I said aloud to no one in my car. “I can give people yoga and it may help them like it’s helped me.”
So I signed up to train as a yoga teacher. I wanted to help people beyond just yoga poses and realized that becoming a yoga therapist was what I really needed to do. I did and the whole world of yoga opened up to me. It had always been there waiting – I just needed to open the door. To yogic breathing, yogic meditation, chanting -- all based on yoga philosophy.
Now I teach people one on one. Using all of the tools of yoga (in addition to the poses) to help people who have sciatica, plantar fasciitis, or depression or anxiety, or people who want to leave their jobs or their spouses, or people who are pondering existential problems or who are looking for spiritual fulfillment. Yoga helps with all of these.
The second thing that led me beyond an asana-only practice was, after 30-40 years of doing deep asana work, my back broke. Yup. Just broke. No getting out of bed, no walking, no sitting, just pain. Pain so bad I could only hold myself up at the kitchen sink and weep. Three doctors told me I had to have surgery. I was deeply, deeply depressed. I went to a chiropractor, one of my yoga instructors in fact, who told me he might be able to help – it would only take about 4 months and $7,000. I almost signed the form, but I thought wait a minute, I’m a yoga therapist, let me try to heal myself. It took me 4 months and a lot less money, but I did heal my back. No surgery. No disc fusion.
I used every tool, method, way out therapy, western and eastern practice, supplement, and machine that seemed like it might work at all. And I got better. And I got wiser. I understood more than ever that yoga was more than asana, much more. I stepped back from asana-only and expanded the reach of yoga and all that it had to offer.
Such is the power of yoga therapy. It is about giving the student tools to heal themselves. And students really can heal themselves.
I was one of the first few thousand or so yoga therapists to be certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapist (IAYT). Take a peek at my website www.yogatherapycincy.com.