by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
Yoga Therapy integrates the ancient wisdom of Classical Yoga, healing beliefs, and Ayurveda, to facilitate a continuum of
self-healing. Taking the body from dis-harmony to vitality by incorporating a series of poses through intuitive guidance, the
practice of each asana, and the education of this Eastern “medicine,” brings about a realm of change.
Yoga therapy coordinates particular yoga asanas for specific disorders. These poses (asanas) may change according to a person’s progress. Yoga therapy advocates who believe yoga is a holistic discipline, teaches that the mind, body, and spirit are
connected. Yoga therapy can go beyond the results that are possible with physical therapy.
Calming the mind is, of course, a practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Learning to find peace with your inner
thoughts are a choice. No yoga technique is required for any of the following poses. The only thing required is the desire to
want to bring tranquility to an overactive brain.
1. Mountain Pose
Tadasana or Mountain Pose demonstrates stillness.
Stand tall with the feet together. Close your eyes. Stand evenly on the front, back, and the sides of the feet. Be active in
the thighs to lift the knees. Do not push the knees back. Feel the spine lengthen out of the sacrum, stretching each vertebra
away from the vertebra below it. Lift the chest. The shoulders stay relaxed and down. The palms of the hands face the thighs.
As the neck stretches upward, keep the neck, throat, and jaw relaxed. The chin is parallel to the floor. Visualize a straight
line running from your chin, to your sternum, to your pubic bone. Soften your gaze; quiet your hearing; relax your jaw. Breathe
evenly and comfortably through your nose. Image the top of the head continually lifting upward, while the soles of the feet are
grounding downward. You are literally pulling in two directions.
“I am a mountain. I endure through every situation. I stand solid and strong as a testament to my will and focus. I am not persuaded or distracted. I am still. Like a mountain I am a symbol of surmounting and overcoming obstacles.”
2. Standing Forward Bend
Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend demonstrates letting go.
From your tall mountain pose, Take a long, deep inhale. As you release a long, lengthy exhale, slowly bend at the waist and
relax your body over your straight legs. You will feel an incredible stretch in the back of the legs. Ideally, it is best to
keep the legs straight, so go only as low as you can with the legs locked. Go ahead and put your hands above your knees if you need support, but allow the top of your head to face the floor. If you are able to reach your finger tips to the floor, you can
use them as support. Keep taking long inhales and even longer exhales, because as you exhale, the breath will move your chest closer to your legs each time. In Sanskrit, the word Uttanasana means “deliberately lengthen.”
“With every breath I release and let go the tension that clouds my mind. I am solely aware of the oxygen fueling every muscle as I strive to untether my mind from its holding place and find greater space within my body. Letting go is not giving up, letting go is freeing yourself.”
3. Cat Cow Pose
Cat (Majaryasana) Cow (Bitilasana) Pose demonstrates flexibility in life.
Your knees and palms of your hands are evenly space apart on the floor. Align your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. The back and neck are flat as a table top. The pose has two positions – a cat stretching its back upward and a cow stretching its back downward.
The Cat exhales, pulling the belly in, lifting the middle of the back, rounding the spine and releasing the head towards the floor. Actively push the floor away and feel the stretch in the back of the body. Then come back into the neutral starting position.
The Cow inhales, pushing the belly downward, lifting the chest, arching the spine and raising the head up towards the horizon. Experience the opposing stretch. Come back into the neutral tabletop position.
“With my deep exhale, I release my inner thoughts that block my progress. With my deep inhale, I raise the endless possibilities that make me open to all I deserve. The more I do this, the more flexible my life becomes.”
4. Legs up the Wall Pose
Viparita Karani or Leg Up the Wall Pose demonstrates reversing our thoughts.
In Sanskrit Viparita Karani means “inverted action” which can be interpreted as “seeing the other side of the story.” When we invert our bodies in the other direction, we relieve pressure off our lower half of the body and stimulate the upper half with life-giving blood and better circulation. This always gives us a clearer head or the ability to see things a little different.
Lie on your back with buttocks against the wall. Walk your legs up over the center of your body. Legs straight or slightly bent, upper back pressing into the floor, palms open, on the floor, and facing upward.
“I shift my body’s action from the polar opposite of active to receptive. I will allow my mind to stop actively finding solutions and instead, allow solutions to come to me.”
5. Child’s Pose
Balasana or Child’s Pose demonstrates complete surrender.
Kneel on the floor. Bring your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Fold over at the waist resting your chest between your thighs. Your arms can be fully extended over head on the floor or rotate the palms down bringing the arms along your side. The tops of the shoulders will slowly lower to the floor the more you inhale and exhale. The forehead will also do the same with each inhale/exhale. Take several long, deep breaths in this position.
“I rest and relinquish my spirit to the Universe. With each breath I set free all that weighs on my mind so that I may re-discover my child-like wonder, joy, and magic I never really lost in the first place.”