Downward Facing Freud: Yoga and Psychotherapy Team Up

Well the hot yoga topic of the week is that Time magazine published an article called Psychotherapy Goes from Couch to Yoga Mat 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.

From the article: “The idea, say yoga therapists, is to allow yoga to empower people while priming them to access their deepest emotions.”

I’m kind of wondering what kind of training the psychologists and psychiatrists have to do this. I know that as a yoga teacher, I would go get certified as a yoga therapist before I advertised myself as one. Do the mental therapists have actual teacher training in yoga? Yoga therapy? Have they studied anatomical and energetic alignment? Do they understand kinesthetics?

Anyway, the whole thing is based on the idea that your deepest emotions are stored in your body. Dr. Elizabeth Visceglia, a psychiatrist and yoga therapist based in New York City, says “Ideally one would want to work with someone who is paying attention to both the physical and emotional experiences.”

Many of us in the fitness / exercise / yoga world have either experienced first hand or seen emotional release during physical activity. In yoga, I’ve seen people cry or get anxious during deep hip openers such as pigeon pose or gomukhasana. There’s also the “high” that the people report during activities like running and other intense exercise.

What about you? Have you felt that “runner’s high?” Have you panicked in pigeon?


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One Response to “Downward Facing Freud: Yoga and Psychotherapy Team Up”

  1. Guest Says:

    Pigeon is difficult yet I can do it in a way without hurting myself. I really enjoy Yoga. I do not have to to be perfect. I just need to do it.
    People who use Yoga in therapy without being certified are unprofessional and can do harm to their patient as well as to the concept of Yoga. The body does hold our trauma. Body work of many kinds can help but should not be used incorrectly. Patients may never use the modality after treatment in fear doing it on their own would be too emotionally taxing. Body mind Spirit is a continuous growth experience.

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