I recently attended a restorative yoga class. I had many reasons not to go due to the day/time of the class and the cost of the class. But then I remembered that I am committing myself to more opportunities to quiet my brain and body so I went.
This class was a gift for many reasons. It was a small class but 3 colleagues were also there which I thought was an interesting and fun coincidence. It was a bit of a challenge to allow 90 min of surrendering my mind and body to settle into that space and allow the teacher to guide me through meditations and supported poses. It is truly the opposite of how I function every day.
As I lay there in child’s pose, supported by a bolster underneath me and a blanket to lay my head on, I wondered why it is so difficult for me to create these experiences because the fact was that I was loving being in that place! I wonder how many of you take the time to quiet your mind and body, let someone else take care of you, and just surrender to the luxury of the experience?
During shavasana, or corpse pose, the sound of emergency vehicles filled the room for several minutes. I was in such a grounded place that the sounds and the emergency did not affect me in the least. I realized, later, that we teach our clients to not respond to their amygdala’s exaggerated screams of danger. This had been an opportunity to practice just that.
Another thought that came to me during this restorative yoga practice is how simple it is and what a profound impact it has on decreasing stress and inflammation, as well as giving us training in observing ourselves. Bringing opportunities like meditation and simple yoga poses to our clients, even for 5-10 min in your session can make a difference. A recent article published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843960/) demonstrates that yoga can aid in the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression for women.
If you would like to consider adding integrative approaches to your CBT practice to help your clients, I suggest you start by practicing yourself, you won’t regret it!