Laura is the founding director of Edinburgh Community Yoga and is a Minded Yoga Therapist (2016, 500 hrs.) and experienced yoga teacher (2012, 200hrs). She also has a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree from London Contemporary Dance School.
Laura works therapeutically both in groups and one to one with a particular interest in trauma informed yoga within forensic mental health settings.
Laura also presents and lectures on the importance of body/mind practices for stress management and trains yoga teachers interested in working in outreach settings.
Alongside her outreach work Laura also loves to teach Vinyasa flow and is also a qualified yoga for pregnancy and kids and family teacher.
“For me yoga in all its forms is about building a deeper and more compassionate relationship with yourself. I love the way the combination of mindful movement, breath and meditation can take us into a place of healing and I never tire of exploring the possibilities that offers us.”
You can read Laura’s blog about yoga therapy here
Yoga therapy is a way of approaching an emotional, physical or mental health issue you may be having and using body/mind practices to assist in managing them.
Yoga therapy comes from an understanding that your emotional, mental and physical self is deeply and unequivocally connected and works on the understanding that regularly relaxing is deeply healing. By allowing the person to be present and to return to a state of balance we allow them to optomise their healing potential.
According to the International Association of Yoga Therapists:
“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga.”
Essentially, yoga therapy is the application of yoga practices to alleviate physical and mental health conditions with the view of promoting self-care and encouraging overall well-being. Whilst the practice of yoga in general has the potential for therapeutic effects, in yoga therapy we are using specific yoga practices and their known benefits to help alleviate or improvement mental and physical ailments. I really like this description from yoga philosophes George Feuerstein
“Yoga therapy is a modern coinage and represents a first effort to integrate traditional yogic concepts and techniques with Western medical and psychological knowledge. Whereas traditional yoga is primarily concerned with personal transcendence on the part of a ‘normal’ or healthy individual, yoga therapy aims at the holistic treatment of various kinds of psychological or somatic dysfunctions ranging from back problems to emotional distress. Both approaches, however share an understanding of the human being as an integrated body/mind system, which can function optimally only when there is a state of dynamic balance.”
How is yoga therapy used?
Yoga therapy aligns the unique and precise health needs of the client with yoga practices, which the yoga tradition and also medical science find to have particular curative effects. For example, with lower back pain, there are very specific yoga positions and postures for strengthening and supporting the back and even soothing the symptoms of a herniated disc. Likewise, with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), there are gentle, specialised ways of regulating the nervous system and fostering the return of an awareness of the body. In Autism Spectrum Disorders, specific yoga postures can be used to reduce heightened sensory arousal and promote emotional regulation.
Sessions may include breathing techniques, postures, meditation, relaxation techniques, or the promotion of life style changes.
What is unique about minded yoga therapy?
The Minded yoga therapy approach combines the worlds of yoga, science, and psychology. We integrate yoga therapies with mindfulness, translate neuroscientific findings into practices, and offer the support of psychotherapeutic holding.
What should I expect from a typical yoga therapy session:
Yoga therapy is about teaching people the skills to help themselves in their own lives. It is about empowerment. Yoga therapy meets each and every person where they are. Yoga therapy sessions are client-led, client-focused, and compassion-focused.
You will be asked to complete an intake form detailing your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing before you meet with your therapist for the first time. This will allow your therapist time to prepare an individual yoga therapy plan for you.
Your first session
You will talk through your intake form and discuss any questions your therapist may have relating to what you have reported. However, the focus will be on moving towards the yoga practices as a way of working together, rather than on discussion.
You will likely go through a breath and physical assessment where your therapist will begin to get a better idea of how yoga therapy may be able to assist you.
Your therapist will introduce you to practices that she thinks may be of help to you. These may include some of the following; breathing techniques, guided relaxation, movement based exercises, yoga poses, meditation techniques and even chanting.
The session will be completely guided by your comfort levels and feeling of safety. You will only be offered practice you are comfortable to work with.
A huge part of finding healing with yoga therapy comes from developing a home practice. Your therapist will work with you to develop a home practice that meets your specific needs and that takes into account and is respectful of your lifestyle and energy levels. There are some resources below to help you.
Further sessions will also include a check in but are likely to focus mainly on practice.
You are free to continue with other forms of treatment and, indeed, yoga can be used alongside other modalities very easily.
We offer concessions on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you would like to discuss further.
HOME PRACTICE RESOURCES
As part of your yoga therapy you will be encouraged to develop a home practice. Please go to the resources page for various practices which you may like to use.