What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I am currently studying for my master of science degree in yoga therapy, the first program of its kind in the world. I regularly attend workshops and trainings that further my knowledge of therapeutic yoga, and have completed my 500-hour certification as an advanced yoga instructor. I am also a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, as well as the Mid-Atlantic Yoga Association, and review ongoing research in the field of therapeutic yoga on a regular basis.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
When I began my personal yoga practice, I was curious about the physical health benefits. And although I noticed immediately how unflexible and weak my body was, I did notice that my anger and stress level went way down. So I kept at it. Over time, my body became much stronger and more flexible, but I still didn't understand what this thing called "yoga" was really all about. When people asked me "what exactly IS yoga?", I found I couldn't come up with an intelligent definition, so I decided to enroll in a teacher training program. I had no intention of becoming a yoga instructor, but by the time my training was completed, I found myself being put in front of a room full of students and told to guide them through a yoga class. After the nervousness subsided, I realized this is something I could do, and actually wanted to do. I personally experienced the magic of yoga, and wanted to spread it to others.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Most of my private clients are people who either have never done yoga and are not comfortable in a class environment, or have issues that prevent them from engaging in a regular practice. These issues include scoliosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other types of physical disabilities such as knee or shoulder injuries that they need to work around to gain strength and mobility.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
I would recommend that a potential client first ask if the instructor is a certified instructor who is registered with Yoga Alliance, the governing association for yoga instructors. Also, ask for references if possible, ask how much experience the instructor has, what is their approach. But most importantly, how do you feel being with this person? Is the energy in the room positive? What is your instinct telling you? Do you resonate with this person? All of these are important factors.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
I have personally discovered the power of yoga through how it transformed my life. When I first began practicing yoga, my body and my heart were broken and I had been suffering with panic attacks and anxiety for 25 years. I came "to the mat" for the physical benefits, but kept coming back when I began to feel changes on all levels of my life. This is how I approach each client, to meet them where they are and develop a personal practice that is beneficial to them, to first work within their limitations and gradually expand when they are ready, to make adjustments when necessary, and allow them to discover what their body and their mind will allow them to achieve when they can let go of expectations and allow the magic to unfold.