Janet is a friendly, bubbly, and fun loving person with a positive attitude, until she stepped into a yoga class at her gym. She didn’t practice hot yoga or restorative yoga - for Janet, all yoga was angry yoga. Despite assurances from her friends that “this time would be different”, every time Janet attended the local gym’s yoga class, she left angry. This was completely out of character!
Janet’s friends and yoga teachers hypothesized that perhaps she was releasing anger during her yoga sessions. Though I know that some yoga poses and sequences can be “fiery” and may stimulate heated thoughts, I don’t believe that yoga should always make you angry. If it’s unpleasant, you’re certainly not going to want to include it in your health care routine! There was a way to sequence a yoga session for Janet that would help her maintain her happy disposition.
Janet knew yoga was a highly useful tool to include in her routine health care regime, and so approached me about personalized sessions to overcome her negative gym experiences. When we started working together, she was vague on her goals, but I suspected she would tell me more once she felt comfortable.
We got started!
We scheduled our sessions in the late afternoons so she would get to leave work early (a sweet self-care treat) but still be home in time for her toddler and husband. One of the great benefits of individualized yoga sessions is the ability to schedule a class that suits all your needs, including time commitments! As soon as she walked into a serene yoga space, she knew this was the missing link. The gym atmosphere simply wasn’t for her.
Janet had a torn ligament in her knee (ACL injury), and so her sequences were created with a strong emphasis on muscular stability seeing as her ligament stability was compromised.
I sequenced classes that included some poses known to stimulate anger as they are part of a well rounded practiced, but always followed it with a poses known to stimulate relaxation and calm. Janet didn’t have angry thoughts while practicing with me, and was able to find the yogic experience she had been seeking. To better prepare her for any future yoga classes in the gym, and for life in general, I taught her a simple meditation technique where the goal is to observe the thought without judgement or elaboration. It’s okay to be angry. Acknowledge it and let it go, move on.
During our last session, she shared with me that our work together was helping her stay calm and happy, which was particularly throughout hormone therapy as she and her husband were trying for another baby. She was empowered by her routine at home to better manage her stress. Nine months later, I was delighted to learn she was now a mother of two!
Janet originally thought yoga would be a useful tool in her health care program due to her knee. By taking time for herself, she actually helped both her knee and developed better resilience skills, which she was able to take off her mat and into other aspects of her life she hadn’t considered. We often talk about the holistic and complete benefits of a yoga practice, but I encourage you to experience it for yourself!