As a C-IAYT Yoga Therapist certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists and a designated Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, Susan Bernhardt offers yoga therapy with a strong Ayurveda influence. Following the classical tradition of individualized yoga practice, she formulates recommendations based on each client's particular constitution and imbalances. Recommendations can be drawn from all facets of classical yoga, such as asana (physical practice), pranayama (breath work), meditation, relaxation, yoga nidra, cleansing practices (shat karma), yoga philosophy, diet and nutrition, and daily routine and lifestyle.
Yoga is an ancient spiritual tradition of India. Yoga is both a philosophy and a set of practices aimed at helping aspirants progress on yoga's spiritual path. Ancient yogis sat in meditation for long periods of time for their spiritual development, but readily discovered that sitting in meditation requires ease in the body and the mind. Through observation and practice, they found that particular dietary, daily living, and cleansing practices can affect the body and mind in particular ways. Physical yoga poses, now known as asanas, developed from the need to sit for long periods. Although we now use the word "asana" to mean a yoga pose, it literally means "seat." Yogis studied how particular asanas affect the body and mind. Pranayama (breathing practices) developed from the need to have energy (prana) flow freely through the body and to clear the mind. Breath can serve as a bridge between the body and the mind. Just as stress or relaxation can change our breath, controlling our breath in specific ways can change what we experience in our bodies and minds. Similarly, other yoga practices can be applied for specific effects.
Yoga therapy is a modern term with ancient roots. Yoga therapy is the use of the teachings and tools of yoga to help bring healing to body, mind, and spirit. By understanding how particular asana, pranayama, and other yoga practices affect the body and mind, a program of specific practices can be developed for a client's specific needs. Susan has worked with individuals who have sought assistance with a wide range of needs, such as anxiety, asthma, back pain, digestive issues, high blood pressure, insomnia, and scoliosis. Her clients include experienced yogis as well as people who have had no yoga experience at all. Indeed, Susan finds that one of the most beautiful aspects of yoga is that it can be adapted to meet any person where that person is.
Photo: Mt. Everest, by Susan Bernhardt, 8/2018.