I have been dancing with yoga for over a decade and still don't know who is leading! It brought me out of a depression in college when I struggled to get out of bed. It kept me moving (through breath focus) when I was standing at attention in Army Basic Training. It held me accountable when I cut off my own body's needs to get the mission done. Yoga saved my humanity in war.
Yoga and Psychology go together. It is not a forced relationship but an easy one. Psychology looks at human behavior and healthy functioning within the context of societies. Yoga practices bring the physical body into a present state in preparation for meditation and alignment. The connection is the central nervous system which automatically reacts to the individual's life (traumas, chronic stressors, depressive thoughts, etc.) with heightened arousal (engaging the sympathetic nervous system) or dimish energy levels (engaging the parasympathetic nervous system). Psychology looks at these as presenting behaviors and yoga can tap into these systems in real time. Psychology is the place I dance and yoga is my partner...I owe a lot to my partner.
My story included trauma, depression, pain, and anger recovery while still keeping it together on the "outside". I left my first yoga class (Kundalini) like I was walking on clouds. I chased that high into the next yoga class and ever since. I was a twenty-year-old college student studying psychology with goals of graduating and seeing the world. So I joined the military and saw the world. It was not the "Lonely Planet" world that I saw when I studied abroad in college; it was the heart-wrenching gray world that has you crying for better. Yoga never left my side. I did yoga on bases by myself in my CHU or led classes with others on my off time. I used yogic breath before briefing generals or throughout a mission to keep me focused. Yoga kept pulling me up after every dip with grace and balance. I came back to "home" with anger and resentment for others that didn't have to see what I had seen or do what I did. There was not logic or talking these feelings away. I lived with them in my body every day but ignored the call to dance. I was ready to fight all the time. So, my good ole partner yoga stepped in again. It led me to multiple yoga trainings that focused on grounding and releasing until I could not help but be helped.
I am a mental health counselor and my greatest tool in therapy is me because I have experienced trauma and I have experienced healing through yoga. I found a group of people at Lifeologie Institute of Psychotherapeutic Yoga (LISPY) that have passion and knowledge for using yoga in psychotherapy. I continue to learn and find my own voice within PY (psychotherapeutic yoga) daily.