When we finished these simple exercises, I could see that Carol’s belly was expanding as she inhaled, meaning she was naturally breathing more deeply. Her exhalations came slowly, and her eye contact was steady as well. She said she felt relaxed and a little excited about how easy it had seemed to shift her mood. I told her that the image of the beach in Hawaii was on the altar of her heart, and that she could go back to it any time she felt stressed. She could add the Stair Step breath and the brief pause, for no more than four counts, at the top of the mountain. Since she liked the so-hum mantra, I invited her to use that whenever she felt agitated.
At this point, we rose to move to the yoga mat. However, if Carol were your client, you could begin the work of talk therapy with greater clarity and a deeper sense of connection between the two of you.
Amy Weintraub is the founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, which offers trainings in the clinical application of yoga. She’s the author of Yoga Skills for Therapists and Yoga for Depression. Contact: email@example.com.
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