I’m not flexible. Can I do this?

Absolutely! First and foremost this is therapy not a yoga class in disguise. If you can breath, you can do “yoga.”

The beauty of yoga-informed approaches such as Mindful Embodied Therapy is that it is not about form. The style of yoga I learned from my teacher, Paul Grilley, takes a functional approach to yoga. The mantra of functional yoga is that every skeletal structure is different. We don’t fixate on a pose looking a certain way. The focus is on turning inward and listening to how it feels.

There is no such thing as a perfect pose. There is only learning to discriminate what works for you, by listening to your body. Skeletal variations in the human population are huge. Those cover models you see on yoga magazines were gifted bodies that allow them to stretch and twist in ways most people simply cannot.

A typical yoga-therapy session often starts with some kind of breath work — energizing breaths for people who are depressed, balancing breaths for those with anxiety. From there I’ll craft a practice geared to your specific needs. For example, people who have suffered PTSD are prone to losing their sense of being in the room. So I may ask them to hold simple grounding positions, staff pose or twist, before transitioning into talk therapy.

It’s common to use props in this style of yoga. Blocks, straps, bolsters, pillows, blankets – whatever helps you ease into feeling your body – are used to facilitate mindful listening.