I Feel So Happy To Be Back In My Body

Yoga Therapy Fremantle

A Thank You Note From A Yoga Therapy Client

I just had to share this lovely thank you note from one of my private yoga therapy clients.  It  reminded me that writing thank you notes is really important as it absolutely made my day to receive this.  Yoga therapy is an emerging field so it’s nice to share when others have had successful experiences to help raise the profile of this profession.  I have a few more testimonials for yoga therapy fremantle from clients if you search under the “testimonials” category on this BLOG.  You can read more about private yoga therapy sessions and how they might help you here.  Yoga therapy is quite different to attending a general yoga class and provides the client with a tailored practice to suit  individuals needs.

Yoga Therapy Fremantle Testimonial

“Just writing a thank you note, which I am happy for you to use as a testimonial. I came to see you a couple of years ago, after being seriously ill for several years. I was feeling fragile, feeble and fearful. It was hard for me to know what was going to be possible for my ageing body in the ‘new normal’ post illness.

Your guidance and professional care was the most perfect thing I could have received. Just wanted to let you know that now – two years or more down the track I am doing aerial yoga, and eight dance classes a week: even performing at the Crown with far younger dancers than me. I feel so happy to be ‘back in my body’. It has it’s limitations, but only real ones.

Thanks to you I learned to explore my limits, carefully and courageously. Rather than shrinking and turning into a prematurely aged person, I have a fantastically full and enjoyable life. Thank you for your part in getting that re-started.” – Liana

Charley Hickey

Can Yoga Therapy Help Cancer Survivors?

Yoga Therapy Cancer SurvivorsAuthor: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

You can read a bit more about yoga therapy and how it differs from general group yoga classes here

People seek out yoga therapy for all kinds of reasons, that’s true.  However, I’m sure other yoga therapists would agree that cancer is a common one.  We see people in all stages including first diagnosis, during treatment and afterwards.  It’s important to seek out a suitably qualified yoga therapist or yoga teacher.  Preferably one who has additional training or experience dealing with clients going through cancer.  A search on the Australian Association of Yoga Therapists or Yoga Australia website is a good starting point.  If a teacher has been recommended to you, you could simply ask for their experience and training in the area of cancer wellness.  Good yoga therapists do not at all mind these types of questions, in fact, I’d say we expect it!

I am very fortunate that one of my mentor’s during my yoga therapy studies was locally based Naturopath, Yoga Therapist & Teacher Trainer, Chandrika Gibson ND MWell (Owner at Surya Health www.suryahealth.com.au ) .  I would class her as Perth’s leading expert on merging the fields of yoga and cancer wellness.  She works tirelessly in each of these fields whilst also finding time to train yoga therapists through the Living Yoga Therapy Program (www.livingyogatherapy.com)

I feel confident that it’s possible for those diagnosed with cancer to practice yoga at any stage of their diagnosis.  For many, private yoga therapy sessions are best to begin with.  This helps to assess which practices might be suitable.  This can then be adapted as treatment progresses or symptoms change.  For others an initial consultation can be useful to assess their ability to join in at a group class.  Group classes are often possible and have the added benefit of sangha; a community of like-minded individuals, even if they don’t all have cancer.

Here is a first hand account kindly provided by one of my lovely yoga therapy clients Liana.   Her story is one of moving on after her cancer treatment and how yoga therapy helped her to do that.

Yoga Therapy – A Cancer Survivors Story

“I came to yoga therapy after two years of heavy treatment for two different conditions, including breast cancer. The treatment had left me cured, but weak and with a host of physical problems.

Previously I had done many years of yoga and wished to come back to a practice. A yoga therapist is both skilled in yoga and also trained in the assessing of individual’s health needs: this sounded like the perfect option for me.

Yoga therapy was something I actively sought out as it met my current needs. I have also had great assistance from both mainstream and alternative therapies.

I wished to have an accurate assessment of what I could safely accomplish in my current state of health. I was looking for a gentle, safe practice I could begin at home. The practice that was designed for me was exactly right and very beneficial.

The biggest gain from my yoga therapy session was a renewed trust in my body and how to safely extend my physical activities.”

Thanks so much to Liana for allowing us to share her experiences. I hope it encourages others who are in a similar situation to give yoga or yoga therapy a try.

Charley Hickey

Yoga For Chronic Back Pain? You Tell Us!

Yoga For Chronic Back Pain

I am not being lazy this week, honestly!  I could go on with my own story and there is lots of research I could point you towards but I really feel this  is best told by someone who has been there.  One of my lovely clients was kind enough to put pen to paper and share her story in the hope that others with chronic back pain may be inspired to try some yoga therapy – Thanks so much to Jeanette :)

“I was 58 years old and feeling generally unwell; being overweight and sub-thyroid (which included mild depression and an inability to lose weight). I also suffer greatly chronic lower back pain as a result of an injury. Both my GP and physiotherapist were strongly encouraging me to do regular yoga and generally improve my health regime. I admit to being very de-motivated and felt that any support I could get would encourage me to start a life-long commitment to improving my health.

I  researched a number of yoga providers and mainly I was looking for an environment where I would feel comfortable as a beginner and as a mature person. I found that Yoga Therapy was a new approach to not only yoga practice but also receiving support in moving towards greater well being. Yoga Therapy appealed to me for a number of reasons including one on one instruction to gain confidence to attend classes, having a practice to do at home in addition to class, using mindfulness in my day to day life & learning techniques to deal with stress, depression & de-motivation

I have to admit to being somewhat sceptical about yoga therapy. My scepticism came not only from my own multiple efforts and trying different (and often expensive) health plans/programs etc in the past which I failed to follow through on but also the financial cost of the sessions. However, in hindsight, I believe yoga therapy one of the best decisions I have taken in a long time and it has been the catalyst in my changing my life style….and with a result like that the cost was a mere drop in a bucket!

In the past, I was not dealing with a chronic back problem, so it was easy for me not to follow though and go back to my bad old ways and be very de-motivated to do anything to help myself. Over the years, I had been to dieticians, psychologists, gyms, naturopaths and nutritionists together with introductory courses in yoga and Pilates. I think I got to the point where I really wanted to explore mindfulness to assist me in my life together with understanding the benefits that yoga could bring to me.

For me, it is not an understatement to say that I found the experience “life changing”. I found that I was “listened to” and although Charley and I were in very different places, she really understood and came up with simple strategies. Over my appointments, I was able to implement the strategies which I have not only stuck with but continuing to grow and enhance. In a nutshell I have:

  • My own simple yoga practice (which I still do regularly) with a focus on breathing and focused technique,
  • Become more mindful….for example, I used to binge on food and not even think about what I was eating. Now, I am not perfect but I do not binge and am “mindful” about my eating and appetite,
  • Learnt to relax and meditate….again I am not perfect…I have improved! I even listen to Tibetan music now……
  • Acceptance/Self Awareness, for example, it would be better to not be overweight but it is OK and with practicing a healthier lifestyle perhaps the weight will come down,
  • Doing additional exercise through other programs.  I now attend sessions twice a week…..and I don’t like to miss them (which is an astounding result!)

Without a doubt, doing regular yoga both on my own and in class has helped what I was beginning to think was a hopeless situation with my lower back pain. I was regularly taking strong painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs (which are not good for anyone). Yes, I still have to take the drugs just not regularly…recently I went seven weeks without taking any of these drugs.

I also am much more mindful and relax much more easily than I used to. I did do Charley’s insomnia workshop and all these strategies have contributed to improving sleep quality. I would go as far as to say there has probably been a 30% improvement in my sleep quality.”

Follow these links more information on our yoga for chronic back pain Perth or private yoga therapy our regularly held spine release workshops or to read more on spinal tension, back pain & The breath