"This course was a transformative experience for me as a person
and as a clinician. Thank you so much." ~ Holly Ancell, LCSW
In today's rapidly evolving landscape of mental health care, licensed mental health professionals and LCSWs are continuously exploring innovative approaches to help their clients navigate the complex terrain of anxiety. With over 40 million U.S. adults currently receiving treatment for anxiety, accounting for more than 31% of the population, the need for effective interventions has never been more pressing.
This is where complementary and alternative integrative medicine (CAIM) techniques such as yoga and meditation come into play, offering a multifaceted approach that can provide much-needed relief. *Please note: EB studies are showing that some forms of Yoga and meditation may be contraindicated, especially for certain types of trauma. Clinical Yoga Institute address this during the training.
Corena Hammer, CYP-500, E-RYT500, YACEP offers her insight as to why a wholistic approach may work for you and your client. As a professional Clinical Yoga Practitioner and renowned expert in the field, Corena Hammer's expertise sheds light on the transformative potential of these practices. Additionally, she will delve into the crucial distinction between incorporating general yoga practices and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga into a client's modalities.
The Rising Tide of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental health conditions in the United States. With millions of adults seeking relief from anxiety's grip, licensed mental health professionals are continually exploring alternative and complementary methods to complement conventional treatments. CAIM, particularly the integration of yoga and meditation, has shown significant promise.
The Role of Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation offer a holistic approach to anxiety management, providing individuals with the tools to address both the symptoms and underlying triggers. Corena Hammer, an expert in mind body integration, sheds light on this, stating that "Yoga presents a versatile array of techniques that can alleviate anxiety symptoms, whether in the short term or over the long haul. By promoting a heightened focus on inner states, yoga equips individuals with the tools to delve beneath the surface of anxiety, potentially revealing underlying triggers such as unresolved conflicts or deeply ingrained thought patterns, known as samskaras in yogic tradition."
Yoga and meditation have a powerful impact on reducing stress and anxiety. Many individuals turn to yoga to alleviate the stressors that contribute to their anxiety, and yoga classes frequently incorporate mindfulness meditation. The synergy of these practices with conventional therapeutic approaches offers a well-rounded strategy for managing anxiety.
Understanding Trauma-Sensitive Yoga
It is essential for mental health professionals, CMHCs and LCSWs to be aware of the differences between incorporating general yoga practices and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga into a client's sessions. Trauma Sensitive Yoga is specifically designed to create a safe and healing space for individuals who have experienced trauma. Corena Hammer stresses the significance of this distinction, stating, "Trauma-Sensitive Yoga focuses on providing a nurturing environment that prioritizes the emotional well-being and embodiment for the individual. It emphasizes choice and empowerment, enabling clients to connect with their bodies in a non-threatening way." The postures will be adaptive and the language is specific to promote healing, otherwise it may actually re-trigger your clients.
By understanding the distinctions and benefits of Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, mental health professionals can offer a more tailored approach to clients who have experienced trauma and are seeking relief from anxiety.
The Transformative Potential of Yoga and Meditation
The integration of yoga and meditation into anxiety treatment offers a wealth of transformative potential. Bo Forbes, a clinical psychologist and yoga therapist, underscores the significance of these practices, stating that "Yoga, in tandem with counseling and psychopharmacologic treatments, serves as an effective adjunct. Even dedicating just ten minutes daily to yoga can heighten stress resilience."
Trauma-Sensitive and Meditation
Moreover, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga can provide individuals with a deeper connection to their bodies, helping to process past trauma and reduce anxiety, allowing folks an opportunity to meditate. As Corena Hammer explains, "Individuals grappling with high levels of anxiety may initially find meditation challenging. The body often craves movement as a means to release pent-up tension. Meditation is also contraindicated in some cases. Mindful movement, with a focus on alignment and the cultivation of present-moment awareness within the body, can be akin to an embodied meditation. Engaging in physical yoga practice can serve as a stepping stone for more contemplative practices such as meditation and restorative yoga."
With anxiety affecting a significant portion of the U.S. population, mental health professionals and LCSWs are tasked with finding innovative and effective interventions. The integration of yoga and meditation, including Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, presents a holistic approach that can provide relief and empower clients to manage their anxiety effectively. As Corena Hammer emphasizes, "Yoga offers a versatile toolkit for addressing anxiety, guiding individuals toward a profound understanding of their inner world, and ultimately, facilitating their journey towards relief and well-being." It is time for the mental health community to embrace these complementary and alternative integrative medicine techniques and offer their clients a path to lasting relief from anxiety.