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Yoga Skills for Therapists - Effective Practices for Mood Management

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Drawing on her study of multiple traditions and lineages—from ancient yoga practices to current neuroscientific research on yoga benefits and contraindications—Weintraub presents a compendium of guided breathing exercises, meditations, self-inquiry practices, relaxation exercises, and simple postural adjustments that can readily accompany and complement psychotherapy—no mat or difficult postures required! Therapists learn exactly how to introduce these simple practices into a session, all within the comfort of their therapy room, no prior yoga training or experience necessary.

Weintraub shows therapists how to introduce and apply a full range of yogic approaches: targeted breathing practices called pranayama that meet the present mood and bring it into balance; healing hand gestures called mudras; special sounds and tones called mantras; guided imagery and affirmation; yogic self-inquiry, and much more. Clinical stories and anecdotes explore how these yoga-based interventions, rooted in a firm, evidence-based foundation, can be used as effective treatments for a particular mood or mental state.

With over 50 photographs that clearly illustrate the practices and gestures, detailed, step-by-step instructions, and scripts for guided relaxation and meditations, Yoga Skills for Therapists is a practical, hands-on guide that teaches the power of basic yoga techniques to bring great self-awareness, balance, and lasting well-being to you and your clients.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published April 9, 2012

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About the author

Amy Weintraub

14 books21 followers
Amy Weintraub is a pioneer in the yoga and mental health field and the bestselling author of Yoga for Depression, and Yoga Skills for Therapists. She is the recipient of the Allen Tate Memorial Award for the Short Story and a finalist for the William Faulkner Award for the Novel. Amy is proud to be both a teacher and student of yoga. A sought-after speaker, she's been interviewed on radio, podcasts, and television.

Her first novel, TEMPLE DANCER, is a provocative, rich tale of love that raises compelling concerns, and will tap the flow of your senses.

"I was once a television producer suffering from depression. When I began to practice yoga, my writing aligned with my life’s purpose, and I began to write articles and books and founded the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute®, which today serves clients and trains yoga and mental health professionals around the globe. I'm passionate about the healing powers of yoga, and also the power of art—music, dance, visual art, poetry and most especially the writing of fiction."

Stay tuned for her Yoga for Depression and Anxiety Card Deck coming out from Sounds True in the spring.

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Kait Vanderlaan.
495 reviews10 followers
February 11, 2020
This book teaches the benefits of different types of breathing, mantras, mudras, imagery, rest, and other forms of yoga and examples of how to use each in session. I appreciated the explanations, benefits, contraindications, and examples offered of the techniques. As a yoga teacher, the majority of this book was basic knowledge but the tie in to how it can benefit someone with anxiety and depression was helpful. I also work as a therapist and am always interested in ways to include yoga seamlessly into therapy sessions.
July 10, 2020
This book was just okay for me. Though there is a lot of helpful information and I appreciate the research to support the various techniques, I just didn’t like the authors tone. I know that this book was published around 8 years ago, but her binary gender language is extremely distracting and didn’t feel appropriate. Constantly switching from she/her to his/he, etc. This is picky, but if you’re using it in a therapy setting it’s important to consider AND further shows that yoga has to be decolonized.
51 reviews8 followers
March 21, 2018
I enjoyed this book. It presents many ideas for including pranayama, mantra, mudras, meditation, and imagery into a yoga practice to help clients learn to modulate their thoughts and emotions. As the title suggests, the book is for therapists, but the methods introduced could easily be used by any yoga teacher.
Profile Image for Charlene.
102 reviews11 followers
April 7, 2015
pg. 179

We know how easy it is to numb out, to find ways to distract ourselves from our own difficult emotions. When painful feelings arise for clients, unhealthy patterns may reassert themselves -- default strategies like bingeing on food, drugs, or alcohol, zoning out on television, or oversleeping. Sometimes even healthy strategies help us and our clients avoid being honest with ourselves. We can become compulsive about exercise. Even yoga practice can be an escape from what's right in front of us -- a pressing thought or emotion that needs our attention. Yoga asanas can be practiced mindlessly, obsessively, in a driven way that blocks true self-inquiry. And meditation, too, can be an escape from difficult emotions or thoughts.

But when yoga is practiced with attention to breath and sensation, emotions arise on their own, daring us to take a look. If we don't, the body constricts. We experience stomach discomfort or a headache. When we don't turn away from what is arising, we have the perfect opportunity to cultivate self-study (svadhyaya). Exploring the opposites of belief and emotion through the doorway of the body softens our reactivity to life. Instead of constricting around a hurtful memory or clinging to a happier one, we can move back and forth, ultimately standing in the place of awareness -- both are necessary; both are the essence of life in a human body. This timeless teaching from the yoga tradition is being validated by current research on the "reconsolidation window." Neuroscientists at New York University have shown that spending at least 10 minutes with the negative belief or feeling before moving to its opposite may help release the grip of the negative thought form, including fear (Shiller et al., 2010). pg. 179

It goes on to explain in a session you may go back and forth and stay on each for 1 - 3 minutes as it may be excessive in a therapy setting.
27 reviews1 follower
May 4, 2015
I'm not totally on board with the spiritual aspects but as someone who has done yoga for a few years, I find a lot of value in doing breathing exercises and meditation - as a way of centering and coming back to myself so that I can then do the healing work I need to do. I think while this is geared towards therapists, non-therapists can find value in either applying the exercises to themselves or for asking their therapists to work with them in this way.
Profile Image for Elyse.
126 reviews
February 2, 2016
I like this book and would like to keep it as a reference. It is very practical and contains a variety of exercises for personal or therapeutic use. I appreciated the research references - while I'd like to see even more!
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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