Tampa Yoga Therapy offers Advanced Therapeutic Yoga in weekly classes, series, and custom-designed private sessions. The weekly classes range from 60 to 75 minutes, and the private sessions can be scheduled at the most convenient time, length, and frequency for you.
All yoga classes involve full body movement, particularly the six movements of the spine. There is an emphasis on “moving with the breath” by way of synchronizing moving into a posture on the inhale and releasing the posture on the exhale. The process is a mindful practice whereby we move with complete intention and internal awareness.
Depending on the class, included with movement are other traditional practices specific to the goal of each class. For example, Calm Mind Yoga includes a greater degree of mindful, meditative practices. Students can expect to practice all eight limbs of traditional yoga, incorporating movement, breathwork, mudras, several forms of meditation and concentration, chanting, positive affirmations and intention setting, and much more.
The following are brief descriptions and information on the styles of yoga provided.
Somatics & Yoga
SOMA – Greek for ‘body’ + MATICS from matos in Greek, meaning “willing to perform.” YOGA – from the Sanskrit language, meaning literally ‘union.’ Somatics and Yoga pair perfectly. Yoga provides the “will to perform” the intentional movement and awareness of the body. The practice of Somatics brings our central nervous system out of “sensory motor amnesia.” This gentle practice takes place seated or lying on your back. Recline and Supine. Slow, non-habitual movements bring the body and mind together in a relaxing, yet powerful practice. Relearn and reteach your body to move the way it was intended. Begin to undo and unwind those not-so-great standing, walking, and moving habits. Paired with yoga and the practice of breath, mindfulness, and non-attachment – Somatics and Yoga bring a total mind body coherence that is relaxing and beneficial.
In Chair Yoga the chair becomes our main prop in this practice of yoga. It is great for people who want to enjoy a Mindful Hatha Yoga class with stretching and body movement in a gentle, supported practice. The chair is employed in both seated and standing poses, making it suitable for people with balance and mobility challenges. But make no mistake! Chair Yoga is STILL Yoga. It is different than yoga in seated or reclined positions but certainly no less than a true, yogic experience. This class is led in the Kripalu tradition of yoga, focusing on body awareness and sensation. This approach allows practitioners to explore their own personal mind body connection in a safe environment, and learn to integrate their yoga experience “off the mat” in their daily lives.
Hatha Yoga – Kripalu Style
Kripalu Vinyasa Flow infuses the movements of the Vinyasa style with the Kripalu tradition, bringing in the four yoga paths (Jnana, Hatha, Bhakti and Karma) for a holistic approach to yoga. The special “gradient” sequencing of the class brings attention to the physical, subtle and causal body to provide a transformative yoga experience. Offered as Levels I, II, and III, the Kripalu style Hatha Yoga class is similar to yoga classes described as gentle, intermediate and advanced. For example, Level III Hatha Yoga Kripalu Style is an advanced, more challenging, and vigorous class. A Kripalu yoga class is led in a way that allows you to explore your own personal mind/body connection in a safe environment. In this way, students bring awareness to their own yoga experience “off the mat” in their daily lives.
Healthy Heart Yoga Series
The Healthy Heart therapeutic yoga series addresses your circulatory systems response to what is happening in your environment and within the realm of your thoughts and feelings. The goal is to gradually reestablish balance within the circulatory system. Learning to relax, reduce levels of stress, and improve breathing patterns are the main themes. Increased body awareness and the proper response to “high alert” heart mind messages are explored. Students are guided through gentle yoga postures and movements. The class learns several highly effective yogic breathing practices, referred to as pranayama in traditional yoga. Other motor sensory practices, with roots in yogic tradition are shared. These include practices such as mudras, Yoga Nidra, and guided and mindfulness meditation.
The main goal of the Healthy Heart series is to reduce blood pressure and to gradually reestablish balance within the circulatory system. Each week specific themes relevant to controlling hypertension as well as overall health are introduced. Some examples of the themes are: the importance of relaxation in lowering of blood pressure, reducing levels of stress, and the long-term value of breathing better.
Our circulatory system is one of the most important in relation to body awareness. It is directly linked to our thoughts, feelings and perceptions of our world, and of all the things that happen to us in our lives.
Blood pressure is our circulatory system’s response to what is happening both in our environment and within the realm of our thoughts and feelings. When there is a need for more energy to meet a perceived challenge, blood pressure and heart rate go up to provide the oxygen and nutrients to meet this challenge. When the perceived need or challenge has passed, blood pressure and heart rate go down to normal, resting levels. The circulatory system depends on these rest periods to stay healthy.
If we are in a chronic state of “high alert”, blood pressure tends to stay elevated and hypertension can occur due to being in that state of constant alert. The body will continue to work to ensure you have enough energy to meet challenges.
From your body’s perspective, hypertension is a way of helping your body because constantly raising and lowering blood pressure requires energy. If you are constantly sending messages to your body that it needs more energy, it “helps” by keeping blood pressure elevated as a way to conserve energy.
By becoming more aware of what your body needs, you know when you are on high alert and can relax consciously.
Calm Mind Yoga Series
The Calm Mind Yoga Series is an advanced therapeutic yoga series for taming “the monkey mind.” Our culture and environment can cause nervousness, anxiety, sleeplessness and overall stress. In this series you assemble a personal set of tools to help you calm the mind. Weekly themes are introduced to build the best approach for you. Yoga postures to tap into sensation and greater body awareness, meditation for observing the mind stuff, and breathing to calm the nervous system.
This is a gentle yoga and ease-full movement experience. We explore all eight limbs of yoga, with the most familiar being yogic breath (pranayama), yogic postures (asana), and meditation (Dhyana and Dharana). These traditional yogic practices are supported with additional activities such Chakra balancing, five element meditation, mandala work, and other psychosocial explorations.
The goal of the Calm Mind yoga series is to reduce overall stress and anxiety by working to gain balance and equanimity within the nervous systems. A necessary path to a calm mind is through the heart. This is both a metaphorical and a physiological statement! The phrase “heart mind” refers to the real brains behind the operation, and to the ways in which we perceive the world.
Through the yoga practices in the Calm Mind series we explore the different ways in which we have adopted automatic responses to our environment and our world. The fast pace, fear, and unpredictability of our culture has amped up our society. The effect is a decline in health and well-being. Nearly every chronic disease or illness is either caused or prolonged by stress. It is imperative that we acquire the skills to control the body’s stress response.
Built around a series of themes, the Calm Mind sessions lead each participant through a personal experience. A few examples of the themes presented are: the five elements of the energy body where we tend to focus and store our experiences, the skill to tame the “monkey mind” to help control run away thoughts and emotions, and the use of mudras and mantras to withdraw deep into self-examination.
The nervous system has two main components that we can affect in Calm Mind yoga: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Sometimes referred to the gas and brake pedal, these two systems help us pour on energy, and pull back that energy in an equalizing manner.
One of the ways our body communicates the need for put on the gas (accelerate and take quick action) or to put on the brakes (slow down, rest and digest) is through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the longest and arguably one of the most powerful nerves in the body. It’s a communication channel that sends and receives messages that drive the need for more gas or more brakes. The vagus nerve extends from the brain to the gut, running through the viscera, and nearly all systems and organs of the body. Using movement, breath, meditation, and awareness, we can join this communication chatter and modulate some of its more excitable conversations.
The Calm Mind yoga series uses “heart mind” and “brain gut” knowledge for a holistic approach to reduce stress and anxiety.