The Concept of the Yoga Shrink

I have worked in the mental health field since 1992.  After receiving my doctorate in clinical psychology in 1999, I worked as a clinical psychologist in a variety of treatment settings, including owning a private psychotherapy and psychological assessment practice.  As a psychologist, I witnessed many clients create their own suffering through their thoughts and choices.  Not so coincidentally, at the same time, I was creating a great deal of suffering in my own life.  I worked an inordinate amount of hours and spent a great deal of time beating myself up for not being good enough, thin enough, or rich enough.  For several reasons, I was in a downward spiral of panic and depression, all the while working to make other people “well.”  Although I would use the techniques that I would prescribe to my clients, I still did not feel happy or peaceful.  However, in the summer of 2003 during a very low point in my life, I took a power vinyasa yoga class that seemed to change the course of my life.  After that class, I felt light, peaceful and at ease.  I started taking power yoga classes intermittently and started to study meditation, Buddhism, and yoga philosophy.  After committing to a consistent yoga practice, I completed my yoga teacher training certification in June 2008.

I have been committed to practicing, living and teaching yoga since that time.  By living yoga on a daily basis, I have found a deep sense of peace and contentment that I did not know existed.  I closed my psychotherapy practice in March 2011 and have since moved to Southern Florida.  I believe that yoga is a system of transformation that is quite different than any current mental health treatment.  The Yoga Shrink was created to integrate yoga and yoga philosophy into personal transformational work, be it psychotherapy, residential treatment, drug/alcohol rehabilitation etc…

As a psychologist and a registered yoga teacher, I can tell you that yoga does bring balance to all systems of the body, including your nervous and endocrine systems, both of which play a huge role in mental health disorders.  Furthermore, a consistent yoga practice teaches you to become aware of your mental interpretations and emotional reactions on the mat.  By becoming more aware of these physical and emotional sensations without attaching any meaning to them, you see how you create your suffering and/or your peacefulness.  This practice of awareness on the mat starts to transfer into your life off of the mat.  So yoga eventually has the ability to bring balance to both the body and mind.  One of the reasons I believe that yoga works as a system of transformation is because it comes from the belief that you are already whole and perfect.  You don’t need to be fixed.  There is nothing wrong with you.  There is nothing you need to do.  There are things that you could do or change that could bring more ease, connection, love, etc… into your life.  That is approaching transformation from a yogic perspective.   Everything is unfolding in the manner it is meant to be; there is nothing wrong.  Since I started living my life from a place of true presence and acceptance, I have created the happiness and peace I spent years searching for.

This blog will address topics and issues related to yoga, yoga life coaching and personal transformation.  I invite you to join me on this joyful journey of exploration into the psychology of transformation…