Australian Yoga Therapy

All photos taken by Sandy Edwards

Last Saturday and Sunday I attended the Australian Yoga Therapy Conference hosted by Enlightened Events ( http://enlightenedevents.com.au/) in Sydney where Stretch Now was one of the sponsors for the event.

It was a tremendously dynamic conference such that leading therapists and researchers representing a diverse range of modalities in various health professions shared their evidence based results, research, knowledge and experience with the conference participants. Each speaker had a unique perspective with the way they go about healing patients and clients. Yet there was also a commonality they shared in how they have integrated the practice and philosophy of yoga and meditation into their therapeutic practice.

For example Sal Flynn, a Yoga therapist, psychotherapist and educator, spoke about using a mindfulness based yoga therapy approach for treating patients who have experienced trauma. She quoted Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen saying, 'The mind is like the wind and the body like the sand: if you want to know how the wind is blowing, you can look at the sand.' Her commentary on this quote gave me insight into how the body reflects what is going on with the mind and how one can influence the other—offering all sorts of potential therapeutic opportunities.

Dr. Swami Shankardev gave a very clear presentation on the Samkhya system, one of the six orthodox systems of Hindu philosophy and which is a corner stone of yoga and meditation practice. He shared how he applies the principles of the Samykya philosophy to his own medical practice and how this enhances his relationship with his patients and the healing process.

All the speakers were inspirational. For someone like me who has been practicing yoga and meditation for many years it was tremendously exciting to see how these ancient, powerful practices have been adopted and applied to mainstream medical practices. The sessions were lively and very participatory and there was much fun and laughter bubbling up and rolling through the conference room.

During the morning and afternoon tea breaks the enthusiasm from the participants was palpable as they spoke with one another about what they had learned from the conference teachers.

All in all the conference was a rich and rewarding experience and judging by the people I spoke to at the conference I am sure that the participants left with many new ideas and deeper understanding that they themselves can apply to their own practice and teaching. 

Posted by Rob Langworthy

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