Yoga Therapy: A Client's Experience

I am not a complete yoga practitioner due to my tendency for vertigo. So when I found Steven Ingram’s yin yoga class, it was perfect. At age 73 I was in good shape but wanted to stay flexible which meant safe, cautious stretching. The instructions were at the right pace, geared to where we all in the class were coming from, and I relished the calm and peace I felt every time. His classes were always full with the owner of the studio also a participant. I attended not weekly due to my schedule but Steven in turn came from out of town so his own frequency for the class suited me well.

Then when I heard of Steven’s call for clients so he could practice for his yoga therapy training requirements, I debated for a couple of weeks, thinking my need was not as urgent as for others, e.g. a good friend of mine. After the second call, I decided “why not?”

The first session was at least a full hour for assessment. It had a sense of adventure—“what would be discerned?” Like all his clients I had bad posture, rounding back syndrome, I call it. His keen observation picked up the slight scoliosis that I myself had only recently discovered. Another issue was my usual lower back ache that arose whenever I lifted heavy objects, with the notion that weight bearing exercise are advised to ward off osteoporosis.

At the second session, I received a protocol of exercises specifically geared to my issues—several impressive pages with photos. I was tickled to see photos of Steven demonstrating what was likely not available in any book, reinforcing that this was a “custom” job. It felt like very special treatment.

My last session (I was in the midst of preparing to uproot to another state) gave me affirmation that I was okay re: balance in life, or at least that is how I interpreted Steven’s feedback. Having been attending his classes for a while, I trusted completely in his knowledge and experience, and hold his feedback and the protocol I received in very high regard. I'm still applying them in my daily routine and when I think I need to rebalance.

Now that I know there is such a thing as yoga therapy, here in California I see it as a resource for the future should I need more work, either on my body or my whole being. My time with Steven was of great benefit at a time when I was about to undergo a big transition. There is a saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

JoAnna A., Resident of Oakland, CA.

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