Pathways to Wellness
Upcoming Workshops @ The HEaling COllective
About Mindful Yoga Therapy
Mindful Yoga Therapy is an integrative approach to wellness adhering to the ancient practices of yoga and mindfulness. Yoga therapy empowers individuals to progress toward improved health and well being through the application of the teachings and multi-layered practices of yoga.
One can go to a yoga class and be mindful but I am going to invite you to be attentive to how your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and breathing are affecting your experience of pain and sense of well being in daily life.
Clients who work with me typically come with an intention to feel better on some level; less pain, more energy; less stress, or better sleep. Yoga as a therapy addresses the whole person using the Panchamaya or 5 layer model (also known as koshas) which involves assessment of the body, breath, emotions, thoughts/personality, and innate joy/purpose. Yes, you are so much more than your physical body and experiencing joy is possible! Did you know that experiencing joy can boost your immune system? Integrating mindful awareness into each facet of your being creates an environment for information and healing to arise within each aspect of the mind and body. Your desire for optimal health coupled with intention and a dedication to your practice is a recipe for achieving your wellness goals.
We will approach managing chronic pain, disease, or stress/anxiety by addressing the symptoms that are arising right now. We will assess, move, and breathe in a manner that allows shifts, changes and insight to emerge naturally. The process of one to one work is gentle and individualized. And you will be given customized homework so you are a proactive participant in your healing!
Yoga therapy is not extreme stretching or exercise. It is not religious, aggressive or one dimensional. Yoga can bring transformation in every layer of your existence.
How is Yoga Therapy different than going to a yoga class?
Going to a yoga class is a wonderful experience where you follow a sequence generally designed for a group. Yoga therapy starts with an individualized assessment and is followed by a customized practice based on your symptoms, health issues, and desired outcomes/goals. A certified yoga therapist has 1,000 hours or more of study and case work validated by the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), a strict code of ethics and scope of work.
Working one to one, I will help facilitate your ability to tune in to internal messengers in the form of physical sensations, thoughts, beliefs, and habitual patterns. This somatic approach allows for a deep inquiry into one’s own body/mind for the purposes of self-healing through a variety of yogic practices.
Who Can Benefit from Yoga Therapy?
Individuals suffering from:
o Chronic Pain
o Chronic Back Pain
o Hypertension/heart disease
o Auto-immune disorders
o Chronic musculoskeletal pain
o Respiratory dysfunction
o Metabolic syndrome
o Digestive disorders
o Tension headaches/migraines
Volunteering at the Venice Family Clinic
Yes, yoga therapists wear lab coats in this Integrative Medicine clinic! With oversight by a Western medical doctor, we work alongside chiropractors and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to provide relief for those suffering from chronic pain. That's me, second from left.
Laurie is Certified as a Yoga Therapist by the International Association of Yoga Therapy (IAYT). She graduated from the Yoga Therapy RX program at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in August 2014. This robust training included an internship at the Simms/Mann Venice Family Clinic working with patients experiencing chronic pain. In addition, Laurie completed a two year course of study with the Integrative Restoration Institute and received iRest Yoga Nidra meditation certification in 2017.
She completed an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR) through Insight LA in July 2013. Laurie became certified as an MBSR-Teen instructor in 2015 with Gina M. Biegel, LFMT, the founder of MBSR-T.
Laurie continued her education with a journey to India with the LMU study abroad program for two weeks in December 2017. Presentations and classes with doctors, yoga masters, philosophers and Sanskrit scholars provided a deeper understanding of the meaning and origins of yoga. Deep gratitude for our hosts at the Center for Yoga Therapy, Education & Research (CYTER) and the Kaivalyadhama Institute.
Prissi Cohen, Patient Advocate
For 15 weeks I lied in bed unable to move because of sciatica. When I had to stand up, I was literally only able to stand at a 90 degree angle, but even then the pain was severe. My treatments began with acupuncture. I then added a form of rolfing called structural integration. When I was ready to do more, I met Laurie Angress and began private sessions of yoga therapy.
I had decided before I even met Laurie that anyone I worked with had to be compassionate and kind. I was able to check those two off the list immediately. Laurie is even more than that—she’s soothing to the soul.
On Saturday mornings for 8 weeks, I arrived at Laurie’s home and we retreated into her private yoga sanctuary. As soon as I entered the doorway, everything melted away and I could feel an immediate calm take over.
Laurie understands anatomy and was prepared with the stretches that would help me, but there were times that my body was just unable to do what she prepared. No worries, Laurie knew how to adjust poses so that I could receive the benefits of each stretch. Whether it was her touch, blocks or belts or even blankets, Laurie had necessary tools on hand to make the poses more possible and comfortable.
Most important of all was Laurie’s voice. Laurie is peaceful and gentle in a way that is only possible with sincerity and that comes through in her voice. My mind is always on the go, but each week I looked forward to the quiet place I could go with Laurie. At the end of every session she would position me in a relaxing pose and take me to the most calming and tranquil place so that my mind and body could be at peace.
Believe me, in those days, in the kind of pain I was experiencing, it was so hard for me to find peace in my body, but Laurie had the special, magic touch. I don’t know if it was 10 minutes or 30 minutes, but Laurie’s word choices combined with the melody and quiet of her voice brought me to the most relaxed place and I never wanted to leave.
Laurie, thank you for being an integral member of my “healing” team and for all the warmth and support you showed me during my very weakest days. Today I stand tall, exercise every day and am grateful that I have fully recovered. You helped me to get here and I am forever grateful.
Prof. (ret.) Ruth Kluger Dept. of European Studies Univ. of Calif. Irvine
I have enjoyed and benefited from Laurie Angress' therapy sessions for several years.
I am 86 years old, I suffer from chronic back pain and I have a heart condition. Before I engaged Laurie on a private basis, I had seen two therapists, recommended by my doctor, neither of whom knew what to do with my symptoms. I also considered joining one of the many yoga groups that are now available, but realized that I wouldn't be able to keep up with them.
Working with Laurie has turned out to be a different experience altogether. First of all, she knows her stuff, which is to say she has studied the basics of her discipline, i.e. yoga therapy, and continues to deepen and develop her knowledge. But equally important,if not more so, is her close attention to individual symptoms and her willingness to try new approaches to physical well-being, patterned on every person's needs. We are often joined by two other participants of different ages and with different problems, and I am amazed how Laurie manages to pay close attention to each of us without neglecting the others and how each of us is sure that we have profited from her attention and her judgment. Finally, there is a spiritual, though non-religious, aspect to her therapy. Laurie teaches how certain physical exercises, like conscious breathing, can promote a state of mind that is both relaxing and energizing. When you succeed in being "mindful" you are at peace with your inner self as well as with your body, you are relaxed and empowered at the same time. I have learned much of this and am still learning.
In short, Laurie Angress is the most thoughtful, sympathizing, inventive and resourceful therapist anyone could hope to find. I count myself lucky to have found her!