A Yoga Therapy Journey Student Perspective by Sarah Cummins

This month marks one year since I began my 800-hour Yoga Therapy program with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.  One year since I packed my car and drove to Austin’s Radha Madhav Dham and was paired with some of the best roommates a girl could ask for; ages spanning 3 decades.  I developed a sisterhood, a trust, with this group of women enrolled to become leaders in the yoga therapy world.  We spent hours sharing some of our deepest feelings and experiences that led us down this path. It is difficult to put into words how this program has already begun to shape the way I teach and how I practice. It has made me step out of my comfort zone in ways I never thought were possible. I have put a lot of miles on my car and invested hours upon hours of unpaid time into building a sustainable yoga therapy business that will bring healing to those who choose to invest in their health and allow me the gift of being their guide.

Despite the hard work, extreme dedication, all the “no thank yous” and the doors that have closed, I have never felt more certain I am on the right path, never felt more complete, nor more excited for the future that lies ahead.  I find it an honor and a challenge to be one of the current 4,000 or so people who press on into our communities to bring Yoga Therapy into functional and integrative medicine clinics, holistic and naturopath clinics, schools, businesses, cancer centers, addiction recovery programs, and so many more unthinkable places in the years to come.  We can begin to reshape Western healthcare into a place where someone can lovingly spend the time with a person listening to their stories and giving them non-medicated treatment plans while working alongside medical doctors to bring humanity closer to balance.

During the past year’s trainings with Inner Peace, I struggled with the feeling that I didn’t have good enough intuition to perform this job as a yoga therapist. All around me other students and my teachers seemed to be so in tune with their clients that they just knew what to do.  I wondered, how, without intuition, I could do this job of healing others? After months of studying, practicing, teaching, and developing my own sadhana, I learned through Divine messages that I was most certainly intuitive. I knew just what to do if I simply allowed the Divine to work through me in my thoughts, words, and actions.  I reflected on this definition of healing presence, “Healing presence is the condition of being consciously and compassionately in the present moment with another person, believing in and affirming their potential for wholeness, wherever they are in life.”  Our ability to give hope, empathy, and direction is our super power.

I have watched breakthroughs with so many clients since 2014 when I began my journey as a yoga teacher, before I ever even knew that Yoga Therapy existed as a path for healers.  I empowered C. who was able to decrease the pain in her feet enough to sleep again through the night.  J. who could finally be anxiety free enough to sleep through the night without interruption after practicing yoga nidra. T. who was able to now drive her car to work without having to stop and pull over because of her debilitating hip pain.  H. who could finally sit on the floor cross legged without being in fear of his back spasming and putting him back in the hospital.  And R. who came to me after a plane crash not believing in yoga, but having the simple belief in himself and what he could be capable of through healing practices. The same R. who was told he would never walk again, is now doing paddle board yoga. He and these many men and women who put their trust in my intuition, that I didn’t think I had, have made incredible recoveries.  All each one of these people needed was a little guidance, hope, and empathy that they have the power to heal. I have never been so blessed as to walk on this journey with them in this life.

I leave you with this quote from a book I was reading at the time of writing this piece.  We, as yoga therapists, are making a change. Never doubt your abilities, none of us know the profound impact we have on the lives of others.  Just one kind gesture, one simple word, one minute of truly listening can change someone’s life forever.  You have what it takes. Do something.

“The only cure is for humanity to care again. To come out of their homes and away from their fenced-in lives. It is time to do something. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!  Success begins the moment we understand that success in anything is about beginning. Do something now!” – Andy Andrews The Traveler’s Summit

Article contributed by Sarah Cummins, RYT500, E-RYT200, YACEP, YWT, CPT, Pain Care Yoga teacher, and C-IAYT in training with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy. Sarah Cummins is owner of Waterfall Yoga LLC, and an experienced yoga teacher who empowers individuals to embody their own intuitive ability to be free of physical and emotional pain and obtain ultimate healing through the holistic practices of yoga therapy.  As a military spouse, currently stationed in Wichita, KS, Sarah has over 1600 hours of global teaching experience.  Her dream is to one day open up Waterfall Yoga Therapy and Retreat Center on her land nestled in the smoky hills with the sounds of her majestic waterfall cascading nearby.  Click here to learn to learn more.