Reasons Yoga Therapy Program

jillian pic

Jillian Szafranski developed the Yoga Program at Reasons

The foundation of Yoga at Reasons  is built on these fundamental principles:

  1. The science of yoga and meditation: Yoga was designed for mediation as a way to calm the nervous system and find more ease and stillness in the body and mind. We have a strong understanding of the science behind yoga and mediation, which we believe is crucial when teaching our patients how to self-regulate through potential triggers.
  2. Breath-work: Breath is not only your “prana,” or life-force, it is a powerful tool that has been scientifically proven to shift your brain state. Our patients are taught a series of breathing techniques that they are encouraged to explore and apply daily both in the program and as a tool in their lives after discharge.
  3. Alignment: Understanding your physical and structural habits is one of the many ways our patients begin to uncover the root cause of old defense mechanisms that are no longer serving them. How the body is aligned can radically affect the patient’s confidence and willingness to heal.
  4. Intuitive movement: The body knows how to healthfully discharge unwanted stress and reset itself. Through moments of authentic, free-flowing movement our patients are able to strengthen this process and begin to trust their body’s intuition as well as create appropriate boundaries in physical space and also in relationships.

Two Important Questions

We believe it is essential for our patients to answer yes to these two questions while practicing authentically both on and off the yoga mat:

“Can I take a deep breath?” and “Do I feel safe?”

If the answer is no to either of these questions, this is seen as a great opportunity to support and guide our patients to slow down and tune in to the information that has presented itself.

Our therapeutic approach to yoga is low stakes.

It is a safe practice that can mimic life off the mat. Yoga poses and stretches often carry similarities to themes and sensations that IMG_34842are inevitable in life. Our hope is to use the practice of yoga and meditation to train our patients to dialogue with pain and discomforts and make respectful adjustments without pushing past or ignoring them and without detaching or shutting down.

Feeling strong and capable in our bodies is a key component to living the life we were intended to live. Locating our physical, muscular strength is a powerful resource during the healing process, yet it can often be over used to the patient’s detriment. A true, deep yoga practice will shine light on personal insecurities, hindering habits, old injuries, and sincere vulnerabilities that must be acknowledged in order to sustain strength. With the proper guidance, our yoga offers training in striking this tender balance.

Because our patients are educated on the structure of the nervous system and its role in mood shifts, digestive function, vocal constriction and anxiety levels, they can begin to make empowered choices that are more grounded and anchored in safety. This, in time, will diminish the engagement of unhealthy behaviors and provide tools to move through challenges such as traumatic memories and flashbacks or emotional dysregulation.

Here at Reasons, teaching through an unwavering, compassionate lens is non-negotiable. When our patients allow themselves to mirror this compassion they are more willing to respectfully accept the things they cannot change, as well as take responsibility for the life that is in their hands. It is in these moments that that we request our patients to seek equal parts compassion and forgiveness as well as discipline.

group meditation photoWhat our patients have to say about yoga at Reasons:

“A pivotal part of my treatment and recovery process was learning to feel my body again. Yoga was a key tool to making this happen. After a few weeks in treatment and practicing yoga, I began feeling my body. Being present and feeling my body in yoga helped me feel my body in other ways.  I began feeling my hunger and fullness cues. I began feeling my breath and emotions through deep breathing and meditation. Yoga brought me back to life after my eating disorder numbed me for so many years. Today, I continue feeling the body that I have learned to love and cherish each time I am on my mat”.                 –previous patient

“Yoga became something sacred for me during my recovery. I bought my first yoga mat three years ago and since then it has become a 24×68 square inch space that I can put anywhere on the earth and know I can feel safe and protected. I can lie down on my mat and repeat words and phrases to myself that I have heard various yoga teachers say in classes that somehow off the mat I find difficult to believe. On this space I am allowed to be vulnerable. I’m allowed to have fun like a child and be strong like an adult. I can calm the panic and heal my heart. I used to have the ritual of the eating disorder that helped keep all my emotions contained and now I could not be more grateful to have found that over time I have created a new gentle and loving ritual on this safe 24×68 square inches of mine”                                                     –previous patient

“Yoga is an immensely vital component to sustaining my recovery and my life. The first language I learned to communicate my feelings and pain was that of movement. But as my value system inevitably changed while I developed my own tenets of recovery, the way in which movement holds a place in my heart evolved as well. Enter yoga. On my mat, I have a home that provides salvation and safety and community. I have a least one moment each day to put into practice the values I learned in treatment- living with compassion and gentleness and acceptance, breathing into the present, letting go of expectations, and embracing vulnerability and authenticity with the knowledge that I am whole. I can process my emotions intuitively, in all their raw glory, without judgment or fear. My somatic pain melts away. I am able to look inward and connect to every part of myself: past, present, future, little girl, wise woman, higher power. Through yoga we become one; we heal, we play, we cry, we smile, we chant, and most importantly we breathe. Even on my hardest days I can find peace, joy, gratitude, and hope on my mat; I can see a future and a life filled with light and love. With yoga I will never be alone and I will never be without a home. Perhaps, that is the greatest gift of all.”                           –previous patient