Life can be challenging but we may also discover opportunity for personal growth as we learn to better manage hardships that we are confronted with. In my work as a yoga teacher and psychotherapist, over the past few years I have worked with a marked increase of individuals coping with various mental health issues including depression, anxiety and stress, and various physical conditions. This sadly includes an upsurge in the numbers of children and teens also suffering from anxiety and depression.
Seeking the healing powers of yoga and mindfulness, individuals of all ages come to YogaBuds for group classes or private yoga therapy sessions. By providing support and guidance and building trust with my students and clients, they are motivated to take risks to try new things; to open up to self-discovery and acquire greater self-awareness; to learn new skills, and to ultimately experience sustained change. I have actually been more excited than ever to observe both professionally and personally how yoga and mindfulness meditation has made such an incredible difference in people’s lives.
Long captivated by the precision of yoga in the Iyengar yoga system, I value how it is a perfect companion to mindfulness. These two practices merge with my creativity to inform my instruction, helping me to create an authentic teaching style and unique approach to the change process. When a child or teenager, a young father, middle-aged woman or an elderly person harnesses their desire for change with consistency and commitment, the work that we do together results in learning effective coping skills and tools necessary for solace and change. When my student or client experiences something new such as a wonderful, serene inner calmness and quietude, I liken it to tasting something delicious first-hand. Eventually this experience of accessing, tasting and savoring these tranquil moments becomes like a craving that needs to be satisfied with more of the same.
It is important to know how to access one’s center, remaining anchored and grounded with a strong feeling of core strength and stability. We need this not only for physical health but also to best navigate the small and difficult everyday experiences and interactions, face the bigger trials and demands that life presents, or cope with stress, anxiety, physical pain or a myriad of many other ailments or issues. Core stability is a key element in a healthy asana practice. Breathing is also the center part of the yoga practice. The invaluable learning that occurs on the mat and is felt in a deeply interconnected or holistic way is what repeatedly draws us back to the practice. We hone our ability to be mindful, centered and calm by embracing the eight limbs of yoga, including the practice of focusing to stay fully present moment-to-moment and breath-by-breath. We also cultivate a sense of softness and a capacity to remain in stillness. A wonderful sensation of inner spaciousness opens up and we are there for it. The craving for this endures and we know that with regular practice we are able to satisfy it. Healing and health triumphs!
For almost 35 years, yoga and mindfulness has formed the fabric of my life and has been my footpath. In fact, I often encourage my children to trust that their pathways will become apparent and I urge them to remain open-minded and flexible to notice and follow the markers along the way. I feel especially fortunate to have discovered not only my path but to also be able to connect with and guide others towards awakening their wellness. It is my belief that my personal journey of helping to facilitate change through the timeless traditions of yoga, creativity and mindfulness is my dharma and a gift. It has been a privilege to both participate in and to witness the potency and success of this work. Following my path has truly humbled, stirred and inspired me.
Temmi Ungerman Sears
“Yoga is meditation in action.” –B.K.S. Iyengar