Having difficulty sleeping, trouble staying asleep or unable to go back to sleep? Then an upcoming Trail workshop may offer a solution.
Nelson yoga practitioner Laurie Madison is running two workshops in Trail that will teach residents techniques to help them relax, reduce stress and sleep healthier.
“I teach yoga therapy more than an active yoga class,” said Madison. “It’s more to do with conditions in individual people’s bodies, like using breath and sound, also physical postures to help them.”
Madison has practiced yoga for 28 years, is a certified instructor and has been studying yoga therapy at the American Viniyoga Institute in California for the last 3 1/2 years but wants to make clear that the therapy workshop is open to all.
“I hope I get everyone that’s never done yoga because people have, in general, an idea that it’s a ‘way out there’ practice but it’s actually very beneficial for almost any condition,” said Madison.
Stress-related conditions in the body like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and carpel tunnel syndrome are the result of Western culture’s lack of coping mechanisms, says Madison.
“We weren’t brought up that way (to deal with stress) and taught that the breath can regulate the mind,” she said. “When you learn to regulate the breath it regulates the mind and has a very calming effect.”
Madison runs a weekly yoga class at the Trail United Church and recently returned from Prince George where she ran insomnia workshops.
Viniyoga therapy is less physically demanding than many other forms of yoga, and is beneficial for insomniacs by introducing relaxing mental processes, positions and breathing practices.
“There are parts to us all, or ‘doshas,’ that need prescribed posture or breathing technique, because there’s breath that has the action of either invigorating the body or calming and cooling the body, so you can see why it’s appropriate for things like insomnia,” she said.
The youthful 53-year-old says the Viniyoga workshop is a gentle practice that can also benefit the elderly, ill or injured, and disabled.
“Lots of people here don’t even breathe – they hold the breath, they have chronic tension in their upper neck and shoulders – we’re pretty messed up.”
When Madison made the transition from teaching yoga to teaching yoga therapy, she began to realize how little even the average yoga practitioner understood its deeper implications or how beneficial it is.
The ancient Sanskrit word “vini” means “to apply the tools of yoga appropriately in every body.”
It is not a style of yoga but an approach to teaching yoga that allows for adapting and modifying postures to fit the individual, she says.
“We don’t all try to squeeze our bodies into the same form, we modify the form to benefit the function.”
The workshop will help identify an individual’s needs and offer techniques to help with sleep-related problems but private consultation can also be arranged.
Madison’s Trail workshops run consecutive Tuesdays, March 15 and March 22 from 5-8 p.m., $55 per session. Register at the United Church by calling 368-3225.