Gruninger: What It’s Like To Work One-To-One With A Yoga Therapist

Jacci Gruninger, right, works with a client. Courtesy photo

By JACCI GRUNUNDER, MS, C-IAYT, ERYT500
Los Alamos

Working one-to-one with a yoga therapist is somewhat like working with a personal trainer who has more than 800-hours of training in yogic techniques and wellness and modern healing modalities.

Yoga Therapy can help improve your function, health and sense of wellbeing by:

  • Building resiliency, stability and strength in body and mind;
  • Creating greater fluidity in how you move and think; and
  • Enhancing your sense of wellbeing and how you show up in the world.

Different from a yoga class, a one-to-one session with a yoga therapist starts before you even arrive. A yoga therapist will send you an in-depth intake that looks not only at your physical wellbeing, but also at other parts of the wellness model. In short, a yoga therapist will ask about your sleep, eating, relationships and work; will observe your breathing, movement and listen to your story. A yoga therapist might also confer with other healthcare practitioners you are seeing.

An essential ingredient in the first few yoga therapy sessions is understanding how your current physical, emotional, mental, and relational circumstances are impacting your life. Everyone is unique and even those with similar symptoms or conditions may require different therapeutic approaches. In these initial yoga therapy sessions a yoga therapist will seek to gain insight into your life in order to develop a yoga therapy program tailored to your specific situation.

What I appreciate about my experience with Jacci and the practice of Yoga therapy, is that it is deeply personal. Jacci is a thoughtful and thorough yoga therapist, she looks at my overall posture, flexibility, bone structure, movement and pre-dispositions to injuries from time and gravity (getting old!) but also from my sports (skiing our beautiful mountain).

She has been working with me to address my very specific core strength (or lack of) and also how I stand and sit (I need to stop sitting all day!) and how I walk and move in the world. She works with me in a 1:1 session exploring ways to strengthen and also relax and let go of various places – and then she sends me a gorgeous document with recommendations for a daily stretching, breathing, strengthening and balancing practice – with descriptions, videos, and pictures. I have just started this work with Jacci, but I am already a little taller and stronger where I need it, and a little looser where I need that. Jacci is a light, we are lucky to have her here in Los Alamos.- Heidi Rogers

A yoga therapist will help you work through what are called samskaras or habitual ways or patterns of being stuck. They will ask you to commit to doing the work to create change AND to remember that it took time to get to where you are at the moment AND it will take time to unwind these patterns and ways of being that are no longer serving you.

Jacci is the best! My husband and I saw her privately once a week when we lived in Santa Fe and , since we moved, we now have a weekly Zoom session with her. I love that she starts every session with a review of our physical and mental status, and then includes targeted work into our practice that week. She listens, she remembers and she’s flexible (excuse the pun). After three decades of chronic lower back and, more recently, hip pain, I now know exactly what to do to stay pain-free. – Jane, FL

Because yoga is a practice, the practices a yoga therapist shares with you will have long term impacts on your health and wellbeing. A yoga therapist will support you through gradual, sustainable changes you make over time.

At some point the body started sending out signals of discomfort, but I was not listening. The body in distress starts intensifying the signals, but we still ignore them and start referring to it as the “old” complaining man or woman. No memory or thankfulness of how well this very body has been serving us for such a long time! Having Jacci as a Yoga Therapist has taught me to listen again to that inner landscape of my body.

She is a wonderful teacher on the path of getting out of the painbody and into being more mindful and accepting. She has been teaching me ways of moving my body that I am getting used to applying in other areas of my daily life as well. Working with Jacci as my Yoga Therapist is a great experience and helps me keep the balance in my life as it is right now. – Menolda, Los Alamos

Jacci Gruninger is a Certified Yoga Therapist, Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and Focusing Coach. She has been teaching for more than two decades She regularly helps clients manage the ups and downs of life with yoga, meditation, breathwork and bodywork. Her Yoga Therapy Center is at 190 Central Park Square #212. For her in person and online teaching schedule and information on her other services, visit www.yogawithjacci.com to find out more.

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