Davis: Healing yoga
Emily Wiadro is a healer who also happens to be a yoga teacher. I know, because she has helped me to transform my life from one of constant pain to a life free from the burdens of chronic pain.
Wiadro has been a certified/registered yoga instructor for the past ten years. Prior to that preparation for her calling she was as a dancer for 40 years. As she explored the possibilities of yoga she came to appreciate the healing potential of the practice so she took on additional training in yoga therapy and said she came to "... understand yoga as a healing tool."
Many people see yoga as a physical practice, a way to create more flexibility and strength. It is that, but is can be much more when someone has a guide who is focused on the big picture. The idea of someone sitting in a contorted pose for hours may be some people's idea of yoga, but there are so many approaches to the practice that help to put that stereotype in perspective.
Yoga is practiced in many forms. For Wiadro yoga is, "Unity of body, mind and spirit," which is similar to the Sanskrit translation of yoga which is to unite or union. As Wiadro sees it, "What sets yoga apart from just stretches is mindful engagement of breath with physical sensations and that's what turns it into meditation." She explained that "Yoga allows you to be engaged in the work of paying attention to the many details of the physical practice, rather than being frustrated by distractions, while attempting to simply sit in meditation."
The physical poses of yoga, asanas, help to direct the mind and to focus. Wiadro has created an eclectic form of yoga that combines many different styles. Her focus is on healing which means she is able to evaluate a person's body and adapt the postures to their needs. As their body changes, she is able to adapt the poses, and that is the essence of her particular brand of healing yoga. She clarified her approach to teaching poses saying, "I feel that each body will find the pose in its own way, which is perfectly correct, although it may appear different than every other body's pose."
Although students may think that yoga is about asanas and the body, there is an even more important element according to Wiadro, and that is breath. As she described it, "It's about breath and presence. Breath is life. It grounds, energizes, calms and nourishes us. Controlled breath is the doorway to a calm nervous system and all dis-ease is related to the nervous system."
I am clearly biased in this matter but will offer my own experience as an example of how therapeutic yoga, as practiced by Wiadro, works. I came to her with a body that was stiff and feeling back pain all of the time. At our first visit we talked and I told her about my body and its problems.
She then had me try to do a few poses and, as a result of her analysis of my movement, she was able to design a number of poses for me to do at home. I do my poses every morning and I see her about every two weeks and she evaluates my changes and adapts the poses to those changes. I have been at this for about three months and I am starting to feel the way I did when I was 35 (sort of) in the sense that I can do heavy yard work for two or three hours without discomfort, something I haven't done for years. I will soon be ready to attend classes.
Wiadro teaches three therapeutic classes at her studio at 452 South Main Street in Brattleboro. Walk-ins are welcome. These classes are appropriate for beginners, people managing chronic pain, and feeling locked up and who would like to work on flexibility and balance. They are held Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 9:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and the cost is $13.
There are also three vinyasa classes that help people create a sense of connection between movements and these classes are also open to anyone. They are held Tuesdays at 9:15 a.m., Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. and Fridays at 9:15 a.m. and also cost $13.
If you want to make an effort to change your life a consultation with Wiadro could just be what you are looking for.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.
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