Yoga Therapy Miracles: Small and Great

By Francie Light

My yoga therapy client Robin experienced small miracles for a couple of years.  Then her most recent yoga therapy miracle took an unexpected form.  She began in 2018, coming in with pain in her ribs and neck.  Her ribs hurt her every afternoon; her neck was so stiff she couldn’t move it.  She also had a tremor in her right hand.  She took my Svaroopa® yoga class, where her hand visibly trembled in every Seated Side Stretch when she extended her right arm.

I started her with Ujjayi Pranayama.  I continued to start every session with at least a brief Ujjayi experience after she established the breathing practice at home.  Ujjayi is a wonderfully portable practice that alleviates a multitude of problems.  I encourage my clients to make it a habit, because “wherever you go, you can take it with you.”

And with regular practice, small miracles happen. Sometime during her first year of therapy, I noticed Robin no longer had the tremor in her right hand.  I exclaimed, “Robin, you don’t have your tremor!”  Since she hadn’t come to yoga therapy for that problem, she didn’t even notice its absence.  It seemed she’d forgotten she ever had a tremor.

Our culture’s “move it or lose it” exercise focus keeps Robin active with hiking and kayaking.  When she comes for a session afterward, she says, “My body hurts.”  I explain that her strenuous activities tighten spinal muscles.  Just as she didn’t notice the healing of her hand tremor, she doesn’t take in that her hiking and kayaking cause neck and shoulder pain.  After completing the Svaroopa® Yoga Therapy training for Neck & Shoulders, I focused on those protocols in Robin’s sessions.  I also encouraged her to do poses after her exercise.  At the end of a September 2019 session, Robin said, with pleasure, “I have a happy neck.  It hasn’t felt this good in a long time.”  Ah, another small miracle!

However, later in the fall, I became aware that Robin still didn’t “get” the unique, profound power of yoga therapy.  I’d recently completed the Spine, Knees & Feet therapy training when she began to complain of knee pain.  I was eager to apply the new protocols.  Sure enough, I would measure the significant improvements in her knee alignments after each session.  And Robin would report freedom from the pain she’d brought into her session.  Over the winter, she also reported, “Yoga therapy is helping me not have that down feeling.”

Even with another couple of small miracles, Robin decided to have knee surgery.  Many of her friends were having knee surgeries.  She was sold on this cultural trend among Baby Boomers.  It was after her surgery that the unexpected miracle unfolded.

Once Robin could drive, she was eager to come in for a session — just because she loves them.  I did not want to put her into poses yet since her replaced knee was in question.  So I gave her an Embodyment® yoga therapy session, during which she merely lay in Shavasana.  With the first session, the swelling in her knee was reduced and her low back felt better. As well, the release of shoulder tension spread into her neck.  I told her, “You did nothing, yet look at what these therapeutic protocols did for you.”  In her second Embodyment® session, Robin had a deep, transformative experience.  After her first side, Robin said, “I see colors, and I’m more relaxed.” When I asked what she noticed as she rested at the end, she described, “I’m aware of everything outside and inside.  I can feel something flowing through my whole spine.”  She experienced the promised miracle of this mystical lineage: the awakening of the primordial energy of creation flowing up her spine.  What could be more healing?

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