A Yogi // Therapist {An Interview}

I would like to start featuring interviews on my blog once in awhile to accompany portraits of some people I have the privilege of meeting.  There’s so many interesting and wonderful people in the world- and what a great opportunity I have to share some of their thoughts alongside of images of them!

To start it all off, I’d like to introduce you to Erica Viggiano!  I recently met Erica after a few e-mail conversations I had started with her.  I found her via google while I was searching for someone offering yoga for healing in Colorado. She is a social worker and has been incorporating yoga as a form of therapy for trauma for a few years now.  I was impressed with her work and was very interested to learn more about what she does and how it works!  (I’m a recent social work grad and also a recent grad of cambio yoga’s teacher training program) so Erica was someone I really wanted to meet!

We had a delicious lunch and talked long after we had finished our meal. Then we ventured to this gorgeous Denver park and took some photos of Erica for her website, and some just for fun!

Q + A 

What is your favorite thing about yoga?

My favorite thing about yoga is that it makes me feel alive and connected not only to myself but the world around me.  I also love the fact that the true practice of yoga is available and accessible to all human beings- all you need is your breath !

Do you believe yoga is a great tool for healing and why? 
Yoga has been evolving over thousands of years – it has met the needs of people over time.  So of course it’s still evolving- rapidly !  When you stay true to yoga’s roots it can express itself in so many different practices and styles.
Yoga is a really accessible way to connect with the truth of our experience in the present moment.
Apparently it has been helpful with both ancient and now modern challenges of being human.  As a healing practice Yoga Asana  provides opportunities to connect with our sensory experience and the energetic experience of having a body as well as thoughts and feelings.  If aspects of ourselves  and our ability to feel emotions, and feel sensations  have beet cut off or dampened, yoga can provide us with an ongoing opportunity for us to reconnect at a pace that is balanced  and manageable.
Do you have a favorite quote? 
One of my favorite quotes comes from Rumi – “God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites so that you will have two wings to fly, not one”.  To me this captures the full range of our experience and how valuable it is to be able to experience both pleasant and unpleasant feelings.  It also reminds me that all of our experience is impermanent,  unbearable feelings shift and change and move into the next feeling and pleasurable experiences have a beginning, middle, and end as well.  So when we become more familiar with these experiences in ourselves, it can help us understand how being able to feel a whole range of feelings leads to a sense of perhaps being more alive and comfortable with ourselves.  We can discover more of what we need and how to give it to ourselves.    I use yoga and mindfulness practices as part of psychotherapy to help people change habits like eating compulsively, acting out in aggression or shutting down their feelings as a result of trauma.  It allows our body to return to the wise resource and guide it was meant to be,  rather than being cut off or disconnected from our reality.   Over time, yoga  teaches us that we don’t have to shut off or avoid certain aspects of our reality,  we can be more aware, confident and trusting of  our own experience, and this leads to acceptance and peace with how we interact with ourselves and with the world.
Thank you, Erica!!
Erica teaches yoga in Denver and practices Yoga psychotherapy and Mindful Eating coaching with clients throughout Colorado and the US.  You can check out some more information about her services on her website: Integrative Life Services and also, her Facebook page!
Also, Erica may be offering some trainings in the future on using yoga for healing, specifically as a form of psychotherapy! Check her page for more info!!
Please check back soon for more interviews with some cool people!!

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