Traditional yoga has been in the mainstream for decades, but the new practice of Phoenix Rising yoga therapy combines ancient yoga practices with modern psychology.
Hanna Kluner, a Phoenix Rising practitioner who works out of her Carmel Valley home, describes it as "body-based modality."
"It incorporates yoga postures along with dialogue to help people tap into unconscious and repressed emotions," she said. "It goes on the premise that our bodies have intelligence, and we hold memories and we store trauma in our bodies, and traditional therapy is somewhat limited at times in that it's the mind trying to figure (problems) out."
The practice "merges body, soul and spirit, and you can tap into it through the body with the unconscious emotions which become conscious and therefore released," she added.
A typical 1 1/2-hour session begins with guided imagery and goes into gentle yoga postures guided by the hands of the practitioner and combined with dialogue.
Yoga therapy attracts a variety of people with different goals, some of whom have never tried a conventional yoga class.
"Sometimes they're going though a grief process, sometimes they have a crisis going on and they just want some answers," Kluner said. "Some people are just really interested in personal growth and transformation, and they find through this work they really gain insight into what's going on for them."
Kluner found her way to yoga therapy when her husband unexpectedly died eight years ago. "What helped me the most was my yoga practice," Kluner said. "Fortunately, I had that as part of my life already, but I delved deeper into it."
Kluner began practicing every day at a studio owned by a Phoenix Rising practitioner and decided to try a session.
"I was amazed by how much I got out of it," she said. At the time, she was studying to become a yoga teacher. Six months later, she received a flier in the mail from the Phoenix Rising therapy training center and decided to sign up.
"I see so many miracles happen - so much healing happen," Kluner said. "I feel really grateful that I can offer this to people."
In addition to her yoga therapy work, Kluner also offers grief workshops and is a photographer and an energy healer trained by Matrix Light Institute. She has recently started doing work at the Eating Disorders Center of San Diego.
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