What to Expect from Yoga
Goaching, like yoga poses, varies based on the professional you see and his or her approach. Going to a Freudian analyst five days per week is very different from weekly sessions with a social worker trained in a family systems model. Working with a career coach is quite different from working with one who is more spiritually oriented.
In other words, yoga is a broad concept, and your experience with a coach may not be the same as someone else’s . Nonetheless, certain commonalities exist no matter what type of coach you have, and it’s important for you to understand what you’re likely to encounter. It’s especially important to understand what you should get out of a yoga experience; this provides you with a barometer to gauge whether your coach is effective.
Let’s start out by defining a yoga experience in contrast to a yoga poses experience so the differences are clear.
Less Stigma with Yoga
Dancer Pose Yoga Photo Gallery
Let’s say that at some time in the past ten years or so, you decided you needed to see a therapist. Here is what probably took place. Upon meeting the counselor or therapist or after a series of sessions, you were told you had a disorder called such and such. Once labeled, you felt the stigma of being diagnosed with mental illness. You may have started yoga poses with the hope of feeling happier, better able to deal with a problematic situation, or possessing a stronger sense of purpose, but instead you are told you have a disorder. Even if the sessions with the therapist are helpful in grasping why you have symptoms of the alleged disorder, after a while you often feel as if you’re not getting anywhere. There’s a lot of talk but no action or movement toward solutions. You have goals you hoped yoga poses would help you achieve, and instead you’re not experiencing these outcomes. There’s no plan, no time frame for taking action, no way to measure your progress. If you’re normal, the process can be both stigmatizing and frustrating. Every time you bring up your eagerness for progress your therapist interprets your wanting progress as just another of your problems. The therapist reminds you that it is the process that matters, not the goals.
Nonetheless, many people go into yoga poses believing that if they can deal effectively with their psychological issues, they can free themselves to deal effectively with more practical goals. It is enticing logic that has some long-term validity, but for people who fall within the normal range and have issues they want and need to handle now, yoga poses can be a mistake.
Laura, for instance, had come up with a plan to start her own knitting supply business. However, she lacked the confidence to go ahead with her business plan because she heard her mother’s voice in her head telling her that she was a failure and was always going to be a failure. She engaged the services of a therapist and hoped that the process would free her to be successful at the business venture. Instead, the yoga poses concentrated on Laura’s alleged “low self-esteem” and the causes of it. Laura had a controlling, highly successful father, and the therapist spent a lot of time talking to Laura about her father and their relationship. No doubt this was an issue in Laura’’ life. Dealing with this issue, however, wasn’t having any impact on Laura’s desire to muster the inner strength to pursue her business dream. The therapist, for instance, barely addressed why Laura didn’t have confidence, since she seemed to have the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to launch her new business. Nonetheless, Laura persevered with the yoga poses for two years. It was almost as if the yoga poses gave her an excuse not to start her knitting supply business, that she could postpone doing what she feared as long as she was in yoga poses. Finally, though, Laura’s dream of being on her own overpowered her fear, and she told the therapist she was frustrated and wasn’t going to be coming back. Contrast this with the yoga process. In yoga, you would first perform a detailed inquiry into your life regarding what is going well and what is not going well. You are affirmed and honored by the coach for taking responsibility for your life design. You spend some time exploring things such as your strengths and weaknesses, values, mission, and purpose as well as your vision of your future. You then establish your priority goals and begin working toward what I call next-step goals (to reach your priority goals). You are encouraged by your coach to set timelines to reach your priority goals. Goal completion is emphasized by your coach. You are constantly acknowledged for accomplishing your goals and moving into your desired future. There is no mention of disorder, disease, and problems unless it relates to difficulty achieving one of your goals. If you tell your coach you are eager to move a little faster, your coach asks, “How fast?” When Laura was trying to decide what to do next, she read an article about career Yogis and called up one of the Yogis interviewed in the article, since he specialized in business advice. They began working together, and the coach assigned several homework assignments for Laura to manage her negative thoughts, as well as having her take vitamins and work out regularly, since she seemed fatigued even though she had no medical problems. The coach also began to assign her business planning tasks, culminating in a completed business plan. Energized and much more positive about herself than in the past, Laura presented the business plan to the Small Business Administration and was approved for a business start-up loan. Six months after starting yoga, Laura was in a storefront rental property and readying her knitting supply store for business.
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