linda tLinda Troutman has recently completed all modules of her 1000-hour Yoga Therapy training at Yoga North International Soma Yoga Institute, one of the few programs accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). The intensive training consisted of a prerequisite course which covered basic concepts of Thomas Hanna’s Somatics, a big influence across the rest of the program. After the prerequisite home study (“which took me the entire summer!”), Linda attended four 9-day modules in a retreat setting in Minnesota. She describes her experience here.

After completing all the modules, how would you describe your yoga therapy training?
It was life altering. It has allowed me to enhance my technical skills of course, but more importantly it has helped me to transform into a more compassionate, caring and knowledgeable person. It created a safe, nurturing space where I could experience insights about my personal and professional life. It also helped me to gain clarity as to my role as a yoga therapist. It was extremely enriching spiritually. We did quite a bit of psychological and shadow work as well as dream work. This enabled me to examine my beliefs and direct them to enhance my human potential.

What brought you to take training for yoga therapy?
I have a personal vision where people choose yoga therapy as part of their holistic health and well-being program. Since I want to share this knowledge with the many other teachers that are seeking this type of training, I wanted to be sure I was first recognized as a certified yoga therapist to lend credibility to any program that I may develop in the future.

What do you see in the future for yoga therapy as a profession?
This is a loaded question. Only recently has the IAYT been able to determine who is and what is required for certification. So I will give you my opinion of what I think a yoga therapist is. I believe a yoga therapist is someone who has the technical expertise and primary intention to create a safe, nurturing environment that allows the student’s innate healing to occur. This may include: assessment and intake, breath work, postures, meditation, Ayurveda, relaxation, yoga nidra, listening and referrals for areas of expertise from other healthcare professionals.

Many of us are interested in this as a career ourselves. What are some of the opportunities for a yoga therapist?
One of the discoveries I made when studying to be a yoga therapist is that there are many diseases that modern medicine cannot cure. Medication is often prescribed to manage symptoms; however, every drug has potential side effects and many which can be extremely detrimental. I believe yoga therapy gives people an option to be part of their own healing. It provides an opportunity to be proactive in managing individual health and well-being, a complement to our western medical system.

What are the benefits of practicing SomaYoga, the particular yoga style influenced by Somatics?
I will use my own experience as evidence. I have been trying to heal from two major car accidents in the last several years. After many hours of physical therapy, chiropractic work, Pilates, yoga and massage, there were still areas of the body that could not heal. T his was limiting to my individual yoga practice but provided me a better picture of limitations that other students may face. After I enrolled in the Yoga North program and was learning how to gain control of different muscle groups, I realized that I was getting more control and stability and ease in my own body.

SomaYoga is a way to reconnect the brain with the control of the muscles so that habituated patterns such as holding or protecting can release. This practice changed my life. I am stronger and less braced in muscles than I have ever been. I have more stability and ease in my body, mind and spirit.