Healing yoga is a type of yoga with a therapeutic focus on recovery from trauma, PTSD (post-traumatic stress) and burnout developed by Jennie Liljefors. She has based the form on her own experience of healing from a sexual trauma in young years. She has also written a book called "Healing Yoga" on her solid yoga study, including an evidence-based yoga method to help to recover from trauma and PTSD (TCTSY, developed at Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, 2013).
If we feel tired, stressed or suffering from PTSD, sadness, depression, infertility, PMS, menopause or other physical or mental illness, this form of yoga is a great tool for recovery and healing. To heal a trauma with the help of yoga is very powerful, it's a heroic journey where you can do a great deal of work on your own, but it requires patience. With yoga we work with the negative effects we suffer from when we had a traumatic experience such as poor breathing tense muscles and trouble focusing, we don’t actually need to work on the trauma itself with can be a great relief. By practicing yoga in a safe environment we can be reconciled with ourselves. By letting the yoga become a new habit, we strengthen the inner self and become both more at ease and more effective.
Healing yoga course
The classes in the course are based on the content of the book Healing yoga, which is also included as study material. A calmer yoga focusing on increasing the parasympathetic nervous system, our calm and tranquil system. The focus area is the lower part of the body and therefore fits well when you want to handle emotional stress that causes rigid hips and legs, ache in the lower back and problem with the stomach and reproductive organs. The structure of Healing yoga comes from Anusarayoga, where you work with biomechanical principles for a healthier alignement. We also practice to be totally relaxed and rest in different positions, which gives a different recovery than when you are asleep.
If you practice Healing Yoga continuously for at least 6-8 weeks, it may help you to break a bad habit, get more energy and also build a desire to work with your healing. You will sleep better, increase your appetite, improve your concentration, increase your self-esteem and feel less fear.
Book your course here. If you wish to book Jennie private or to your studio/company send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Healing Yoga program - a SAMPlE FROM the book
Program for problems with the digestive system
Gastrointestinal disorders may be difficult to define and often depend on stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, trauma or abnormalities in the stomach and spleen. The problems often lead to poorer digestion, which causes us to become powerless, bothering the weight and gives us bad and shiny skin. We can feel unsafe and become generally unbalanced. By working with positions and opposites that push together and massaging the internal organs as well as opening up and giving space in the area, one can get better flow of energy and power.
This program is great to start with if you are not so used to yoga. It takes about 40 minutes and is performed with Yinyoga or Restorative approach where you are supported with pillows, blankets and bolster. You can perform this program at any time during the day and do not need to be experienced. You do not have to look in any particular way or strive for anything other than breathing and making it as comfortable as possible for you in the positions. The pictures are for inspiration, keep in mind that everyone looks different in the same position.
Start with some kind of centering and breathing exercise. Then follow the program below. Do any positions every day and the entire program once or twice a week. Always end with quiet rest.
1 Child's pose
TECHNIQUE: Sit on your knees, either with your knees together or apart, on a blanket. Lean up and lay the forehead in the floor or against a support. If you have the cheek on the floor, change side after half time. Let your arms rest in front of you or along the body. Hold 2-5 minutes.
EFFECT: Stretches the back, softens stiff hips, stretches the inside of the thighs and the top of the feet. Stretches the muscles between the ribs, increases the circulation of the thorax, creates space for deeper breathing. Calms and centers the body and mind. Improves blood circulation when the head is below the heart.
MANTRA: I'm resting in myself. I'm here for me.
2 folded butterfly
TECHNIQUE: Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your knees lightly and allow the soles to meet a good distance from perineum. Let the knees fall softly to each side, if necessary place a support to the outside of the legs. Breathe in, extend up in the back, breathe out, bend forward. When it stops in the back, start rounding your back and resting freely or into a support. Relax in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, legs. If necessary, you can have a support under your knees. Hold 2-5 minutes.
EFFECT: Stretches the muscles of the back, connective tissue, seat muscles. Softens the shoulders, chest back, neck, seat. Provides more flexible hips. Stimulates the organs in the stomach, kidneys and lungs. Releasing tension and negative energy.
MANTRA: I bend myself to gather power.
3 Full bridge with support
TECHNIQUE: Sit on a bolster and lean backwards. Let the back of the head and shoulders rest in the floor. Start with bent knees and place the soles on the floor. Extend the tailbone, make the low back long, keep the navel close to the spine. Extend your arms above the head and let them rest in the floor or against a support. For more stretch for the front you can stretch your legs. Hold 2-5 minutes. To get out of position, bend your knees and roll carefully from the bolster to the right. Rest. Then sit up or move on to the next position, Needle Eye.
EFFECT: Relieves pain in the back and shoulders. Enables the sympathetic nervous system that provides energy. Extends the stomach and provides space for diaphragm, improves digestion and respiration, opens the lower back.
MANTRA: I rest to open my heart for deeper breathing.
4 needles eye
TECHNIQUE: Lie on the back. Bend both knees and place the soles on the floor. Lift your right foot towards the front of the left thigh. Interlace your fingers behind your left thigh or left leg. Breathe in, bend against the chest and squeeze right knees away from the body. Hold 2-3 minutes. Change sides. NOTE Do this position carefully if you suffer from problems in the hips.
EFFECT: Stretches the seat muscles and the outside of the thigh and is a good alternative to Pigeon if you have a knee problem. Massage the stomach, releasing tension.
MANTRA: I breathe calmly and ride through what's hard.
TECHNIQUE: From Standing Dog, take a big step with your left foot and place it between your hands. Lower the right knee in the floor, preferably with a soft support, and lower the right back of the foot. Bend left knee 90 degrees, knee over ankle. Breathe in, raise your arms along your ears, hands should be active, alternatively place both hands on your left knee. Extend your neck, keep your head stable. Extend the tailbone, make the low back long, keep the navel close to the spine. Breathe out, sink a little in the hip so that you feel a soft opening in the hip flexor. Squeeze your right knee into the floor and imagine you're pulling it forward, this helps you to not hang in the hip. Make a slight backward bend in the back of the thoracic. Hold 5 breaths. Then come down with your hands on either side of the front foot. Step back to downward facing dog. Change sides.
EFFECT: Exercises the balance, opens up the back of the back, softens the hip flexor, stretches the top of the foot, stretches the muscles in the stomach and chest.
MANTRA: I open up to the flow in the body.
6 Happy child
TECHNIQUE: Lie on the back. Bend your knees and pull them up against the chest. Spread your legs and keep your hands on the outside of your feet alternatively in your knee fold. Try to keep the tailbone in the floor. Hold 2-3 minutes. NOTE Do not perform during pregnancy or menstruation.
EFFECT: Stretches the back, back of the thigh, arms, shoulders, creates release in the hips. Massage the stomach, the internal organs, the reproductive organs.
MANTRA: I release tensions and create circulation.
7 half saddle
TECHNIQUE: Sit on the carpet and stretch your legs in front of you. Bend left knee and angle foot backwards. It is important that the top of the foot is in the carpet and that the toes point backwards and that the inside of the heel strives for contact with the hip. Extend the tailbone, make the low back long, keep the navel close to the spine for support in the perineum and stomach. Sit back and support your hands or lower your forearms, alternatively place them on a bolster or lay on the floor, then allow your arms to be above the head or to the side. Make sure the hand rest and forearm rest against the surface. Hold for 1-3 minutes.
EFFECT: Stretches the front of the thigh, hip flexor, top of the foot. Bends back, stretches the stomach, opens up the chest. Creates space for deeper breathing.
MANTRA: I open up for the flow.
8 half Sitting butterfly
TECHNIQUE: Sit on a folded blanket with legs stretched out in front of you. Bend right leg and place right foot inside of left thigh. Press the left thigh to the floor. Breathe in, stretch your arms above your head, exhale, fold with straight back until it stops in the back. Lower your arms and place your hands as far as possible on the left foot. Let the back curve and relax in the muscles. Hold for 1-3 minutes. Change side.
EFFECT: Extends the neck, low back, back leg, opens the hip. Stimulates the stomach, uterus and ovaries. The level of fertility is improved. Relieves stress and depression when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated.
MANTRA: I bend myself to find recovery.
9 Half bridge with support
TECHNIQUE: Lie on the back. Lift your hips and roll a bolster under the seat. Let the back of the head, shoulders and scapula rest in the floor. Bend your knees and ground your feet in the floor. Extend the tailbone, make the low back long. Relax. Hold 3-5 minutes. To get out of position and activate the muscles, lift the hip, remove the collar. Come over on the right side. Rest and sit up. Alternatively, go straight to the next position, legs up against the ceiling.
EFFECT: Gently opens the thoracic, improves breathing and digestion, gives rise to the thyroid gland, relieves backache and headache, suppresses stress and anxiety.
MANTRA: I rest for opening my heart and for deeper breathing.
10 legs up towards the ceiling
TECHNIQUE: Lie on the back with the seat on a bolster. Lift your legs against the ceiling or rest your legs against a wall, then the bolster should be about 1 decimeter from the wall. Relax in the legs and rest your feet against each other. Let your arms lie above the head or along the body with the palms facing upwards. Hold 3-7 minutes. Then bend your legs and put the soles on the floor. Come over on the right side and rest for a while. Get up. NOTE Do not perform if you have high blood pressure, period or pregnancy.
EFFECT: Stretches the neck, chest and back of the legs. Relieves tired legs and feet. Increases circulation to the pelvis, stomach, heart and head. Improves blood flow to the brook region. Helps with backache and sleep problems. Gives new energy. This position is said to rejuvenate our entire organism.
MANTRA: I see my situation from another perspective and I will open up.
11 supported Butterfly
TECHNIQUE: Lie with your back and head on a bolster. Legs against the floor. Let the soles of the feet meet, and the knees open. Support your knees and thighs with a bolster so you can rest your legs. Let your arms rest aside with your forearm and hand back against the floor. Hold 3-5 minutes.
EFFECT: Opens the hips. Increases circulation to the pelvic area, reproductive organs, digestive tract and stretching of the thighs. Provides space around the heart and throat.
MANTRA: I let myself be held by Mother Earth to heal.