Do you know that most yoga teachers aren’t allowed to use the word “therapy” or “therapeutic” to describe what they do?* Guess who is allowed? Marianne Meyers! She is truly a one-of-a-kind, diamond in the rough, yoga teacher. Why? Because her training is vastly different than most yoga instructors.
Marianne is a certified Yoga Therapist who teaches Therapeutic Yoga and Chair Yoga at Mind the Mat. She employs a variety of yoga practices including postures, breath and meditation along with props to improve health conditions, such as menopause, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, and the side effects of cancer treatment, among many others. She works with clients who have injuries, chronic health conditions, and are in recovery from accidents.
Recently, when I spoke with Marianne about some of her experiences with her clients, she shared so many inspiring stories. One woman who started taking Marianne’s classes, but could barely walk due to chronic pain in her hips and knees, not only began to walk more easily, but was proud to announce in class that she went to the 2017 Women’s March on the national mall and stood for four hours because she had been educated in class on safe ways to distribute her body weight.
This example brings to life what Marianne explained as the main inspiration behind her classes.
“I want people to be able to take part in their lives and engage in every day activities like getting in and out of the car, getting up and down from a chair, and going up and down stairs, which then leads to attending a grandson’s baseball game or taking the metro to a museum exhibit,” Marianne says. She went on to share that she deals with lumbar scoliosis as well as spasmodic dysphonia herself and that “yoga therapy can offer exceptional relief to those with chronic pain.”
Another touching story Marianne shared with me was about a woman who came to her classes with terminal cancer. When Marianne spoke to her client’s family after her client had passed, they recounted that at the end of her life she told them her two greatest loves were her family and her yoga classes.
“These classes empower people to feel that they are part of their own wellness. They learn to take care of themselves and engage actively in their wellbeing,” Marianne told me.
Recently Marianne taught a one day workshop at Mind the Mat on Yoga for Osteoporosis and it was incredibly well attended. That is a sign for me that yoga therapy is wanted and needed. Did you know that according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 30% of all postmenopausal women in the United States have osteoporosis? Marianne is going to teach a 6-week Session Yoga for Osteoporosis starting on October 16th.
Seven years ago, when Marianne walked through the front door of Mind the Mat in Alexandria, I knew that what she would contribute to Mind the Mat would be a significant piece of what makes our studio so unique. Our staff and instructors strive to offer specialized classes for every part of life’s journey. Our instructors are experts with vast experience and exceptional credentials. I hear so often from our clients that they “have never taken a poorly taught class at Mind the Mat.” We offer safe, effective yoga and Pilates classes for not only people with injuries and chronic health conditions, but also pregnant women, postpartum women, aging clients, athletes, beginners, and even babies!
Glutes of Glory: Posterior Chain Awakening, great for everyone – athletes, you too! on 11/2 with Dr. Ariele Foster, PT, DPT
Stay tuned for an upcoming post on our new programing for stress management and how yoga can help those with depression and/or anxiety.
Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.
Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.