A friend once told me to move through their trials and tribulations, they moved. No literally, they used movement and their active muscles to ease, and well, move, through their mental clutter. Movement, while not the answer for all, holds power for those who tend to ground themselves and slow their mind with a lively body.
Yogis have experienced this firsthand, coming out of practice with mental clarity and realization that there is nothing like it. While a regular practice can provide this for some, Michelle Lawerence of Inner Peace Yoga Therapy takes this healing power to the next level with her yoga therapy school.
“I am passionate about the healing power of yoga and bringing it to people,” Lawrence says. “By training yoga therapists, the reach just expands.”
Inner Peace Yoga Therapy is a school for yoga therapists that provides classes and courses to engage with the healing power of yoga for client empowerment and healing. Accredited through the International Association of Yoga Therapy, this school offers the tools and the 800-hour training required to utilize yoga practices, philosophies and skill-set credentials in a professional setting.
Lawrence, a yoga instructor since 2005, was drawn to the healing power of yoga since she began her practice.
“It made a difference in my life personally in terms of my physical and mental wellbeing. I wanted to understand why and how,” Lawerence explains. “There weren’t that many schools of yoga therapy 10 years ago; I wanted to create my own.”
Yoga therapists differ from yoga instructors in a few key ways. While yoga instructors create a general class catered towards most yogis, yoga therapists take a unique, personalized approach. In an initial session, a yoga therapist will conduct a one-on-one assessment and co-create, with the client, a therapy treatment program based on the individual’s goals, health challenges and unique set of circumstances.
While yoga instructors create a general class catered towards most yogis, yoga therapists take a unique, personalized approach. In an initial session, a yoga therapist will conduct a one-on-one assessment and co-create, with the client, a therapy treatment program based on the individual’s goals, health challenges and unique set of circumstances.
“I started to learn more about how yoga works and how it helps in terms of healing and prevention towards various different conditions,” Lawerence says. “People have dramatic shifts and changes when you take that personalized approach and see the individual as a multifaceted human being, as more than their physical body.”
The Durango-based institution offers numerous courses, from their Level 1 Foundations in Yoga Therapy course to specialized workshops, in order to instruct yoga teachers to become yoga therapists. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, courses are offered fully online, with scaled-back class options, foreseeable until the end of 2021.
“When COVID-19 hit, we had to shift all of our training to virtual environments, it was difficult at first,” Lawrence adds. “Over the past year, we have evolved. Yoga therapy is very conducive to an online environment.”
“While yes, we plan to bring back in-person instruction, we likely will offer virtual options, as that choice has led to greater access for students who could not participate before because of location,” Lawrence continues.
But, where Inner Peace Yoga Therapy differs from other yoga therapy schools is through their equity and access program, which offers scholarships and start-up campaigns for marginalized communities.
“Our start-up campaigns supply a grant to fund those efforts and have classes for aspiring yoga therapists to provide low or no-cost services in their communities that could not otherwise afford it,” Lawrence explains.
This inspiring school brings the power of healing through yoga to everyone who needs it. If you are interested in becoming a yoga therapist, look no further than Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.
Everyone practices healing in their own style. But moving through your illness, trauma or other adversities with yoga therapy sets an intention to move forward, through movement.
Photos courtesy of Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.
Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2021 issue.