I am Louise Hull, a physician with over 30 years experience working in the Mental Health field. I was trained in the Western Medicine ways of medications and traditional “talk therapy”. While I believe there is still a role for these treatment approaches, I came to see that something fundamental was missing from my training and sought out a more holistic approach to health that took into consideration Mind, Body and Spirit. I now know that addressing the breath and the body are fundamental to deep healing of old wounds that often reside in our bodies.
I began to explore Mindfulness Based therapies with the anchoring of awareness in the breath and the body, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy approaches that encourage working with and processing through the body. I then found my way to a personal Yoga practice, and then Yoga Teacher Training, that I came to see incorporates all of these- the original mind-body science! While some of my medical colleagues might say I have taken the road less travelled, I have learned that this well travelled ancient road is full of old wisdom that Western Medicine has yet to recognize.
I also came to see that the body holds our old fears and stories and that dealing with these at the level of mind only, does not bring about lasting change and wellness. Through learning to ground, calm and relax in our bodies we can then be present with what is arising and no longer Hijacked by it. As our bodies calm and become more resilient they feed this information back to our brains where a new sense of ourselves begins to emerge.
Yoga encourages us to pay attention to our bodies, to tune in, and to take care of ourselves with compassion and kindness. We learn to be in our bodies and to identify what feels right for us and what doesn’t. We are encouraged to listen, and are taught that: stopping, resting and saying “No” is okay. This also models healthy boundaries, standing in your power and knowing what is best for you. Many of us have been at war with our minds and bodies, being harshly critical and pushing ourselves in ways that only cause more harm. Many of us have no experience of, or models for self care. Many of us give our power away to others and become depleted as we try to engage in a world without healthy boundaries. Practicing yoga is an opportunity to connect with and heal our stress ravaged minds and bodies.
There is an unfortunate misconception that Yoga is only for the fit and flexible and this has kept many from this beautiful and healing practice. Those who have physical injuries can especially benefit from Yoga, as learning to pay attention to, accept and relax in your body can promote healing. More skillful choices will be made as you move and engage in your rehabilitation. Many of us hold chronic tension in our bodies that interfere with healing. This practice can help us to notice and release these long held patterns that we hold. All of this can help us better manage our pain, physical and emotional.
Anyone can participate in My Mindfulness Yoga classes. Everyone is encouraged to listen to their bodies and modify poses as needed. There are lots of options provided in order to accommodate individual differences. We use chairs and other props to support our needs. There is a strong focus on breath work and relaxation. Please wear comfortable clothing and layers for warmth and bring a mat and a blanket.
Yoga is the original mindfulness practice. Through anchoring our awareness in the breath and body, we are less driven by the endless chatter and stories from our minds. We learn to recognize and be a witness to our old patterns that we more easily let go of, and with space and freedom can cultivate some new healthier beliefs, movements and behavior patterns.
Louise Hull MD
(her favorite place in the world The Bruce Trail !)