In 2008 I experienced debilitating pain from simply slipping on the ice. I could not even walk up the stairs. Muscle relaxants and pain killers did not touch the pain I was in. One session with my yoga therapist and I felt considerably less pain and increased mobility. I wanted to learn how and why these simple movements could be so effective and efficient in reducing pain. I know the incredible benefits of Clinical Somatic Education and Yoga Therapy from first hand experience. This is why I pursued becoming a Certified Yoga Therapist and Certified Clinical Somatic Educator.
After having had experiences with many other professionals trying to address my own discomfort and physical challenges, I found Yoga Therapy when I turned 40. At age 16 I had spinal fusion surgery on my lower back. In the years following I experienced discomfort and/or pain in my neck, shoulders, hips and sciatic pain down one or both legs.
I decided to try yoga and found that due to the limited range of motion presented by the spinal fusion and the compensatory patterns my body had adapted, the classic yoga poses did not always benefit me. In fact, because at that time I lacked the awareness of my pure range of motion, the practice could create more discomfort from my body resisting moving into a pose that it did not have the available function to do.
The life changing benefits of resolving the tension and pain felt in my own body from practicing yoga therapy and clinical somatic education led me to a yearning for a deeper understanding of why and how such simple and gentle movements could so positively affect one’s body.
The International Association of Yoga Therapists’ definition of yoga therapy is “the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga“.
As a Registered Somatic Movement Educator with the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association, I meet the high Standards of Practice and uphold the Code of Ethics:
“The purpose of somatic movement education and therapy is to enhance human function and body-mind integration through movement awareness. Our profession, as represented by ISMETA, encompasses distinct disciplines each with its own educational or therapeutic emphasis, principles, methods, and techniques.
The practice of somatic movement education and therapy includes:
- postural and movement evaluation
- experiential anatomy and imagery
- movement patterning and re-patterning
- communication and guidance through touch and verbal cues”
My journey to becoming a professionally certified yoga therapist and certified clinical somatic educator:
- 200 hour Certified Yoga Teacher training with Gaiatri Yoga
- Yoga Thrive (Yoga for Cancer Survivors) with Susi Hately of Functional Synergy
- 400+ hour Certified Yoga Therapist with Susi Hately of Functional Synergy
- Relax and Renew Yoga Teacher Training with Judith Hanson Lasater
- iRest® (Integrative Restoration) Yoga Nidra Teacher-in-Training Level I with Anne Douglas
- Level 1 and Level 2 Critical Alignment Therapy with Gert van Leeuwen
- 1000+ hour Certified Yoga Therapist with Yoga North International SomaYoga Institute
- IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist
- Essential Somatics Fundamentals Immersion Course
- 600 hour Essential Somatics Certified Clinical Somatic Educator
- ISMETA Registered Somatic Movement Educator
The journey to receive these certifications has been an incredible experience and I am truly grateful to all of the teachers who have shared their support and knowledge to teach me how to best serve others as a Certified Yoga Therapist and Certified Clinical Somatic Educator as well as to students I have shared this practice with who have believed, practiced and benefited through receiving these teachings.
You can find Alana’s listing with Essential Somatics, International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association (ISMETA) and Yoga U Online.
Alana Burton | RSME | Certified Clinical Somatic Educator| C-IAYT Yoga Therapist | Yoga Evolution