Interview with Cheryl Kiviat - our in-house Yoga Therapist
March 21, 2019
What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga Therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress towards improved health and well-being through applying both philosophy and practice of yoga.
What I do is educate a student so they can be part of their healing process. As a YogaTherapist I am trained to assess, evaluate and work holistically with numerous conditions both acute and chronic, most of which manifest in the physical body. I teach each student an individual practice of asana (pose) and pranayama (breath) based on their personal needs and goals. Some students may practice daily in order to become pain free, correct imbalances and feel more peaceful.
I bring the same principles of this teaching method into my small group classes of 6-8 students. This enables me to teach all levels and abilities simultaneously. What is unique about my approach is that each student practices independently at their own pace with their own practice. As students increase their understanding and awareness of their practice, I will challenge them more. If a student comes in with an injury, I may teach them how to repair it by incorporating new movements and techniques.
I always tell my students that if they practice everyday, they will eventually become their best teacher. This takes disciple, growth and a lot of practice!
A child can practice with my method, too. However, yoga is a discipline and needs a certain level of maturity. I have taught children as young as three, but for my younger students, I teach primarily pre-teens and teenagers.
A few moments on the path…
My first memory of a body-mind experience was at the age of five. I was in the hospital and a nurse taught me how to relax my body so she could administer a shot. It was very empowering at such a young age to make that connection of the body-mind.
One summer, as a pre-teen at summer camp, two of my counselors returned from India after studying with the Maharishi and taught us yoga and meditation. I was intrigued, it felt very natural to me and it made for an interesting summer.
The real turning point was more than 35 years ago when I received a college graduation gift from my boyfriend’s mother. She was a yoga teacher and gave me 4 classes with her own yoga teacher, New York City-based Allan Bateman. I began taking additional classes and he became my teacher and mentor. My life changed immediately from his unique approach to yoga, one that influenced my own teaching from then on. While I explored other careers for several years while taking these classes, it was not long after that I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to the profession and teach others. And, that I continue to do.