My name is Becka and I’m a viniyoga (yoga therapy) practitioner. I’m formally trained in clinical applications of yoga, and I completed my YTT with yoga therapists (C-IAYT) to learn the best practices for working 1-on-1 with clients. My clinical experience as a mental health practitioner and my yoga trainings inform my practice of yoga therapy, and I specialize in teaching yoga for mental wellness. It’s my dream to make yoga more accessible to everyone.
On other fronts… I love animals, coffee, and colorful things! I studied global & trilingual studies at York University in Toronto, and I speak English, French, & Spanish. I spend most of my free time writing, talking on the phone with friends, and practicing yoga, of course!
About Yoga Therapy
When you think about yoga, what comes to mind? At first thought, I used to think of yoga as classes of super-fit figures performing series of acrobatic poses, but did you know that yoga is only 1/8th physical? In yoga, it’s actually not about the pose; yoga is about connecting better with yourself, and physical poses serve as just one of many different tools we use to do that. The other 7/8ths of yoga are described as morals, breath, meditation, concentration, spirituality, behaviors, and sense withdrawal. We are not just physical bodies: we are also energetic, intellectual, emotional, instinctual, and spiritual beings, and yoga therapy seeks to explore and heal these parts of ourselves as well.
Yogic tradition insists that quieting the fluctuations of the mind is the primary goal of yoga. When we achieve sense withdrawal, we can drop into a state of consciousness that is simply pure awareness. From pure awareness, we have the power to choose to live life in congruence with our true selves. Easing the fluctuations of the mind, finding pure awareness, and living in accordance with our morals is said to be the key to reducing suffering in our lives, which is what yoga therapy is all about.
About The Process
Individual yoga therapy begins with a holistic health assessment. Together, we map out your needs, goals, and means of working towards your goals. We’ll start by exploring what prompted you to seek out yoga therapy & what you hope to gain from starting a regimen. The modalities we use in yoga therapy range from mindfulness, breathing techniques, physical & mental exercises, visualization & meditation, nerve flossing, educational activities, progressive relaxation, emotional regulation skills, & body-centered therapy techniques. In session, we engage in silent, mindful self-study in order to bring perpetual, unconscious habits to the conscious realm.
Most importantly, we build an at-home regimen to compliment in-session work, which is designed to promote wellness in all areas of your life.
In groups, we progress through a set curriculum that is tailored to apply to each participant’s presenting concerns. In order to maintain confidentiality of each individual, we do not discuss individual health conditions openly, although we might cover them in general terms. For example, a group member experiencing anxiety might disclose this information in their confidential intake form, and so anxiety might be one of the weekly class topics covered. However, this member would not be asked to speak openly about their anxiety in the group setting.
We build skills pertaining to affect regulation through breath, trauma releasing exercises, titration & pendulation, and mind-body conjoining exercises. Mindfulness is central to every session, so mindfulness skills are always the first topic covered & the main group of skills we refer back to.
Sometimes, I offer 4-12 week classes on a specialized topic (for example, a 6 week class focusing solely on depression). I try to collect feedback and tailor the content to the wants and needs of interested participants. Simply contact me to request a topic.
About Viniyoga & My Training
I’ve been informally leading yoga classes for years, but in 2021, I completed my 500 hour yoga teacher training with a Yoga Alliance accredited school of yoga. I studied traditional yoga philosophy, the 8-limbed path, and viniyoga in the lineage of Krishnamarcharya, B. K. S. Iyengar, and Desikachar. This lineage specializes in the vini and vinyasa style of asana (physical yoga), but my training focused equal parts on asana and the other 7/8ths of yoga tradition. My training also covered hatha, ashtanga, yoga nidra, yin, prenatal, and adaptive yoga, but my favorite style is still vinyoga. Viniyoga translates to ‘the yoga of personalization’ – also known as yoga therapy.
In addition, I studied the role of trauma in yoga practice and became a certified trauma-informed yoga teacher. I took a course in yoga therapy for anxiety and earned my certificate in this domain as well. These trainings helped me learn about applying yoga practices and techniques to clients with different needs, but one of the most helpful pieces of my journey has been my time in my university clinical practicum where I am training as a psychotherapist & counsellor. In this setting, I am able to lead yoga therapy classes, practice applying yogic techniques in a clinical setting, and gain experience treating clients presenting with a wide range of mental health concerns.
I have always focused my studies on yoga for mental wellness – which is why I usually decline to see clients who are seeking yoga therapy for a specific physical ailment. I am happy to refer out so that you can get the expertise you need from your yoga therapy practitioner.
About the location
All classes take place online via Zoom (unless otherwise requested for Toronto public settings). This is the primary reason why I can keep costs low. There are both advantages and disadvantages to online classes. On one hand, it’s harder for me to read bodies and model the movements/activities we aim to do. On the other hand, you can access classes from anywhere & practice out of the comfort of your own home. Of course, the lowered cost of online sessions is a bonus, too!
About the populations I serve
I believe that yoga can benefit everyone. However, I specialize in yoga therapy as a means of promoting mental wellness. In many cases, I do not accept clients who are seeking help with a physical condition. This is because my trainings focus on yoga therapy for mental health. Yoga is not a regulated form of medicine, and I do not claim to treat any condition; rather, I offer a yogic perspective on how to improve quality of life while living with mental health challenges such as depression. Contact me to learn more.