Yoga is an ancient practice of mind body medicine. The word ‘yoga’ means to connect, unite or ‘yoke’. The thing we look to connect to is the true Self. For some that have a spiritual practice uniting, is to the divine. Yoga incorporates more than just movement (Asana). It is an approach to live one’s life with integrity through quieting one mind through meditation and breath work (pranayama) , and much more.
I began my deep dive into yoga about 5 years ago as a New Year’s resolution. I have done yoga on an off for 20+ years; however, when I walked into the Cottonwood Hot Yoga studio for my first class it was a whole different experience. As I reflect back, it was like doing sweat lodge, it became a sacred time to connecting to creator in fellowship and to heal on multiple levels.
I was 50 years old, so out of shape and in a knee brace from multiple knee dislocations. I went once a week to Hot Yoga. Our studio follows a hot vinyasa flow which is set to about 101 degree and lasts about 70 minutes. I could barely hold my weight up in downward dog. I would have to lay down a lot. In May of my first year I forgot my knee brace and packed up my mat and was getting ready to leave. Jennifer Richards the owner was teaching that day, said stay and don’t go deep into the poses. My knee did not dislocate. It was a huge milestone for me and threw out my knee brace and got more serious about my practice. It took me 50 classes to get through the flow which was about August of that year. I was hooked.
I did my first Yoga teacher training in the summer of 2017. I was spread over 6 weeks every weekend. We learned about cooking Kitchary and yogic cleansing, mediation, breathwork, yoga nidra, and much more. I fell in love with this deep beautiful science of ancient medicine. I did another Teacher training a year in half later which was a 10 day intensive. It was very intense physically; however I am a stronger and more focused Yogi from it.
At my first Yoga teacher training, Jennifer Richards asked me had I ever thought about combining yoga with medicine. I said yes, I see myself training young naturopathic doctors to be lifestyle medicine specialist across the country through yoga studios just like this one. She asked me If I would consider moving the practice to plaza. In May of 2018 Breakthrough Medicine started the journey to integrate yoga as part of our practice.
I love being part of Cottonwood Hot Yoga Plaza. Hot Yoga provides me a means to detox my patients in higher numbers in a community setting. Through the act of sweat therapy and movement, detoxification is amplified. We have not only a beautiful yoga studio, there are showers, and dressing rooms. It is really important to wash off after sweating not re-absorb toxins. The other aspect of being in the Hot Yoga Plaza is that Wholesome Kitchen is part of the studio. This is the only organic vegan restaurant in Cottonwood. I give all new patients a free yoga pass to the studio. I encourage all my patients to practice yoga. The aspect of Yoga Medicine we provide is Lifestyle education and a program called Heart Math. Heart Math is a breath biofeedback technique to track progress on heart rate variability and stress management.
For our patients who live outside the Verde Valley Area, we office custom experience that can include yoga and medical care. Taking a submersion into medial tourism is beautiful and transformative experience.