Yoga Therapy: At 3 Oms, an in-depth approach to healing
3 OMS Yoga
1319 Cornwall Ave., Suite 200
One might think that someone who has been studying yoga for more than half their life would have little else about the ancient practice left to learn.
In the case of Cat Enright—who was first introduced to yoga when she was 23 and will soon be 52—that assumption would be an incorrect one.
As a longtime Iyengar instructor at downtown Bellingham’s 3 Oms Yoga, Enright has continued to seek additional teachings throughout her many years of practice. She was considering pursuing a mental health or physical therapy path of study because she felt there was more she could offer to those seeking a wider variety of healing modalities, but knew she wanted to bring all of yoga’s “gifts” to the table, as well.
The answer, she concluded, was to add the title of Yoga Therapist to her lengthy resume. Recently, she completed 800 hours of training to do so, and is now officially certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists to share what she’s learned with 3 Oms clients.
“Yoga therapy is a more in-depth approach to healing, using the breadth of yoga’s techniques to address both physical and emotional issues,” Enright explains. “We do one-on-one sessions that might include yoga postures, breathing techniques, meditation, visualization and affirmations.
“Mindfulness is an essential piece of yoga therapy, which means teaching students to observe their physical and emotional reactions to stress—all kinds of stress,” she adds. “Next, students learn yoga techniques to regulate these stress responses (such as lengthening their exhalations). When clients learn to recognize their fight-or-flight response they can down-regulate this and have access to the higher-functioning parts of their brain. Then they have more choices about how to meet the challenges of their lives. Next, we craft a personalized yoga practice to enhance and embody the new skill.”
Because part of Enright’s training involved working with other up-and-coming teachers to experience the healing powers of yoga therapy for themselves, those meeting with her can rest assured she also knows what it feels like to benefit from the practice.
Her studies also involved weaving physical, emotional and sometimes spiritual healing practices to address a wide range of clients’ concerns and struggles—which could involve anything from anxiety to grief, MS, or stroke recovery.
“Yoga therapy is very efficient because it addresses the whole person,” Enright furthers. “Rather than spending an hour each at physical therapy, talk therapy and yoga class, you can do it all at once.”
Students with physical or emotional challenges are currently welcome to schedule long-term, weekly, monthly or tune-up sessions with Enright, who will teach them yoga techniques and help craft a unique home practice. Then they can take what they’ve learned from the therapy into any yoga class and, hopefully, into everyday life.
In addition to seeing private clients at 3 Oms, the yogi is also set to helm upcoming workshops addressing some of our culture’s most common ailments. On Sat., Oct. 14 she’ll lead a “Yoga for the Blues” workshop and, on Dec. 9, “Yoga for Anxiety” will deal with one of modern society’s most vexing issues.
Students who’ve come to depend on Enright’s Iyengar Yoga classes—which begin with spiritual philosophy from texts such as the Yoga Sutras before delving into the alignment-based style of yoga that stresses precision within the practice—can rest assured she’ll still be front and center on a regular basis at the welcoming Cornwall Avenue space she considers a second home.
“Amy Robinson has created such a fantastic environment for everyone who comes to the studio: it feels warm, welcoming and authentic (just like Amy herself) for students and staff,” Enright says. “The teachers here offer a wide variety of yoga styles, in a highly skilled way, while genuinely respecting the practice the other teachers offer. We share our devotion to the essence of the practice, always including yoga philosophy or other inspiration in our classes.”
Enright says she stays with yoga because the learning never ends, and it’s clear that even though she’s been teaching for 21 years, she still considers herself a student. At 3 Oms, she can be both.