Evergreen Counseling says healing, peace within reach with yoga

Photo by Jeff Baughan Nicole Martin sits in her counseling chair at Evergreen Counseling and Yoga Therapy in Vienna. Martin blends counseling at times with different limbs of yoga in her practice.

VIENNA — The office for Nicole Martin at Evergreen Counseling and Yoga Therapy is not the typical counseling office.

There is a counseling room with two chairs. There are others in another room. The counseling room is lit more by natural sunlight than electrical. That room is for talking, listening. The second room is larger but there are no chairs. It is for mats, pads, meditation, yoga.

“The journey through counseling,” said Martin, “it’s moving from following the theories exactly and toward helping with more holistic healing.”

Holistic? “It’s integrating mind and body techniques,” she said. “By using yoga, we’re raising awareness of how they react to different stimuli to neuroscience and how the brain responds to stress.”

Martin is a nationally certified counselor, a master addiction counselor with the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals and registered with the Yoga Alliance. She has also completed basic training and consultation hours with the Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Center in Cincinnati.

Photos by Jeff Baughan Nicole Martin demonstrate a pose from her yoga therapy at the Evergreen Counseling and Yoga Therapy in Vienna. Martin prefers a more holistic healing integrating mind and body techniques.

“EMDR is used when we talk about the past, beliefs about the past, those beliefs are attached to emotions from our life and often times, hold negative emotions and sensations,” she said. “I use EMDR to help to desensitize from post negative beliefs,” she said, “Physical sensation and emotional response from traumatic response.”

Martin stated what she works with mostly “is anxiety, depression and trauma.”

The definition of trauma in this case is “a leftover disturbance in the mind and body system after an experience,” she said.

With Martin, counseling and yoga can go hand in hand. “Counseling in general invites people to a safe environment. It’s where they can share emotion and their story.

“I find that it’s not as helpful in which people stay in a place where they are just sharing a story over and over without change,” she said. “What I’m inviting with yoga is creating a space where the space allows for stillness and comfort with discomfort to tolerate distress. That space allows them to move forward towards healing.”

Photos by Jeff Baughan Nicole Martin demonstrate a pose from her yoga therapy at the Evergreen Counseling and Yoga Therapy in Vienna. Martin prefers a more holistic healing integrating mind and body techniques.

Martin stated the yoga she practices “is not a religion or exercise. It’s ethical principles and breathing. Stillness has nothing to do with religion. There’s no worship. It’s a community with love of self. A lot of what I do is based on science.”

There are eight limbs of yoga according to Martin. According to 8limbsyoga,com, These limbs refer to the eight aspects of yoga practice and are:

* yama (attitudes toward our environment)

* niyama (attitudes toward ourselves)

* asana (physical postures)

Photos by Jeff Baughan Nicole Martin demonstrate a pose from her yoga therapy at the Evergreen Counseling and Yoga Therapy in Vienna. Martin prefers a more holistic healing integrating mind and body techniques.

* pranayama (breathing practices)

* pratyahara (sense restraint)

* dharana (concentration)

* dhyana (meditation)

* samadhi (complete integration)

Photos by Jeff Baughan Nicole Martin demonstrate a pose from her yoga therapy at the Evergreen Counseling and Yoga Therapy in Vienna. Martin prefers a more holistic healing integrating mind and body techniques.

“Yoga is a philosophy which embodies helping one become more in touch with physical self, emotional self and mental self,” she said. “It’s similar to doing in psychology/pyschotherapy in that it invites people to let go of negative beliefs and attendants. It allows them to break away from negative habits and patterns and move towards a place of wholeness and healing.

“There is so much more to yoga than just the postures, which is the asana limb,” she said. “There is the breathing and meditation, which is the pranayama, the breathing practices, and dhyana, which is the meditation,” at her practice. “Interweaving yoga practices and principles like breath work, movement, body awareness and stillness, it helps people to create space to healing,” she said.

“Those eight limbs of yoga,” she added, “posture is only one of those eight. The yoga I bring to counseling is that awareness of self, the breath work. The willingness to let go of attachments and to be able to find stillness.”

She added most clients come to her for counseling and not yoga. “But there is always the invitation to bring the yoga into the session. It is integrated” Martin stated.

“In the sessions we talk about past, present and future,” she continued. “If we have a negative belief from the past that is keeping us doing what we want in the future, it’s hard to be in the present because it’s uncomfortable or unsafe. So that stillness is learning how to be in the present moment.”

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