Integrative Yoga Psychotherapy

Nancy McPartland LCSW-c, MS, IYAT

 

Integrative Yoga Psychotherapy for Athletes

 

Yoga Psychotherapy for Athletes combines the injury prevention benefits of stretching with the therapeutic benefits of sports psychology.   Changing the way in which an athlete talks to themselves has a dramatic way of improving their performance.  Our entire body is made of energy.  Research has proven that each of us is capable of changing the voltage gradient around our energy field with either positive or negative thinking.  Negative thoughts de-charge your energy field resulting in a loss of focus and performance ability.  Athletes are taught a thought stopping process as a measure to limit negative thoughts and replace them with positive, energy restoring ones.

 

Yoga is a perfect addition to athletic training because it will help increase strength, flexibility, balance and stamina. Each class is designed to target the specific body areas of the athletes present. For example many lacrosse injuries occur from ankle and knee ligament sprains, pulled groins and shin splints. Therefore a sequence for lacrosse players would need to build quadriceps strength (to help support knee ligaments) hamstring and groin flexibility and core strength. Improved core strength will help a player shoot the ball harder, pass it farther and win more ground balls.In addition to all the physical benefits, yoga can improve any athletes mental strength, focus, confidence and body awareness. All athletes can benefit from the inner connection and awareness that naturally occurs from regular yoga practice.

Top athletes use visualization to create  positive mental images of  future competitions to build self confidence and prepare mentally.  They literally "see" themselves succeeding to help themselves believe that it can happen.  They mentally practice each step along the way to get ready for the real event.

In addition to teaching yoga I have also been a psychotherapist for the last 20 years. My intention is that once the athletes get into a regular rhythm of yoga, meditation will become easier and easier. At this point I will introduce guided imagery and visualization.


Guided imagery can be helpful to bring a student-athlete into a more grounded, body-centered place. In the midst of all they have going on, guided imagery could be relaxing and help them gain focus and energy. Images designed will be customized to each sport. Guided imagery can help athletes manifest the outcomes they desire, by embodying the energy of the process. This 'mental rehearsal' can put them in a relaxed confidence and dissolve some of the more draining anxiety that can interfere with performance potential.Once the athlete understands the concepts they will be able to take these images home to practice them the night before the competition, the morning of the  and competition as soon as they walk onto the field. Both individual  and group sessions are available.