What is Coaching anyway, and what does Yoga have to do with it?

Insight quote

Simply put, Simply Practice is a Coaching and Yoga business that provides you with a set of tools for living a comfortable and inspired life. 

Wellness coaching

Cartoon: bizarro.com Thanks to Jack Kornfield for posting on instagram.

Let’s start with what Coaching is not. 

Coaching is not therapy. Very often what we actually need is someone to listen to us – not to judge or diagnose – to listen, acknowledge and support our own personal journey on our river of life

The essence of Coaching is a sacred space in which to have some necessary conversations with a non-judgmental person – a Coach – who is an objective sounding board. A Coach is not attached to a client’s choices, nor does s/he hold preconceived notions about who the client is. A Coach asks questions that encourage the client to look more deeply at their own choices and circumstances. Together Coach and client take stock of where the client is on their current path. The client then drives the coaching process with their reflections, insights, responses and actions. Where are you on your path? Do you have an idea of what you’d like to do with your precious life?

Not everyone has relationships that include non-judgemental, exploratory conversations; as well as space and time for reflection and contemplation. Creating this space and time helps us stay tuned to a life we can consciously compose for ourselves. Does it sound scary to take more control and responsibility for your own life? Is Coaching for you? Perhaps this is what your first Coaching conversations will be about? You can find out more by reaching out to me through my website for a brief, FREE initial session. www.simplypractice.net No strings attached; nothing to lose.

Coaches help you find your way into your heart; to love yourself deeply so that you can be the person you want to be, have the career you want to have, build the relationships you seek, look after yourself in support of your life’s potential and desires. A Coach helps you discover and overcome obstacles; these could be beliefs or thought patterns keeping you from achieving some goal or, simply finding your way to more comfort, fun, health, joy and well being. There will be bends in the river, Coaching serves these turning times well also.

And why Yoga?

I have practiced Yoga for over 20 years, and taught and studied for more than 10 years now. Having already started down the path of Coaching, the more I learned about and experienced the lifestyle, vitality and healing practices of Yoga, the more I understood that Yoga is like an integrated self-coaching lifestyle. If you can breathe, you can practice Yoga. Yoga is not a sport. Ancient Yoga was, and still is designed to support and sustain a person in all their dimensions (physical, vital and physiological, intellectual, psychological, emotional), over a lifetime; with instructions (ie: The Yoga Sutra-s) for how to practice. Yoga is not magic, it’s not a religion. It is practical. It is a lifestyle practice that joins intention and action, it is a set of tools for living a comfortable and inspired life. Sound too good to be true? My experience of a personal practice has changed me.

Over the last 5 years, I have discovered even more beauty on the Yogic path through the study of an ancient Indian Lineage called Viniyoga, the specific teachings of T. Krishnamacharya and his son, T.K.V. Desikachar. Viniyoga addresses the samskara-s – the holding patterns if you will – of our minds and our bodies. This breath-centered Yoga can help us gently move these ‘scars’ out of our being. We move, we breathe, we notice, we soften, we change, we let go; with dedicated practice, we are transformed. 

“Practice is the path to transformation.”

~Gary Kraftsow, Founder & Senior Teacher of The American Viniyoga Foundation. 

Lately in the media, there have been references to the topic of somatic healing and somatic therapy. Somatics is a modality of healing that recognizes the deep connection between mind and body. It’s not just our minds that hold on to our patterns, our bodies also have a record of our experiences. Consider titles like these: “The Body Keeps the Score”, by Bessel van der Kolk, MD*** and, “When the Body Says No”, by Gabor Maté, MD***. Over time, if not worked out, the scars – or samskara-s – can create discomfort, even dis-ease, over the course of a lifetime. This has given me the confidence to include Yoga in my Coaching and help others find a daily personal practice that supports them at every level of their being.**

The way we practice is different at different stages of life: sunrise, midday and sunset stages; at different times of day and according to present needs. Yoga teaches us how to create the vitality for a full and beautiful sense of life; and equally to manage illness, injury and death. This self-supporting practice is designed to bring us closer to ourselves through self-study; to keep us connected to nature, everyday! – to remind us of breath and conscious awareness – so we move through our lives with faith and confidence in ourselves.

How else can Coaching help?

You will be supported in every dimension of your being. This is my intention. The principles of Yoga inform the Coaching paradigm that I practice. As I continue to study Yoga and Coaching, I stay inspired. We all need teachers and contemporaries and students to support our journeys.

The virtual Yoga classes* I offer can create a sangha (sanskrit word for community) in which you can gently practice with others as you begin your Coaching journey. Community and good relationships are fundamental to peace and well being.

Essentially we are most content and realized when we are allowed to be ourselves, to think our own thoughts, to commune with our own heart and desires in a community of loving people. In an environment that supports us on every level, we can thrive!

A coach provides support, acts as a guide and a listening ear, and with your permission and participation, holds you accountable for the small changes you are making. You can create, the different outcomes you seek, a future you’ve envisioned, a greater representation of your potential – a life that feels more authentic to you. 

Coaching does not have to be about the kind of potential that requires driving our selves into a “bigger and better” something, rather it’s a softer more subtler innate potential – the kind that allows you to naturally unfold into the person you are. Like the potential of any other piece of nature – a tree, a flower – we are pieces of nature; we can fully mature. We stretch, we grow, we bloom.

Becoming you 

When you become you – because, as the saying goes: everyone else is already taken – things fall into place. You fall into place, as you honour yourself, take more response-ability for your self, make choices that better suit you and find more ease in your relationships. 

This requires looking deeply and looking openly at your life and how you arrived at this point. It may require fessing up to some realities you’d prefer to over look. If any of these difficult spots along the path feel outside the scope of Coaching, a good Coach will guide you toward a therapist or counselor to navigate that part of the river with a different type of expertise, while continuing to support you as needed.

You can become your own guru – your own river guide – as you discover what you need in order to travel with love, respect, compassion and integrity. You will learn how to look after the mind and body that you are in this lifetime. 

Using the practices of Viniyoga and the techniques of Life and Wellness Coaching, we will work together to get you on a path toward greater peace and well being. Call me. I’d love to hear from you.

  • Note: I think we all prefer in person Yoga classes and look forward to their return. In the meantime, this is the short-term reality for many. I also offer private and semi-private Yoga for beginners and for those who want to work more intentionally with the Yoga practices on their Coaching journey. (There are many reasons why private and virtual Yoga serve our practices in different ways from live Yoga …and that’s another blog topic.)

** I am not a Yoga Therapist, however, I have completed the pre-requisites… and you know what they say: “it ain’t over yet”! I’m still composing this life of mine.

***You can find more information about these authors here:

Dr. Gabor Maté

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

1 thought on “What is Coaching anyway, and what does Yoga have to do with it?”

  1. I am a health coach and this brings a whole new perspective to my coaching paradigm! Love how you connected yoga and coaching and thank you for expanding by definition of what yoga is!

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