Story Yoga

Totem © Lee Lawson

Totem © Lee Lawson

Story Yoga is a body-mind psychotherapy that pairs postures with ancient Hindu stories in a psychodrama for dynamic change. It was born, as all therapies are, out of a need for healing. In 2009 while surfing in Panama I suffered a traumatic brain injury. In the spirit of Milton H. Erickson, MD, I looked around my environment for what I could utilize for healing when Dave Oliver invited me into yoga. After 5 days of morning and afternoon practice I said, “Dave, I think I am in the top 10% of my intelligence.” His reply, “That’s why people do yoga.” I knew yoga would be in my life but could not have imagined just how much I would grow, heal and share.

Western stories have a predictable beginning, middle and end. The Eastern stories of India are continuations from what came before, the middles are according to the story teller’s orientation, and the end is variable—much like real life. This is consistent with yoga fundamentals as yoga will never tell you what to do, instead it offers things to think about to live a satisfying life.

Pairing movement with archetypal and meaningful yoga stories—designed for each person to experience uniquely with no preset conclusions—can help solve life’s perplexities in new, fresh, and novel ways that tap into different levels of the unconscious.

There are many creation stories in the Mahabharata, the epic stories of India, that symbolize destruction and recreation. One such story begins in darkness, followed by the sound oṃ, and then the heartbeat of Shiva who begins to dance.  Shakti, his female consort, joins him. Together they dance the world into perfect harmony. Surprisingly, they keep dancing, and everything dissolves back into silence. At the dawn of the new day, they begin anew to recreate their growing spirals of evolving consciousness.