yoga and mind-body instructor Todd Dybul of Mequon, yoga has become
much more than "letís get together and do some poses."
When he first
started teaching yoga in 2006, Dybul says his work was almost
exclusively with group classes, but he had a few private clients as
time went on. One of those private clients was a breast cancer
survivor recovering from surgery: "It turned out that she was an
occupational therapist, and she said, ĎThe things you are doing for
me are more than I could be doing for myself.í"
when the light went on for me," Dybul says. "This personís
in occupational therapy and Iím telling them how to move. This was
working. And that gave me the courage to work with clients who have
teaching yoga techniques to people with health conditions such as
multiple sclerosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and chronic migraine
claim to have invented yoga as a therapy ó far from it. Only
recently has yoga become more defined as a therapy and more accepted
as an actual treatment, he says. He is a registered yoga instructor,
and is currently completing work that will qualify him as a certified
yoga therapist. He says yoga therapy can enhance clinical therapeutic
Dybul says a
turning point in his practice was attending a yoga journaling
conference. One of the presenters was a man who was paralyzed from the
waist down and easily could get in and out of his wheelchair from the
things that doctors didnít think he could do," Dybul says.
"He was such a dynamic teacher, and he told us the people who
really needed yoga are people who canít go to a class." Dybul
says that touched him deeply.
"tools" Dybul uses to help people can include not just yoga,
but tai chi, Reiki, postures, breathing techniques, sensory awareness,
guided relaxation, visualization and meditation. Specific approaches
to therapy depend on the needs of the individual, he notes.
just want to talk. There are things going on socially, or at work or
school," he says.
Dybul says the
approach is to treat the whole person, not just symptoms of illness:
"Itís getting into their life stories, really, and seeing why
theyíre having whatever challenges theyíre having. There are so
many levels ó spiritual, psychological or emotional."
Dybul focuses on helping people dealing with a health condition begin
to see their situation from a new perspective.
has physical or emotional obstacles, or some kind of inner
dissatisfaction. Iím trying to offer some kind of connection to
potential, the opening of possibilities in their life."
He often makes
house calls and also visits patients in the hospital.
people are bed-bound, and you give them tools like breath work and
they are somehow empowered," he says. "Itís almost like
you gave them permission, like itís OK now to be physical again or
look fear in the eye.
empowerment kicks in, it is amazing to me. Sometimes my jaw just drops