“I didn’t do my practice this week,” admits Joanna, quite openly. “I just didn’t have time.”
“I did a couple of the postures, but couldn’t remember that chant thingy,” confides Martin.
“I found the breathing and the movements too confusing, so I gave up…” declares Louise.
From these kinds of statements, we get a sense of the bond between effective communication and compliance. Do you feel you have a knack for inspiring clients to embrace their home practice or do you sense that there’s room for development in your skills-set when it comes to fostering compliance? Getting a grasp of your role is perhaps the key to tweaking this aspect of service, because at the end of the day, complex psychological, social and environmental factors can influence an individual’s participation in Yoga therapy and their adherence to practice.
Therefore, cut yourself some flexibility and self-compassion around this topic. Understanding the individual’s support-needs in order to enable their involvement and compliance can be really challenging. As we see from the statements above, identifying realistic time frames and creating shorter, simpler practices can be a determining factor. We’re all aware that only when clients do the practice, can they experience the benefits.
In many cases, intrinsic motivation (doing something for its own sake, not outside pressures) is key to sustainable engagement and can depend on factors such as enjoyment, social contact and sense of achievement. Engagement itself, is often linked to feelings of self-control and self-determination.
What does this mean for you, the Yoga Therapist?
- Prioritise building a solid therapeutic relationship and hold a realistic, but positive attitude in interactions with clients. At least then your clients will fess up if they haven’t been practising, as in the examples at the start of this article.
- Establish a course outline/treatment plan with measurable goals collaboratively identified as important by the client and you the Yoga therapist.
- Lifestyle goals and activities are often the most acceptable forms of practice that can be incorporated into everyday life.
- Know your client and how to challenge them safely as they move towards goals.
- Celebrate and demonstrate their progress.
- Consider small group settings to build social support between clients.
- Recognise that nothing is permanent. People’s schedules can change and we need to keep gently checking in on these sorts of details.
- Biddle S and Mutrie N (2008) Psychology of Physical Activity: Determinants, Well-being, and Interventions Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise DOI: 10.4324/9780203019320
- Hendricks H and Van der Ouderaa F (2008) State-of-science Review: SR-E24: The Effect of Physical Activity on Mental Capital