Integrating Yoga and Positive Psychology: Dissolving Barriers to Joy

with Sampada Desai M.A., E-RYT 200

Most of us want to live a purposeful, joyous and happy existence.  However, for many reasons such as the stress of daily living, past conditioning, personality characteristics, economic factors and other external circumstances, we feel weighed down by the demands of life.    Over time we can be overwhelmed by a seemingly never-ending state of stress, anxiety or depression.    It is as if the excitement were sucked out of us, reducing us to joyless beings, who lack control over their lives.  This workshop will provide a safe, nurturing environment in which you will learn gentle, affirming and compassionate ways to move beyond your emotional pain.

In Dissolving the Barriers to Your Joy: An Integrated Mind-Body-Spirit Approach to Relaxed Living, Sam will interweave her skills as a psychotherapist, yoga teacher and laughter leader to help you discover and connect with the radiant, joyful heart within each of us.   Like a wise, compassionate friend, she will teach simple, but highly effective practices that promote self-nurture, personal empowerment and the ability to learn to go with the flow of life.  Drawing on psychotherapeutic principles of existential/humanistic psychology, cognitive restructuring, positive visualization, laughter and yogic tools like physical poses, conscious breathing, deep relaxation,  Sam will gently show how each one of us can cultivate love, contentment and equanimity.

Learning Objectives

In this workshop participants will:

  • Increase the ability to de-stress amidst 24/7 hyper connectivity and distractions.
  • Learn to honor and affirm their self- worth.
  • Learn effective ways to live a joyous and deeply fulfilling life.
  • Identify the causes and effects of stress, anxiety or depression with non-judgment, compassion and loving-kindness.
  • Learn and experience mind-body wellness and stress-reduction techniques like cognitive restructuring, guided imagery, positive affirmations, laughter practices  and expressive arts like free-flowing dance to inspirational music.
  • Learn and experience the freeing power of yoga practices like poses,  conscious breathing, body awareness, meditation, and yoga nidra or deep relaxation

Program  Outline

Getting Started

  • Individual and group icebreakers
  • Objectives
  • Defining holistic wellness
  • Answering the existential question, “Who am I?”
  • Experiential exercise for acknowledging self-worth

Understanding Painful Emotions, Stress, Anxiety and Depression

  • Physiology of stress, anxiety and depression
  • Effects of stress, anxiety and depression
  • Neuroplasticity and restructuring of the brain
  • What are you resisting? A self-inquiry experience

Acknowledging Abundance and Expressing Gratitude

  • Developing the attitude of gratitude
  • Gratitude Bowl.  An experiential activity to connect with the abundance of all that is going right
  • Compassionate listening, an experiential sharing exercise

Changing the Internal Programming by Altering Our Beliefs

  • Cultivating  realistic and healthy nonattachment
  • Accepting change and  impermanence
  • Accepting the present reality as it is
  • Expanding perspective
  • Your way is not the only way
  • Getting beyond the confines of personal ego

Living in Alignment with Personal Values of Integrity

  • Witnessing and assessing one’s personal value system
  • Non-judgmentally noticing disconnect between values and actions
  • Developing small plans to realign values and actions

Experience Mindfulness-Based Practices that Calm the Autonomic Nervous System (Some of these practices will be interspersed throughout the training)

  • Conscious breathing
  • Meditation
  • Non-judgmental body scan
  • Mindful movement (restorative and energizing yoga poses; free-flowing expressive dance to inspirational music)
  • Laughter activities
  • Healing guided visualization

Wrapping Up

  • Words from the wise
  • Lessons learned
  • One first step for moving forward
  • Closing (individual and group intention)

Dissolving the Barriers to Your JoySampada (Sam) Desai is a licensed professional counselor with a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, NY.  She has over twenty-five years of clinical experience in various settings such as colleges, universities, mental health centers, and a health organization.  She currently works as a psychotherapist at Centra Health in Lynchburg, Virginia, and maintains a private practice at her agency, Desai Counseling and Yoga, in Forest, Virginia.

Sam is also a Yoga Alliance registered Yoga teacher (RYT -200) trained in the Integral Yoga tradition.   She has been practicing Yoga since the young age of six.  She currently teaches Yoga at Desai Counseling and Yoga, Lynchburg College, Centra, and other organizations in the community.  In addition, she is a certified laughter leader and frequently runs laughter workshops to promote cheer and wellness in others.

A talented and engaging speaker, Sam has been giving talks on mental health issues, mind-body wellness, laughter, stress management, self-esteem, anger management and work fulfillment for more than 20 years.   Born and raised in India, Sam brings to her workshops a unique blend of Western psychology and Eastern approaches like Yoga.   In her workshops and programs she uses cognitive restructuring, body awareness, conscious breathing, positive visualization, deep relaxation, laughter, expressive arts like dance and art, physical yoga poses and yoga philosophy.  Some of her recent presentations on mind-body wellness, self-care and stress management  have been for  Virginia Baptist Hospital, Genworth, Employee Assistance Program of Central Virginia, Mental Health America, Lynchburg College, Social Services of Central Virginia, Horizon Behavioral Health, DePaul Family Services of Roanoke, Lynchburg High Hopes Stroke Support Group, and  Forest Library.

Sam considers herself to be an ambassador for easeful and joyful living.  Her hope is that all people can learn to live a life of purpose, contentment and joy.


Integrating Yoga and Positive Psychology4

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