Get to know Yoga Therapy + Lawrence Sullivan

Here at Swell we’re always interested in thoughtful, educational and beneficial body work.  Yoga Therapy is the way to learn yoga’s movement vocabulary and  breath work in a one to one or duet environment, addressing who you are that day, your body history and goals.

Here is a little interview between Lawrence and I to introduce you to him and the work.  Check out our Instructor Bio page and the Yoga Therapy Swell Body Page to learn more and contact Swell directly to set up sessions.

E:  Where, when and why did you begin your personal journey with Yoga?

L:  I think a seed was planted in me when I was in the Peace Corps in 1998. It was during our in country training in Zambia and one of the other volunteers would sit and meditate under a tree every day for 20 minutes before lunch. He never missed a day in the 10 weeks of training and he would sit motionless like a Buddha. I got interested and he taught me a transcendental meditation technique. 

E:  Can you elaborate on the specifics of Yoga Therapy as a private practice?

L:  Specifically Yoga Therapy utilizes the techniques of Hatha Yoga to correct imbalances in the body. A few of those tools are mudras, breath work, asana, and meditation. It also brings in the newer technology of myofascial release using various props.

E:  Are there any limitations as to who can practice Yoga Therapy?  How can movement be modified? 

L:  There are no limitations as to who can practice Yoga. In the west we associate yoga with the very flexible bodies we see in the media practicing asana poses. But Yoga incorporates much much more than just asana poses and we work with many of those tools in Yoga Therapy as well as modifying movement for those with physical limitations. 

E:  What kind of clients have you had experience working with?  

L:  I have had experience working with people with many different challenges including Parkinson’s, PTSD, spinal stenosis, knee and hip replacements as well as healthy individuals taking regularly yoga classes but feeling stuck in their practice.

E:  When we had a chance to do body work together, I greatly appreciated how you and the work you do took into account that the body needs both effort and release to get where it want/needs to be.  What is universal about all of the modalities at Swell is the concept of creating space in the body.  Can you talk a little bit about how Yoga approaches space both in physical and energy body?  

L:  From a scientific perspective inflammation is the cause of most disease in the body. It cuts off the natural flow of energy in certain areas of the body and if it is a part of the body responsible for bringing energy into the entire body then it cuts of that energy supply systemically. So yoga seeks to open these spaces so that Prana, life force energy, can flow freely.

E:  When you begin your day, what is your first mindful movement?  

L:  Right now it’s getting out of the bed first thing in the morning. I am working with an SI issue right now so I’m careful not to aggravate it when I get up. For a long time it was noticing what nostril I was breathing out of before I got up. I found that very helpful.

E:  In general what do you believe people need to find in themselves that is actualized through movement?

L:  I believe it’s the qualities that we are looking to develop in ourselves that we have to embody in our movement. Whether it’s confidence, kindness or inner peace, we can develop and radiate those qualities as we move. 


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