Yoga is Therapy: A New Chapter


It’s time to catch up with the founder of “Yoga is Therapy” (YIT), Jaimie Perkunas. Several years ago I profiled Jaimie and YIT, where I had a precious and beautiful yoga home for 5 wonderful years.  Jaimie warmly welcomed me to be part of the YIT family for my signature Balance, Bones, and Core classes, Healthy Aging, Tonic for the Tissues and other workshops, as well as Prenatal Yoga for a time. (You can find those offerings at my new locations.)

YIT has become a private practice. Jaimie is a highly skilled professional resource if you live in or near Tucson. She is a certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists and holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. In fact, Jaimie is a dear friend, supporter, colleague, and I also saw her as her client at one point. I highly recommend!

Jaimie at the yoga rope wall. Many might recognize this helpful equipment from the YIT studio location. The availability of the wall makes this a unique part of YIT as a private practice.

Tell us about the new “Yoga is Therapy” private practice.

After 5 years of successfully running Yoga is Therapy as a studio, I decided to return my focus to where I started my business working with people one-on-one. I really enjoy working with clients individually because I can customize the session for the person sitting right in front of me. By moving to office space, it allows me more time and energy to create resources like books, articles, and videos for my clients and people beyond my practice. I would like to offer telehealth services in the near future, so that I can work with people nationally and internationally. I also hope to have more time to pursue some new hobbies, like drumming and art.

Describe your new treatment space.

I am super excited because I’m sharing my treatment space with two wonderful integrative practitioners in a beautiful location. I have brought an 8 foot section of my yoga wall which I use to assist with yoga poses and traction for the spine. I am excited to have a space that allows me to focus on my individual sessions with less distractions.

What made you decide to evolve Yoga is Therapy into a private practice?

There were a few reasons, the first being I realized running both a studio and a private practice had taken over my personal life. I felt I was at a cross road and needed to make a decision to grow the studio or concentrate on my private practice. I eventually made the decision to concentrate on my private practice. The second reason is that my husband has plans to start a new business at the end of 2019 and I wanted to create space in my personal life to support him.  

What else makes Yoga is Therapy private practice unique?

My private practice is unique in several ways. My goal is to work with my clients to find what works best for them. I create customized handouts with specific instructions and personalized pictures for each person. My sessions allow for clients to make a connection between their stress level, past injuries, and current symptoms.

I look at the whole body when working with clients and we try to figure out the sources of the symptom(s) instead of treating and focusing on the symptoms. My clients tell me what works best for them through their feedback of what they feel and what movements they prefer. We develop a program together that helps them feel empowered and know what to do help their condition. 

Are there certain physical issues that you feel are your main areas of expertise?

I used to think hips and lower back were my specialty but to be honest I have worked with and had success with people with a variety of physical conditions. Certain conditions are more common like shoulder, neck, hip, and low back pain. I find if a client is interested in improving their relationship with their body to help place it in a state of healing and they are motivated to do the homework we see success.  

How do you bring your yoga background into your private yoga therapy practice?

Yoga has given me the tools to observe the whole person from the inside out and from the area of pain to the habits and patterns that may be contributing. Yoga has also taught me the importance of breathing. I try to start every session with observing my client’s breathing and taking them through a sequence to improve their ability to take a full diaphragmatic breath.

I meet clients where they are and some of my clients have never practiced yoga so they come in a little nervous and concerned they aren’t going to be good at yoga therapy. I share with them my own yoga journey which started with using yoga as a fitness tool to lose weight in college, and then to help me recover from nerve pain and foot drop on my left leg. I find sharing my journey helps put them at ease and relieve them from the expectations of who they need to practice yoga. 

Do you have any yoga therapy transformational stories to share (not revealing identifying details of the client, of course).

My favorite stories come from working with people who realized they could help themselves with a simple exercise or breathing. Here are a few:

-A doctor was convinced his back pain was a genetic disposition, however, when we addressed his psoas issues he returned to running with no back pain.

-A woman had pain 10 days a month and couldn’t wear sandals since her daughter was born 5 years ago. We worked together for  3 sessions and on her 3rd session she was wearing sandals and knew how to manage her pain which now only occurred occasionally. 

 –A client who had a full low back fusion walked into her first session with pain and fear. She appeared to be wearing a corset. We did breathing education and she learned how to breathe diaphragmatically. When she returned for her second session her pain diminished, her posture was less rigid, and she was more confident.  

Jaimie and I five years later, sporting the YIT “Just Breathe” shirts.

How can our readers learn more?

My updated website: www.yogaistherapy.com with my new self-empowerment blog,  and quarterly newsletter. I’d love for people to sign up, so that we can deep in touch. 

Bonnie continues to teach public yoga classes. Check out her new schedule and locations here!

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