Yoga Teacher Training Can Be Weirdly Helpful At Your Day Job

Have you ever thought about how the skills you’ve learned in yoga class could be helpful at work?

Imagine if you took that even further - how could the skills you learn as a yoga teacher help your career? If you work in an industry that involves
a) people
b) their feelings
your career might benefit from yoga teacher training. Yes, really! Today we’re talking to Marina Swietek, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, about how she’s applying what she learned in Barre & Soul’s yoga teacher training to her work in a Community Behavioral Health Clinic.

Tell us about your training and the work you do at your “day job”!

I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2015 (required for licensure), and I am licensed as an LMHC or Licensed Mental Health Counselor. For my graduate degree I completed two full-time internships.

Once you graduate there are specific requirements identified by the licensing board that you need to fulfill before becoming licensed. This includes passing the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. Currently I work in a Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CBHC).

What does a typical work day look like for you?

A typical day involves a lot of different aspects of mental health services. I run a variety of groups as well as meet with clients for individual work.

The number of clients and groups I work with varies day-to-day but we address all mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use. During the course of my day I also coordinate with other providers, programs, and services to address client needs in a holistic way.

How long have you been practicing yoga as a student?

I was first introduced to yoga as a child. I came to know about yoga through a family friend and as I got older was reintroduced from a variety of perspectives first as an athlete and then as a mental health counselor.

"I observed how my own practice helped me to deepen my focus and create a sense of calm. As a mental health counselor it is especially important to engage in our own self-care."

My yoga practice provides me with a form of movement that allows me to accept myself as I am in the moment and also serves to challenge me in many ways. I noticed the positive impact it had and wanted to be able to provide this opportunity and space for others to have their own experience.

When I first began studying mental health and holistic psychology I noticed yoga was increasingly referenced as a tool to help manage some of the symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Mind-body interventions such as yoga, which also includes breath work, mindfulness, and meditation are important resources we can use that have an impact on our mental health and wellbeing. All of this led to my decision to become a yoga instructor.

Walk us through your yoga certification process.

My yoga teacher training was completed through Barre & Soul within 7 weeks. It was an online course with the last day being a full in-person class. It was an experience that challenged me as I was also balancing other responsibilities including a full-time job. However, I had a lot of flexibility due to the course being virtual and had so much encouragement, feedback, and assistance from our instructor.

The community that was built with the other students provided incredible support to each other, which I valued greatly. We learned about asanas, anatomy, philosophy, pranayama or breath work, and meditation. We had weekly sessions together, videotaped ourselves practicing and teaching, and received a lot of feedback from our instructor and peers throughout the process.

I also appreciated that during our last day we participated in an in-person class where we had an opportunity to talk directly with Andrea Isabelle Lucas and learn from her. Barre & Soul YTT provided me with what I needed to get my yoga business started.

It made my goal feel attainable, I felt more knowledgeable and confident in my ability to do this for myself. Overall, it was a wonderfully rewarding experience.

Could you give some examples of ways you use what you've learned as a yoga teacher in your work as a behavioral health clinician?

After completing YTT I was immediately able to implement what I learned by providing yoga to the people I serve as an accessible form of movement and mindfulness they can use to ground themselves, reduce muscle tension, and connect with their inner experience.

Yoga has been a valuable resource as a mind-body intervention to help practice mindfulness, meditation, and breath work. Engaging in these practices can help to create a sense of wellbeing, structure, a way to connect with others, and a way to connect to our own wellbeing.

Based on what you've experienced, what other careers might benefit from incorporating what they've learned from yoga teacher training?

I think there are many careers and fields that could incorporate the knowledge from yoga teacher training. A couple include the mental health and medical fields. Our ability to provide the people we serve with yoga as a resource is invaluable.

In addition to YTT being beneficial to the work I do, YTT was a way for me to expand my own personal experience. I feel more connected to my own yoga practice. My yoga practice is so much more than just the physical movement. It is also the philosophy and mindfulness practices I take with me off the mat and can incorporate in my daily life.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Marina! If you’d like to get on the waitlist for our next yoga teacher training, you can do that here!

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the 24/7 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by texting or calling 988. Marina Swietek, LMHC, RYT-200