If you’ve ever had a creative epiphany during warrior two or ugly-cried in pigeon pose, you get that yoga’s mental and emotional benefits are just as powerful as the physical ones.
And if you’re still waiting to see the light at the end of the mat, Ashley Turner wants to guide you there. The star Los Angeles-based yogi—also a marriage and family psychotherapy intern who’s been in clinical practice for nearly a decade—recently announced her first ever Yoga Psychology training, starting this May in Venice, CA.
While the program will provide current yoga teachers with an advanced 300H certification, Turner stresses that it’s open to everyone—therapists, coaches, and students alike—as long as you’re willing to dive deep into your psyche. “In this course, your life is your curriculum,” says Turner. “You have to be willing to do your own inner work. It’s a deep personal journey, and it’s for those people who are up for that challenge.”
The course is broken up into six 50-hour modules, each of which can be taken individually. Topics range from the esoteric (chakra psychology, chanting and mantras, and even Jungian “shadow work”—which focuses on unacknowledged parts of your psyche) to the super-scientific (nervous system physiology, meditation, the science of sound), and all will revolve around how to incorporate these ideas into a physical yoga practice.
“There’s a lot of focus on anatomy and sequencing in the yoga world, and that’s all extremely important, but there’s also so much research being done around the biochemical shifts that are happening around mindfulness and yoga,” says Turner. “When we learn to do practices that will help to shift our mood states, we can immediately get relief from our suffering.” (Like doing calming breathwork or meditating when you’re under a crazy deadline, or getting comfy with intense physical sensation if intimacy freaks you out).
Though yoga psychology is still an emerging field, Turner has brought on some of the smartest minds in the biz to serve as guest teachers—for instance Davidji (formerly of the Chopra Center) and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. (of LA’s Center for Mindful Living) will be teaching about meditation and mindfulness. And she’s got proof of yoga’s mental impact, having personally used it to help herself heal from depression and body image issues. “The body and mind are inseparable,” Turner proclaims. So next time you get all emo on the mat, embrace it—tears and sweat are basically the same thing, right?