OYM Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy | Yoga Therapy

 

Yoga therapy offers something more compared to yoga classes. It goes beyond the physical form and meditation to reveal the path towards total mindfulness. Timothy J. Hayes, Psy.D chats with Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy of Yoga Among Friends to discuss how yoga therapy sessions can teach you to forgive yourself, embrace your imperfections, and turn your pain into passions. She explains how her one-on-one sessions can help eliminate the self-loathing voices inside your head that hinder your soul’s growth. Laura also explains why such therapies are becoming popular among psychologists and the benefits of doing diaphragmic breathing for a few minutes every day.

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Forgiving Yourself Through Yoga Therapy With Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy

Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy is the Founder and has been the Owner of Yoga Among Friends in Downtown Downers Grove since 1998. Prior to moving to the Midwest, Laura Jane received her Master’s in Clinical Psychology and was a Marriage Family therapist in Los Angeles, California. After moving to Downers Grove, she has been practicing therapy using the tools of yoga. Laura Jane has been changing people’s lives as an accredited yoga therapist and yoga teacher by offering a complete range of yoga classes, as well as one-on-one Yoga Therapy sessions.

Laura, welcome. It’s a pleasure to see you. Thanks for joining us here.

Thank you for having me be a part of this. How lovely.

I was hoping you could start us off by letting us know a little bit about how you got into the work you do and what drives your passion for it.

I got in because of my own life journey. Everybody sometimes never knows how they are welcomed into their true path, but I’ve always felt a love for healing. I came into this world as a diethylstilboestrol daughter. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of DES. My mother took the drug in the ‘50s by Eli Lilly. It was a condition that the children, unfortunately, had genetic alterations.

I had massive female problems all through my teenage years. I was put on harsh drugs that even made me crazier. I knew at some point that I had to heal. Somehow, divine intervention brought me into yoga. This was in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, ahead of time before yoga. I have always been interested in the manic arts, the subtle energies. I was always a seeker seeking health and something in life other than this formula of identity questioning.

Somehow, life became a journey. I ended up in New York City, walking into the New York Health and Racquet Club. I was an actress. I decided I needed a job because I got fired from the other job. I was hired at the New York Health and Racquet Club in the late ‘70s as a calisthenics teacher, teaching Nautilus. I had no idea what it was.

They asked me, “Excuse me, do you teach yoga?” I said, “Yes, I teach yoga.” I got a book and I taught yoga. One day, a doctor came into my class. He said, “That was the best back bend I’ve ever had.” I thought he was going to bust me and I was going to be found out as a fraud, but he said, “If you ever thought of teaching private, I have wealthy clients on the Upper East side of New York. I would love to refer you. You go to their homes.”

This was before private trainers. This was before any of this world was licensed. I would go and give them stretching and things that I had created for my own house. Everything comes out of your own experiences. They would say, “Laura, can you touch me again? Touch me. That felt good.” I went, “The power of touch,” because the mind needed somatic experience. I knew that I needed touch. My mother would rub my back. It was high anxiety through all of these medications and I would get calm. I ended up getting a massage license. I went back. I said, “I better learn how to study this yoga.”

Everything is breath-oriented. The mind is linked to the breath. It's your greatest and most subtle channel to bring you consciously into your home and inward into your physical experience. Click To Tweet

I got trained, but I never wanted the job. I pushed it away because, in my mind, I was going to be this rich and famous actress. They were my only patrons and they were helping me as my gig. I’ve always been a gig player. I have never had a corporate job. I never worked for anyone but myself. Eventually, I moved to Los Angeles and it followed me. I would go into a yoga class and a teacher would come up to me and he goes, “How did you like the class?” I say, “Lovely, but I can’t afford $10.” He said, “I’m going to offer you a scholarship.” I said, “What?” He said, “You’re going to bring people to yoga.” I was like, “Who are you, people? I’m not going to bring people yoga. My ego would not hear it.”

At 34, 35, I crashed. I got on the floor. I was miserable. I hated myself, self-loathing. My identity was meshed with what I was going to achieve. I was angry at the world. I wanted to be powerful. With the power and the misuse of my mind, I was jealous of everybody at auditions. I was envious. If I got the job, I was still nervous that I had to keep the job. I wasn’t good enough. All of this accumulated self-loathing.

On the floor one day, I prayed. This is a moment where I know there’s no doubt in something greater. I heard yoga retreat. This is in the late ‘80s. I’m thinking, “Yoga retreat? What is it, an ashram?” The next day, I’m in Los Angeles. I take up a reader, one of these Los Angeles papers, black and white, little ad. I opened it up. It said yoga retreat. It was in Santa Barbara. To this day, it is a turning point in my life. I went on that yoga retreat. This is the magic story. I called up. I said, “I’m going to come. How much is it?”

“It’s $600 for the four days.” I was like, “What? This is insane.” No matter what, I was going to go. Three days before the retreat, I get a call from the retreat from Ganga. He said, “Laura, I advertise for the first time. We’ve never done a yoga retreat ever. We advertise from Seattle all the way to San Diego. You’re the only one that signed up. I want to offer you a week here. I will teach private. We’ll have a vegetarian cook. If you don’t mind, you’ll be alone in the evenings because we won’t be here and there won’t be anybody else, but I can offer it to you for $350.” I hung up the phone. At that moment, I knew this was my path. From that day on, I have never stopped teaching.

That was in 1989. It brought me to graduate school to get a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. In the ‘90s, I wanted to introduce because it started to heal me on such a level of consciousness that I surrendered. I became accepting of something greater. That was a powerful tool to have faith. Yoga is something that brings you into something greater, your Purusha, your soul.

The little mind floats. It has identity, attachments, and obstacles according to those belief systems, your patterning, your scars, your behaviors. It is not you. I couldn’t stand and kept attacking myself, “Bad girl.” I surrendered to this path. To this day, I’m a yoga therapist. I will swear as the gift to be able to touch, to be able to rock somebody, to cry with somebody, and not be afraid of the heroic journey to fall apart.

I don’t fix people. I allow them safety and holding. I have found these tools to be profound. Thank God after I left mental health because it wouldn’t let me touch and wouldn’t let me rock and be available on the somatic because the pharma was coming in and the mental health system was getting so much involved in that.

Even now, I work with many people being over-medicated. This is my life work of Yoga Therapy. The beauty is that people are starting to wake up to it. It’s not such a fringe thing. Unfortunately, yoga has little confusing states now. Being a fitness industry at one time, it was a cult for religious crazy. All I know is that I’m here now and grateful that you’re asking the question about how I got in. Thank you.

OYM Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy | Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy: The beauty of yoga lies in experiencing something that shifts the mind.

 

Give us the website again.

It’s www.YogaAmongFriends.com. I have a studio for many years.

You’ve got a whole boatload of instructors there. I’ve scrolled down, there are more than fifteen.

People come and go.

Is the entire focus of everyone who works at your studio the same kind of mental health, whole body?

My premise is the teachings of Krishnamacharya, which comes from the lineage that Yoga Therapy was developed because it’s breath oriented. Everything is breath oriented. The mind is linked to the breath. It’s your greatest subtle channel to bring you consciously into your home inward into your physical experience. Every teacher is well-versed in breath, but Yoga Therapy is a one-on-one experience. Everybody doesn’t wear the same shoes. We don’t teach yoga with the idea that everybody can do the same poses or the same practice.

Yoga Therapy is designed individually for the person. There are different goals and reasons for everyone to come in. They can come in with a backache, and the cause of it could be something totally different than lifting up the suitcase. That’s different. The studio itself offers classes, but every teacher is well-versed in the understanding of meeting a student where they are. We have a lot of trauma-grazed classes that are very much geared for a small group of people to come in as a workshop.

We have other teachers that are yoga therapists but teach a group class with breath orienting to bring them into a quality. The quality is we want the mind to be stable and alert. There’s an intention addressed to what the actual experience we want to create. We’re not here to do headstands or to create a driven desire for the physical body to be achieving a certain form. We want the form to serve the function of the experience. It’s function over form, which is the premise of Yoga Therapy.

All life must feel safe in order to grow. Click To Tweet

In the Western culture and all over the world, yoga became form driven. A lot of it, the structure of it became more important than the understanding of why we’re practicing, but the beauty of coming into yoga, whatever it is, whether it’s hot yoga, power yoga, for those that continue, it’s because they’re seeking something different. They experienced something that shifts the mind. We don’t have hot yoga, but we do have Iyengar, which is structural, very much a form to create a sense of stability for the mind.

You’re using the term Yoga Therapy instead of a yoga class.

Yes. There’s a big difference.

That’s why I like to have you explain a little bit for our readers the difference between a yoga class and Yoga Therapy.

If a doctor recommends that a patient go to yoga, it can be a dangerous thing because remember, if I hold a knife and I hand you the knife in the wrong way, it can cut you. If I don’t use the tool appropriately, it can harm. All yoga comes from the premise, is it healing or is it harming? Yoga Therapy is all healing yoga. It comes from teachers that have been well-trained. It’s not an easy path. I went back to India. I’ve trained months at a time. It took me six years to become a yoga therapist with all the training and time involved. It’s a lot of hours and many hours of working with people in a way. I would be interning and doing work with my Master’s degree. I had to take jobs for a long time and get practicing clients, being with people in my internship.

It’s the same with Yoga Therapy. It’s like two years of internship. A yoga therapist is trained to assess a client. We are not mental health providers. We may work with mental health. We got to stay in our lane. This is an important thing, but we have tools to grip people out of our toolbox to help in the healing process. Remember, posture is one tool. When many people think of yoga, they think of an asana or the postures. That’s one tool. It’s like saying, “I do reiki. I do yoga,” and they hold up. That’s what I hear. It’s like you do one tool. We have asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, and samadhi. These are the understanding of those tools.

Dharana is focusing the mind. Dhyana is meditation. Samadhi is not bliss. It’s the absorption of being steady in the mind. We go from gross to subtle. Remember, people come to me and they say, “I want to meditate.” I’m thinking, “Do you breathe?” “No, I don’t breathe.” It becomes this awareness that we’re not fit to still the mind. People want the quick result.

A yoga therapist will take you through a progression of a practice to help you bring yourself deeper into the refinement of the mind. That’s usually the best gift we have is breath, pranayama. That’s the history. We study the philosophies. The tools are also in the sutras. That’s a lot of homework that your client never knows. They never know the work that goes into this.

OYM Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy | Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy: The teachings of yoga address today’s soul crisis. It teaches people to be kind to themselves and fully embrace humanity.

 

When someone comes to you and they want to start Yoga Therapy, what’s the length of a session? How frequent is it?

Some people see me once a week for years as a relationship with what they would like a mental health provider. Other people come in once a month. It depends on where they are or people come into my life for years. They’ll regroup every six months with me. I mentor a lot of students. The premise is you come in, you set up a session for at least three sessions. We come in for three sessions. In the first session, we do an assessment. That’s usually about an hour and fifteen minutes, maybe over because there are a lot of questions and relationship development. As a yoga therapist, the most important thing I can establish is a relationship. It’s a heart-to-heart relationship. I have to meet you where you are. There has to be a sense of trust.

All life, in order to grow, you have to feel safe at some point to trust. That’s the first session. I design a practice for you, individual practice. I create that practice. In the second session, we go over the practice. In the first session, I give you some breathing. I sit with you. I assess the body. I look to see what’s going on structurally and what our goals have to be. The third session is to check your practice, to see what’s happening. This is self-empowering and it takes your willingness to practice it. I don’t shame you or punish you for not practicing because I will tell you the mind is tricky and it doesn’t practice. It says, “I couldn’t fit it in. I was trying to,” then we realize how we distract and how the mind is tricky to find it’s distraction and noise. That’s our obstacles.

We learn to find ways to create time and space to come inward. That’s why a lot of people like their weekly visit because it’s a set time, a set place to be nurtured and to do the practice and to experience it so that there’s a desire to continue it. You have to have a little feel-good in order to do this. At least three. Many people say, “Can I continue more?” I say, “Yes, there’s no limit here.” It’s financial. There’s no insurance. Many times, we would love it, but then again, I don’t want to work with insurance. I prefer that I do more sliding scale and work with where people are, then to have to go through the insurance. I have worked in other corporations where they would pay it through the insurance and they would limit you to 4 or 5 sessions and do assessments. They would want to see the results. I have to tell you, growth on these deeper levels, you can’t register in the same way. It’s humanity. We’re not robots.

They have yet to develop the measuring devices for that.

For me, that possibility to be inspired for your life. You have a mentor, a teacher, and somebody that sees and witnesses you before your witness sees you. To me, it’s soul work. I can say we have a mental health crisis, a physical crisis, health crisis. No, we have a soul crisis. I’ve always been involved in that work. I want humanity and kindness. These are the teachings of yoga. Be kind to ourselves when we don’t even know our self-talk is dangerous.

The most powerful book about that that I ever got into was The Untethered Soul from Michael Singer, where he talks clearly about how we have this voice in our head that talks to us brutally that we wouldn’t allow anyone else to talk to us that way.

That’s where I was in my 30s when I fell and I found this path. I tried Buddhism. I would try prayer, but at that point, it’s so refined that it doesn’t work. I would still say, “I’m doing this, but why do I still hate myself?” It’s because I couldn’t stop that mind. When I was able to witness the thought, like a cloud, like traffic noise and go, “That is not me,” that’s what I learned. I learned that. I learned to lie, “I was only trying to protect myself. Laura, you were doing this to self-preservation.” That’s where the mind goes. You see your identity. All of us are rooted in self-preservation because that’s our nature because we’re a body. We’re limited. We’re afraid of death. It’s all part of the mind. It’s there to protect.

Yoga is a living experience. The tools here teach you to be present and feel safe with another person. It's better than any physician following a formula and doesn't make contact with you. Click To Tweet

It’s what’s been trained into the mind.

The mind then protects, but it suffocates you. It keeps you locked in a pattern of belief that you can’t. We can move forward. We can move in a direction that’s greater than that little mind. In order to do that, you can’t do it through the ego of, “I’ll accomplish 7 tasks in 6 days, and I’ll check it off my to-do list.” That’s the wrong mind. We were slave drivers. We make the slaves outside. No, it’s in here. We’re our own worst slave driver. The grace is so subtle and yet, how do we live in this world? We do it day-by-day with patience and breath and acceptance and forgiveness. That was my gateway.

When I would read about Christianity and Jesus and the great teacher, I couldn’t understand forgiveness, “What does that mean?” It was when I felt it when I realized, “Laura, you learn those patterns.” You abandon yourself. You forgive yourself. You’ll learn them. You read the wrong book. You are a good learner. You’re an amazing learner. You just got the wrong information. It’s here. Forgive yourself. It is not that. The teachings forgive them for they see not, for they know not. That’s true. We see wrong. That’s the whole teachings of yoga. My lens, my view of the world was learned. It’s a pattern. It’s colored. If I pour water into a rose-colored glass, it’s going to look rosy color poured into a clear glass. Did the water change? No, the glass changed the lens.

That’s my work. I clear your lens. I take a windshield and I wipe it off. The tools do this. I don’t do it personally. I’m not responsible for anyone’s healing. It’s the tools. I just teach the tools with reverence and humility. I’ve been doing it since I was in my late twenties. Every day, I’m still teaching because it’s in my soul. Guess who I teach the most? Me. I’m a humble recipient of my own words.

That is the wisdom from the quote, “We teach best that which we most need to learn.”

It’s my dharma and my path.

Aside from teaching, I’m assuming that you teach others how to do Yoga Therapy.

I teach Yoga Therapy. I teach yoga teachers. I teach a 200-hour yoga teaching training. Zoom was my hardest endeavor for the last few years because I kept my studio alive by doing hybrid. We went totally on Zoom during the COVID. I wasn’t technically inspired. We do everything, whether it’s on Zoom or in the classroom. My best gift is holding space. I’m holding that yoga studio. Now I’m passing the baton a little, trying to get other people to do more Yoga Therapy. We want to bring in psychologists that will be on-site and have the space because I have rooms. We have a big studio and then we have two other offset rooms. One, we want a full-time therapist to then work with us in conjunction with our Yoga Therapy.

OYM Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy | Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy: Most people are slave drivers. To get rid of this toxic mindset, every single day must be lived with patience, acceptance, and forgiveness.

 

Where are you going to get the psychologists? How are they going to be trained?

Yoga teachers. I train them. They’re in my class now. They’re taking my Yoga Therapy. I train them with yoga and they start to understand how powerful this is. A lot of therapists are coming into yoga because of all the somatic work. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was Big Pharma. In the ‘90s, when I was in graduate school, people are finally coming back to recognize we need other alternative ways.

Jumper cables are great. I’m not saying anything negative about pharma in that regard. I truly believe when somebody’s car stops, you need jumper cables, but do we run on jumper cables? No, you need to have prana. You need to have your breath, life force, and hope. You need to have the light on. Most psychologists are coming into yoga. They want these tools of breathing. They want to be able to be well-versed in dialogue about these different kinds of understanding of words and teachings. Psychologists are interested in coming on board

I had PT people in my yoga training. They want more of the breathwork. People don’t realize that after COVID, the one thing that they learned that if you take somebody and turn them onto their belly in a prone position, the lungs expand in the back. They realized that their breath was easier. We’ve known this for thousands of years.

We know so much of where the mind has to place the breathing, how people do not know diaphragmic breathing. They breathe up here. Even if you tell people to exhale, and you exhale only through the mouth or do this cooling, it still dries out the system because there’s no moisture after a while in the mouth. We know that inflammation is prevalent now. Why? It’s because we’re too dry. We don’t have enough moisture.

Look at runners panting breath. We know that stimulates anxiety in the system. People abuse their bodies in ways that are harming. We’re looking at, is it healing or is it harming? That is the question they should ask themselves every day, “Is this action healing or harming? Is this thought healing or harming? Is my speech healing or harming?” It’s thought, speech, and action. Those are the three always where the mind has to fall. People aren’t even conscious of that. They’re too distracted. We’re learning diaphragmatic breathing. If I can do ten minutes of diaphragmic breathing, I can change your life.

I believe that I’ve seen it in my own patients. I’ve had one rather startling example. A man in his late 50s came in and had anxiety. I taught him a breath technique that would slow exhale and hold it at the top a little bit. He came back two weeks later furious at his physician because when he went into his physician, his physician sent him home with a bottle of pills. He reached in his pocket and he pulled out these two pills he had in his clinics. He said, “I’ve carried these around for the past two weeks. I haven’t used a single one. Why didn’t my physician teach me to breathe differently?” That’s not that magic cure for everybody, but it is a powerful tool for everybody.

What’s wrong with our system is it’s isolated. Mental health is over here. No, merge them together. The mind is in the body. Not only that, but the mind has to be in here. It has to feel, not feel your thoughts, not feel your emotions. This is what people are afraid of. Feel the experience of being present to being here. Be consciously in the now. Remember, yoga is a living experience. It’s in the moment. It’s in what’s happening now. I can tell you these tools being present to the experience, to feel and have a safe person with you is better than any physician with a computer, looking at the computer screen and not making contact with you. He has a formula. This is dangerous.

There's no shame in having struggles or being imperfect. We often forget that there is a process to living, and that needs a little forgiveness. Click To Tweet

We run our system on not healing, but preventive measures of your self-protection. Our nature of mind is to self-protect. I will learn stealing and cheating in order to protect. I’m protecting my identity, my things. I’m protecting this identity. This is where we’re in struggle. The ego has been, unfortunately pulled in a direction that’s lost the humanity of humility. We have to get vulnerable. I want to tell you every day, I welcome vulnerability because that’s grace. Every day at my exhale breath, it’s a little letting go. Every time I exhale, let it go. Every inhale, receive the grace of life. Breathe it in. It’s coming. It’s beauty. It’s right here. Exhale. Let go of the outcome.

This is the gift of mindfulness. We know it from mindfulness, but many people cannot sit still. We have to gradually be able to learn, to feel sitting still. You have to move the body first. I can interchange your breath by bringing your arms over your head and bringing them down. I can get more breath in the minute I bring your arms up over your head. If it’s too hard with your shoulders, you breathe where you stop your arm. You don’t reach and bully for the top. You do it gradually.

When the breath stops, that’s where your arm stops. It doesn’t define you as less than. It gives you the grace to be present to where you are. We are too harsh on ourselves. You watch a video of yoga. I can guarantee it’s dangerous. I don’t do any videos because people watch it with their eyes. They’ll copy and they don’t feel it. “I did my yoga today,” and they still hold onto that anger.

The stories I hear from people who are either friends or they’re in therapy with me, and they go to yoga and they have emotional releases on a regular basis. We’ve known it for decades in the Western world. Do you know the work of Dr. John Sarno?

Yes.

Do you know Diederik Wolsak’s work?

Yes.

All that kind of stuff, I would hope and imagine that the psychologists that are going to be training as yoga therapists are going to get exposure to that stuff.

OYM Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy | Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy: Many psychologists are coming into yoga because they want its tools for breathing. They want to be well-versed in dialogue about different kinds of words and teachings.

 

Even the transpersonal psychologist that brought in so much of humanity in the work years ago. We need to get as much knowledge and use these tools to create an environment of synergy that we’re all working together and helping in ways we can and not judging. They’re all different ways and maybe getting to the same place, but whatever people can listen to in here, and everybody’s different, they’re going to hear something from one teacher to another. They’ll hear something from you that they will never hear from me. My whole work now is trying to reach a diverse population.

I grew up blonde and White. I try to reach diversity and bring these in. There are brilliant people in the city out of prisons, trying to bring yoga into the prisons. They’ve created amazing opportunities for people to have these tools. As many people out in the world, giving safe environment and to have these emotional releases is how we’re going to move forward.

If you think about and take a breath and get centered, and if we’re butting up against the end of our time here, what’s an aspect of your work or this interview that we haven’t touched on yet that you’d like to include?

I’d like to include the fact that there’s no shame in having struggles. There’s no shame in not being perfect. That perfection idea that we’ve led so long to achieve, to overdue, to get the outcome, to get that result, that we forget that there is a process to living, that needs a little forgiveness. When kids come in and we have people with all of the addictions and the self-harming, we let go of any kind of shame. This is the hardest part right now because it’s such a hidden place in there. The work of accepting is it’s okay to cry. You come to a yoga class, they always say, “I’m sorry.” It’s like, “No, this is good.”

Tears are purifying. Laughter is purifying. Anything that gets this movement is purifying. The joy should come out of this beautiful gift that we’re moving in a direction of healing. I feel better about things now than I ever have in the world of healing. People are open up to sound. They’re open up to vibrational healing, touch. It’s needed. I’m excited for the future of this work.

It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance and to learn about the work you’re doing there. I look forward to hearing more about how the psychologists are moving into the Yoga Therapy training and the range of curriculum that they get exposed to. I know you have a trip coming up. Blessings on your trip.

Thank you. Bringing fifteen people to Portugal for a yoga treat. I’m bringing a group to Jamaica. If anyone is interested in the retreat in Jamaica, that’s a wonderful environment. We’re up in the mountains. This plantation up in the mountains is lovely. Yoga Among Friends, and that’s how it started. When I came from California to the Midwest, I thought, “I’d be here for a couple of years.” It was all about friendship because it was safe. You have friends at Yoga Among Friends.

Thank you so much for sharing with us. It’s been a blessing.

It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me. Blessings to you.

Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy is the Founder and has been the Owner of Yoga Among Friends in downtown Downers Grove since 1998. Prior to moving to the Midwest, Laura Jane received her Master’s in Clinical Psychology and was a Marriage Family therapist in Los Angeles, California. After moving to Downers Grove, she has been practicing therapy using the tools of yoga. Laura Jane has been changing people’s lives as an accredited yoga therapist and yoga teacher by offering a complete range of yoga classes, as well as one-on-one Yoga Therapy sessions.

Yoga Therapy is a part of a comprehensive therapeutic program intended to improve wellness from a holistic perspective. In Yoga Therapy, a yoga practice is designed for the individual’s own needs. During these sessions, the personalized and evolving yoga practice is created with the therapist for an individual to use at home. It uses the tools of physical movement with breath techniques, sound, meditation, and self-study. Yoga Therapy is any central, alternative, or complementary treatment methodology to biomedical illness-based healthcare.

 

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About Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy

OYM Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy | Yoga TherapyLaura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy is the founder and has been the owner of Yoga Among Friends in Downtown Downers Grove since 1998.

Prior to moving to the Midwest, Laura Jane received her Master’s in Clinical Psychology and was a Marriage Family Therapist in Los Angeles. After moving to Downers Grove, she has been practicing therapy using the tools of yoga.

Laura Jane has been changing people’s lives as an Accredited Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher by offering a complete range of yoga classes as well as one on one Yoga Therapy sessions. Yoga Therapy is part of a comprehensive therapeutic program intended to improve wellness from a holistic perspective.

In Yoga Therapy, a yoga practice is designed for the individual’s own needs. During these sessions, this personalized and evolving yoga practice is created with the therapist for an individual to use at home. It uses the tools of physical movement with breath techniques, sound, meditation, and self-study. Yoga Therapy is an essential alternative or complementary treatment methodology to biomedical, illness-based healthcare.

 

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