Yoga Therapy with Marta Gil
Using an ancient
art as a modern wellness tool
By Susan R. Eisenstein
As a yoga therapist, Marta Gil works simultaneously on body and mind, looking for imbalances at all levels—physical, energetic, conscious and subconscious—and makes sure all the planes are connected. She believes that every person has a story. Sometimes it’s a big story.
Her own story begins in Poland, where she was born; she now lives in Yorktown. She has long experience with yoga and yoga therapy. Her yoga background is in the Sivananda Yoga tradition, and she is a 500-hour experienced teacher (E-RYT 500) with Yoga Alliance. Marta is also a registered children's yoga teacher; a health coach (she trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition); and a yoga therapist (she graduated from an advanced program with Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy School, which is accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists).
Although yoga is considered an ancient art, yoga therapy is a relatively new field, Gil says. She works mostly one on one with clients, teaching them how to use yoga and mindfulness techniques to manage pain, stress, anxiety and autoimmune conditions. Some of the other common conditions she works with are depression, lack of connection, insomnia, cancer, low energy, grief, weight loss and problems with focus. Often she works in tandem with the client’s primary care doctor, physical therapist or other health professional.
The techniques Gil uses include breath work, meditation, relaxation methods, and postures indicated for the individual’s specific health issue or health goal. She can also help people adjust their lifestyle and diet.
“This is not something that I can do in a yoga class,” Gil says. “In a yoga class it’s impossible to be mindful of all people’s contraindications. Yoga classes can be therapeutic, but they are not therapy.”
She works in a trauma-sensitive way.
“I give my clients safe, doable practices aligned with their spiritual or religious orientation, or lack thereof, and that fit their schedule and lifestyle,” she says. “This is very important because I am a guide; it’s my client's journey.”
After setting a goal or goals with her clients, Gil meets with them weekly or biweekly to see what works and what doesn’t. Her goal is to give them knowledge and tools and to help them become comfortable with them.
Yoga therapy isn’t a class—it’s a journey, she says. Her goal is to empower her clients to help themselves and self-regulate, to give them agency over their health.
“I’m a guide,” she says again. “I provide them with a map and teach them how to drive, so they don’t need me anymore.”