In discussion with Alex Ivetic – Yoga for Anxiety & Depression
Mathew Bergan from Dancing Warrior Yoga in discussion with yoga therapist Alex Ivetic
M.B. I am curious to know why you gravitated towards yoga therapy and in particular yoga for anxiety and depression.
A.I. My approach is simple, methodical and intuitive.
The most important part of this work is to ensure that the students feel comfortable and safe in the environment.
Secondly I feel that using traditional practices are crucial, as they have been practiced for thousands of years. Whether they are mantras, mudras, breath work, meditation or yoga postures. I believe that this work is necessary for self-healing, self-awareness, self study on and off the mat and through our learning time after time, and to surrender to reality as it is. As we work together in-group we slowly begin to dissolve the armoring that separates us from who we really are.
It is very hard to deactivate the mind and its constant commentary of thoughts – so this work assists us in getting in touch with our body, feelings and also our thoughts. Once we have connected to them we let them go, become present breath and feel a sense of relief and comfort.
M.B. I sense that this area of specialization is sensitive to discuss to the larger community. What are your feelings on this?
A.I. That’s a very interesting question. The moment we feel that something doesn’t feel “normal” we feel that the world will judge us and then of course we feel separate from the world.
In my experience people who are suffering from anxiety or depression feel very isolated and feel that they will not be heard, understood or accepted by others regardless. They sometimes feel ‘less than’ or ashamed by what they are going through given our societies preoccupation with the super strong and flawless individual. This is why it is often a sensitive subject. However, in reality anxiety and depression are no more abnormal than the common cold. Some people are more susceptible to colds, ‘a bad knee’ or anxiety etc than others. Whether our perceived ‘weakness’ primarily physical, emotional or mental, management is all about prevention, learning to watch for the first signs and treatment of symptoms.
M.B. How have people been hearing about your work?
A.I. Having graduated as a Yoga Therapist I took it upon myself to approach yoga studios, care centers and clinics. I teach many students one on one work in a room at my home and also spend my leisure time as a keen contributor writer in the Australian Yoga Journal.
M.B. Where you have been mostly running your successful courses in Sydney?
A.I. I began this journey working for Sydney Clinic based in Bronte and also at Concord Yoga Studio. I had officially graduated as a Yoga therapist and was passionate about helping those who needed guidance and a place to feel safe to “be themselves”.
M.B What are your successes and failures in your line of work?
A.I. Every single student will experience a moment of oneness, peace and presence in their lives, however most have been disconnected to this experience, either for a short time or a long time. This work allows them to reintegrate the experience so that “the moment” is experienced more and more and that gives the individual inner faith and also inner happiness that it is possible. This is how I would measure success in this line of work.
There are however no failures. Every attempt should be rewarded. It is very important to note that the student must take responsibility for wanting to feel better in every day life and participating in this work takes times, commitment and strong will.
M.B Do people need to be experiencing anxiety and depression to attend your workshops or can anyone attend?
A.I This course is designed for people who are experiencing discomfort in this area. They may have experienced either anxiety or depression for a long or short period. While the exact cause of depression isn’t known, a number of things can be associated with its development. Generally, depression does not result from a single event, but from a combination of events and other longer-term or personal factors. Research suggests that continuing difficulties such as long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness or prolonged exposure to stress at work, are more likely to cause depression than single recent life events. However, recent events (such as losing a job) or a combination of events can ‘trigger’ depression in people who are already at risk because of past bad experiences or personal factors.
M.B Where do you see your work at in 5 years time?
A.I Once again a great question. I prefer to use the words “to have faith”. I have faith that the benefits and practice of yoga therapy will become greater known, widespread and accessible to the public.
I hope that the successes of yoga therapy and other complimentary therapies gain government recognition through bulk billing and are increasingly acknowledged in rebates through private health insurance.
Alex has always had a deep desire to travel the spiritual path of self-discovery and self- development. This has led Alex not only embracing yoga, meditation and other healing modalities for her own evolution, but also dedicating her life to making these ancient teachings accessible to others yearning for balance, transformation and fulfilment in our modern world. Alex’s unique ability is in using yoga to help others reveal their true nature and reach their full potential so that we may all live a life full of love, presence, inspiration, authenticity and freedom.
Alex has practiced yoga asana for over 15 years and has studied yoga (in its various forms) widely in various Ashrams throughout India.
Alex gained her formal yoga teacher qualifications in hatha yoga, advanced yoga, pre/post-natal yoga, anatomy and physiology, and yoga therapy from Katie Spiers (over 450 hours), Donna Farhi (400 hours) and the Australian Institute of Yoga Therapy (Leigh Blashki, Annette Loudon, Sal Flynn and Liz Bennett, 368 hours). Alex has received asana training under Donna Farhi, David Roche and R. Sharath Jois, who continue to offer her guidance and learning. Alex also finds ongoing inspiration in the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, Ram Das and Richard Freeman, amongst others on the yogic path.
Alex has taught yoga for over ten years to individuals and groups on a private basis as well as in studios, workplaces, retreats and rehabilitation clinics. She also offers corporate workshops in yoga, mindfulness and related teachings.