The old one-dimensional female archetypes -- the soccer mom, the starving artist, the successful-but-lonely boss lady -- are dead. Women are creating new, multidimensional archetypes and defying stereotypes. The most fulfilled women are constantly creating in multiple areas of their lives, whereas burnout often happens when we feel like the routine of our day job is all we have time for. The Archetypal Woman Series is a tribute to inspiring women who rearrange time and space to explore and excel in a range of activities. May their stories encourage you to expand into your own uniqueness for the benefit of you and everyone in your orbit.
Editor's note: An intelligent society is one that remains open to trying new things. It's a collection of people who realize we always have more to learn. Given that one in ten Americans is prescribed an antidepressant, and millions more report consistent feelings of depression and anxiety, it behooves us to consider creative ways to ease the suffering.
As a therapist, Natalia works on the front lines. Her own experience of the positive benefits of Kundalini Yoga led her to overhaul her practice to share these potent tools with her clients. As she shares below, the results have been fast and effective. ~ Mary Margaret
What made you decide to become a therapist?
I have always wanted to help people. In particular, when I was young, I went through some early childhood trauma during my parents' divorce and moving to the US from Argentina when I was four. I was pretty shut down to the pain of what I was going through, but even as a child I knew I wanted to help kids who were struggling and in pain. I started my career as a counselor in the public schools and now I work with adults.
You are now a Kundalini Yoga instructor and share practices from this tradition with your clients. Why do you believe these practices are helpful for people seeking therapy?
Kundalini Yoga (KY) practices are the fastest and most effective practices I have ever done, and I had been a Buddhist in the Tibetan tradition for over fifteen years. Given that KY practices are so effective in a short amount of time, it is an easier sell to clients because I have them start at three minutes per day. The accessibility of this makes it hard to say no to and as a result people gain impactful experiences quickly.
What kind of transformations have you seen in clients who apply the Kundalini Yoga practice you give them?
Honestly, the list is endless. SO many! People break patterns they had not been able to break for years because they started a Kundalini practice daily. They stop addictive behavior and thoughts, they get better and more upgraded jobs, attract healthy relationships, stop stressing out and letting anxiety and depression dominate. College students gain healthy habits and stay out of the party zone and learn how to value themselves. On and on…..
Has Kundalini Yoga helped you become a more effective therapist?
Yes! I have something to offer that is tangible and accessible so I can give highly valuable “homework”. But more importantly, I have deep relationships with the practices I give and they help me in my life, so I speak and share from experience and certainly that they work. Energetically, I have more to give because my conscious mind is dominating and this makes me more intuitive, intelligent and positive.
Do you feel there are limitations with traditional talk therapy? Do you still find talk therapy helpful?
I feel there are limitations to traditional talk therapy if that is all that is offered. Talking is helpful and I do talk therapy as well. People want and need to talk and there is nothing wrong with that. But more is needed in order to break lifelong patterns and that requires a daily practice that activates the conscious mind, which is what Kundalini Yoga offers. When the two are combined, people can get support in maintaining their daily practice and also receive counseling, until they feel they no longer need the guidance.
Are there common themes people are struggling with when they come to see you? What seems to weigh on people the most these days?
I see many young people, so breaking free from the parents is a huge theme for them, in particular because the generation gap is widening. People of all ages, though, are struggling so much with guilt and shame in their lives. Mostly guilt. Guilt that comes from parents imposing their beliefs on the kids, of all ages.
People are living under the boot of the parents and not living genuine to their own wishes. They are caught between trying to please and trying to be happy, which does not work. Guilt can dominate and become a bully, causing people to feel bad about themselves and anxious and limit their desires and success.
Anxiety is huge in all ways. People are so overloaded and afraid of failing that they get in their own way and lose energy being anxious with no way out, unless they begin to change the pattern.
Substance abuse is a huge topic for people. Many people do not want to drink, for example, yet it's all they know and they find it hard to break out of that. Many college students I see want healthier lives yet do not know how to make friends outside of the popular culture. It takes courage to do something different.
What do you want people to know about how they can take care of their mental health?
It is not that difficult at all. We have been programmed to think that if we want to change patterns and be happy, it will take a lot of work and we have to be in therapy for 40 years. This is simply not true, and more and more people are seeing that inner wisdom can shine through and be a guiding light on the lives we lead. The idea that someone or something outside of ourselves will save us is also an old program that needs to be dismantled and replaced with a daily practice that elevates us above our old habits so that the true conscious self can emerge.
We have also been programmed to think that healing means focusing on our problems and traumas. Again, that is not true. We cannot heal by staying in the past. We can understand what happened to us so that we have some level of insight and compassion, but after that, the change comes in having a conscious mind that is dominant over the old patterns that are mostly survival-oriented.
Literally, I have seen many lives changed with as little as a three-minute practice and this is real. The commitment to doing something daily is the beginning of that change. The idea that we can commit to ourselves rather than commit to the negativity in the mind is a step forward. We just keep taking steps forward each day, and then suddenly we feel different and we feel in control of ourselves, and then we are in charge of our own mental health.
Natalia is a psychotherapist and Kundalini Yoga teacher who has been deepening her relationship to her own higher wisdom since her teenage years. She is inspired by places and spaces that break the cultural norms and get to the truth of life situations. You can learn more about her work on her website, on Instagram @ aquariancounseling, on Facebook and on Youtube.
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