A yoga therapist talks improved healthcare for LGBTQ+ clients

In a recent interview with Kerala Ayurveda, Steven Inghram, MS, C-IAYT, shared how holistic medicine and complementary therapies like yoga therapy can—and should—lead the way in LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community) education for healthcare.

LGBTQ+ people are often fearful and call to check whether a place is affirming; that onus shouldn’t be on them,” Inghram emphasized. “Holistic spaces must lead this by providing LGBTQ+ affirming healthcare, speaking the language and combating biases.”

Inghram received homophobic messages from school and the church growing up; as they started accepting themself in college, they experienced panic attacks. This is when Inghram started exploring yoga and Buddhism as a way to understand themself. They went on to train as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist. Now they are studying to be a naturopathic doctor.

“When I started with Yoga Asanas, I realized that moving my body and breathing mindfully had physiological benefits and released stress,” said Inghram. “[M]y Yoga teacher lent the impetus to exploring trauma though I didn’t give it that name in 2012; we were not as trauma informed back then.”

In the interview, Inghram shares more about how wellness centers and professionals can support LGBTQ+ clients. “Adequate, competent and affirming LGBTQ+ professionals are needed and we need to be cognizant that in healthcare, we should do no harm.”

Inghram also offers insight into how yoga therapy frameworks can be used to support healing:

“The Koshas or sheaths innate to the human experience can be used in healing. In the Annamaya Kosha where trauma is embodied physically, the work is to make them feel safe in their bodies. On to the Pranamaya Kosha with healing breathwork, Manomaya Kosha with Yamas, Niyamas and self reflection, Jnanamaya Kosha with therapy, clinical advice in Ayurveda and Yoga therapy which allows one to be connected to their own innate wisdom. Finally, the Anandamaya Kosha where we learn to stand in our truth, empowered and blissful. Even for professionals, this is where we reflect on being loving, compassionate and doing no harm.”

Read the full article here

Check out Steven Inghram’s feature article on caring for gender and sexually expansive communities (LGBTQIA+) in the Winter 2022 issue of Yoga Therapy Today, which will be published in January.