A new yoga studio opened up late last year in Maple Grove. Before you say, “ho-hum,” listen up: This is Healthwise Studio, a yoga psychology studio.
“In yoga psychology, a psychologist who is also a registered yoga teacher helps you use the internal ‘space’ created by yoga and meditation,” say studio co-owners Kristin Dahl and Anna Schupp. “Yoga psychology involves a trained professional verbally cuing you to have an internal reflection process geared toward self-understanding.” Dahl and Schupp are both licensed clinical psychologists and certified yoga teachers. They note that their process doesn’t involve actual dialogue the same way traditional talk therapy does.
Friends, business partners and co-workers, Dahl and Schupp say they are the first to integrate yoga and psychology in precisely the combination found at Healthwise Studio. “While some yoga psychology practice is more therapy oriented,” Schupp says, “this is like bringing the psychologist to the mat.” And the “mindfulness” aspect? Dahl says, “Mindfulness is a way to create a space that is not reactive. It’s a learnable, cognitive skill, where you slow down your automatic reactions so you can actually choose what your response will be in an emotional situation.” Adds Schupp, “It’s an objectivity about your own thoughts.”
The women’s new, beautiful and peaceful practice space is only a block away from their other venture, Healthwise Behavioral Health and Wellness Clinic. There, they provide traditional psychological services including assessment, medication management and talk therapy. In the studio, however, it’s a different story. Zen-like music floats through the welcoming waiting area, competing only with sounds of a wall-mounted waterfall behind the reception desk. Walls are painted in cool shades of gray; floors are dark, planked wood. There is soft, floor-level lighting and dimmable, globe-shaped paper lanterns.
The education room is spacious and comfortably furnished. “We can accommodate 16 to 20 people in here,” Dahl says. They use the space for a variety of different workshops, including biofeedback, a practice in which Dahl has six years of experience and expertise. “Biofeedback is a natural way of calming your own nervous system,” she explains. Using equipment to measure heart rhythms, biofeedback allows a person to recognize and regulate stress effects.
Two additional rooms in the studio are used for yoga psychology and meditation. Each yoga instructor emphasizes the self-study concept. “We all grow and change in life,” Dahl says. “It’s healthy to reflect.” Different instructors might gravitate towards different themes for their classes, including, for example, letting go, or forgiveness. The studio is also developing themed class series such as Mindfulness, Discovering Your Happiness and Pathways to Self-Discovery. In no case, assures Dahl, are participants expected to contribute to any kind of discussion. “It’s still very internal,” she says. “There’s no demand for sharing.”
Nutritional counseling is also available for individuals, couples, families and children. Calling it “purposeful” or “functional” nutrition, Dahl says they try to get past looking at “just calorie restrictions and food groups.” Every effort is made to evaluate personal history as well as individual biochemistry, to get a picture of the “whole person, and what is unique about them.”
Individual drop-in yoga classes are $20 per session, and as low as $15 per session with a class pass. Children and adolescents, as well as adults, are welcome. Check the online schedule for the free open sit meditation sessions, perfect for learning how “to do” meditation, Dahl says.
“It’s not just the mind that informs the body. There’s more and more evidence that it goes the other way, too,” Schupp says. //
11110 86th Ave. N.