Health Podcast Post

Yoga Therapy with Brandt Passalacqua

George Grombacher March 3, 2022

share close

Yoga Therapy with Brandt Passalacqua

LifeBlood: We talked about Yoga Therapy, what it is, how it’s evolved over the past 30 years, who can benefit from it, and how the process works, with Brandt Passalacqua, Creator of Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy.  

Listen to learn about how to become certified in Yoga Therapy!

You can learn more about Brandt at, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening!  If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and subscribe as well. 

You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact us at contact@LifeBlood.Live.

Invest in yourself. Bring it All Together.

Work with a coach to unlock personal and professional potential.

Our Guests

George Grombacher


Brandt Passalacqua

Episode Transcript

Let’s play. This is George G. And the time is right. Welcome. Today’s guest is strong and powerful. Brett Passalacqua. Brandt, are you ready to do this? I am ready. Nice to be a George. Yeah, I’m excited to have you on. Brandt is the creator of breathing deeply yoga therapy. He’s working to help people deal with living in our new normal brand. Tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do?

Brandt Passalacqua 0:38
Sure, well, I’m,

I’m a normal ish person in Western Massachusetts with a family.

You know, I’m deeply invested in yoga, as you might guess, from the title. But I’m a yoga therapist, which means I work with people

I got here from, you know, having a challenge in my life that led me to, you know, using this stuff, and now I share it with others. And I’ve been doing that for about 20 years. Nice. Well, what was the challenge?

So looking for help there, I got into yoga, and particular practice basically saved my life. And then, you know, I was hooked, I just, you know, I’m kind of an intense guy. So I got really, really into it took every trading on the planet, and eventually found a yoga therapy teacher, which was not a new thing, but a new thing in this country, there was only two or three people teaching in the US.

And so I learned how to apply yoga skills to different kinds of diseases and mental health conditions. So that’s, that’s my passion, you know, I got into it that way. And ever since then, I’ve been helping people, you know, be better people, I will say, just for your audience to part of our part of what we do as yoga therapist is use the same model to get people to live like sort of optimal lifestyles. So I’ve also worked with a lot of kind of high performing individuals.

and some other practices most people probably haven’t heard of, and using those four in a particular way for the person in front of you. So you might come in, you’re like, I have a lot of anxiety or like, here’s how you move. Here’s how you breathe. Here’s how you chat. Somebody else comes in says, Oh, I have lupus. And we say, Okay, here’s these like restorative techniques. And here’s how you move a new breeze. So sort of like the way one thing people might be more familiar with maybe is acupuncture or something like that, where they’re not gonna put the needles in the same place, right, depending on what’s wrong with you. So we don’t apply the techniques in the same way.

george grombacher 0:00
Come on

Brandt Passalacqua 1:28
Well, for me, I had a lot of challenges. But, you know, I had a big challenge was a health challenge when I was about 3050, where I got an autoimmune disease that didn’t have a cure. So I ended up dying in the hospital, basically. That was right before 911. So I got to the hospital in September 10. So I woke up, I lived in New York, so I woke up the next day to that. So it was a really interesting time. Yeah, but so I found yoga that way, before that I had been a musician, which was great. But the great part was, I used a lot of substances and traveled all the time, and had a big anxiety disorder and a lot of stuff in my life I hadn’t dealt with so. And in addition to all that I was obese, so it wasn’t going well. You know, they say, in western medicine, they’re like, I don’t know, this just came out of nowhere. But like, looking back, clearly. There were some issues with my lifestyle.

And helping them be more high performing. Say, they would probably be more articulate, and that’s why they’re CEOs. But we also do that as well. Sometimes

george grombacher 3:35
we get it nice. What, what is the, the, the the particular type of yoga.

Brandt Passalacqua 3:42
So it’s not a type of yoga. So yoga therapy is taking yoga techniques, which are like the movement stuff, you always see breath, meditation, chanting, philosophy,

And so it was all theory and like, sort of tradition for a long time. And now there’s a lot of Western research on us, the government’s and on it, the VA isn’t on it. So it’s great. We have a lot of research backing up what we’ve always known to be true.

george grombacher 4:46
It’s the first time in a long time Brant that anybody said the government’s in on it, and it’s great.

Brandt Passalacqua 4:51
It’s great. I mean, they’re not so yeah, I’m sure they’ll ruin it. actually eventually, but right now, they occasionally throw a few dollars at research.

george grombacher 5:05
At this point, they’re making a monetary commitment to it, which is is absolutely a positive thing. Right? Perfect.

Brandt Passalacqua 5:12
So out of our pockets back to them and back in our pocket, sort of right?

george grombacher 5:15
Yes, yes. But you mentioned that you found yoga, but you found a particular discipline that really got you passionate about it first. Well, I

Brandt Passalacqua 5:24
found a practice though, a teacher taught me something called Yoga Nidra, which is a meditation technique you do lying on your back, and it’s guided. So like I say, it’s easy, but it’s not when people think of like you’re not sitting, you know, for 10 days straight on a meditation bench. And the prognosis of my condition was really not good. It’s like a little, eventually we’ll take out organs. And, you know, it was it was not going to end well. And I did this practice almost full time for a year because I couldn’t really sit up. And it completely changed my health. And I’ve never had a relapse or so that got me really interested. Also, why would that work? As anyone would write, why does this work? And now we know that, you know, the western parts been great, because now we know it changes your brainwave states changes how your body heals. It does a lot of things that you can kind of point to, you know, in a way that, you know, we would understand the way we grew up.

george grombacher 6:22
Yeah, I imagine that, that that makes your job? Does that make your job easier now that there is for lack of a better term, some traditional science behind it?

Brandt Passalacqua 6:34
Yeah, a little bit, you know, when I get a client, you know, when we run a practicum, at our school, we get all these clients, and you’re, you know, we have people who are Yoga people, and we have people who are like, truck drivers, and whatever, you know, just working people, and they’re like, why would I do this every day? You know, what I have found, though, even before the science because in the last 20 years, it’s really changed. When I started, there was hardly any. And, you know, what I have found is people are actually willing to try all sorts of things. So I have never really had a problem getting people to do what was considered weird now. I think I just read the stat 33 million people feel good to us, which is like, really a lot, you know. But it wasn’t always that way. You know, people would come in it say, Oh, can you help me? I started doing a lot of obesity work, and helping people with that. And the things that go with it, diabetes, etc. And neuropathy. And, you know, people never heard of it. And I had lost 100 pounds, and kept it off. So people are like, Yeah, I’ll try. Literally, yeah, I’ll do anything,

george grombacher 7:43
which is, which is super positive. Nice. Okay. Well, if there’s, I think that sometimes using an example like, like people that are obese, they say, okay, yeah, I’ve tried diets. I’ve tried, you know, working out at XYZ gym, it’s just not working on yo yoing, or whatever the case may be. Somebody walks or finds breathing, deeply yoga. And

Brandt Passalacqua 8:11
yeah, they usually don’t just walk right in, but that would be we should have storefronts that would be great.

george grombacher 8:15
Right? This is so so so. So people are searching for alternative methods of overcoming obesity, and they they come across you, and you have a consultation with them. What does that typically look like?

Brandt Passalacqua 8:30
Yeah, so it’s the first time it’s a talk. And the thing about yoga therapy is we’re always looking for balance. So to obese people are not the same, right? Like one person is obese has no idea how to eat, you know, has a sedentary lifestyle, all the things you hear you know, and and probably think of when you think of obese people, the next person, you know, has like math, and this is very typical, like massive amounts of trauma in their life. Or maybe they have a thyroid problem. Or maybe you know, there’s so many reasons to get there. One person gained three pounds a year for 20 years, and now they’re 60 pounds overweight. And another person you know, was always heavy. And so yoga like the way we yoga therapy has always looked at this individual’s we have like methods where we kind of type people but it’s across. Yeah, it’s a whole ru Vedic method. But we look at people differently. And so way back, you know, or your VEDA people were thinking about genetics, basically, but they didn’t like obviously know about genetics, because they didn’t have the instruments, but they were still looking at people as different. So we look at people we do a huge intake of like, we want to know everything about you, and how you got to where you are. And then we set up on the path of getting you to where you need to be. Now in the case of obesity, of course, there’s food right and lifestyle stuff involved. But the question yoga therapists always ask themselves is what’s the way I’m going to get this person to person minutely change their mind, in terms of how their brain works, so they can sustain whatever changes they make. Because we know, right? I mean, anybody can lose weight, every obese person has lost 20 pounds. I mean, you know, just don’t eat much for a while, and then you can’t sustain it. So we’re way more concerned with habit change. So that applies to obesity, but that it applies to a lot of things, right? Like, how do I, you know, how do I get my mind to work the way I want it to so that, you know, eventually I get out of the behaviors that have landed me here, whether that’s binge eating, you know, whether that’s just not living in the way I need to, and we know now, and I’m sure this will resonate with you and everybody else, like, you know, for a lot of people when they don’t see light in the morning, which is like, you know, everybody’s known this right? Forever, they just didn’t deal with it 2000 years ago, because you kind of had to see light in the morning. You know, your brain does all sorts of things. So a yoga therapist might start there and be like, Okay, let’s get your schedule together. We don’t just say like, Okay, do five headstands a day, you’re gonna eat balance, right? So we have a lot of like, nuances to how we work with people in terms of lifestyle, to get them to be able to actualize on the choices that

george grombacher 11:12
they make. How can I get this person to permanently change their mind? Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s kind of the trick. Right?

Brandt Passalacqua 11:21
Is that is the trick? Yes, it’s habit change is, is I would say, 80% of my work, the rest of its ease, you know, but the, you know, the step by step, like, how are you moving forward, and we do it with obesity. And I do it, you know, I get people post PT, I mean, all the time, I work with people that have been to four PTS, and they’re not better. And usually I’m, when I’m successful, it’s because I start at a smaller place. You know, I dial it way back, because I’ve been doing this long enough to know, you know, that this person has to make change much more incrementally. And so my job is to kind of to pitch that it’s like, we’re gonna go really slow. But in six months, you’re going to be totally better. Are you in? Instead of let’s try to fix this problem in four weeks, which is what we all want, but it doesn’t usually work.

george grombacher 12:12
No, it doesn’t. And so that setting the expectation upfront, if they say, No, then then you just well, okay, well, you’re, you’re not in a position to probably fix this.

Brandt Passalacqua 12:24
Right? Or I can’t help you. I mean, I don’t know how to fix, you know, your chronic back pain from the last 12 years, in three weeks, you know, we don’t, that’s not the job we do, you know, and to say, with mental health conditions, you know, we all want to be out of suffering. But obesity is actually another good example. It’s like, what if I told you two years from now, you know, your weight and the way you felt about your body and the way your your energy levels? And all that would be completely different? You know, and at first people go, No, I want the 30 days. That guy, but I’m like, but you’ve already read all those books. And they didn’t work. You know, so we take you through a process, you know, it took you 17 years to get obese and will unwind it into it’s a pretty good. It’s a good system.

george grombacher 13:12
Yeah, yeah, there’s no doubt Yeah. And you don’t even have to take any pills.

Brandt Passalacqua 13:17
And you don’t have to take any pills. You know, we don’t we don’t set ourselves up is like anti medicine or anything, you know, anti Western medicine, we kind of just people do the yoga therapy. And like in mental health conditions, for instance, often you see people dialing back, like depression and anxiety medication on their own with their doctors, like we don’t even we don’t have much to say about it. But they just start feeling much better and much more stable. And then, you know, like I said, like a year later, they’re like, Oh, I’m off my meds.

george grombacher 13:50
Look at that. Yeah. And I appreciate that everybody’s different. Is there a frequency that you normally like to check in with people talk to them? Is it weekly, it’s

Brandt Passalacqua 14:02
condition based, so But usually, it looks like, you know, people come in for a problem, and we might have a series of appointments, to teach them the practices, we want to teach them and get them there’s a skill set, right? Like, if I’m teaching you how to do a breathing practice for your anxiety might take you a few, a few lessons to get good at it. Right. And then once that happens, that usually starts to space out. You know, we’re mostly private pay, we are in hospitals and other places, but as private day practitioners, you know, we try to I train my students, I do this too, I try to be really efficient. So I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. So a lot of times, you know, the same three times, I’ll say, Okay, next month, I’ll see you and if that’s going well, I’ll see you in two months, like that. And then you have people with you know, more intense conditions that require a little more, you know, time but we do the best we can and then you also find yoga therapist, like you know, the VA hired 500 You’ll get there because they’re mostly doing PTSD work with vets, so you’ll find them teaching groups. So you’ll see you’ll get therapists and like institutions in that way.

george grombacher 15:09
So when you started, there were like three yoga therapists. And now there’s how many?

Brandt Passalacqua 15:13
Well, yeah, there were three teachers. You know, I don’t know that people were scattered doing this and that, and now there’s, like our schools, part of the IoT, which is an international organization that accredits schools and colleges, and there are 4000 people accredited in that program on Earth. So not that many, you know, it’s no, it’s still small, but, you know, probably in school is another 4000. Now, so, you know, it’s kind of doubling rapidly. That’s how I see it. Yeah. You can find yoga therapists, if you look

george grombacher 15:47
such a positive thing, and know that the positive impact that yoga has and how passionate people get into it, it’s for people that have done like a teacher training, which I imagine is fairly common, this is common. And so you do that you say, this is great, I love it. But now I’m interested in advancing for lack of a better term and looking at yoga therapy. What is the program look like?

Brandt Passalacqua 16:14
Yeah, so that’s, those are our students. So you take a teacher training, we have one every, you know, ours is run by a yoga therapist. But a lot of people get into yoga, they’re like, I want to help people, and they teach yoga classes, and they’re super beneficial. And then, of course, your students come up to you. And they’re like, I have this and I have that and you’re not trained on any of that. So in our school, these programs are in the 800 plus hours. So our, the fastest you could do our program is two and a half years. There’s about I don’t know how many schools there are now maybe 60 schools accredited, as yoga therapy schools. So yoga therapists, yoga teachers come in and they learn those skills. The way we set it up, it’s very modular. So people could come in and they take a seminar, they take our foundations course they lots of people spend five or six years doing the whole program just to, you know, keep it easy. On themselves. We were actually the first school that was online and recorded an online yoga therapy course, about 10 years ago. Because I said, Oh my gosh, there’s no online yoga therapy schools. This is crazy. Because most yoga got most yoga teachers, but so many are like, right, like moms with three kids and like how they splits to fly to Bali and learn yoga. For four weeks. I don’t think that’s gonna happen. It seems impractical. Yeah, a little bit. I did it that way. I followed my teacher around, but I was young. And you know, unencumbered,

george grombacher 17:37
right. Yeah. Nice. Okay, cool. So I love it. I’d love to have you back on to sort of dig into this more. But this was a this was a great initial conversation and a great introduction to yoga therapy. I did not I did not realize that, that it was a thing. So Brad, I appreciate you coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they help?

Brandt Passalacqua 18:04
Well, my website is breathing, deeply calm. The one thing I’d like to pitch why I’m here is that we have a practicum, which is all of our advanced students helping people and it’s free. So if you need help, and we’re especially suited, because that’s mostly online, because you know, people are all over the country. But if you have a chronic condition that you can’t solve, or a mental health condition that you’ve been working with for years, that’s a great place to come. So if you go to breathing, deeply calm, and follow links to our practicum you can get help there. So we’re happy to help you. And we work with, we probably bring in five or 10 new people a week, like every single week, so

george grombacher 18:45
we’re happy to work with you. Awesome. Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did, show your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, go to breathing deeply calm. And check out the great resources take advantage of the program that he just mentioned and the sounds of interest to you. Explore, explore pursuing further. Thanks good, Brett.

Brandt Passalacqua 19:07
Great. Thanks so much, George. Appreciate it.

george grombacher 19:09
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and we’d be grateful if you’d subscribe as well.

You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook.

Our Manifesto

We’re here to help others get better so they can live freely without regret
Believing we’ve each got one life, it’s better to live it well and the time to start is now If you’re someone who believes change begins with you, you’re one of us We’re working to inspire action, enable completion, knowing that, as Thoreau so perfectly put it “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Let us help you invest in yourself and bring it all together.

Feed your life-long learner by enrolling in one of our courses.

Invest in yourself and bring it all together by working with one of our coaches.

If you’d like to be a guest on the show, or you’d like to become a Certified LifeBlood Coach or Course provider, contact us at Contact@LifeBlood.Live.

Please note- The Money Savage podcast is now the LifeBlood Podcast. Curious why? Check out this episode and read this blog post!

We have numerous formats to welcome a diverse range of potential guests!

  • Be Well- for guests focused on overall wellness
  • Book Club-for authors
  • Brand-for guests focused on marketing
  • Complete-for guests focused on spirituality
  • Compete-for competitors, sports, gaming, betting, fantasy football
  • Create-for entrepreneurs
  • DeFi-for guests focused on crypto, blockchain and other emerging technologies
  • Engage-for guests focused on personal development/success and leadership
  • Express-for journalists/writers/bloggers
  • General-for guests focused on finance/money topics
  • Lifestyle-for guests focused on improving lifestyle
  • Maximize-for guests focused on the workplace
  • Numbers-for accounting and tax professionals
  • Nurture-for guests focused on parenting
  • REI-for guests focused on real estate

Feed your Life-Long Learner

Get what you need to get where you want to go

Rate it
Previous post