Treating the whole person

Camas woman offers Holistic Yoga Therapy at studio

(Dawn Feldhaus/Post-Record) Moriah Diederich, a holistic yoga therapist, guides Sarah Coomber through a relaxing restorative yoga pose at Yoga Mojo, in East Vancouver. Diederich, of Camas, said the restorative pose can help calm the nervous system, aid in digestion and contribute to an overall feeling of peace.

(Dawn Feldhaus/Post-Record) Holistic Yoga Therapist Moriah Diederich (right), owner of Yoga Mojo, shows client Sarah Coomber (left), a self-care technique to help release tension in the lower back and alleviate pain. Diederich, of Camas, opened Yoga Mojo in January of 2018.

A Camas woman who experienced relief of chronic hip and shoulder pain through Holistic Yoga Therapy™, seeks to help others through the same movements and techniques.
Moriah Diederich, who opened Yoga Mojo and Movement Therapy studio in January of 2018, said the theory behind Holistic Yoga Therapy™ is that she treats the individual as a whole, not as separate parts.
“If a person is suffering from chronic low back pain, I look at them in their entirety — body, mind and breath — to find where the imbalances might be. I don’t just treat their low back.”
Diederich, a certified Holistic Yoga Therapist™, customizes one-on-one yoga sessions based on a person’s physical and emotional well-being.
“I have many clients who are in great need of stress relief, so we practice an hour of restorative yoga to help calm the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system and re-engage the rest and digest parasympathetic nervous system,” she said.
Diederich described restorative yoga as “sleep stretching,” when a client holds a pose for three to five minutes, while being supported by blankets or bolsters.
“The poses are not forced,” she said. “They allow the body to calm down.”
Diederich, 40, also teaches self-care techniques so clients can practice yoga at home.
For a new client, Diederich conducts a full postural analysis and reviews how they are moving throughout the day — walking, sitting, standing — that may be contributing to pain, injury or illness.
She also looks at a person’s breathing patterns.
“Every day you take an average of 20,000 breaths, and the way you breathe has a big impact on your health and well-being,” Diederich said.
During each session, she and a client practice mindful breathing and various breathing exercises, known as Pranayama in the world of yoga.
Diederich said the breathing practices — combined with specific movements customized to a person’s needs and abilities — can be extremely empowering and beneficial.
Therapeutic yoga can increase the range of motion and provide relief from pain in the neck, back, hips, legs, knees, feet, shoulders and wrists, according to Diederich. She said it can also help clients with anxiety and depression.
Diederich introduced Sarah Coomber to holistic yoga therapy in the fall of 2016, when they were co-workers at Educational Service District 112.
Coomber said Diederich showed her ways that her posture and/or movement were contributing to issues with her back and hip. Diederich also gave Coomber exercises to alleviate discomfort and strengthen muscles.
Coomber said because of the time she spends with Diederich, she makes adjustments to her posture when she is sitting, standing or moving, to be more consistently comfortable.
Coomber said Diederich facilitates self-healing by helping her clients become aware of places where their postures or movements might be causing unnecessary pressure and then teaching them how to change those problem areas so they feel better.
Coomber said learning from Diederich is among the things that inspired her to begin studying yoga more seriously, and she recently finished yoga instructor training.
Graphic designer changes careers
Diederich, a former graphic designer, became interested in holistic yoga therapy after she experienced only partial pain relief by receiving massage, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments for chronic hip and shoulder pain.
After working at a desk for 18 years, she woke up with pain in the middle of the night and could not enjoy walking with her husband and their dog anymore.
“I had to take baby steps from my car to the office because my hips hurt so badly, and I was only 36 years old at the time,” Diederich said.
While practicing yoga in January of 2016, she thought of her father’s yoga studio in Dana Point, California. He works with clients privately on an individual basis, and specializes in neuromuscular massage and Pilates training.
Diederich wondered if teaching yoga to people one-on-one existed, and she discovered Annie Adamson, of Yoga Union, in Portland, and scheduled a private holistic yoga therapy session with her.
Diederich said the experience changed her life.
“I learned new ways to move and breathe, and the aches and pains I had been so debilitated by quickly began to subside,” she said.
Diederich decided to change her career and study with Adamson. After nearly two years of training, Diederich is a certified Holistic Yoga Therapist™, Registered Yoga Teacher with 500 hours of training and an Accessible Yoga Ambassador.
She has trained with Leslie Kaminoff in Yoga Anatomy and Breath-Centered Yoga Therapeutics and Jules Mitchel in Yoga Biomechanics and Asana, as well as Self Care Training in The Role Model® Method: The Science of Rolling with Jill Miller.
Diederich said her work is also greatly influenced by biomechanist and alignment expert Katie Bowman and cultural posture and ergonomics expert Esther Gokhale. In March of 2018, she completed teacher trainings in Primal Vinyasa with Adamson and Accessible Yoga with Jivana Heyman.
Yoga Mojo and Movement Therapy is located at 108 S.E. 124th Ave., Ste. 18, Vancouver. For more information, call 360-833–0617, email or visit