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Workshops and Events

Yoga Teacher Training 200 hr

The second round of Yoga Teacher Training is happening this fall.

For the autumn, I’ve created a part-time evening and weekend program that will fit into your busy life. Here’s the deal:

You get an unlimited membership at Taiga Yoga (valid until December) to do your practice, and then three evenings per week, we meet as a group to discuss the history, philosophy and modern application of yoga. We’ll also practice teach, examine how to teach different populations and practice seva (community service) and kirtan (chanting).

Sept 30 – Dec 14, 2019

Mon/Thur/Fri 630-10pm

Saturdays 830-1130am

More information is here 

Autumn 2019 (2)

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Yoga Yoga Teacher Training Yoga Therapy YTT Blog

Thoughts for Yoga Teachers – explaining yoga as therapy

The practice of yoga is therapeutic. Anyone who has practiced yoga will agree with this statement, but the idea of “yoga therapy” is contentious. In January 2016, the Yoga Alliance requested that any yoga school remove the terms “yoga therapy” and “yoga therapist” from their title. This instruction was a precaution against misleading the public that yoga teachers are diagnosticians. The point was not that yoga isn’t therapeutic, but rather that yoga is not a strategy for diagnosing or curing ailments. The therapeutic potential of yoga comes from its consistent practice. Yoga is a complete system for maintaining health and wellbeing, but it is not a prescriptive solution to specific ailments.

As a yoga teacher, you will receive a lot of inquiries about how to “cure” a variety of ailments, or “treat” a specific population. Some examples include depression/anxiety, back pain, pregnancy, injuries, asthma, arthritis, insomnia and obesity. Your role as a yoga professional is to guide students to treat themselves for whatever they are suffering from. Yoga is not a replacement for other medical care, but it is a useful tool in healthcare. Consistent yoga practice offers students autonomy and awareness in their own healthcare journey.

The difference between yoga and other types of healthcare is that yoga does not apply a reductionist style of therapy. It requires commitment from the student and it is not a quick solution. For example, consider the following statements:

“If I meditate, then I’ll be calmer.”

“If I don’t smoke, then I’ll be able to run faster.”

“If I eat less, then I’ll be thinner.”

These statements are true, but they fail to capture health as a complete psychological and physiological system. Yoga affords a point of view that goes beyond the reductionist if/then approach to health. For example, the primary series of Ashtanga yoga is called yoga chikitsa. Translated, this means yoga therapy. The therapeutic application of Ashtanga is its systematic approach towards wellness rather than a prescription to cure/treat an ailment.

The therapeutic quality of the yoga is its attention to discipline, devotion and patience. Yoga chikitsa is intended to be practiced daily. Practitioners are to do each pose in sequence and follow the other suggestions for a well-rounded lifestyle.

First, you have to practice for a long period of time; second, your practice must not be interrupted—you must do it regularly; and third, you must do your practice with love and respect.
-Yoga Sutra 1.14

It is these qualities of the practice – discipline, devotion and patience – that students can apply to other therapeutic requirements.

How to teach therapeutic yoga

First, you must provide a nurturing and welcoming environment for every student that comes to your classes or even who asks you a question. Yoga is therapeutic in its consistent application. But suggesting this to a student who has recently been diagnosed with arthritis or asthma or depression and who is looking for a prescriptive “fix” may be counterproductive. Students who have recently been diagnosed with an ailment, particularly if they are new to yoga, will not initially be receptive to your suggestion that yoga must be practiced regularly and consistently. Incorporating a yoga practice into a healthcare regime is fundamentally different than taking a pill or getting surgery. Informing students that they must practice “forever” will be overwhelming. Furthermore, with insidious problems that require therapy such as obesity or back pain, students might be reluctant to embrace the lifestyle changes that are necessary to change their circumstances. So, it’s important to be compassionate and welcoming to each student, regardless of their previous yoga experience and regardless of their current expectations of the practice.

Next, be patient and creative in your approach. Encourage students as they develop a regular practice. Although it might be obvious to you how yoga is therapeutic for many ailments, the yogic approach of a mind-body connection might be foreign to new students. Assess each student by asking questions about their experience, their perception of yoga and what aspects of yoga make them feel better. Elaborate on this by making yoga appealing. For example, an injured athlete with a lot of energy may not stick with a seated meditation practice. She might find it boring and annoying. Propose to her instead that she try walking meditation. Instruct her to set a mantra before she walks and then to repeat the mantra during the walk. Just as yoga is an overarching solution for almost any ailment, there are infinite ways to incorporate yoga into a lifestyle.

Finally, even though yoga therapy is not a replacement for medical intervention, it is a valuable companion to medicine. As a yoga teacher, you have the time to discuss with students what is ailing them and together, you can evaluate lifestyle changes, such as work environment, leisure activities and emotional circumstances. Together, you and your student can determine an effective and useful application of yoga. Furthermore, by consulting with your student, and putting them in charge of their own health via yoga, you are giving them the autonomy to take charge of their personal wellbeing.

Yoga may not be a prescriptive tool to cure ailments, but it does provide a therapeutic elixir of which students have control over the dosage.

Categories
Workshops and Events

Upcoming workshop: Yoga for Athletes

On Tuesday, August 1 I’m teaching a brand new workshop: Yoga for Athletes. The workshop will:

  1. Explain and discuss different types of yoga poses so that athletes have a foundational understanding of safe alignment
  2. Examine and practice the meditative aspect of yoga so that athletes recognize the value of a quiet and introspective practice.

In this workshop, we’ll discuss how the physical practice of yoga will complement your sport. You’ll learn the difference between yin, restorative, power and flow classes. We’ll also go over some physical alignment cues so that you understand how common yoga poses are supposed to feel and so that you can safely practice yoga in any setting. By practicing yoga, you will develop awareness of your body, and start to notice how your muscles and joints move together to facilitate dynamic athletic movement. Your yoga practice is like self-induced physical therapy: you will learn how to take care of yourself so that you can prevent injury and develop strength and agility.

In addition to the physical part of the practice, we will examine and practice the meditative aspect of yoga. Many athletes ask me about yoga classes and a common misconception is that yoga is “just stretching,” and an activity that is done quickly after a vigorous workout. The second intention of this workshop is to illustrate how a regular yoga practice is a tool for the formidable mental challenges that athletes encounter. Athletes tend to be task-driven and motivated people. The physical part of training takes precedence because results and accomplishments are easy to gauge. But the mental commitment and determination to do what isn’t easy is half the battle.

I believe that the application of meditation and a quiet practice to a training schedule can help athletes focus on their goals and understand their reasons for sacrificing so much in the name of sport. Furthermore, the mental fortitude afforded by a yoga practice gives athletes the strength to continue with a gruelling training schedule. The practice of yoga provides an opportunity to check in with the self and see how the mind and body are coping with the daily demands of training. The clarity that emerges from the practice can reveal to the athlete what is needed to continue with the training to win the game, finish the race or push to a loftier goal.

My athletic background includes many individual sports. In 2015, I finished a half ironman and I’m currently training for a full ironman. I’ll be competing in Florida in November 2017. Yoga has always been part of my training regime, and the practice provides me with strength and agility in addition to the always-necessary mental fortitude to train daily for an athletic challenge.

I hope to see you at Taiga Yoga Studio for this Yoga for Athletes workshop.

Tuesday, August 1 at 630pm.

$55 + GST