1:41 Practicing yoga for 10 years, started in sports medicine and then moved into feminine health. Balancing the masculine/feminine energies. Energy is along a spectrum; pull the type of energy needed for the context. May be more masculine/feminine depending on what’s needed.
6:24 How do we manifest our gender
First is genetics: all of us have at least one X (female chromosome), the genes will makes up more prone to certain tendencies but presence of genes does not mean they are expressing. So there is a spectrum of expression in gender.
The genetics of being female mean there is more connection between the halves of the brain, have a cycle that affects the body and mind, often more intuitive.
11:22 Feminine has both feminine/masculine energies and can be explored through the koshas, chakras. The world gives permission for each gender to approach experiences differently. Recent research – polyvagal theory, neuroplasticity are really modern terms for what gurus have been saying – self-awareness, mind & body connection, disciplines of the mind, breathing.
14:30 Seeing turf wars among yoga lineages. Based on let’s see what you can do , not what you are. Brought to America in the 50’s, started as more mental work, but became physical. Point is to find your own balance in the practice. Cultivate self-awareness, own our own power, then projecting to the world but not being bogged down by outside labels (title, money, gender, etc.)
16:47 Yoga will continue to become more powerful, especially as yoga therapy expands. With yoga, Lisa can work with the whole family of a pregnant woman. Her philosophy is to teach to the entire person to lead them to awareness of the self, emotional awareness, their humanity. Self-reflection is the ultimate process. Looking at a person and applying yoga tools unique to their situation. Students say I had an experience (not a workout) after Lisa’s classes. Emotional triggers move us: be present in the emotion. Our mind has the power to affect our body. Ancient yogis knew this as prana.
24:00 Study of yoga shows that we are illusions. Lisa took the classes to be able to speak the language of the medical community, immersed herself in the science which may deny the non-physical world. Lisa can talk both sides of the conversations – science and yoga and she can see the connections between them. Some science is progressing beyond the physical, however many scientists and therapists remain stuck in the physical.
30:35 Lisa was originally physical therapist, then opened her Belly Guru business in 2005 after studying and researching yoga and yoga therapy beginning in 1999. Given her experience in the allopathic medical model, she believes that yoga therapy should be based more on the health coaching model than the sickness model. Yoga therapy seems to be niching down to “fix” a particular symptom and/or issue and not looking at the health of the whole person. Yoga therapy would be much more successful in the life coach, behavioural change model. Yoga therapy provides body work, mental, emotional work and spiritual exploration. This is a very cost saving modality and effective. Lisa believes the therapist model is authoritarian; telling the client what to do. And they are often just doing the pieces (what’s painful, a diagnosis of some disease, etc.) Lisa was doing this with physical therapy but she quit because the insurance model would not allow her to treat her patients as she felt she should. It is financially stable but does not value a therapist’s knowledge and experience. Just be very careful entering into the medical marketplace and make sure that your value is fairly compensated. Look at other professions who have followed the medical model and how successful that is for them.
4:05 Specialises in yoga/yoga therapy for low back pain/sciatica. She has experienced these for a long time. Developed back issues as an adult. Researched for solutions. In Canada in 2003/04 she began to find yoga intensives for specific conditions. Found Feldenkreis and took trainings because it helped her back pain. Yoga was too generalised for the senior classes she was teaching.
7:34 Pulled together different modalities to help with back pain. She found PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) to be helpful which stretches and strengthens, tones and relaxes muscles. Applied to her senior’s classes. Found Viniyoga with Robin Rothenburg – yoga for low back pain course. Also interested in what Dr. McGill could add to the problem. Put all of these modalities together to develop a workshop and classes.
12:36 Major causes of low back pain a) the L5-S1 area very vulnerable to wear and tear, b) bulging disk (not herniated discs) which usually results in mild or moderate pain, c) breakdown of facet joints – repetitive movements over time cause wear and tear, d) slouching – more load on the spinal discs. Need to lengthen through the spine, improve posture through strengthening back muscles. L5-S1 needs to be in slight anterior tilt.
16:15 Most students are over 50. Jo offers a continuum of classes, one on one sessions to work on their low back pain. Usually can go into a class with mild pain may need one on one sessions for more moderate pain. Asks questions and does an intake to place them in the correct class/session.
18:16 Joanne asks yoga teachers to think about: “I ask teachers to consider this: we are teaching a 21st century body & mind a practice that was designed thousands of years ago. A practice designed to prepare the body for meditation and for thin male figures. The spine itself has changed shape in the last century alone and we have become much more stationary.”
19:19 Esther Gokhale found that the spine shape has changed in the last century because of changes in the design of furniture as well as slouching. The spine normally has a J curve which has slight curves throughout its length until the bottom of the spine. But we now have an S curve spine that is much more curved than before. And the spine has less support. Do students really need backbends and forward bends if they have back pain? Are they properly prepared for these asanas. Telling people to roll up from a forward bend does not engage the back muscles; the spine is doing all of lifting.
23:15 Many more cases of back issues with the change in the shape of the spine. J curve is less curvy with more support.
28:00 Students know what feels good and what doesn’t. Students asked when back pain occurs – bending forward, bending backward, what feels good or bad? Starts
with really gentle postures and notices how students move. She may decided to take change and change the postures if students seem to be in pain. Students will not always follow directions to come out of a posture or pick a more appropriate modification even though invited to do so.
Esther Gokhale: 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back
1:00 Suffers from asthma since a chlld and a dust allergy. Went to yoga, couldn’t do breathing, disliked pranayama; drinking and smoking for to self-medicate. Yoga allowed her to relax, but not stopping drinking. Had a horrible year of extreme stress; very fragile, realised had serious issues. Decided to become a yoga teacher.
5:20 Started YTT and thought she knew everything but realised shortly that she knew very little. Had to learn pranayama. Gave up dairy, and finally able to breathe and relax. Everything changed, cut down on alcohol and smoking. Could sleep.
7:00 manage emotions better because of breath, instead of reacting to emotional charge, take a couple of deep breaths then responded, developed an overall state of calm. More balanced.
8:16 5-6 months gave up alcohol entirely. Practiced gratitude for better health. Credit sobriety for learning to breathe. Manages asthma better with breath. Control emotions with breath
11:12 Teaching yoga emphasizes breath. Focus on breath as move through the postures. Love to teach people to breathe for stress as a management tool. Connecting to your breath connects you to your emotions, mind. Focusses on breathing with asanas, gradually expand lung capacity. Take people back to basics. Gradually introduce other pranayama techniques.
15:42 Learning to breathe help with her emotions, particularly extreme emotions. All emotions numbed by drinking, now feel emotions which is quite new, can be overwhelming. Connecting with the breath takes the edge off of the emotions. Lets go of emotional charge and just looks at the problem. Link between nervous system, stress and breath. Stress response keeps us alive, changes body functions including breath. Slow breath down leads to nervous system relaxing.
20:45 Fritz Perls said that “Fear is excitement without the breath”. Moving between fear and excitement can be regulated by the breath. Make it a regular practice.
23:29 Regular pranayama practice as part of personal practice. Paying attention to what her body needs, Esther’s personal practice is meditation/breathing. Everyone can just take 5 minutes to just notice their breathing to check in and watch the breath.
25:20 Esther’s mission is to teach the world to breathe. People struggle with finding time for a practice. Awareness is the start, if can’t commit to a daily practice, then just notice several times a day how your breath is. What is happening, emotions, breath and what is the link between all of these. Awareness can slow breathing . How you breathe is how you live.
Website: www.spacetobreatheacademy.com (free mini-course on breath awareness)
2:31 Understanding the energetic seasons – 3 energetic seasons, vata, kapha, pitta. Vata starts mid-late fall to end of winter. Cold, movement, windy – time to look at creative ideas. When vata is unbalanced, becomes anxious, nervous, wants lots of movement. Yoga practice – slower, focus on long held standing and sitting poses. Kapha – late winter/early spring to early/mid summer. Kapha moist, heavy, warm. Show up and make progress towards the creative goals birthed during vata. Kapha unbalanced depressed, feeling stuck, not right. Side bending poses, inversions, moderate pace. Early/mid-summer to early/mid-fall, pita is fast paced, fiery, productive, exciting, energetic. Active, getting a lot done. Out of balance= angry, someone else’s fault. Cooling yoga practice = fun, fast pace, and really long, deep, stretches.
10:57 Cathy has been an educator, now a yoga teacher and an energetic healer. Discovered or acknowledged her ability to work with energy during yoga teacher training. Taught to work with energy flows. Very easy to do with her abilities. Had no one to talk to, found someone who does reiki and they could talk about energy work. She entered a publishing contest and used her law of attraction, energetic tools – visualisation to see herself winning the contest. Didn’t win, talked to her friend about her disappointment, friend sent oracle cards. She offered oracle card readings to friends and realised she was reading their energy and offering simple tools to help. Reading the energy of a class. Most experienced teachers read the energy in ways of how is the instruction being perceived and accepted.
16:45 Cathie reads the individual and collective energies in a class. Each of us has an electromagnetic vibration based on our overall health, emotions and thoughts. Travels as electrical currents and current technology can read it to 5 feet from the body. It continues and some as sensitive as Cathie can read it at much longer distances. 20% of the population is also sensitive to these currents. When working with individual/group, she can see pictures in her mind (clairvoyance), hear sounds (clairaudience) or has moments of knowing (intuition). Can tell someone in that moment what they need to do to move forward and create momentum. Her knowing is based on vibrations which are caused in part by conscious and subconscious thoughts.
19:55 Difference between a good teacher reading a class and energetic readings. A good teacher leading her class has experience and possibly intuition. Can pick up class energies with lots of experience.
21:40 Just starting talking about her abilities a year ago. Studied to understand what was happening; picked up the terminology. Wants to normalise the conversation about these abilities. Not supernatural, but a useful tool for one’s life. She has come out about these gifts.
23:48 Power, purpose of self-care for yoga teachers – Lived through a phase with frequent panic attacks and anxiety. Needed some tools to deal with these issues. Knew yoga had helped with other issues so researched if yoga could help with anxiety/panic attacks. Developed a daily physical, breathing and mantra practice and practiced it for several months. Significant decreases in anxiety levels and number of panic attacks. Practice equals discipline. But it is very individual about each person needs at a certain time. Has to change to meet the person’s need. But a yoga practice to address anxiety should not just be restorative. Also need those long held standing and sitting postures. Anxiety is a build up of vata. Self-care honor where you are and your class is.