2:30 Putting part of yourself on a pedestal and ignoring the less appealing aspects stops you from integrating yourself as yoga requires. Nikki’s Y12SR program helps people re-align and re-integrate parts of themselves. All parts of ourselves is important.
6:15 Y12SR is the melding of yoga and 12 step programs and helps primarily in giving tools for preventing relapses.. If a person has recognised a need to change, they may go into rehab and then go to Y12SR meetings. Others may start one of the 12 step programs and find it not helpful for them and then come to Y12SR programs as an alternative. Y12SR could be the first step if they are in the investigating what they want to change in their life that is causing a problem.
9:19 Populations in Y12SR: community-based place after rehab or other programs. See people who have not stayed with 12 step programs and addiction has ramped up. People with a yoga practice but recognise that some part of their life is hampering their goals in yoga.
11:45 Adjunct tool and provides tools to identify a relapse. Y12SR is a combination of the cognitive (12 step) and the somatic (yoga). Yoga practice includes at a minimum asana, breathing, and meditation. Brings people back to the body which will tell you if your life is unbalanced. Mind justifies, makes excuses but body will tell you if something is wrong. Body wants homeostasis and under every addiction is an unresolved trauma. Trauma lives in the body. Get back into the body to feel sensations. With addictions, become less aware of the body. Avoid body and feelings.
16:31 Y12SR meetings have two parts; a discussion/group meeting and a yoga class. Start with goals, 12 steps, ground rules to create a safe space. Have a topic, sharing by group members on topic. Trauma informed themed yoga practice (12 steps look very much like yamas and niyamas). Make our intentions stronger than our dysfunctional patterns.
21:45 People who are affected by other addictive patterns may also attend. Everyone is welcome in Y12SR to gain insights. More than 200 different kinds of 12 step programs. All addicts may attend; there is something else under the addiction that is the real cause. People affected by other’s addictive behaviour can talk about how it affects them, which the addict can hear directly how addictions affect others.
28:22 Y12SR offers a study intensive online. People take it who want to inquire into yoga in combination with 12 step program. Look at how the 2 progams complement each other. Study yoga philosophy, trauma healing, neuroscience, etc. Another offering is Leadership training (face-to_face) taken after the study intensive to prepare yoga teachers or addiction recovery specialists to take the Y12SR program back to their communities and offer Y12SR meetings. (www.y12sr.com to find out more).
33:10 Another offering of Y12SR is Breaking barriers : transforming the samskara of co-dependency. Teaches the sacred texts of yoga, kleshas, etc. All addicted to the way we process our reality – essential to enquire into our conditioned minds. Deep look at the conditioned minds. Co-dependency is looking outside of self for something that can only be found inside. Buying “those shoes” will make me a different and better person.
3:36 Does yoga serve people well today? Yoga maintains relevance to the mores of the times, while maintaining its traditions. Beauty of yoga is it is relevant at any time, even when it looks quite different. Yoga is combination of Hatha Yoga and Raj yoga. Has to adapt and evolve with times. How does yoga suit our time? What was yoga like at the beginning of the 21st century? We don’t know the answer to that as it will be judged in the future.
Am I really understanding that what I am doing is in accord with the tradition of yoga and leads to the outcome of yoga and in a way that is relevant to me now. The majority of written information is talking about doing certain practices that lead to the state of yoga. Patanjali writes that we can reduce aberrant/fluctuating mind taking us away from our true nature through certain practices – lifestyle, meditation, pranyama. When we say we are practicing yoga, are we practicing something that leads to the state of yoga which could be stillness in action, non-attachment to the fruits of our actions. Are we achieving the benefits of yoga, regardless of the practices we do?
1st world countries need is to achieve equipoise. Need to do mindful and appropriate asana, to connect with the felt sense of life. For others they may need to do reflection, introspection, others pranayama, meditation.
18:00 What is yoga for one person is not necessarily yoga for another. Is anything yoga if we have the intention that it is yoga? How is any practice considered a yoga practice? Does it lead to outcomes of yoga? Yoga has a tradition – Upanishads, Veda texts, Bhagavad Gita have features that identify yoga – pancha maya koshas, gunas, working towards balance are a few.
23:59 Fundamental deep introspection about what we are doing when we do our practice. If a physical practice: proprioceptive, interoceptive. Truly reflecting on what we are doing – what in the practice is balancing the gunas, energy channels and centres, koshas. Reflection on your practice. Is it yoga or is it a series of habitual movements or breaths? Yoga teachers and teacher trainees should be at least starting to explore these questions in themselves as they do their practice. Maintaining a sense of tradition but querying them in the modern context.
27:15 How do we introduce these practices in the minds of someone new to yoga - modelling these authentically while practicing your yoga and have an integration with these practices in your life. Resonates for the students how yoga philosophy works in your life. Allow these curiosities to build; they will start asking questions. Learning comes from the doing. Teaching in group sessions; ask for questions in a current context. The discussion from that leads to yoga philosophy. A current topic (e.g., refugees) considered in a yoga framework. But must reflect your thoughts as the teacher. Others may be different. As teachers our role is not to be a sage on the stage, but to be a guide on the side.
32:24 Guru (one who shines the light) tradition – a good teacher is a guru as they shine light on the path. But in traditional sense, guru was to be worshipped because guru was connected to the divine. Cultural norm at that time was not to inquire into religious norms, just obey the guru.
36:50 Guides, mentors are very important. Nurture the self-efficacy of the person being mentored. A.G. Mohan said he was a spiritual friend, not a guru. Don’t use the word guru unless critical to the lineage or tradition. Concept of senior teacher to be there to help and support.
40:20 On-line learning – can learn to follow along but doesn’t take the place of face-to-face meetings occasionally. Can’t start achieving some of the benefits of yoga online until start coming together with that teacher. Must have connection to tradition through the teacher.
42:00 Tradition is different from lineage. Lineage: a particular teacher teaches in a particular way, nominates his successor, and the lineage hardly ever changes over long period of time. Lineage may come from a tradition (e.g., viniyoga, hatha yoga traditions) that ties back to the ancient texts.
43:00 Traditions are from India – West has appropriated it without sufficient thought or acknowledgement of its history. Comes back to the tradition to be called yoga even though it may have different names. West needs to acknowledge that there is a particular source of this practice with its traditions. Misappropriating Sanskrit terms, using images improperly, are not in the tradition of yoga (asteya – non-stealing). Is a very athletic, skimpily clad, person doing a highly acrobatic pose in a potentially dangerous situation a yoga pose? Does it meet the goals of yoga and bring the benefits of yoga? Need greater consistency as to what yoga is and then more people are going to get the benefit as they decide to try yoga. Is yoga teetering a bit and losing it’s foundation; probably not as long as the traditions of yoga are upheld. Encourage listeners to not be afraid of a yoga practice. It can be short and simple, can become the software of your life, to help you reach your goals.
You Tube Videos
100th episode released next week
Introduction: Linda Stern Lang
2:43 Teaching soft skills to medical students, to change their professional identity from medical technician to healer.
3:36 Teaching two populations now: women in their 30’s and people 55-85. Introduce the koshas – become aware of anatomy, pranic energies. Observe the body, feel breathing, heart beating, intellectual thought, mind and emotion and the bliss body (vibrational, luminous, radiant). In the practice, what do you feel not what you think. Inquiry – pause, breathe, and really notice what you are feeling – don’t attach a label to it. Our identities are wrapped up in explaining, describing, doing, thinking. Jack Cornfield, Buddhist teacher, says that sitting in your safe and sacred space allows you to be who are truly are.
8:30 Invite people to sit to notice what their body/mind needs. If your identity says that you are very active, busy, productive it may hard to accept that what your body/mind needs is to relax and restore. Allowing students to make judgements on how they feel today, don’t describe or label.
11:20 Over 55’s Intentionality/setting goals. There are more things they can no longer do than things they can do. First have them make a goal, e.g., I will be physically stronger in a year and 2) give them tools and ideas on how to take yoga off the mat. Shows them what they can do in the kitchen, while watching tV, etc. Build a relationship with yoga off the mat.
13:50 At the Academy of Lifelong Learning, teaching Doorways to Heart of Wisdom. Through asana practice, move in ways that produces queries. Tying asanas to metaphors; pranyam lends itself to talking about philosophy. Use spaciousness, finite, infinite as metaphors for what they are feeling in class, they start using that language, start seeing themselves differently.
18:34 Adult learners approach learning differently, based on their experience. Looking for something that takes the breath away, probably in nature. People are looking for an epiphany, but it is in the small things in that moment are the breakthroughs. Everything we want is not earth-shattering. As an adult learner, go to places that are uncomfortable and let yourself just sit with it or ask if the teacher can say it in a different way, or I need more information. Introduce ideas that don’t necessarily have answers, introduce ideas that people can play with. Problem solving in your normal way may not work if you are trying to simplify how you think. 23:27 Medical Yoga Symposium: Saw a notice for a symposium at the Smithsonian Institution for “Yoga – The Art of Transformation” . Contacted the curator to ask if Linda could organise a symposium on: Yoga – the Art and Science of Transformation. Asked greatest minds in integrative health who are also yoga practitioners to add credibility to yoga. Dean Ornish, Richard Miller, etc talked about their medical research into yoga. 460 attended first one. 1st day was didactic, 2nd was experiential. Afterwards partnered with the Smithsonian Associates to produce a symposia each year since the first one in 2014. Smithsonian Associates has a huge email list so everytime there is something about yoga as lifestyle programming, these ideas are distributed across a large amount of people. More recent symposia attracted an older audience. Hungry for ways to become more healthy, more happy, and new ways to perceive themselves later in life. For many, it is more difficult to create a more meaningful life as you age.
28:00 One part of the first symposia was to have docents take people through art – paintings, statues, etc, that represented yoga in some way. The docents explained the history, etc, of the piece and the yoga teacher gave their interpretation of the piece from a yogic perspective and may have asked the audience to experience the piece in new ways .
30:30 Finding our voice as a teacher takes time, feeling comfortable with the subject matter takes time. Find ways to step outside your regular communication parameters. Stretch people’s minds, encourage them to feel their questions. Refine your teaching to have them relate to themselves through a yogic lens. Not to be afraid.
2:30 Have a new caregivers retreat scheduled in Santa Fe in 2020
3:33 Received the support of Alzheimer’s Organisation to access caregivers, but wanted to offer something very different from the many resources of the Alzheimers’s Organisation. The retreat is similar to going to a yoga class – greeted at the door, checking in how they feel. Many caregivers come year after year. Most have no experience with yoga, nutrition, or self-care, massage, etc. Many don’t have access to these things either time or financially.
10:00 A free retreat for the caregivers funded by donations and volunteer work. No volunteers are compensated. Might turn this into a non-profit in the future. 80% of the volunteers have some link to dementia/Alzheimers.
11:58 A one day retreat: Volunteers come in and set up and prep. As caregivers arrive, a volunteer acts as a caregiver for them. Shows them around, helps them with the schedule, and check back in during the day.
Start with gentle or chair yoga
Array of offerings: massage, reiki, acupuncture or yoga therapy or Ayurveda sessions. 3 sets of sessions with 3 speakers. May talk about the Alzheimer’s Association, self-care. Asks the speakers to make it a conversation and to have only one thing that the listeners come away with.
May explore nature
Last set of speakers, Q&A, or breathwork
It is a wellness retreat; experiencing things they never would have the opportunity to do so otherwise.
18:00 Management task: Melissa delegates to 30+ volunteers on the day.
19:15 Melissa’s Dad was a caregiver for over 10 years for his wife who had early onset Alzheimers. His experience was that you are “witnessing your loved one die each day” There is grief each day and the grief lingers even after their death. After his wife died, he has been diligent with his own self-care; still longing for a sense of healing. Melissa recommends “It’s OK that you’re not OK by Megan Devine to help with grief.
22:24 With the new retreat in Santa Fe, Melissa has looked for other solutions to implement the retreat. She also used FB to do a fundraiser for a tent for the Calgary retreat. Start with the gifts you have and work from there. So many ways to create what is needed.
26:00 Getting the message out: uses groups that already are in contact with caregivers – adult day care centers, Alzheimers associations, Alzheimers Society in Calgary, non-profits in Santa Fe, other groups.
29:40 Anything is possible, everything I need is provided for, being able to give back is a reward that is indescribable. Contact Melissa if you want to do something similar and would like some advice.
2:13 What is Himalayan Institute trained - Longest, unbroken tradition of philosophy. Combines yoga, Ayurveda, tantra in one approach. Nikki is an ayurvedic yoga specialist, currently studying to be an ayurvedic yoga therapist. She designs practise from the context of Ayurveda. For example, time of day, season, students’ unique needs. Her goal is to have students develop and follow their own daily practice. (Many consider Ayurveda and yoga to be sister sciences. Nikki considers yoga to be within the context of Ayurveda.) Ayurveda postulates that all matter has 5 elements i.e., light and dark, dense, airy, etc. So early evening classes are when most people have least endurance and is probably not a good time for a power yoga class. Evening has natural rhythms that prepare us for sleep.
11:50 Nikki works with survivors of domestic violence. Everyone expresses their trauma differently according to their innate constitution. So have to design classes based on students’ constitutions. Cultures worldwide has abused women; second class citizen, unequal opportunity, legally (often abusers usually have access to their children and continue abuse through that means). So many women have been abused. Living in these situations for long period of time is an intense drain on their resources. Domestic abuse survivors rarely have the support they need even the most basic need for safety. Yoga and Ayurveda do not ask you to do anything but go inside yourself and reflect.
16:50 Nikki has designed the Peaceful Life Project. Her first challenge was to find a space. Studios were concerned as to whether they could keep the students and teachers safe. Many hurdles to find a safe space. Decided to make it a digital program. Individuals and refuges can buy a year’s program to support themselves or their clients. Each person can practice in their own safe place. Don’t have to pay for childcare or gym clothes, or pay class fees. Nikki is hoping that they will come to live yoga instead of just taking a class.
21:37 For those that can’t afford the fees of the digital class can enter into a work exchange program. They receive training in the form of videos, and written materials to do light marketing and fundraise. Each person sets their own goals after completing training. This provides the survivor with current work skills and references, spreads the mission of the Peaceful Life Project in the survivor’s community, and educates the community about domestic violence.
26:15 Survivors represent all demographics. They may be challenged to take the label of domestic violence survivor. Ask you to turn to your yoga practice and be aware what comes up for you when you think about domestic violence. Do you identify as a domestic violence survivor?