Changing the Face of Yoga Podcast

Hosted by Stephanie Cunningham, a yoga teacher herself who is committed to sharing yoga with anyone, especially the over 50's. Stephanie created this podcast to share how yoga can be practiced by anyone with amazing benefits. Yoga teachers themselves will share their stories; discussing why they teach, who they teach, how students benefit. Every fortnight or so, we will release a new episode. We will talk with teachers about teaching children, curvy bodies, the elderly but also those that each yoga to support students with diabetes, cancer and mental health issues.
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Oct 22, 2019

00:01                                     Hello and welcome to change the face of yoga teaching toddlers through golden oldies. I'm very excited to be talking to lots of yoga teachers who will explain their passion for teaching yoga to students with different ages, physical fitness levels, wellness levels, and different goals. They will explain the benefits of yoga for these students and we'll be including teacher tips and pose modifications. I am Stephanie Cunningham of yoga lightness and I've been teaching over 50s for 10 years. So this area is my passion and the passion of many other yoga teachers that you will be listening to in this series. Thank you so much for listening and let's get started.

00:48                                     This is episode 122 of changing the face of yoga and today we're going to do a very short, fun podcast. When I produce my podcast for release, one of the first things I do is a transcript and it is usually quite good. But I've had several guests this year that have been talking about some of the more subtle aspects of yoga and so it doesn't quite know how to translate Sanskrit and some of the things that comes up with are quite funny. I'm going to give you just a short look at this. If you are interested in looking at some more, just go to the show notes of this particular podcast and I'll add some more in, but just to give you a taste of how very, very confused the artificial intelligence transscription service gets by Sanskrit.

                                                Let's start at the very basic, which is what does it think Sanskrit is?Well, it came up with sunscreen, which I rather liked. Hatha is hot tea and yoga is yells. I don't know where that came from, but anyway, Asana is assets, which I think we'd all agree with, don't you? Ujaii breath is with GI breath. One of my favorites was when we were talking about chanting and my guest said that her students would come up to her and say, I really liked that happy, puffy breath and this is in pure English, so I don't know just why it happened, but then it came back with happy puffy breast, which kind of reminded me of a self-inflating breast implant. I just thought it was kind of cute. I really liked that when we get into some of the terms of yoga in the yoga philosophy, it really did confuse it greatly.

03:17                                     Vritti: apparently it thinks of people when you say vritti so we have Christine, Ruthie, I don't know where that came from and for Richie. It took me quite a while to figure out what we were talking about when I was editing the transcript. Namaste is numbers stay and  Upanishads, which I really do love is called funny shots (or open. A shoddy). Don't ask me, I don't know. Shakti is champion, which actually isn't far off. Shiva is Shavon and Jalandhara is jolly turban. I think I might always, always remember it as jolly turban from now on. Moolahdhara is Moodles. Moodles sounds nice, doesn't it? Kind of, I don't know. Something to do with poodles.

04:19                                     I had several guests this year about, like I said, the subtle aspects of yoga and so we talked about chakras and we talked about mudras and we talked about yoga Ninja, sorry, now it's got me saying it. We talked about yoga Nidra and they came up with some really, really funny kinds of translations. As you might've guessed, yoga Nidra is often written in the transcription as Yoga Ninja. Chakras are several things and it was interesting because Kristine Kaoverii Weber taught me how to say chakras and it is that hard cha instead of Shah. And so if I was saying it correctly, and she of course was always saying it correctly, was chockers or chuckers or choppers or chocolate and if I wasn't saying it correctly, it was called shockers. Chakras are definitely confusing to transcription. Mudras are the same. I have quite a few on Mudras. I'll just give you a few. A mood Rose. That's kind of a lovely thought, isn't it? Metrology. I'm not sure where that came from. Motors and my favorite - Madeira. Tantric was contract and I think my absolute favorite is Gomaghasana and it came out as cammo cousins.

06:10                                     It's always good just to laugh. There's also laughter yoga. Haven't ever taken that but I'm sure it was a really good, experience. All this is, it's just a little bit of a laughter to have us remember that laughing is also important in life. This is just a little bit of self care just to get you laughing and thinking about some of the ridiculous things that this transcription service came up with. So thank you so much. Like I said, very short, very sweet and to the point. Hope you enjoyed these bloopers. It was fun for me to gather them together and get some lists going. And just actually be kind of in awe of the creativity of the transcription service of all the different things they came up with for words that were obviously very normal to us and not at all familiar to it. Thank you so much for listening and this is Stephanie Cunningham.


07:37                                     If you would like to be a guest on changing the face of yoga, please go to my website, under the changing the face of yoga tab. You can complete the be our guest form after reviewing the form and finding it applicable to this podcast, and we will send you a link to schedule an interview.

                                                Please download, review, and tell your friends of any podcasts that are of interest to you and to them. If you would like to contact me, email to guiding you and thank you for listening to changing the face of yoga.

Additional Transcriptions:

Chakras: child, chapter, charter, truckers, tracker, chuck rose, shoppers, shock grows, shocker is

Mudras: Mujeres, blue dresses, blue dress, motors, motorised, motive, Missouri, Woodrow(?), withdraws

Kriya: Korea

Gamoghasana: goa goose center, gomo us.

Agni: agony

Ayurveda: are yours I

Sep 3, 2019

Major Points:

  1. Meditation is for everyone; but the introduction of meditation should be tailored to the audience.
  2. One of the major benefits of meditation is postponing an immediate response to a stimulus.
  3. Jay started meditating as a child and has continued meditating to the present (with certain breaks).

Stephanie: This is Changing the Face of Yoga and this is meditation month. I am going to be talking to people who have different takes on meditation. And I have a very interesting guest today. His name is Jay Cole. Jay has written a book called Calm the Fuck Down meditation for Blue Collars. I have to admit that's a little bit different than we usually think about it. Jay and I are going to talk about his experience with meditation and why he wrote this. Jay's a RYT 200 level yoga teacher. He started with Yoga with Adriene and then went to some classes. He's since decided that he really enjoys yoga and became a teacher. He's also been meditating for 20 years and we're going to ask him why he chose to make this book and why he chose to target blue collars. So welcome Jay. Glad to have you on the podcast. I think you're going to add some stuff that most people wouldn't and I'm looking forward to it. So do you have anything else to add to your introduction?

Jay Cole: Well, first of all, thank you Stephanie for having me here. This is a great honor to be on your podcast and a part of anything in the Yoga community. Definitely a fan of this kind of stuff. The intro was great. You've done your research. I don't know.

Geez, So, yeah, yoga is like one of like the newest things, I guess to come into my life. So before that, if it helps anybody, I started out as an artist and doing graphic design and I still do that on the side. And I probably did graphic design for like 20 years, the last before getting into yoga even. But then alongside of that I was a musician in a hip hop band. I think I've had three different like rap crews. Yeah. And then I've had my own solo music that I make too. And I dunno, I just, you know, I lived such a hard life and then it was just so interesting to like kind of go from the sex, drugs, rock and roll kind of lifestyle, like live fast and free and hard and, and then, flip flopping completely into a more of a soft kind of existence, you know, in the whole world of yoga.

Anyways, the reason I got into that was, oh, I think it was like 2007 I had been talking to my grandfather when he was still alive and I was trying to find out what the illnesses were in my family so I can be proactive about that stuff and kind of get a handle on it early, in my youth, my twenties. So he was saying how the worst thing in our family is arthritis. And so I definitely did not want to get into arthritis cause my dad has it pretty bad. And his arthritis went all the way to rheumatoid, so it's pretty bad for him. It's nasty stuff. So rheumatoid, for anybody who thinks that rheumatoid arthritis is arthritis. It's not, it's literally your immune system. It's like eating itself from the inside out so it your immune system goes, oh, what are these bones doing here, let's get these out of here and it will start to eat away at your bone. They are so brittle, they will break, shatter, release. My Dad's had so many operations. He shattered his ankle and he had like 52 pins put in his leg all the way up to shinbone. It's been reconstructed; he's part robot. Now I call him the cyborg father.

Yeah. So yeah, I was like, how am I, what am I going to do about this arthritis thing? And any research that was available online back in 2007 was yoga. That's what everybody said. You know what? It won't make it better, but it'll stop it from getting any worse. And I said, okay, sign me up. But you know what, I don't feel the pain, so not right now.

It was probably 10 or so years later, 2015 when I was living in Los Angeles, which was great because the humid, the climate and everything was great. But then something miraculous happened. It actually rained in LA. Well it hadn't rained in probably six months. When that rain hit, the contrast, just the humidity in the air, it just hit my bones like a bag of bricks. I couldn't get up out of bed. I was just in so much pain and I knew what it was. I was like, well this is it. This is the day I have to start doing yoga.

And that's when I just started following yoga videos on Youtube and I was falling over all the time and hurting myself. It wasn't working out. I must've watched a hundred different videos and a friend of mine said, Oh, you need yoga with Adriene. That'll fix everything. So I started watching Adriene and, it's still a part of my daily routine. Even though I teach my own stuff and I write my own classes, I still follow yoga with Adriene. It is just amazing and it's good.

I mean in between I went to real classes, you know, to learn, okay, am I actually doing downward dog properly? I don't know. In my room by myself, I didn't come in here to look at a mirror on the wall. Okay. So, yeah, taking a few classes, you know, getting some alignment and whenever you're going to a yoga class, whenever you tell the teachers like, Hey, I'm new at this, they're just like, oh yes. I love that.

And I love it too because that's your person. This is your demonstration person you're going to use for the whole class, I think it's just  a good bonus to have somebody who's there to be taught to learn. So you're like, no micromanaging every little move that they make. They're like, oh, you could, this could go over here and that could go over. You really, really help someone deepen their practice. I love it when students say that, and they definitely loved it when I came in there saying that I didn't know what I was doing either, and that was it. So 2016 on the end of 2016 I decided I love this. I love doing it every day. I would love that. If this was my life, that's all I had to do. And I went and took the training on Vancouver Island.

Stephanie: On your blog, you tagged your book as meditation and mindfulness. Do you equate those two things?

Jay: I feel like people who meditate become more mindful after. I wouldn't say that it just happens right away and I wouldn't call meditation mindfulness. It's like a by-product or an after effect that happens.  I find all the benefits of meditation are that way. Whereas you start doing it and over a period of time you start to notice it expanding. It's not just in that hour that you're meditating or 20 minutes or 10 minutes when you're meditating before it starts to creep out into the rest of your life, seeps into everything. So then you get cut off in traffic. You're not freaking out about that person. You're not being reactionary. As a very reactionary person. Back in the day before I meditated. And even when I did meditate, it wasn't full time for the last like 22 years. It was an off and on kind of thing. I would go like little bursts of months, days, but it's been the last two years, two, three years, I've really just gone hard at it. And by doing that now I'm really noticing the benefits of it. I don't know if it's because I'm older, I'm more mature, I have a better head for these kind of things and I can recognize them. But I wasn't seeing it before for what it really was in my youth. Now, today I can definitely feel the benefits of it.

Stephanie: So how did you get interested in the beginning?

Jay: So an interesting story. When I was about nine or 10 years old, we would vacation at my grandparents cottage on a lake. So it was me and my brother and my sister and then two grandparents would be there. Usually they would have us and my parents wouldn't be there. So sibling rivalry starts happening, little bickering, a little bit of fighting. Next thing you know, it's all out war. All Day, every day. Fighting with my brother and sister and I wasn't having fun. I didn't like it. My grandparents didn't like it. You know, back then they still had jobs. They weren't retired. This was their vacation too.

One day I was like, I'm just going to stop fighting. I'm just going to just get away from this and I'm going to go sit on this rock. There are these, that's the other cool thing. There are these giant stones coming up out of the earth. They had pulled as many as they could out with bulldozers and tractors, but a lot of giant rocks are like an iceberg, a piece sticking out on top. But the piece below is far bigger. And I climbed up on this rock. I folded my legs into a full lotus. My Dad taught us how to do full lotus when we were really young. So all of us kids could easily do that at least. I crisscrossed my legs in a little pretzel, close my eyes, I was in it. Fighting went away. Everyone stopped bickering. My grandparents were happier. I was happier. Brother and sister are happier. Neighbors weren't listening to us all yelling and running and there's this calm washed across the land.

And that was the beginning of meditation, I didn't know what it was. I didn't know what I was doing. I had seen Ninja movies. You would see like a monk in a monastery meditating before the Ninjas attack and just little glimpses. The Ninja Turtles, a popular cartoon in Canada, they have Master Splinter, he was always meditating. He would tell the Ninja Turtles, oh, I have to go meditate on this problem that we're having. So I okay, all I need. So I sat down on that rock, close my eyes. That was it.

People laughed at me and my brother and sister would run over at first and try and get me out of it. And then after a while they realized, oh, leave him alone. And then, my grandmother would step in like, leave Jay alone. He's meditating. Right. They didn't know what it was. Nobody knew what it was, but everyone knew that something peaceful and quiet was happening. That's all that really mattered.

And from there I had read, we used to have these like Buddhist magazines, can't remember the name of it, but I would read these magazines. I didn't know any of the Sanskrit terms, words. We're talking like early nineties here. There is no internet to research with, so I was reading these books, not having a clue, but kind of gleaming little bits of information here and there. And I don't know if they helped or just confused things more. The fact is that the existed and I read them. Maybe that stuck somewhere in the back of my head. Now I understand a little bit more. I don't want to say I know it all..

Stephanie: It sounds like you might've had a family though, that you know your dad taught the lotus position and you had these Buddhist magazines around.

Jay: No, not at all. My dad had taken karate and so I guess that's where he learned it. He's young and he just taught us how to do this fun thing where we cross our legs and then you could even flip up onto your knees in full lotus and then try and walk on your knees and walk around the living room. My brother would crisscross his legs and I'd cross mine up and then we would like have wrestling matches the first person to like break their legs open would lose. So that's where the Lotus came from.

And yeah, the magazines were just something I bought myself. The store, I remember walking in, I remember the first time there was a little magazine store and that's all they sold was magazines and newspapers from all over the world. And I just saw this, somebody was meditating on the cover and I was like, oh, I wonder what that's about. Bodhisattva, that might've been the name of the magazine. Anyways, that's where it all began. I just kept doing it throughout life, like I said, on and off. So throughout my twenties and in my early twenties to late twenties that's when I really got into music. That's when like the sex, drugs, rock and roll started. So there was a lot less meditation happening. I found it really became one of those things like prayer. So you'll hear about people who pray only when shit is going wrong. Right. That's when they reach out and that's when, for me, that's when I would, I would pray. I'm like, okay, I got to meditate on this. You know, go sit down and close my eyes; have a good meditation session. Usually I would come out of it with some kind of like revelation and accomplished something. It wouldn't always be for nothing.

I mean there are, there are many days nothing happens, that's for sure. Yeah. But what I like to tell everybody is that those are days also you're training your mind to know that it can be in this state. Doesn't have to be like it says in my book and nail trying to hit a hammer, I mean a hammer trying to hit a nail on the head. Your mind is always looking at everything as if it's a problem. So your mind is this hammer and everything is a nail just constantly trying to bop these nails.

When I finished yoga teacher training and I'd gone back to the east coast to Atlantic, Canada, everyone, I guess had seen this like difference in me. Something had changed like, man, your different You're so much calmer now and so much more peaceful. You're grounded and centered and can you teach me how to meditate? I'm like, yeah, I can. But logistically it never worked out that I could teach 40/50 different people how to meditate. Going to their house, each of them. There's thousands of videos online if you're watching.

When it got to that point of like maybe 50 people had asked me how to meditate, I'm like, I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to write a workshop. So I sat down, I got a PowerPoint presentation and I started writing everything I knew about meditation. And then anytime I had a question I would just do a little bit of research and try and fill in some spots here and there. And then I was like, well, maybe I'll teach people about different kinds of meditation. So then I'm like, okay, now I got to really research. I got to really know my shit. I started figuring out like, what is a mantra meditation , what's entailed with that? What is loving kindness meditation? Was that all about? What's a Kundalini Meditation? I wanted to know what all the different styles do just to get people with a bit of a foundation to go off of if they want research further later on.

Kind of like a course. And I put up flyers all over town. I bought Facebook ads, I rented out a center, I had a TV and a big screen set up and PowerPoint ready to go and three people showed up. I was like a little disappointed. Like, man, everybody's been asking literally daily to teach them how to meditate and I told everybody I'm going to do this workshop and everybody's so interested in it and then nobody showed up. So I did a few more of those workshops. It's still literally like three people would show up at the most. Okay, this isn't maximizing the value of my time here or anyone else's to have like three people because in the workshop I had things like I'm sitting there and I'm bouncing a ball and I would throw the ball at someone in the crowd like this is, these are part of the things that I was gonna teach with. I had little puzzles, games that required more than three people to be in the room.

So I said, okay, I'm going to just put this on the back burner for a little while and just kind of let it sit there.  It sits for probably a year. And then I decided, oh, I know I'm going to take all the speaking notes from my excel or PowerPoint presentation because with excel you have the stuff that's on the screen. Then you have your own private screens, your speaker's notes and no one else gets to see . So I took all my speaker’s notes with the bullet points, combine those, I'm going to make this into a book. I started typing; got It all formatted, put it into a book. I sat there and I looked at it, I read it and I was like, Oh crap, I've gone and I've written just another generic old meditation book. There are millions of these things. It will end up in the new age section and a discount bin at the bookstore. And I could just see it like, you know, stacks of these books piling up in my house, unable to sell them.

So rather than doing anything about it, I just kind of, again, I put on the back burner. I said I'll find a way to do something with this eventually here in Victoria. It is weird for here because it's kind of stuff, it doesn't generally happen here. I find there's more of a high vibe kind of a people that live here. So you don't really find a lot of views that you find in the rest of the country. Especially with like the blue collar workforce.

I was walking by a job site and they're doing construction. I heard wrenches being thrown and hitting the wall. Yeah. People cussing, freaking out and fight noises and fists. Then a circle gathering of employees and all stopped what they're doing and form a circle around these two guys fighting and yelling, calling each other down to the lowest. Productivity had completely stopped everybody's on edge. Everybody's tense, the eyes are fighting, wrenches are flying through the air. Like this is a dangerous environment to be in.

And almost as a joke it ran through my mind; if anybody needs meditation, these guys do. And that was it. That was my like light bulb moment. So I ran home, hopped on the computer busted opened my meditation book and I just started re-typing the whole thing from scratch. And almost as a joke. I had this voice in my head so it was like a light southern accent. Like, la Matthew McConaughey kind of accent. I don't know why most people associate that with those kinds of jobs and it was in my head so that that's like the first line of text in the book is: this book is best read with a light southern accent, think Matthew McConaughey. You put that in your head and you started reading and then I threw in like there's lots of swear words.

But also there's a lot of allusions to the construction industry, labor jobs, things like that. Yeah, I've done a lot of that work myself with my dad growing up and I've worked a few jobs sites and I really, I really hate it. I don't like it. And I wouldn't call myself a worker. I know a lot of people spend entire lives working in these industries to become the best at it. I would go in and I'd put it in my like six hours and okay, I've had enough of this. Not For me. So I know I have the knowledge anyways how to do all the things. At least I had that. So I know about building foundations and building upon structures. How to put up drywall or pouring concrete. Putting shingles on roofs. I've done tons of stuff. I've mixed my own concrete poured it, added extensions on two houses. I've cut down trees in the forest, run the trees through a machine that turns the trees in the boards that you can then build with. We've done it all. So I have a lot to go off of here and I just sat down, and started typing away at this book. It probably took another few, probably six months, to get it all finalized and then sent it out to Amazon and they do their little thing with it. And here we are today.

Stephanie: Do you have an idea of what the responses to it is from the blue collar community?

Jay: So far it's been pretty good.

Stephanie: So you changed the language to attract your target market? Did you do anything else to massage the information to make it more palatable or easier to understand for this group?

Jay: Yeah, so I took out all the Sanskrit words, kind of said everything at face value for what it is. Okay. It was a couple times I put something in. If I do, I explain it, that means this. I find when I read a lot of books they'll say like, so like even in Yoga poses and Asana. Asana means pose, right? So I'll find that you'll be reading a book and they'll explain that. They'll be like such and such asana and asana means pose. But then they won't ever tell you that again and they'll just continue using the word asana throughout the rest of the book. You have to constantly keep flipping back. What does asana mean again? Oh yeah. It means pose. I didn't want that to happen, so I figured I would completely remove it. Frequent swear words placed throughout the book. And then the allusions and the metaphors in relation to building and constructing things. Okay, a little bit of humor. My own humor. I mean I did that. I was a comedian for five years. I did stand up five, six years so that never goes away.

Stephanie:  If you were giving advice to someone who wanted to do a meditation book that was not going to end up in the bin at the bookstore at half price, what were the most important things that you did that you think made it more successful?

Just because of the process and the progress of it. Like it started out as a workshop and then became a book, then became a second book. Finding your target market is probably the best one. You can write a book about anything. Who is your market? Who are you aiming it towards? What do you know a lot about? Those should be some of the things you should think of if you are going to write a book and I mean any kind of book.

I'm working on another book right now. This one I started writing back in 2004, I finished in 2011 and it's just been sitting there. I like it. It's a fantasy book and I like it, but I was like, yeah, I dunno. It's not, it's not anything that I would read. Like I would never pick this up and go, wow, this is awesome.

 So I'm in the process now rewriting up, which is thousands of pages longer than my meditation book. I just got through chapter one and it's already the past what my meditation book was. Think about who the end user is. Think about who you want to read this. Who do you think would enjoy it? What do they want to read? What do they want to see? What are ssome of the imagery. What is the age range? You don't want to be using old timey words from back in the forties if trying to reach the new millennials. I feel like it will just hit you one day  and you'll go, oh, I know what to do now. Okay. But they weren't necessarily things I thought of on purpose. Applied it on purpose. Yeah. I guess we could probably use it almost as a business model for other things.

Stephanie: When you first started out, you did all these different kinds of meditation, Kundalini Meditation, and is that still in there giving them kind of a broad overview of the different kinds of meditation?

Jay: Oh, definitely. I'll bring the book up. There's an introduction. There's a couple stories. Just personal life stories goes into the benefits of meditation. A little section on don't get caught up. Tried and true techniques, physical techniques, positioning of your body, mental techniques, kind of some of the things that you, that people like to think about when they're sitting there, does it, we all know, we've all heard. Everyone thinks that, oh, it's all about just completely emptying your mind and then nothing, just go into this white space. Oh, now you're just the white space. It's not really about that. It's about witnessing the thoughts. There they are. There they go. I don't own them. I'm not getting attached to them, and now they're gone. Whoosh - that kind of idea. There's a few guided meditation ideas there. Uh, some potential hindrances like roommates, neighbors making noise.

When you sit down and meditate, it's kind of like running. You start running; you're not really in the groove yet, but after about five, 10 minutes of running like you're okay. Yeah. Now I've got it. Yeah. Then you're in that flow state and just going with it. And it's kind of the same with me with meditating. There's this like rocky road, grumbly challenge to get through it at first and then your through that. For me it's about 20 minutes in and then it's like smooth sailing. Okay. First 20 minutes - oh, what's that itch? Or I gotta do something. So for about 20 minutes, there's a lot of that nonsense going on. But after 20 minutes, it's like smooth sailing.

Stephanie: So how, how long do you meditate if 20 minutes is just getting you into it?

Jay: I do an hour every morning. That's just what I built up to when I first started getting back into meditation. okay, I'm going to do this. I'm going to hit it hard and I got through, you know, five minutes. I was like, okay, I'll build up to it.

I understand why people say that. So even when I recommend to people just do a minute. Just do one minute. Set your alarm a minute earlier before you wake up this morning. Get up a minute earlier. Just close your eyes. Just be awake and sitting. And people are like, oh, I'd meditate when I'm sleeping. I'm like, no, it's not the same. It's not the same. You're not training your body that it's okay just be sitting there and not doing anything. Being okay with just being in the room at first. Just be there. Eventually you'll have to be there with your thoughts. Eventually, you'll get through some of the other processes.

Yeah, it took awhile. I built up and do an hour. I mean, I've done two and three and four hours. But yeah, at what ends, you know? At what point is this becoming a drug? At what point are you tapping out of life? When are you procrastinating? You can meditate all day', it's not gonna to pay the bills.

Stephanie: That's an interesting thought though, that you can really take meditating to an extreme that's not beneficial.

Jay: Yeah, so like there's monks who sit and meditate all day. They'll do a 14 hour meditation. That's what they do, right? No, they're not doing, they're not doing yoga all day. They're not working out in the gym. They're not doing pushups. They're not doing a lot of physical, strenuous activity. They're not cleaning houses. They're not biking and running and jogging, just sitting. It's easy to just sit.

Your body really doesn't use up that much nutrients or energy when you're just sitting and when you tackle the whole breathing thing. So everything starts with the breath. Then the breath dictates to the heart. Everyone here in Western medicine thinks that it starts with the heart. Actually it starts with the breath. Breath tells the heart what to do and then the heart works for the rest of the body. So when you can tackle the breathing, you can get the heart rate really lowered down to almost nothing. That is the key I guess for long term meditations, and heart health and all that kind of stuff, which I kind of go over that in the book too. Yeah, the benefits.

Stephanie: So what would you say was the best benefit for you?

Jay: For me, I would say not being so reactionary. Like I was someone that would react, I would react right away. Not really fly off the handle, but, and there's certain people who know, especially with family. People know how to push your buttons. My Dad and my brother could very easily just like make up funny joke about yoga or something about stuff that I'm into. And I would just be so defensive about it and aggressive. No, you don't understand. Oh, it's like this. And they sit back and laugh. We've got them again. Look at Jay's getting all red in the face. Okay. Mr Yogi. Oh, I'm like, Damn, they got me.

Through all the meditation that's really just kind of melted away. And I don't just mean with my family. I mean with anything. Get cut off the traffic, beeps the horn at you. I'm like, yeah, whatever. I know we're driving and he keeps going. You can attach to that. You get grumpy, you have all these angry thoughts, you can grab onto those thoughts. You can hold them, keep them with you all day long. You could bring them to work with you and be angry and pissy with everybody. Well, you don't have to, and I feel that meditation is really what has taught me that it's okay to have thoughts. It's okay to let them go. It's like, yeah, anger. Of course, you are angry. You almost got in an accident and all of the problems that are associated with that accident, you don't have to think about them right now because it didn't actually happen.

The other issues, so much stress, so much cortisol in your body that is so damaging to everything inside of you. Cortisol is like one of the worst things. Cortisol is there for fight or flight. So when we used to live in the woods, you hear a twig snap your heart rate goes really fast And you get jolted with some cortisol and some adrenaline and you can either run away from the animal or you can stay and fight it. Today, you're sitting in traffic and didn't get hit and your heart's going through the roof and you're angry and this is not supposed to be happening.

People watching the news, they’re in their own home, totally safe. Nothing is happening, especially here in Canada. And they're watching all this bad stuff about terrorism bombs going off and violence and people are dying and all this aggression and they're sitting here and they’re clutching the arm chair and they're getting all aggravated and they're yelling at the TV and the cortisol's coursing through their body and all the stress is reacting, it's so damaging.

Stephanie: Thank you, Jay. I really think that you've educated us a lot, but you've done it in a very entertaining way, which I always think is helpful. And I love the idea. I love the idea that a meditation book together for people that perhaps we haven't thought of as meditators. So I appreciate you looking beyond what we usually do and adding some new people in.

Jay: There's nothing worse than preaching to the choir.

Stephanie: So if you would like to talk Jay or ask him a question or something. His website is His Facebook is jcoleyoga and his book Calm the Fuck Down; Meditation for Blue Collars is on Amazon. Thank you Jay] it was great talking to you again and I think you've really added something to our discussion on meditation.

Jay: Oh, thank you Stephanie. It was a blast.

Contacts:, FB: jcoleyoga, Amazon: Calm the Fuck Down; Meditation for Blue Collars

Aug 6, 2019

                                                SunnyBee Yoga with Jacquie Barbie - Changing the Face of Yoga podcast #110

                                                Major points:

  1. a) Everyone in yoga classes should be doing the pose modification that is best for their body (5:49)
  2. b) Representation counts, and the public should be able to see all different kinds of yogi bodies (10:10)
  3. c) Thank your body at the beginning of class and accept that today may look and feel very different from yesterday (18:04

00:47                                     This is the hundred and 11th episode of Changing the Face of Yoga. And my guest today is Jackie Barbie and she's from Sunny B yoga in Florida in the US. She's a 200 hour experienced RYT and she specializes in accessible yoga for all. She's trained with Diane Bondi and Amber Karns and yoga for all. And Jivana Heyman of Accessible yoga. It is her passion and she believes her Dharma to help bring yoga to those that can benefit from the practice, but don't fit the stereotypical image of a yoga practitioner. I love this. I tell clients that call on the phone who have never seen me and are afraid of trying yoga, that I'm a fat gray haired lady with Fibromyalgia teaching the yoga class, you will be fine. It's great. She teaches a variety of classes, really impressive variety. A wheelchair yoga, Chair Yoga classes, beginner, gentle classes. She works privately with people in their homes. So she's really got the full spectrum of students who may need a little different kind of yoga. And we're going to talk about some of those different kinds right now. So welcome Jackie. I'm so glad that you're here. Is there anything that you'd like to add to that introduction?

02:24                                     Oh, that was great. Thank you. It's always kind of interesting to hear that back when I get a lot of people who call me on the phone and say, I'm too old, or I'm too fat, or I can't do yoga. I just tell them, trust me, when you see me, you will feel 0kay, you'll think, oh well she can do this, I can do this. So I think I bring a lot of people to ease just visually and then we have fun.

02:56                                     I taught seniors and they were very nervous that they would get someone very young and I'm not. So I think that helped because I knew what they were going through. I understand what you're saying. I'll give you all these contact details later to my listener, but I really want to tell them about your Instagram account because you have all these wonderful pictures of modifications of really common yoga poses. And I especially liked boat pose. I thought that was quite clever. I like to talk a little bit about how your yoga teaching, your guiding of your students includes all those modifications. When I do modifications, everybody wants to do the most intense one or the most difficult one. And sometimes it's really hard to get them to say, yeah, that's great, you can do that. We can work towards that, but why don't we think about it like this way too. Sometimes that works and a lot of times it doesn't. How do you introduce and guide people to modifications that might be a little better for their body.

04:25                                     So we start with that first and we start with the simplest and maybe even they might not even feel like they're in the yoga pose to begin with. Maybe like you said, boat pose. So maybe we'll start with the bolster popped up behind her back and just do that and then ease into something a little bit more. Or if we're in the chair, maybe we're just lifting the feet one at a time and we just ease into it slowly so that we just say, hey, if this feels good, stay here. But if you want to be a little curious,  let's try this. And if you go there and that doesn't feel good, come back to this where it did feel good and safe. Safe is always a big word for me. We throughout the practice introduce a little bit more and a little bit more and then remind them, don't forget, we have these options too. So we usually have maybe four different options of a pose that we work on in a class. And like I said, a lot of times it's very subtle. They don't realize that they're doing this, what they might look at if they were to open up an average Instagram page and say, I could never do that. But they're doing their version of the pose that fits their body, which is the most important thing to me.

05:40                                     So in a subtle way, you're really asking them to really pay attention to their body and how it feels.

05:49                                     Absolutely. Absolutely. I don't want everybody to look alike. I tell everybody in the classroom if everybody's in a different version of the pose, that makes me extremely happy. Because that means my job of making them comfortable in their own body, I was successful because that's when I'm trying to get everybody to listen to their body. I'm not trying to do what the person next to them is doing.

06:18                                     I think that's excellent. I notice that you said, I think on your Facebook page, that you're starting to create video content.

06:32                                     Yes. So I have a 15 year old daughter who was an aspiring videographer. She's taking all kinds of classes, is already accumulating certifications. in video editing, photo editing, things like that. So she is very interested in creating videos. We actually did one yesterday. She impresses me in how she can whip these together, edit them very quickly and make it look like it was the easiest thing in the world. And so we're working on that. We're trying to do that because I have people in different states, different areas who are saying, if I had you as a yoga teacher, I would go to yoga .I know that there's like hundreds of other me's out there. They're just afraid to try. So I figured I can at least get them started by practicing online with me. Maybe they can do some of the videos and, and they just need to do one video and they're officially a Yogi. Hopefully that will make them feel better. My sisters are in Pennsylvania. I really would like for them to practice chair yoga. I'm the baby of the family and I have lived over a thousand miles away from them for 30 years now. So this is a way for me to bring a practice to them and just to anybody who's just interested in trying some modified yoga, some adaptive yoga, whatever works in their body.

08:03                                     How do you do that? Because I've always been concerned that if people are just watching me, I can't really tell what's going on with them. Or is it kind of a two way thing, like on zoom or something like that?

08:17                                     That would be a great long term. That is something I hope to work towards in the future. I've seen that there are platforms where you can practice, where you can see people and do that. Right now we're just doing very basic, simple, beginner chair yoga type things. I really feel like anybody can really easily follow along. We're not doing anything complicated that they need someone quite there. It's not much different from anybody getting a yoga DVD or going on Youtube, we posted our first Youtube video today. And it's on SunnyBee Yoga on Youtube. You can look that up and we'll plan on adding more as we go along.

09:05                                     I did see some videos, I don't know if your daughter had anything to do with them, but I was so tickled at them because they were at a very fast pace. People are going up and down and round and it was kind of fun. It really was and I thought, you know that that's very clever to say Yoga can be fun. It's not always terribly, terribly serious.

09:31                                     A lot of times we do our family yoga videos where I actually get a lot of people requesting, I haven't seen a Barbie family high speed yoga video lately. We like to go hiking a lot or camping and we'll put up the iPhone and put it on high speed, videotaping it at high speed and just so that they can just see like this is our real life. This is actually what we do this is just for Instagram and we don't always videotape it obviously, but people will say, oh, I need a Barbie family video. So up sometimes just for fun, if anybody really ever wants to practice the yoga that we're doing in the high speed, I'll be happy to write down the poses for them.

                                                But I did start them at high-speed because I was always so nervous about posting pictures and posting videos of myself doing yoga. Just very self- conscious of the way I looked. But representation matters. And if people don't see me in a bigger body, in an older body, in a body with chronic illness doing yoga, then they're never going to think that they can do yoga. So representation matters. We have to all be posting these pictures and posting these videos so that they don't only see white 24 year old women standing on a rock off a cliff doing yoga, you know, like that's not all that it is. It's being silly. So someone had told me do your first videos at high speed because nobody will see the mistakes or nobody will see the things like that and you won't be as self-conscious and it will just be creating the practice for yourself. So now I can do it slower, but it's really just for fun.

11:17                                     I think that the representation sometimes kind of gets lost in yoga that it's very, very serious and it's a practice. It has a philosophy and all that is true and it's great, but it also can be very enjoyable.

11:34                                     Laughter is a huge part of my teaching. I think. I like to try to keep things light and humorous. I think laughter helps people relax. You come into a beginner's class or it's their first time in their wheelchair class or something. Then if I can make them laugh, they just relax just a little bit. It's a stress reliever. They laughing with the people around them, so it immediately starts to build community. Someone once told me laughter's a breath practice too. So I think laughter in Yoga is really, really important. So sometimes I call myself a yogamedian. I honor the practice. It is really mostly just to make people more relaxed with them when with themselves.

12:24                                     Let's segue into the wheelchair yoga class that you teach. I think you said it was your most favourite class. I have tried it and I found it quite difficult. what would an average, normal class look like in a wheelchair class?

12:46                                     So I teach wheelchair in a nursing facility in the nursing home. Most of these are long-term residents. So there's strict rules, no touching, no standing. They can't get out of their wheelchairs for safety reasons obviously. So at first I thought, what am I going to do? Like we can only do so much for their arms and I'm supposed to be there for an entire hour. So how am I going to do this? And then the average age is probably 85 to 90. So what in the world am I going to do?

                                                Well, let me tell you, I run out of time in that hour because we have so much fun. We have so much to do. We do move our feet and move our toes. You might lift our legs. Maybe we're lifting them independently. Maybe we're lifting them, using our hands. We use our props in our practice. We use straps, we use blocks, sometimes we'll use the therapy bands. We might do a little bit of practice with using our arms and we let them rest. And then we will focus on our feet and our ankle;, spending time pointing and flexing the toes a work, the calf muscles, because the calf muscles, the second most important muscle for good heart health. And they're sitting in their chairs all day long so that they need to get this blood pumping. They need to get this movement. Their posture becomes not really good because there's sinking back into the chair. So we remind them, I remind them throughout the practice, straighten the spine, ground your feet into the floor, pull the shoulders back. And even they just say, just doing that alone just helps them with their breath.

                                                And we try to speed things up a little bit, get a little bit more active. It may not look like a traditional yoga practice. Probably 80% of the class might just look like exercise or movement. we spend a lot of time stopping and then take some deep and open up, open up the airways, lift the chest, lift the heart, do a little introspection, what's happening in the body, how does this feel from when you came into the class?

                                                They really love it. A lot of them begged their physical therapists to not make them go to therapy that day so that they can just come to yoga. I've had occupational therapists bring their patients into the yoga class. One occupational therapist said one day, I want you to be in here every Wednesday because you're going to get more out of this class that I can do for you. And I thought that was just an amazing compliment because I'm not a therapist. I don't pretend to be a therapist. I don't have a medical background. We just have some fun and we just try to move the body and, and if it's not comfortable for them in that position or that pose, they can just sit there and be in the group. That's perfectly fine because community is yoga also. And I just love being in the room with them because they're so happy there. Your spirits lifts so much after they've had that movement, that interaction with everyone in the room. And if somebody who the nursing home scheduled gets cancelled, the activities director has been told by the patients there to call Jackie so she can come in and do yoga with us. We want an extra yoga class. So that's exciting.

                                                There was a patient who started coming and she had had stroke years ago, wasn't really recovering from anything. She had a difficult time speaking because she just couldn't get her breath. She started doing yoga and she's practicing things outside of our yoga class. And so at the end of yoga she would grab my hands and not let me leave because she could talk, somebody could hear her because her breath had picked up and it's stimulated her vocal chords. I don't know anything about this physically or medically, but she wouldn't let me leave. She'd hold onto me because she had a lot to say and she could say it at that time. And that was totally fine with me. She's come a long way. She's been doing all kinds of things. One of the ladies who comes every Wednesday, that's when we have our class. She had me write down some sequences for her and so she gets up every morning and does yoga in her room before she get dressed and does her activities. I'm really proud of those students there.

17:18                                     That's a great testimonial to your teaching. That's wonderful.

17:22                                     I've learned so much from them. I just walk out every day going Oh my gosh. I just can't believe I got to do that.

17:32                                     When you're teaching these types of classes, do you have them set goals for themselves, either physically, mentally, emotionally. Or are you guiding them through the practice given the experience that you have?

18:04                                     We come in and the very first thing we always do is we just tell our body: thank you for showing up for us today. Whatever it looks like today, whatever is going to happen in our bodies today, they might be feeling more pain. They might have a little bit more limitation. Maybe they're having a good day and they can move a little bit more, but just to thank their body for showing up and that we honour it wherever it is. If I say now, lift your arms up as high as they can go. If it's just two inches off your lap and the person next to you can put their fingertips towards the ceiling, perfectly fine. That's where you're supposed to be today. And I just try to show them different modifications and variations that they can move their arms. Opening their arms out to the side is painful on their shoulders. And it is for a lot of people with shoulder replacements. Bring the fingertips out in front. It's okay to do it your way, to customize your practice. I want you to feel good. I want you to come because it feels good, not because you do it and then at the end of the day you can't do anything else.

19:12                                     You said on your introduction that you have fibromyalgia and there's been some research that yoga helps fibromyalgia. And so I thought we could talk about that for people that may either be working with students who have that or they themselves have that. How yoga has affected that in your body, if you feel comfortable.

19:50                                     Fibromyalgia is one of the big reasons why my practice became so important to me because I was working and if I wasn't working, I was in bed because my pain was so bad. I couldn't move. My quality of life was not that great because I was 40 years old or 45 years old and I could only work and stay in bed. I wanted to do more things. I wanted to have more of a life and have more fun and someone has suggested to try yoga for the fibromyalgia pain. And I went and just a little bit of movement was incredible because I would have small moments of not being in so much pain and it would get longer and I might sleep better and if I slept better than my pain levels were down. It was really nice that it just gradually helps; little by little for me to recover after I might've been working a full day. I worked retail at the time and I was the manager of a clothing store and I ran all the time for 10 hours a day. it helped me be able to keep up the pace and then be able to do things, not stay in bed so long.

                                                And it, it helped me to get a lot of peace with my body too because being young at that time and I was saying what is it going to be like, in 20 years? I'm not going to be able to move at all, not going to be able to do anything. I have a young child who wants to enjoy life and being able to make that peace with my body and say it's okay.

                                                Whatever it is, we're going to be fine. We're going to move a little bit today and then we're going to move a little bit more. Between Yoga and doing some swimming, I really got my quality of life back, got to have a lot more freedom to go places and do things, was able to come off other medications. And I'm not saying that that's going to be the case for every single person, but it's worth a try. I've seen people come in, with fibromyalgia, to a chair class and say from the beginning to the end of the class, well this part of me doesn't hurt anymore. Just from making the moments, cause that's the cycle, with fibromyalgia that I was in where if I was active, the pain wasn't so bad, but the pain was too bad to be active. So it was just the cycle of I hurt too much and I'm too tired to do anything. So once I started moving, then I could move more and then even more. So it's, it's been a plus for me. I don't have perfect days every day, but I know what I need to do. I know what will help. Even the smallest movements make big differences in your body.

23:02                                     You might modify for yourself when you're doing this. I mean, what kinds of things do you do that helps?

23:10                                     When I started yoga, of course I come in with this, painful body and a bigger body and a lot of times teachers just didn't know what to do with me. They would just say take child's pose or use some props. And she didn't really tell me how to use props and I wanted to do yoga. I didn't want to, I mean, I know child's pose is yoga, but I didn't want to just stay there. I wanted to do some other things. I came here to move. So eventually I started just learning different ways, modify my practice. I was grateful that through these other amazing teachers that I've been able to work with have shown me more modifications for my practice.

                                                 And so now it just becomes like a little game when you asked me about modifications earlier. It's like, give me a pose and we'll figure out a way to do it in a chair or we'll figure out a different way to do it. Like, it's almost a game. Let's have fun. How can we get the same effects from this pose and what feels good in our body today? So maybe today I do it this way and tomorrow my body might feel differently and I can do it this way. So that's another reason why I like to show maybe four different ways. If I'm lucky, if I can come up with four different ways to do a pose because our bodies feel differently from one day to the next, from morning to evening. And um, you know, it might feel one day and just might not. Lots of modifications. There are lots of props. I'm a prop goddess. That's what the props are. We use blocks, straps, bolsters, walls, chairs, you name it, it's a prop. we will do yoga with it. So when people come into my class, they always look at me, go grab everything, right? Yes. Just get all the props, have everything, have as much of it as you want.

25:06                                     I think I saw a picture of you with a large stick.

25:09                                     So we may fun sticks. My husband and I got creative one day and they’re push broom handles and we sawed off one end and we put these furniture stoppers on each end.  We're in the chair and we use the stick just to lean forward a little bit deeper and let's find a down dog with the hands on a stick. Tt opens up the shoulders a little bit more. I have a student who almost always grabs one because if we're doing balancing poses, she used to always have to stand against the wall, but now she can using the stick stand freely on her mat but just still hold onto the stick for balance and stability and I mean anything can be a prop. Anything can be your prop I'm telling you. So that was a lot of fun. There's all kinds of fun things to do with, I need to do more videos using that.

26:14                                     I just was very fascinated by that. I hadn't ever heard of that as being a prop before, but I thought I can see where that would work. I did think it would be really good for balance, especially if someone's unstable, I think that would be very helpful for them mentally as well as physically to have that as a help there.

26:38                                     Yes. And it was fun trying to come up with like what is going to be the right thing. So we played with different wooden dowels and it was my husband who said, let's try a push broomstick we were there at Lowes, the home labyrinth kind of stores and you buy the stick for the push broom, you buy them separately. And he said, look at that. Like look at the grip in the hand, it's the right width and we've found the furniture stoppers that were the right size. And we just put them on and we said, there we go, there's our Prop and it was all for under $10 and it was just easy.

27:24                                     I like to end the podcast with an invitation to you to either discuss something we've discussed in more depth or bring in a brand new topic that you would like anyone who's listening to know about.

27:42                                     All right. So I always just like to explain the Bee part of Sonny Bee Yoga. Obviously it goes with my last name, Bardie But love bees. I love honeybees. Bumblebees, all bees. The one thing that I love about the Bumblebee is that bees, if you look at the way that their shaped and their weight and then their wing size, it is supposed to be impossible for them to fly, right? They fly anyway. Right.

28:23                                     And I feel that way about our yoga is that you can do this; if the bumblebee can fly, you can do yoga. I also love about the bees is that their hive, they have this amazing sense of community and that every bee in the hive has a purpose and that purpose is to serve the greater good of the community. So each bee has one job, it's their Dharma, what they're supposed to do, their focus, and they all do that. And it makes the hire successful and happy. And I feel that way about yoga. This is what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to help bring yoga to people who don't think they're supposed to be flying. And I'm going to let them know that they're just a bumblebee and they can fly too.

29:17                                     Thank you. You've talked about some really interesting topics that will, make a great podcast, You really explained it well and I think I've got a really good handle on your philosophy of teaching, which is always fun. because I think we're all different. We all have our different reasons, but you and I are probably close in how we would teach.  I want to give your contact details in case people would like to see those lovely videos, which are really fun guys. The website is sunny and it's s u, n n y Bee

30:06                                     And it's Bee not the letter B, but it's like, the Bumblebee,.

30:10                                     The same kind of spelling for sunny Bee Yoga on Facebook and Sunny Bee yoga on Instagram. And there's some really incredible photos of Jackie doing some modifications on the Instagram account that I think if you're interested in that kind of thing, they'd be a great resource for you. So if you are interested in this topic , those are the contacts for Sonny Bee Yoga for Jackie. Thank you. Jackie. You did a great job. I really commend you for the service that you're providing people who may not think of themselves as Yogis, but you're proving to them that they can be. So thank you.

31:11                                     Thank you. Thank you so much.

Jun 5, 2019



2:26 Ann offers one on one yoga therapy to clients: telehealth yoga therapy. Which is location independent and offered worldwide.

3:30 Science nerd and heart-based nerd. Has a masters of science in yoga therapy: research based course on yoga therapy. Rich in yoga philosophy as well. Yoga research does not have to be cold, clinical but also has a rich tradition of yoga philosophy. Research is now looking at the outcomes of a well-rounded yoga class, including practices like chanting, yamas and niyamas. Science and spiritual are not incompatible.

5:55 Dr. Stephany Moonas conducted a 7 year clinical trial at John Hopkins University on yoga for people with arthritis. Studied the outcomes of a well-rounded yoga practice for those with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Measured quality of life (psycho/social/physical well-being) as well as more specific measures (e.g., does yoga increase swelling in arthritic joints).  Drs want to know this kind of information. Results: yoga as a practice improved quality of life but what parts of yoga produced these different outcomes couldn’t be measured. Rather that the whole practice of yoga had a positive benefit on quality of life.

9:21 Ann’s book: The Science of Yoga looks at the research/physiology behind common cues in yoga classes. It also includes research-based information on how yoga affects the different systems of the body: i.e., cardio/pulmonary, hormonal). As yoga teachers leave yoga teacher training, they often are unsure that they have sufficient training in anatomy/physiology. Ann felt the same way after training and took a pre-med course to learn more anatomy/physiology as well as other types of science. The result of that study as well as her Master’s degree are the basis for the book: The Science of Yoga. Yogis are usually visual learners and secondly kinesthetic. The illustrations are gorgeous and Ann invites yogis to do the poses she is discussing to see if their experience is the same. How does it feel in their bodies?  The Science of Yoga is available on line and in bookstores.

16:30 Ann is making wellness non-intimidating. Works with many people who have 5 or more chronic conditions. Getting differing guidance of different wellness sources, very confusing and hard to know what to do. Ann makes it less intimidating and more sustainable. Works one on one with people on zoom for 5-10 times, and at the end gives them a routine including all of the tools  of yoga to help them maintain their health.

21:48 Combine science and heart. Recommends that people continually study as yoga research increases in number and sophistication. Feel it in your body and always ask why? For example, do twists improve organ function and get rid of toxins? Questions: Does pressure on organs make them work better? Does pressure on organs get rid of toxins? In the body, the liver gets rid of toxins. Does presshappure on the liver make it get rid of toxins? No – pressure would not affect the liver. But pressure does help with digestion, maintaining or increasing joint mobility, etc. What are toxins? Do we do yoga as a punishment for having drank too much the night before. So wouldn’t say that twisting gets rid of toxins, but would say twisting helps digestion through increasing peristalsis and maintain range of motion, etc.

26:05 ? keeping up with yoga research and spirituality in yoga. New research on loving kindness:

Three groups: one group looked at people and noticed what color their clothes were, second group sent loving kindness (‘may you have peace, may you have freedom”) to people they saw, the third group told themselves that they were better than the people that they saw. On a happiness measure, the second group were the happiest and the third group was the most unhappy. Can take this research and apply it to change negative self-talk to loving kindness to others.



Email: Website:
For a free deep relaxation for chronic pain:
For more about the book, SCIENCE OF YOGA:
May 28, 2019



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. ( 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.



Insta: NikkiSueMyers

May 14, 2019


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.



FB: lindasternlang

May 7, 2019


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.


FB: pranavayogastudiosantafe

Insta: #melissasmithwilkinson

Apr 24, 2019


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.



FB: DrLisaHollandP.T

Apr 10, 2019

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.

Contact details:

Website: (free mini-course on breath awareness)


FB: spacetobreatheacademy

Apr 3, 2019


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.



FB: LightworkdeCathyWeiss

Insta: lightworker_cathy

Mar 12, 2019

SN Jivana


2:02 Awareness of benefits of yoga for everyone has led accessible yoga to become more mainstream. Work to make yoga more accessible has been going on for some time – extending yoga to different populations.

4:50 Yoga media is not reflecting reality. Yoga Journal did not fully commit to putting Jessamyn Stanley (a black, large-bodied yogi) on the cover as they had said they would. But when the most conservative yoga media moves in that direction, there is progress.

6:34 Progress but push back from corporate yoga. Specialized classes are not as profitable. Large yoga chains offer “gym” yoga. There are two different yogas “gym yoga” and everybody yoga. Accessible yoga is getting back to what yoga is. Yoga is 1000’s of years old and started for monastic males but has changed many times. Yoga is the west is more physical but it is changing as the spiritual aspects of yoga become more important. Also, the potential injuries of extreme physical yoga are becoming known as more high profile yogis are having hip replacements.

10:52 In the future, dichotomy will remain. Physical yoga needs a new name and will be subsumed into the gym culture .Accessible yoga teachers need to have skills to have a diverse, integrated, mixed level classes to address anyone who comes into the room. Many just want to participate in a yoga class.

12:20 Teaching skills to teaching levels of pose at same time. Most teach one level and then other level. Find language to teach both. Preparation can be different and then the cues for the pose are the same. Example: cobra pose explanation for mat and chair students.

16:13 Awareness growing of simple, subtle yoga. Body mechanics for safety. Yoga why do we do this practice; why do we do this pose – what are benefits and how do we make this benefit available for everyone.

17:50 Western yoga is maturing. Questions about what is yoga, how do we make it beneficial for everyone.

19:10 Extreme physical yoga practice will become subsumed in gym environment. Other yoga focusses on spiritual, mental health, emotional health is growing up and maturing. So much more diverse inclusive classes available

20:57 Large yoga brands will see this “accessible yoga” as marketing opportunity. May take away accessible yoga’s opportunity to own the message, not letting the brands to formulate the message. Clothing brands sell on aspirational model. Will start campaigns based on accessible yoga. Don’t let them co-opt the message. How do we maintain control of the message. It can feel like success to be included but what is lost. How well do these corporations support the community.

25:44 Accessible yoga is not as profitable; can’t be scaled up as easily. It may be a financial burden for students to pay for classes. Accessible yoga teachers can not make a living from teaching yoga classes. They are often asked to teach for free. Value in well trained teacher who should be paid and make a living. We need additional financial models. Yoga industry multi-million dollar industry. 99% of yoga teachers can’t make a living. That’s not acceptable. Teaching training and private classes are more profitable. Accessible classes need to be profitable to continue. Corporates need to support yoga teachers. Yoga Alliance is considering paying teachers directly to teach accessible courses. Recently added to their mission M making yoga accessible.

30:00  Making progress – lululemon  could be the model. Yoga Service Council – supports accessible yoga organisations.

31:04 Accessible Yoga book by Jivana will be out in the fall. It is for students who think they can’t do yoga to shift awareness.



FB and Insta: accessibleyo gaproject



Website: (30 trainings worldwide this year)

Conference: Accessible Yoga in St. Louis end of May and in New York in the fall

Mar 5, 2019

 Yoga and Trauma: Now and In the Future


3:49 Yoga and trauma came together as more was known about trauma. Bessel van der Kolk who did a small study of yoga and PTSD. He is a strong voice, and the trauma community recognized the body’s role in trauma healing. Allows a safe and structured way for body to feel again. PTSD as a diagnosis occurred in the 1980’s Society has realized that everyone has experienced trauma in their lifetime. Can react to trauma in present moment situations that not helpful to situation.

6:38 Research has focussed and supported yoga as a helpful modality for trauma. Research studies for PTSD have had encouraging results – lots of feasibility studies. Demand for yoga for trauma courses are very strong. Heather’s popular yoga for trauma course attracts psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and yoga teachers. More and more course applications are from the medical community.

9:12 Yoga teachers should know about trauma. Recently published a book  (Yoga for Mental Health by Kelly Birch and Heather Mason) where chapters are written by experts in their field. A chapter about  trauma focused yoga therapy by Daniel Libby and Dana Moore is provides a good information on this topic. Yoga teachers dealing with students who are experiencing PTSD should be careful of language during class. The student’s experience may not be positive either mentally, physically or emotionally. Don’t tell people what they are likely to feel. PTSD is likely to make people feel disembodied. Better to give them a cue with a focal point (e.g., you may feel tension in your hamstrings at the back of the legs in a forward bend). Touch should be approved by the student at all times. Movement to make yoga trauma-sensitive but yoga can be so much more than that because of its effect on the autonomic nervous system.

13:05 Yoga Training for Trauma: when dealing with PTSD understanding what people are presenting with (it can be variable) – more difficult if have a group class. Restorative allows people to deeply rest but some may some may feel vulnerable. Moving can be empowering. Every style of yoga can be appropriate for people with PTSD; depends on the stage they are in, what’s going on and their proclivities. All teachers need to understand how to handle triggering. Can’t stop anyone from triggering. All yoga teacher training courses should have a mental health component because yoga classes have a higher percentage of people attending with mental health issues than the population average. Teach yoga teaches to handle general mental health issues and triggering.

20:00 Overall yoga community is more aware of trauma but see growing interest from mental health professionals in the therapeutic value of yoga. #Metoo movement and the reporting about yoga teachers abusing their students has created awareness of inappropriate touch. Adjustments are Ok with informed consent (and to be informed, have to be in tune with their body to know if they allow touch)

22:50 Where will trauma and yoga be in 10 years? Yoga will be more and more integrated into the mental health system (in UK). Difference between health care systems in different countries makes it difficult to predict and will manifest differently. In UK – trauma-based treatments with yoga components are now included in their national health care system (NHS).  Yoga teachers will be increasingly aware of value of yoga for mental health issues and best practices. More research in this area. Flourishing of classes for those with mental health issues. Yoga community should offer yoga saying it is for depression anxiety, PTSD, trauma.  People are desperate for help. The stigma of mental health illness is decreasing now and will continue to do so. Online technologies allow people to access yoga in their homes.

27:00 Integrated into the system in UK; how can we get into the health care systems in all countries. Where health care is paid for by the government, it is easy as only have to convince one entity while a system of 100’s of insurance companies is much harder to enter. Governments want low-cost, effective and efficient modalities for their health care systems. UK and India are making great progress, most successful countries will export their systems to others. Countries like the US where individuals pay for their health care will be interesting. But Medicare does pay for the Dean Ornish treatment which includes yoga. Either UK, India or Sweden may be the model for the rest of the world.

29:30 Parliamentary Group – Yoga in Society. Heather is the Secretary of the Group and it has four pillars. Yoga in: a) education, b) criminal justice system, c) health care, and d) occupational health. Different groups are working in all four areas.

31:33 Yoga and Trauma for yoga teachers who are suffering from mental health issues remember you do not have to be the perfect guru. That will delay your own healing process and creates false expectations


Twitter: yogamind

FB: yoga therapy for the mind





Feb 19, 2019



1:52 Interest in Thai Yoga – more authentic than yoga as it is currently taught. It is called Ruesri dat ton. The monks in Thailand practice this yoga. Uses the breath, great attention to detail, build pressure and then with poses let the pressure dissipate.

5:57 Michael teaches Thai yoga   principles but  not Thai yoga postures in his classes. Works with the breath, don’t push breath down to the belly but rather keep in thoracic area to stretch out the thoracic area which provides support to the pose. People of size often have large belles which push down and restrict the movement of the rib cage.

8:20 Modification for large-bodied people: Using forward bend as an example, forward bending is difficult because the belly is in the way  and to get fingers to toes requires extensive stretching of the hamstrings. Bend the knees and may feel opening in the thoracic rib cage. Belly will push into diaphragm and back opens more. Belly used as a catalyst to open up rib cage. Child pose as an example, the purpose is to fold the joints and then let the weight of the body sink into the pose. Many (often men) have trouble with flattening the tops of the feet in child pose and need something (blanket, mat) under their ankles to get into the pose. Use Chair for the head. Play with the movement, come out when uncomfortable and then back into the pose.

14:15 Works with students in yoga classes and also as massage therapists. Has yoga teachers coming to him for help with injuries – wrists, lower back, neck and shoulders. Repetitive movement that goes unchecked can lead to injury. Self- practice is for self-exploration, self-relfection, paying attention to the body.

16:50 Is yoga more accessible now? When Michael started 20 years ago, there was little interest in teaching large-bodied students. Only 3 teachers in his area were teaching large bodied students (lives in NYC)  Started his own studio because of the lack of opportunity. Now included in norms of yoga but there is a push back. Mainly a financial concern: large-bodied people need larger exercise clothing, larger mats, and more space to do yoga. So it is not of interest to corporate yoga companies. A grass roots approach is working now and it may not be taken over by big business. It is better as there is more creativity in the grass roots.

19:35 Big business yoga can be very dogmatic, very limited, too financially based, no room for ordinary people. Looking for a “famous” teacher can also be unhealthy. Classes/students look the same, no growth occurring. Teachers limited in the type of students they can teach. Yoga will survive, but growth in yoga teaching/practice is questionable in these circumstances.

Teachers we looked up to 20 years ago are experiencing injuries because of the type of yoga and student they teach. Their students will have the same problems in 20 years.

Individuals must have their own practice – take classes, read, work out what is best for their body in their own practice. Can get too engrossed in the movement without paying attention to how the body feels.

23:00 Why are students attracted to Buddha Body Classes? Students are quirky, funny, talkative curious and often have a lot of fear. Fear can be generated from previous classes where teachers did not know how to teach them and they feel shamed because of their body type.

Michael has started streaming classes on Sat AM – the audience is growing and more and more are interested in these classes. Allows someone to do the class in their own space where they may be more comfortable. Because of Michael’s emphasis on safety, he breaks down the pose as much as he can, give variations, explain why they are doing the pose but emphasize they must pay attention to their own body.

27:20 Play with yoga, pay attention to your own body, ask yourself how you feel and most importantly why you feel that way. Don’t worry about completing a pose. Keep asking yourself why. Teachers are guides not rulers

Contact details:

FB: buddhabodyyoganyc

Insta: @buddha_body_yoga

Twitter: BuddhaBodyNYC

Dec 18, 2018

Self-Compassion Meditation

Introduction: yoga nidra process – review, relax, and be compassionate

3:10 Review, relax and be thankful as you delve into the body. Legs, pelvis, torso, arms, neck and shoulders and head

15:15 Compassionate in our thoughts. Self-talk, forgiveness, kindness

18:00 Gently wake up the body



Dec 11, 2018

Special yoga with Jyoti Jo Manuel

Introduction to Joyoti works with children with complex needs and/or social/emotional needs. She provides classes and training worldwide

3:10 Offers trainings that are usually the result of people having taken her training and then asking her to give a training in their country. Special Yoga develops training for each country based on what is needed. Very flexible/adaptable in length of time and type of training given. Each person leaves the training with yoga tools to either help children with a broad range of needs or specific tools for specific needs. Can be a yoga teacher, paediatric professional, teacher, parent or  ?  Jyoti’s organisation works with schools, governments, non-profits, etc.

5:45 Offerings can be simplified but are very powerful so need a background in yoga. There are lots of access points to bring yoga to those who need it. Everyone finishing the course/workshop will have a tool box of appropriate yoga tools to help the children. 7 day workshop teaches a wide variety of tools for a wide variety of needs while shorter ones target specific tools for the participants.  Example: breath can be accessed through your own breathing, movement, sound, massage points, touch.

8:22 Training includes breathing, movement, relaxation. Yoga is the philosophy of being and this is the beginning point of all trainings. The 1st thing is how do you meet the needs of child and your needs. How do we connect? Our state of mind matters. Start all of the trainings by learning to meet the child in a loving, open way.

10:08 Jyoti used yoga tools to help a severely disabled child while he slept. He woke up happier and his mother said his body felt different . Jyoti has no idea of why it worked but intuitively it seemed the right thjng to do.  She knows that Yoga tools work but not exactly why they work. She is humble and grateful to do this work.

13:05 1st world workshops on a commercial basis, while 3rd world workshops are usually sponsored by governments, non-profits, schools, orphanages working together. Again the workshops are not targeted to a particular practitioner but to anyone that wishes to do this work.

16:10 7 day workshop in Sydney, 12-18 January 2019. !st time this workshop will be offered in Australia. People will leave the workshop empowered and inspired and will have tools to meet the needs of children. Will have tools and processes for children with a wide variety of needs. Practical and experiential practices.

17:40 Jyoti took her first yoga class in 1974 and realised that this was showing her a path for her life. She eventually opened a yoga studio in London and people with disabilities and children started coming to her classes.

20:00 Some cultures regard disabilities as bad and the child and his/her family may be ostracised by the community. Yoga has had amazing results with children and the children that received regular work with the yoga tools show great improvement in a variety of ways

22:20 Jyoti’s mission is to reach as many children as possible. The trainings provide a group of people with yoga tools to reach children all over the world.

23:05 Sydney workshop on the North Shore


7 day workshop for yoga professionals, paediatric professionals, parents, teachers, or anyone interested.

Next year she will have trainings in London, Ireland, Spain, maybe Mexico, Brazil.  Enquiries from: South Africa, Finland.



FB: special yoga, jyoti jo manuel



Dec 4, 2018


2:31 As a dancer, Steffany understood movement could be a strategy to alleviate suffering. As a child, she wanted to help people find this state for themselves and suffer less. Wanted to help people find a mind-body connection to be fully engaged in the present thought the experience of what is happening in their bodies and alleviate suffering. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability

6:00 Min-body practice defined by National Center  for Complementary and Integrated Health. Many kinds of mind-body practices that you can do yourself. Mind-body practices are strategies for self-care. Treatment can be passive like drugs or give people the tools for self-care like a yoga class. Changing the way we live by using self-care tools.

8:00 Research: clinical experience and personal perception. Yoga works because we can see the benefits for students, clients and ourselves. Research aims to reduce the personal perception bias. Yoga also is aware of being able to tell the difference between one subjective experience and and our objective reality.

Our decisions must be informed by both to make decisions. Expert opinion (training, gurus, etc.), clinical preference (client’s need),  and generalisable evidence from well-designed research studies. The third one is viewed most strongly by decision and policy makers. Yoga research conducted with modern health research guidelines is fairly new. Last few decades  yoga research was not funded resulting in very small studies that showed promising results. They indicated that yoga was safe to do. These original studies brought research funding to yoga to now do research with rigorous design. Dose (how often), style, poses, comparison with other modalities are now part of yoga research. Results from 1 research study is 1 piece of a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. It is difficult to really understand if yoga is beneficial from that one study. But a thousand studies brings the whole picture and much more confidence in yoga’s benefits. Tips to help someone who is unsure on how to review research studies. Read summary research – meta-analysis, systematic reviews – by an expert in the field. They will be very knowledgeable and by looking at several pieces of the jigsaw will have a better idea of what the research says about a yoga topic.

19:55 Steffany is developing Guidelines for Clinical Research.  If you are writing about yoga research, these guidelines tell you what must be reported so that the research is designed correctly. Things like: yoga style, poses, modifications, time spent in each pose, etc. Without this kind of information, no one can make a recommendation for or against.

23:11 Yoga for Arthritis: developed rigorous, randomised control group structure, replicated with another population research on the benefits of yoga for arthritis.

Yoga works, but that conclusion is based on how yoga is taught. Yoga is safe and appropriate for people with arthritis, decreases pain. Steffany’s research showed a 30% decrease in pain (comparable to drugs) but no side effects. Yoga can transform life, even without pain decrease. Research shows Yoga can improve quality of life, mental health and depressive symptoms. Study reports  changes in the clinical assessment of joints. Received funding from Arthritis Foundation. Subsequent studies included qualitative (peoples’ stories about yoga’s effects) and quantitative aspects.  (Arthritis Foundation asked Steffany to develop a DVD  which is available on the Arthritis Foundation website. The Yoga for Arthritis website has additional resources.

29:18 Steffany has written a book: ”Yoga Therapy for Arthritis” that will be published December 2018. Arthritis affects the whole person; yoga intervenes on every level. Uses the Pancha Maya Kosha system to see the effects of arthritis on each kosha. It is illustrated by a series of personal stories of people living with arthritis and how yoga facilitates personal transformations. Includes a section on lots of different practices and modifications.

The book is for three audiences: Yoga professionals, people with arthritis, and health professionals

33:59 Anyone can suffer from arthritis: 300,000 children have arthritis is the US. Self-concept is changed by arthritis as well as movement. A participant in Steffany’s research had arthritis in her twenties and it significantly affected her life as she was a dancer and gymnast.  Through yoga she came to realise she and her body could partners in dealing with the arthritis.

38:45 Steffany offers Teacher Training in Yoga for Arthritis. 3 Levels: 1st level – provides protocol for 8 week / 16 classes based on her research. Level 2: 1-1 mentoring for teachers, detailing how to teach. Level 3: 1 to 1 practice – yoga therapy.

Training in several cities in Us, starting a hybrid on-line programs

42:50 Open invitation to listeners to send questions to Steffany and she will try to answer them.



FB: yoga4arthritis

Book: “Yoga Therapy for Arthritis: A whole-person approach for Movement and Lifestyle” by Steffany Moonaz

Nov 27, 2018

Introduction to Jojo and Slow Postpartum

3:29 Slow Postpartum is the time after the birth of the baby and the women in taken care of by her community. Time  is 30-40 days of complete rest and care: support, nourishment, and time to heal and bond with the baby. Quite common in several cultures around the world.

When a women has a baby, the brain recalibrates and parts of the brain start interacting for the first time as the women becomes a mother. This transformation needs time, care, nourishment, healing, and making connection with the baby. Matriescence = moving from being a woman to being a mother.

8:00 Jojo teaches yoga classes to pregnant women. Yoga is helpful during the birth, and postpartum can also be helped by yoga but in a different form.

9:30 Pregnant and postpartum body are very different. Many new pregnant students coming to a yoga class are beginners. They have relaxin hormone in their bodies which loosens muscles, tendons, ligaments. Have to be careful not to push into the joints, hyperextension. Postpartum body is different: will still have relaxin for weeks or months. Body is very open from giving birth; the pelvic floor muscles have been greatly stretched. Body is open: physically, mentally and spiritually. Can’t do poses that they did before pregnancy for weeks or months. Need a teacher that understands the postpartum body.

13:49 Postpartum mums and bubs classes: very common for someone to be crying either babies or mums. Jojo recommends that they don’t come for at least 6 weeks. Mums are very sleep deprived, hormonal, anxious. The class is for the women; body needs caring, nourishing and yoga can be beneficial. They are told to make the class what they need it to be. Social interaction with other new mums is very important.

17:30 Helpful poses and contraindicated poses during this period. Women may have C-section scars, and/or separation of the rectus abdominus. So very slowly, methodically strengthen the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. Contraindicated poses include twists, especially deep seated twists and plank  because they destabilise the core. Remain careful about pushing into the joints. Poses should close the pelvic area, not stretch it. Shoulder stretches are very helpful because of always holding the baby. Babies naturally do yoga as they stretch and move their bodies.

21:00 Jojo does offer her postpartum doula clients training in meditation. Women in the postpartum class are told to do savasana in any position that they want. They are to come into the present and just be with their baby.

23:08 Body in postpartum needs care, nourishing and support. Find a teacher that is familiar with the postpartum body’s needs. Shouldn’t return to pregnancy, gym or regular yoga classes  as they are not suitable for the postpartum body. Your baby is your yoga at this time. Motherhood is a deeply spiritual practice, you learn patience, accept how things are instead of how you want them to be, unlimited and unconditional lovee.

26:15 Returning to regular classes is very individualised. High impact classes not before 6 months, regular classes not for 12 weeks. Listen to your body.



FB: slowpostpartum

Insta: #slowpostpartum.


Nov 20, 2018

Introduction to Ryan McGraw and Access2yoga

2:10 When Ryan started yoga he did the maximum expression of the pose, because he wasn’t given modifications. He met a teacher who showed him modifications for the poses using a chair, the wall, and props for supporting his body. It brought a new level of understanding and brought more peace to the body. He could more easily bring in the breath to the pose

4:50 He developed an Adaptive Yoga Manual for yoga teachers. It is available on his website ( for everyone. He teaches Adaptive Yoga workshops and contributed a chapter to Yoga and Body Image (2015) that tells the stories of 25 yogis who don’t look like the public perception of yoga.

6:30 In the last 10 years, adaptive, accessible yoga had become mainstream due to the efforts of Mathew Sanford and Jivana Heyman. They are talking and writing about making yoga more accessible. More teachers are becoming interested in accessible yoga as more demographics learn the about the benefits of yoga and want to participate. 1 in 5 people have a disability and others have injuries that need modifications, others are curvy and all may need some modifications.

10:00 Teachers in workshops need to know that yoga can be inclusive. Can adapt poses and still receive benefits. For instance Tadasana (mountain) pose can be done in a chair and the upper body receives the same benefits as if the pose was done standing.

13:25 The accessible yoga ambassadors program came from the Accessible yoga  concept to make yoga inclusive. Ambassadors work to make the public aware that yoga can be inclusive. A recent review by Yoga Alliance included people from Accessible Yoga. Ryan was on the Teacher Qualifications workgroup and he hopes that accessible yoga ideas are included in teacher training requirements as a result of this review.

16:34 Three things that a yoga teacher should do to make sure his/her class is inclusive?

  1. Greet the student and ask them what modifications, if any, they might need
  2. Don’t leave the student out, but don’t needlessly point the student out either
  3. Offer modifications if they are struggling.

Most importantly make them feel safe and welcome in class.

Contact details:

FB: access2yoga



Nov 13, 2018


Introduction of Janaki Somaiya and Yogahood

2:32 Yogahood started as a result of the founder’s experience of yoga’s benefits. Janaki is involved because of her psychology training and family interest in yoga. Janaki is a clinical psychologist working primarily with youth with mental health issues and knows the benefits for this population.

4:70 Yogahood is a not for profit organisation, that has partnerships with community organisations and also yoga studios and yoga brands. Community organisations have been approaching Yogahood to bring their classes to the community’s space. Yoga studios and yoga brands can help fund in many ways Yogahood’s activities. Yogahood’s volunteers go to the community sites to offer the classes.

8:00 Volunteer teachers must have 200 hour teacher training and 50 hours of teaching experience to take the 3 day Yogahood outreach training.  The class settings are very basic with just mats and some space; learning how to navigate a very different environment in which to give a class is one aspect of the training. The emphasis of the classes is to give people tools to take home and help them cope in their lives. Disadvantaged communities often have no opportunity to access yoga because of financial hardship.

12:45 Benefits to Students: Overall research shows many benefits of yoga. For youth with mental health issues, research indicates that yoga is helpful in stress, depression, etc. Yoga develops the pre-frontal cortex which is where planning, decision making and self-management occurs. This helps in dealing with stressors. Cognitive benefits include improving memory.

16:00 Young people, through yoga, are taught to tune in to their body and choose what they want to do that day according to how their body feels. They learn that is ok to listen to my body and do what it needs and then feel great when I do that.

17:30 Yogahood collects feedback and evaluates their program. Anecdotally, they hear that yoga helps participants manage their stress and better self-regulation among other improvements.

19:00 Yogahood’s training does provide some basic information on what teacher’s might expect when dealing with a wide range of participants with very different needs but can’t provide in depth. Each community organisation provides a person to be in the room during class. The volunteer is only responsible for teaching the class; the community person takes care of any issues that may arise. This is best for the teacher, the organisation and the participants. At the beginning of class, participants are told that the community person is there and if they have some issues to talk to that person.

21:25 Although Yogahood does provide some basic training in the issues that might occur, they also provide mentoring/pairing of a new volunteer with an experienced volunteer. They will teach the class together for a few classes so the new volunteer can receive feedback and get comfortable with his/her role.

23:25 Yogahood’s goals for the future are to provide the service to as many community organisations as possible given resources. It’s mission is to provide yoga to people who have needs for yoga’s tools. Talk therapy has limitations for some clients. It does not encourage thinking about one’s own body to help with the healing.  Research on trauma-based yoga shows that trauma basically sticks people in the trauma situation and they keep reliving it. Perceiving everything as a threat and living in the past and can’t physically let go of the trauma. Talk therapy may have them move mentally beyond the trauma but something has have help them move physically beyond the trauma.. They must ground themselves in the present which yoga does very well. Yoga increases the links between body, mind, breath. Yogahood is offering outreach training for new volunteers in early December.

31:45 Yogahood asks the volunteers to go into the community and work with people with high needs. Can be quite daunting for a volunteer. Yogahood offers wellness sessions for the volunteers to help them with their self-care and to maintain a balance in their lives. The wellness sessions may be a restorative yoga class, yin yoga, sound healing, massages.




Insta: #yogahoodau

Twitter: @yogahoodau

Oct 23, 2018 SN


Introduction to Osteoporosis: bones become fragile which leads to increased risk of fractures. May be due to bone mineral decreases or the failure of the microarchitecture.


2:54 Causes:

  1. At menopause, the cells that destroy bone become more active than the cells that build bone. These are both natural processes but the balance is disturbed as the sex hormones decrease
  2. In the later years of life 80+ the muscles and the bones become more fragile. Without the muscles pulling on the bones (and as they lose strength, this happens naturally), the bones also become weaker
  3. Illness and drugs can also affect the bone density.

5:30  No symptoms there is a test called the DEXA test that measures bone density (but not bone microarchitecture) It tests three sites on the body: hip, vertebrae and wrist. Each site receives it’s own score.

  1. Normal Score; men and women naturally lose bone density in their fifties but the loss is not enough to increase the risk of fracture
  2. Osteopenia: there is bone loss in excess of normal bone loss and the risk of fracture is increased
  3. Osteoporosis: there is significant bone loss and the risk of fracture is high.

Vertebral fractures can also lead to kyphosis which is 1) a risk factor for more vertebral fractures, it impacts breathing and balance.

9:59 Exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, is recommended to move the muscles that then pull on the bones to signal the need for increased density.

Axial Skeleton – skull, vertebrae, ribs. Protects the core organs and gives structure to the trunk. Women lose more bone (as a percentage) from the axial skeleton than men do so they have an increased risk of vertebral fractures.

Need strong core muscles to protect the bones and to help with holding up the trunk.

11:35 Dr. Mersheed Sinaki, has done several studies on osteoporosis at the Mayo Clinic in the US. She recommends more than just weight-bearing exercise but also need to improve a) flexibility, b) core strength, c) cardiovascular fitness, d) axial strength, and e) gait steadiness (to prevent falls from loss of balance).

13:00 Yoga poses to strengthen the axial skeleton (primarily the vertebrae).

  • Laying down: Gentle locust; laying on the stomach, lift the head (in line with the spine) and then release. After building strength with the previous pose, can then transition to clasping the hands behind the back, lifting the head and chest and pulling with the hands towards the feet. Another gentle pose would be to lay on back and lift head and then release,


  • Standing: With one arm on a chair if needed, lift one arm above the head with the inhale and let it come down with the exhale. Do the other arm. With sufficient strength, can use weights or lift both arms up at the same time (with or without weights).


  • Sitting: Bring arms to shoulder height; bend elbows so hand are pointing towards the ceiling and try to press the elbows together and then release. If the student cannot bring the arms to shoulder height, then place the arms along the side and bend the elbows and then press the elbows and release.


16:45 Appendicular Skeleton: limbs, hip and shoulder girdles. Breaks in hip are often at the neck of the femur which causes a fall. Hip fractures are highly correlated with death in older individuals so a hip fracture is quite dangerous. Wrist fractures often occur when trying to stop a fall. And falls increase fracture risk.

            Yoga poses:

  1. most standing poses (not Warrior I),
  2. Downward dog (can be modified with chair or wall), and
  3. balance poses.

19:34 Contraindicated poses

  1. Inversions
  2. seated twists, forward bends, bridge
  3. Warrior I

24:30 With kyphosis, yoga can provide tools to help breathing. Need more space in the chest to allow the lungs to fully inflate.

25:25 New study correlates disturbed sleep with osteoporosis. Yoga Nidra is good for showing students how to relax and can be a tool to help them sleep at night. Or any relaxation tool used in savasana.


Yoga Vetebral Fractures & Osteoporosis: Research and Recommendations, Norlyk, E., Boses, A., International Journal of Yoga Therapy, No. 23 (1) 2013

Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation in Patients with Osteoporosis: Rehabilitation of Osteoporosis Program (ROPE), Sinaki, M., Journal für Mineralstoffwechsel & Muskuloskelettale Erkrankungen 2010

Yoga Spinal Flexion Positions an Vertebral Compression Fracture in Ostepenia and Osteoporosis of the Spine: Case Series Sinaki, M., MD, MS Clinical Report 22449949

Impact of Sleep on Osteoporosis: Sleep quality is associated with bone stiffness index, Sasaki, N., Fujiwara, S., Yamashita, H., Ozono, R., Teramen, K., Kihara, Y.

Sleep Medicine 2016 Sept: 25: 73-77


Oct 16, 2018

Heather Stang SN


Yoga and Grief

Introduction of Heather and the topic

5:05 Tips to stay healthy while grieving. Sleep, digesting, hydrating may all be difficult. Yoga is one of the activities that can be accessed early. Doesn’t require talking about our emotions and brings us back into the body. Can help with sleeping, digesting and hydrating. People are dealing with the ongoing connection they feel with the person who died. The relationship continues.

7:50 Myth has been that you “get over” grief by detaching from the person who died. Research shows that maintaining a continuing bond helps with living your life.

8:20 What to do for the teacher and other class members when a long-time member of a yoga class dies. Understanding that the class needs to be modified, slow the pace, each person encouraged to share their feelings, perhaps a letter to the person or write down feelings.  Open ended yoga questions: what does grief feel like in your body. Create a yoga pose to reflect those feelings What would a statue look like that represents the person who died. Have your boecaedy look like that pose. Allow people to speak freely about their grief. Disenfranchised grief – not allowed to speak freely because of a perceived social position. For instance, a friend’s grief is not as valued as a family member’s grief.

14:20 Anniversaries of death can be difficult in the yoga class. If student share a date, then keep note of that because often time coming up to the anniversary is difficult for the person. The grieving person needs to plan ahead of the anniversary to do what they need to do that helps them

18:09 Heather has written a book called: Mindfulness and Grief. She had started Yoga and Grief previously, an 8 week program for people grieving. She was also exploring meditation in more depth. She interviewed past participants of the yoga and grief classes to see what the long term result of the classes were. The book is in an 8 week format, but can be done in the time period that an individual needs. There are a variety of tools to address the physical symptoms of – anxiety, tension – and tools to use for their life after loss. Chapters are: Mindful Awareness, Conscious Relaxation, Compassion/Forgiveness, Vulnerability and Courage, Unstuck, Reconstruction and Transformation. Each week/chapter has tools for that week including journaling, creative projects, yoga.

Grief permanently changes you in many ways and the change may even be positive.

Yoga consists of ancient techniques to tend to our suffering.

26:15 Grief does not have to look a certain way; it is different for everybody. Some show their emotions easily, others show little emotion but both are grieving. Yoga teachers may be dealing with our own grief and need to take care of ourselves also

28:10 Recommended books:

Mindfulness and Grief by Heather Stang

Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness by David Treleven

IRest Program for Healing PTSD by Richard Miller

All are available on Amazon



Insta #mindfulgriefquotes

Twitter: @HeatherStangMA

FB: mindfulnessgrief

Oct 2, 2018

2:12 Introduction to Yael Sunshine and integrating dharma into class for those diagnosed with breast cancer.

2:58 Definition of Dharma: Following your inner guidance and connecting with universal principles.

3:51 Designing a class with dharma – start with 5 koshas (physical, mental, energy, thoughts, universal consciousness

4:35 What’s happening in their life because of the diagnosis – dealing with fear, choices are difficult because may be pressure from medical community and/or family.

5:55 Work on deep connection to self, in spite of fear, find authentic choices for themselves, surrender so they can navigate the illness

Give them more tools. Build a relationship between the concepts, ideas, to being felt in the body.

7:05 Difficult to go against medical advice, some can follow their own body’s cues, others may trust their doctor for the treatment.

8:55 Weave some specifics into the class: Ahimsa – violent self-talk, notice the quality of their thoughts, are they judging themselves, not listening to the body, violence against the body. Class pause reminded to come back to their thoughts and observe. Feeling betrayal of the body, anger at the cancer, do I do what the body needs. Observing Pratyhara, not being swayed by the sensory inputs, but listening closely to self and body without distractions. It is often a roller coaster ride and difficult to find and maintain equanimity. May just need to accept the emotions generated by the cancer journey. Using other somatic movements are helpful. Did a runway show where they were to walk down a “pretend” runway and say to themselves I am beautiful. In another instance, Yael gave them permission to say “Get your hands off me” This journey has a lot of people touching you without permission – medical personnel etc. and the cancer patients have little choice. Was a deeply felt emotion to take back control of the body. Can I inhabit and experience what I am feeling. Need space to express negative feelings; feelings that are socially unacceptable.

16:15 In each class, the students’ health is varied from just diagnosed, to being in treatment, to being in remission, etc. Class must be modified to match the energy of the students in the room. Although dharma and the goals of the class may not change, the asanas, breathing and meditation may be modified to reflect where the students are and what they need.

18:15 Teaching is dependent on intuition Cultivate being able to sense the energy in the room. Question the students on how they are feeling and what they want from the class and always have some ideas of what you can do given the situation of the class on that day. What is the final pose? How do we work up to it? What’s the emotion of that pose that people can feel? Need preplanning, experience, intuition. This is a learning experience for a new teacher and can only be obtained by teaching. Experienced teachers may rely too much on their experience, but planning what they want to achieve this month and what is the precept they want to offer and how to do that is also important?

24:21 Yael is an educator, so uses curriculum mapping and uses this tool to address planning for her yoga classes. What is the nature of the students, each class especially one that has a stable membership, has its own character. Different issues arise for different ages, conditions. Sometimes resistance is warranted, sometimes not. Using the 5 koshas to figure out a way to practice and organise the class. What is the most pressing issue?



FB: SundariWellness

Instagram: yaelsundari

Your Shift Matters: Breakdown to Breakthrough – book by Dana Zarcone. Yael has contributed a chapter.




Sep 25, 2018


What does it look like to be an Australian Yoga Teacher in 2018?

With Cate Peterson

 Opportunity: Hersha Yoga is offering an online course to expand your knowledge of teaching pregnant women with medical issues. To explore the course:  If you choose to take the course, use this code CFOYHERSHA to receive 15% off. This is a limited offer with set amount of places available at this reduced rate.

2:30 Introduction to Cate and to the topic

Cate believes Yoga is a vehicle for social action and has created/or is part of many organisations doing that.

2:55 What does it look like to be a yoga teacher in 2018 vs. What does it look like to be an Australian yoga teacher in 2018? These are different because we are connected to a country that has the oldest, living, continuous culture on the planet. Aboriginal culture has two major precepts - taking care of the land and practicing what it is to be human that apply to this conversation about yoga. What can we learn as yogis from this ancient and modern culture for our yoga practice? GetOffOurAsana, IYTA, Yoga Australia, and Off the Mat and Into the World have handed out about 2000 postcards encouraging yoga teachers to start their yoga classes with acknowledging country. Paying respect to country and its custodians is more common in Australia than many other parts of the world.

6:50 Yoga Australia is working the relationship between Australian yoga teachers and the elders of the Aboriginal communities around Australia. Aboriginal yoga teachers look at teaching yoga to through different lens because of their cultural background although there are similarities. But yoga must be tailored/taught differently within their communities. The British colonised Australia 240 years ago, very destructive and they tried to destroy the Aboriginal culture. It went underground and has remained strong. Harshness of Australian climate, the Aboriginal people had to maintain their health through dance, ritual movement, nutrition, fasting and pushing the body to the limits, coming together in song to relate to one another and dadirii, aboriginal meditation techniques. Many of these same activities are also in the yoga culture. What can we as Australian yoga teachers learn from and use in our practice.

12:30 Cultural appropriation is a contentious topic in yoga right now; is it Ok to practice another culture’s spiritual practices? Is it Ok to use the cultures images, symbols, techniques out of context? Yoga is 6000 years old, drawing from that about how to be human. But are we paying sufficient respect to the roots of yoga?

14:25 Yoga is evolutionary discipline and changes as the need changes. Can we (should we) meld the Indian lineages of yoga with the Australian Aboriginal culture? Don’t know but the conversation needs to be started. Yoga Australia is starting this conversation. There are some parts of yoga that are easily distorted. Gurus from 19 lineages are in court for sexual misconduct. The guru model gives power and some will take advantage of that power. What is the appropriate model for teaching, or the passing of information?

19:30 In Aboriginal culture, traditionally individuals were stewards/advocates of some part of country – a tree species, an animal species, a waterway, etc. No one person was at the top.

20:55 Yoga is regaining our own physical, mental, spiritual being. What can we learn from the Aboriginal culture and how might that drive yoga in the future?

21:30 What is the goal for bringing together the yoga and Aboriginal communities? Asking yoga teachers to bring elders into their classes for welcome to country, to start conversations, stories of their culture.

23:40 How do you know that anything beneficial has occurred? The next step is to submit the reconciliation action plan ( and have one year to reflect on the plan and bring communities together to decide what they want to do. When that is approved, then will start on the innovation reconciliation plan to actually put the ideas into place and to monitor and gather data. The third step is the elevate reconciliation plan where Yoga Australia etc will mentor other, similar organisations.

Each yoga teacher must ask permission to integrate these aboriginal tools into their practice. These are one on one discussions to open pathways, build relationships, community building is most important.

27: 35 How yoga was originally taught was to find a guru and the guru was responsible for giving you information as you were ready for it. They were there when you needed someone to go to when you were struggling with spiritual matters. How it looks in the future is unknown but starting the conversation is important?



Cate: 0419609991

Note: the crowdfunding Start Some Good that Cate mentions has not gone live yet but will soon.

Sep 18, 2018

Body Acceptance with Beth Knudson

Opportunity: online course for accessible yoga for pregnant women

Online course information:

15% on the course code: CFOYHERSHA. Limited offer.


2:08 Introduction – Beth Knudson – Body Acceptance and Understanding

3:20 “ We are not meant to be the same size all of our life.” Beth was a fitness instructor – helped people lose weight. She had eating disorders – anorexic, orthorexic. Helped women restrict their food, which leads to restrictions in your entire life. If we are restricting in any area of our life, then we are restricting our whole life.

What happens when we change the mindset from diet culture – massive amount of unravelling of beliefs. Start to reframe your thoughts, reframe your beliefs, can take years.

6:55 Started eating in an intuitive way. Listen to the cues of the body, understanding what those mean, so eating when you are hungry, understanding your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

All foods are equal, any food is OK at any time. Tune in to the body, honor those cues. Yoga is very helpful because it focuses on paying attention to physical cues and sensations. Meditation provides focus for internal dialogues. Gives you a practice to start listening to the body.

9:30 Thinking about your weight and what you are supposed to eat or not takes up a tremendous amount of mental time.

“Your life’s purpose is not a weight loss project” – using the weight loss project as a way to not deal with other areas of your life. We have all been carrying around a 20 lb rock and when we put it down, we can do other things.

12:20 The perception of yoga supports the “diet culture” – the young, slim, yoga body. This perception is a big obstacle but there is a group of rebels who are pushing that yoga is for everybody. Beth lives her life and her practice to model and authentic and honest yogi life. There is more than one way to be (a yogi).

14:30 Beth offers a variety of modalities:

Thai Yoga: assisted stretching. Client is totally passive, Beth provides a facilitated meditation with assisted stretching, rhythmic movements, pressure in soft tissues. Client gets into his/her body in a different way. People who don’t pay attention to their body, gets them into their body.

Ayurvedic Face Lift and Thai Reflexology: great ways to start for those with trauma. Both are very restricted in the areas that are touched so there is certainty about where they will be touched by someone else.

18:50 The process that Beth uses with new clients:

1 A get to know you call and see if Beth is the appropriate person for this person’s needs – can refer to others.

  1. Complete a questionnaire
  2. Meet face-to-face or online
  3. Beth envisions the overall structure concerning the sessions but the client directs. Where the body takes us, where the beliefs takes us. Using movement, journaling, meditation, art. Online can see each other so can do asanas remotely. Beth has cultivated a network of colleagues that she can refer the client to for face-to face work.

22:50 Diet culture – we have lost the ability to understand and notice our body’s cues. Cannot feel for ourselves. Works on more love for ourselves and our body. Work on interoception and pay attention to your body.

If we understand anatomy and physiology we would know that our body is amazing and miraculous. We should be in awe of our body. “We are not meant to be he same size and the same shape our entire life.”



FB group: make  peace with  your body

Sep 11, 2018

Jivana Heyman and Accessible Yoga

Opportunity: Hersha Yoga is offering an online course to expand your knowledge of teaching pregnant women with medical issues. To explore the course:  If you choose to take the course, use this code CFOYHERSHA to receive 15% off. This is a limited offer with set amount of places available at this reduced rate.

2:12 Intro to Jivana Heyman and Accessible Yoga

3:24 Changing the message of what yoga is and can be. Yoga is accessible. Jivana became involved with accessible yoga as an AIDS activist and teaching yoga to those with Aids and other disabilities. Yoga helped with the sadness and sorrow of losing so many friends for both Jivana and his students. He was inspired by students with disabilities. Even though they be sick and dying, they were learning through yoga to cultivate peace of mind.

7:18 Gym yoga was increasing in numbers and in the process becoming less inclusive. Jivana trained teachers over 20 years but students with disabilities wouldn’t consider taking teacher training. In many cases it was too difficult because of short time periods, etc. People with disabilities did not have the opportunity to participate in the depth of learning/understanding of philosophical and other aspects of yoga that occur in a teacher training course.

9:45 Wanted to connect the physical with the philosophical aspects of yoga.

10:15 Trained with Integral Yoga which is a classical yoga lineage developed by  Satchidananda. It includes clear and understandable teachings in yoga philosophy.

11:38 Jivana wanted to add a clear community component to Accessible yoga. Developed conferences and the ambassador program; both of which concentrate on building community and providing support to teachers who are teaching special populations. Conferences also provides a platform for marketing the teacher’s skills that may be more authentic than the business model of marketing.

15:51 Currently there are 600 ambassadors = a free program to support yoga teachers who teach underserved populations. There are several FB groups based on geography and language to support each other.

16:52 Jivana wants to develop an alternative model to the business model which fosters competition. We need another method to support teachers teaching accessible yoga

17:54 Jivana did develop a teacher training for people with disabilities. It was a year long and provided individual support. Now Accessible Yoga’s teacher training now helps yoga teachers to learn how to adapt for people with disabilities. How to teach a class that has people at multiple levels of wellness. It is basically a skill-building course.

24:25 To become an Accessible Yoga Ambassador, (although Accessible Yoga’s Ambassador program is changing shortly –details on the website) complete the application form and just have to explain how you are bringing yoga to underserved populations.

26:10 Jivana has emphasised the community aspect to get beyond the competition driven by the business model. He believes the only way to be successful is to collaborate with other teachers.

28:06 The Accessible Yoga conferences are opportunity for the community building component of Accessible Yoga. It is a gift to support each other. Approximately ¼ attend on a scholarship. Conferences planned: October – Germany, May 2019 – St Louis.

Contact details:


FB:           AccessibleYogaProject


Insta:     #accessibleyoga


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