MindfulnessClassWhile many people may feel excited about the idea of studying something new, they may at the same time feel a bit nervous about signing up for yoga teacher training. Two common concerns are having needed time and the ability to participate successfully. “Will I have enough time to complete the home assignments?” “Is there a lot of reading?” “Are my poses good enough?”

Home assignments include conducting practicals and self observation exercises. Reading assignments become topics for class discussions. And practicals involve teaching a friend a posture or breath you yourself have practiced time and time again.

Yoga practitioners want to practice the poses correctly. What the pose feels like becomes as important or more important than the appearance or the pose. A practitioner may be holding a pose in alignment and be grimacing with discomfort. This creates harm and is discouraged.

There’s so much to understand about the internal dynamics of a pose to deepen our understanding and expand our awareness. How is the body kept safe? What options are there for areas of discomfort? How does patterned breathing affect the experience of the pose?

It’s a process of learning through exploring questions practically. The program is designed for such self exploration and discovery. Learners practice basic poses with curiosity and fresh eyes.

Your time to unwind
I believe it is important to begin the program with practice sessions designed to release accumulated tension. The 10 hour days afford this time to move the body in new ways – luxuriating and allowing.

From these practice sessions of unwinding a new way of relating to the body emerges – a kinder, gentler way. Each time you return to the asanas, the habit of struggling to achieve a pose falls away bit by bit.

This is easier said than done. It is a challenge to resist patterns of hurrying and straining; and instead give ourselves permission to settle within, breathe and let go.

If you like the idea of learning to unwind and deepen your understanding of yoga and yourself, plus share yoga with others in a manner that’s empowering and therapeutic this program could be for you. The next program starts April 11, 2015 in Hamilton, Ontario. You can register for the first 5 or 10 days and see how you fare or the full 20 days. You can complete the full 200 hour program in 2 years or 5 months.

With gratitude I note this is my 10th year of helping yoga practitioners learn to teach therapeutic yoga. Contact me Heather Greaves, lead instructor, with questions or for more information. You can also visit www.yogatogo.com. Email heather@yogatogo.com. 905-525-2426. Skype heather.greaves

Breath InSelf care is essential for those who provide care for others. As practitioners of complementary therapies, we owe it to ourselves to understand keys to health and vibrancy, and to put the theory of healthy practices into action. We talk and we walk the path of care to the best of our understanding and ability.

We can share our experiences with authenticity – both successes and challenges – when we explore rejuvenation techniques and take steps to lead a healthy lifestyle.

As human beings we want to function optimally and experience the happiness and joy of living a vibrant, full life. When we are ill, questions about how to prevent a recurrence surface. We think of the down time as a “wake up call” and are open to  solutions. And some of us are committed to taking responsibility for our well being.

One self management system is working with the chakras. There are many ways to harmonize and balance these energy centers. Methods include aromatherapy, exercises, color therapy, hands-on/off work, affirmations, mantra, meditation and breath work.

Breath work is a powerful way to influence our energy body and the chakras. Breath work differs from breath awareness.  Breath awareness can be a mindful practice when the characteristics of mindfulness are applied. A mindful practice has many physical and mental benefits, including for mood and anxiety disorders.   The table below shows some differences between the two.

Breath Work Mindful Breath Awareness
Practiced for a specific duration Can be practiced moment to moment
A technology with targeted outcomes The intention is to pay attention
Practiced in a quiet environment Practiced anywhere
Modify one’s experience Bring awareness to one’s experience

Yet another strategy for self care is breathing from the diaphragm when in a restful state – not breathing from the chest or the belly. This breathing massages internal organs including the heart.

Whether we practice mindful breath awareness, breathing from the diaphragm or a breathing exercise (prayanama) targeting a chakra, we ultimately befriend the breath for deeper self care.

Heather Greaves is the Owner/Director of Body Therapies Yoga Training. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario though you will find her breathing in the warm air in Barbados during the winter months. The self care mentor and coach and can be reached at heather@yogatogo.com.

Who is remembering?openphotonet_red poppy_resize
Soldier, survivor, stranger
Who is remembering?
Bugle player, grave digger, banker
Who is remembering?
Mother, grandchild, schoolchild
Citizen, native, convert
With what eyes are you seeing?
Prophet, disillusioned, visionary
How are you remembering?
Seeker and seer
Remember with gratitude
And may we purify our hearts.

“We shall keep the faith.

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,

Sleep sweet – rise anew!

We caught the torch you threw

And holding high, we keep the Faith

With All who died.”

Moina Michael

Heather Greaves

Heather lives in Hamilton, Ontario and joins the many remembering those who said yes so we may enjoy this freedom.

dominicayogaretreatThe next generation of Yoga Alliance (YA) took effect in November 2013. The changes were significant.

Today, the mission of Yoga Alliance is to spread the power of yoga, one person at a time, through their credentialing organization that promotes ideals of safe and competent yoga teaching.

The organization has added “rigor and credibility” to its credentialing system and intends to continue this process.

A yoga instructor planning to make teaching yoga a career ought to consider the benefits of registering with Yoga Alliance. What if you simply want to deepen your understanding of yoga?  Perhaps you’re already paying membership fees to another association.

Yoga Alliance serves members through the website, bi-monthly newsletters, and daily engagement through social media. The organization offers more perks, workshops and educational resources to its members now. Members also receive discounts on training, education, yoga apparel, travel, legal services and electronics.

Yoga schools registered with YA must now include a syllabus with learning outcomes. Schools register online and trainees evaluate their training online. No more manual submissions. Yeah!

The organization made a presentation at the annual yoga therapy and research symposium (SYTAR) in Texas this June.  In addition a YA representative was present at the meeting of Yoga Therapy schools. It became evident that the future yoga teacher trained in a yoga school registered with YA will be more competent. The standards are higher.

New continuing education standards come into effect January 1, 2015. Providers of continuing education must have extensive experience. And all registered teachers must report their continuing education experience.  No-one is exempt now.

I say register if you are serious about teaching yoga. And keep up with the changes. Its Standard Committee is on a mission.

Heather Greaves E-RYT500 is an Experienced Yoga Teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance. She is qualified to provide continuing education for yoga teachers and is happy to do so in Hamilton, Ontario and Barbados (during winter). www,yogatogo.com email: heather@yogatogo.com

Back to schoolIt’s no secret that yoga teachers continuously increase their knowledge and understanding as life-long learners.  It takes many years of teaching to refine one’s practice and make any changes last.  It could take as many as ten years for new strategies to become the norm in some settings!   And it can be a lonely road.

In my early days of teaching some 16 years ago, a few of us yoga teachers in Hamilton wanted to support each other. We decided to meet from time to time and did just that … for a brief period. Again another group tried a few years later with the same result. It’s the play of life and schedules.

But let’s take a closer look at growth for the teacher. S/he hones teaching by attending continuing education courses, accessing various resources and using the strategies in instructional settings – private and group.  A spotlight shines on that very act of teaching and a nightlight glows on learning.

I’m about to change this imbalance thanks to my mentor. She was the lead reviewer on School Improvement Projects and part of a larger British team that was helping out to identify key areas that needed a plan for change in local schools in New York. This retired school principal bursting with a passion for teaching and learning shared her insights into this process. She witnessed the difference between well developed and outstanding schools.

The light of curiosity switched on and I had to study the subject – with mentoring. This changed my curriculum design and much more. (Here I’m including the yoga teacher and therapy training programs.) While studying I became aware my teaching style aligned with this method. And I had taught with this lens all along. My pragmatic side claims responsibility.

Teachers who are keen on professional development ought to engage students in learning and do so with a master plan – beyond lesson plan. (Click to download lesson plan template.) What are your next steps as a “yoga teacher” or “facilitator”?  

If you have a desire to transform your work and hone your skills as a teacher – then do not hesitate to call me.  Together we can create a master plan for your success as a yoga teacher or yoga school.

For almost 10 years Heather Greaves has been helping yoga students learn to teach yoga. She has just developed a 6-week online mentored programTeaching & Learning with Curiosity (TLC) to support the yoga teacher who is keen on helping each student learn.  To find out more contact Heather at 905-525-2426 or email heather@yogatogo.com.

SEO by Mainstreethost