winter-fitI believe that if a person takes simple steps with intention and faith her/his quality of life improve significantly. My experience from over 40 years of daily routines and practices is improved health, rejuvenation, and ever increasing joy and compassion.

That’s why I am an advocate for do-it-yourself (DIY) when it comes to seeking “cures” naturally. Here are a some reasons:

  • I reached a high level of flexibility through easy, sensuous mind muscle movements. And that was after being a student of Hatha yoga for more than 30 years. Thank you Thomas Hanna for the book Somatics.
  • Through mindfulness meditation anxiety that plagued me for years slowly retreated. And I had been practising meditation.
  • By understanding the deeper messages of feelings I courageously move towards that which I previously avoided.
  • Through a deeper connection to my heart, my internal rhythm is no longer on overdrive. Fast movement without hurry is possible – a new reality.

A therapist must have walked the path – that is a rule of thumb. So here’s what I’d recommend for a yoga therapist.

Therapist’s Personal Journey

  1. The therapist knows that it is through core values we can experience a life of constant joy and fulfillment – the foundation of health and healing.
  2. Through understanding the Sankhya philosophy of creation and yoga therapy techniques, the therapist has the experience of the effectiveness of these tools in managing the mind – and reversing or avoiding premature aging .
  3. The therapist has designed and is in the process of creating her/his desired life using the faculties of the mind.

Relationship with the client

  1. The therapist knows the effect of perception and the stress response on physiology and the muscles of the body and subsequently on common diagnoses including musculoskeletal ailments.
  2. Having established a therapeutic relationship the therapist can assist the client/student in the healing process using:
    1. Mind training and changing the brain – with concentration and meditation techniques including mindfulness to calm the nervous system and activate emotions like compassion and joy.
    2. Mind muscle training to unwind tensions that contribute to symptoms of premature aging like poor postural habits, chronic pain, and fatigue – anti-aging treatments.
    3. Suggestions for lifestyle changes based on Ayurveda.
  3. The therapist understands the process of common psychological and physical diseases and knows when to refer the client/student to other health professionals.

This is part of my personal healing journey. May you experience ever increasing levels of health, healing and joy.

Heather Greaves is an avid yoga student and the owner of Body Therapies Yoga Training. She organizes yoga and meditation retreats and workshops in Ontario and Barbados, and has been helping yoga practitioners learn to teach therapeutic yoga in a certified program since 2005. For more yoga tips or to sign up for our monthly newsletter visit <a target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=””></a>

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 Email 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

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, email:

SEO by Mainstreethost