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.

by Laura Young

As yogis, the light and smile within us grows exponentially each and every moment. Equally, our surroundings glow brighter as we walk our path and we cannot help radiating further than the eye can see. We learn to take care of the vehicle we have been given by maintaining balance and understanding of our physique, emotions, energy, self awareness and connection with oneness.

What happens though when we tune in to the fact that what we are practicing is not the norm – we are not the majority? What happens when we begin to think that we have it all figured out and the way of the rest of the world is “wrong?” Do yogis have the right to judge and point fingers?

Right and wrong

In yoga, our journey is all about healing – healing the past wounds so we may uncover our true nature and continuously learning the skills to live with grace, compassion and strength so we float through the challenges that pave our way. We learn to practice ahimsa (non-violence) towards others, our environment and most importantly ourselves. We learn that making “mistakes” or “wrong” choices are actually wonderful opportunities to learn. The risk is that we can begin to believe we know what everyone else “needs” and when they are making the “wrong” choices.

Would you blame your parents for the choices they made about your health growing up or the foods they fed you which could now possibly contribute to cancer, heart conditions and other diseases? We can only take responsibility for ourselves at this very moment.

Blame

Many industries, institutions and cultures disseminate messages, products and experiences that can be perceived as harmful and corrupt. Does this automatically mean that all of the individuals within them are such and have similar intentions? Could these circumstances be strategically placed in our society as opportunities for us to learn?

Responsibility

If we take responsibility for ourselves, our health and happiness – like a pebble dropped in a pond could this ripple out to the rest of the world, universe and beyond? Joy can only be contagious!

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