Blog 2018-02-07T20:42:33+00:00

The Imperfect Yoga Teacher by Jivana Heyman

This was originally posted on Yoga for Healthy Aging. The recent death of beloved yoga teacher and writer Michael Stone has been haunting me. I think there are some important lessons in his personal struggle that we need to learn from as a yoga community. Even though he was teaching the world how to deal with the pain of our human existence, he was personally dealing with bipolar disorder, which he had not publicly discussed. I have no problem with yoga teachers keeping their personal problems to themselves, because that's what healthy boundaries are. We are there to serve our students and not just talk about our own issues, especially if they're unresolved. For myself, it is a constant struggle to find a balance between over-sharing and being authentic in my teaching. What I'm concerned about is the idea that as a yoga teacher we have to achieve some kind of perfection in our own lives and that our faults somehow reduce our capacity to teach. In fact, I think it's the other way around: our personal challenges make us more effective teachers because we are forced to apply the teachings in our own lives. Accessible Yoga, the organization I founded, is dedicated to changing the consciousness around who can practice yoga and who can consider themselves a yogi. If, as yoga teachers, we try to force ourselves into a perfect mold, only sharing the attractive parts, only demonstrating the poses we’re good at, then we're digging a hole [...]

Accessible Yoga Conference NYC 2017 by Danielle Nardi

As a yoga teacher and future physical therapist, I am passionate about making yoga accessible to all populations and blending it with my therapy, so when I heard about the Accessible Yoga Conference happening in New York, I knew it was something I wanted to go to – and I knew just the person to join me!  When I moved to Cape Cod I was fortunate enough to cross paths with another like-minded therapist/ yogi, Meredith, and I had no doubt she’d be just as excited about this event as I was! Conference Mission The Accessible Yoga Conference’s mission is to provide a forum where the Yoga community can come together to connect, share, and support those who wish to expand access to the practices of Yoga for people with disabilities, chronic illness, seniors, and for anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable in a regular yoga class. The workshop overall was wonderful.  I met some really great like-minded people who believe in the benefits of yoga and are passionate about making the practice accessible to as many people as possible. I took away so much from this weekend, there’s no way I could share it all, but here are some highlights – if you have any questions or are interested in more information about a particular workshop let me know and I’d be happy to share additional resources! Accessible Yoga, a Revolution  This workshop began with a discussion of “What is Accessible Yoga?” and then we broke into groups and brainstormed on different topics related to how we can [...]

The Language of Yoga by Sarahjoy Marsh

Part One; We’re Stuck At What Not To Do  Last week in our 300-hour yoga therapy teacher training program, a student asked an earnest and pivotal question about the language of yoga. I felt the fire of my passion for elegant language tools that elicit the experience of yoga for our students, in their brains, bodies, hearts, minds, and relationships. In fact, her question was so stirring to me that I actually had a hard time staying in my own seat. I wanted to jump up and give a thorough demonstration of Language Styles, including a fervent exposé on what is not working in parts of our language culture in yoga. I’ll go out on a limb here and say this: In an effort to create more trauma-informed, more gender sensitive, and less body shaming language systems (all of which I wholeheartedly endorse): it’s possible that we’re missing some of the foundational skills about language in yoga classes at all; in some cases, trying to be more sensitive, we’re misusing language altogether; and based on brain science and developmental processes, we’re also missing a tremendous opportunity that language choices can uniquely catalyze in our students’ experiences, including developing a sense of self, lessening the impact of trauma, and increasing personal leadership and capacity in relationship with ourselves, others, and life at large. In yoga many trainings, designed for increased sensitivity, what teachers are learning is What Not To Do. (Having not attended all of these trainings, I am noting here what the trainees are learning, as expressed directly [...]

Accessible Yoga Update By Jivana Heyman

Accessible Yoga is growing and expanding – so much has already happened this year. We collaborated with Yoga International on our first Accessible Yoga Online Conference. You can watch a preview here. I’m thrilled that the Conference is being offered in this manner because it is truly accessible to those who can’t join us in person! We are just a month away from our Accessible Yoga Conference NYC. This is our first conference on the East Coast, and its bigger than our previous conferences – with 25 presenters and 300 attendees. We’ll have so many of my favorite yoga teachers there: Matthew Sanford, Nischala Joy Devi, Cheri Clampett, Dianne Bondy, Steffany Moonaz, Marsha Danzig, JoAnn Lyons, and so many more. This is a wonderful opportunity to get inspired and feel connected. Our Accessible Yoga Regional Teams are blossoming everywhere! We now have Facebook Groups in multiple languages to help share Accessible Yoga around the world. Check out our current groups: Accessible Yoga Italian Accessible Yoga Dutch Accessible Yoga Greek Accessible Yoga Spanish Accessible Yoga Swedish Portuguese, French and German coming soon! We’re really excited about our collaboration with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. They produced an inspiring video at our last Conference as part of their Representation Matters campaign. Check it out here. We are offering ten Accessible Yoga Trainings around the world this year, including programs in Greece, Italy, Portugal, California, and upcoming trainings in Virginia, New York, France, Austria, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and [...]

My Vision and Passion: Yoga for EveryBODY! by Catherine Kalyani Sjolund

My Vision and Passion: Yoga for EveryBODY! by Catherine Kalyani Sjolund Yoga should be for everybody; not just the physically fit. It can be for all people; even people with back problems, shoulder weaknesses, balancing trouble, disabilities or whatever physical weakness a person has encountered in life. Earlier this year, I attended an enlightened, amazing conference; created by Jivana Heyman, co-owner of the Santa Barbara Yoga Center. The Accessible Yoga Conference, which had numerous guest speakers from across the United States, shared how to give access to yoga for all people; to improve their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. They also provided workshops so participants gained skills to work with a variety of demographics including; yoga for Arthritis, lower back pains, MS, Yoga for the Special Child, and Accessible Yoga. What I love about Accessible Yoga is it’s for all beginning levels. So if you need to do yoga in a chair or can’t get on the floor, you can still participate in a group yoga class. Say you want to do yoga standing but have poor balance and need a little extra assistance, try it using the wall. The beauty of this class is it builds community & self-confidence. The teacher skillfully sets everyone up for success as the class gets to center themselves through breathing techniques, and improves strength, flexibility and concentration as well as strengthening bone density. I recently received an Accessible Yoga Certification so that I can provide these important and inclusive classes to our community! I have also [...]

NYC Conference to Make Yoga More Accessible for People With Chronic Illness by Renée Canada, The Mind-Body Shift

NYC Conference to Make Yoga More Accessible for People with Chronic Illness by Renee Canada Reposted from The Mind-Body Shift I am super jazzed to announce that I will be attending the Accessible Yoga Conference in NYC at the Integral Yoga Institute NYC on May 19-21 of this year! The aim of the Accessible Yoga Conference is to provide education, supportive resources and community for those who seek to increase the accessibility of yoga  to meet the needs of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, seniors, and other folks who may not feel like they fit into a regular yoga class. As someone studying and teaching yoga with autoimmune disease and a movement disorder–dystonia– attending this conference is truly a dream come true. My personal mission for many years has been to help people with chronic illness and pain to gain the knowledge and tools for greater healing and empowerment. At the Accessible Yoga Conference, I will be so thrilled to learn from incredible and inspirational adaptive yoga teachers, including Matthew Sanford, founder of Mind Body Solutions and author of the memoir Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence; yoga therapist Steffany Moonaz, PhD, founder of Yoga for Arthritis; Cheri Clampett, founder and director of the Therapeutic Yoga Training Program; Mindy Eisenberg, author of Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body and founder of Yoga Moves MS; and Yoga For All (Shapes, Sizes and Abilities) teacher Dianne Bondy. It will be a full weekend of educational workshops, classes and panel discussions on making yoga more adaptable and accessible to people of all abilities. I received word today that I have been offered a [...]