I’m back from Austin, Texas, where my Calgary friend and colleague, Nancy Hong, and I attended the 2014 edition of Symposium on Yoga Therapy Research (SYTAR).
This year marked the 25th anniversary of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and was chock full of innovative and well-informed presentations on how yoga practices can be applied to the issues that keep us from experiencing our own inherent wholeness.
Highlights for me included:
- Manning the LifeForce Yoga® (LFY) display with practitioners Tzivia Stein-Barrett, Ana Maria Sierra, accreditation board member Susan Tebb, and LFY founder
and author of Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists, Amy Weintraub. LFY is an integrated (postures, breath, hand seals, chant, imagery, intention used in conjunction) yoga practice for mood management, many components of which do not require a mat! We were blessed with being able to share its wonderful offerings with symposium attendees.
- Co-representing LFY with Amy Weintraub at the Meeting of Schools. Accreditation of yoga therapy schools is a major initiative of the IAYT. Yoga as therapy is becoming increasingly recognized and as such, reliable competencies amongst therapists are utterly important. Hearing the concerns of the board and applicant schools, as well as hammering out scope of practice and policies for teacher credentials was particularly interesting.
- reconnecting with a number of my formative teachers:
- as mentioned above, Amy Weintraub. A whole new world opened to me with my Levels I and II training in LifeForce Yoga last year. Amy is a loving and gifted teacher and community builder who embodies her offerings and has developed a remarkable set of integrated practices for people who suffer from mood disorders. I am one of only three practitioners in Canada who are Level II certified.
- Robin Rothenberg, Viniyogi, and founder of Essential Yoga Therapy. Robin is well known for her ground-breaking NIH study on using yoga to address lower back pain. She taught me Foundations of Yoga Therapy while I attended Mount Royal University’s Yoga Therapy Program
- Nischala Joy Devi, former swami at the Satchidananda Ashram, one of the founders of IAYT, the first person to write about “Yoga as Therapy” in the Yoga Journal, and perhaps best known as the developer of the yoga portions of Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program to Reverse Heart Disease and the Commonweal Cancer Program. I have spent a great deal of time training with Nischala over the years and I have used my copy of her first book, The Healing Power of Yoga, so much that I need to have it rebound.
- Neil Pearson, from whom I learned about using yoga to ameliorate chronic pain over five days last November. I am in the process of completing the case study which caps off the requirements for a Pain Care Certificate.
- Spending more time with some of the stars of the yoga therapy world, amongst whom were
- Richard Miller, founder of Integrative Restoration (iRest) and co-founder of IAYT
- Retired cardiologist and yoga therapist, Dilip Sarkar, and his daughter, attorney Shaoli.
- Larry Payne, author of Yoga for Dummies and instrumental teacher in the Loyala Marymount Yoga Therapy Training Program
- Founder of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Michael Lee
- Practicing applications:
- Immersing myself in a day of yoga as it is offered by the Dean Ornish Program
- Hearing some innovative ways that yoga is being used in mental health settings
- Learning about the science behind the vagal brake and applying it in an experiential yoga practice
- Using sun salutations to assess and address common bio-mechanical issues
- Practicing pranayama with esteemed Ayurvedic doctor, Vasant Lad
- Experiencing morning yoga with Jnani Chapman, Yoga For People in Cancer Treatment (YCat)
- Purchasing some new yoga tools:
and so much more! I will be refining this post in the coming days, so check back!