Nearly a year ago, you saw me pop up on the internet with a bunch of very scrappy videos about teaching yoga online.
The first COVID 19 lockdown had hit and yoga teachers were thrown out of work overnight. I saw what they needed most – the skills to keep serving their students – and make a living. My response was to share what I knew about getting your yoga classes up and running online, reflecting the kind of ‘service first’ pragmatism that runs through everything I do.
That wasn’t the way a lot of yoga teachers responded to COVID. Some of them started sharing misinformation. From the curative properties of salt water gargling at one end of the spectrum to full blown conspiracy theories at the other.
You might have seen the videos I made about all that too. If you didn’t, the gist of my message was: Stop it.
As yoga teachers, our students look up to us. What we say matters. For me, that means getting the facts straight.
That’s my service oriented pragmatism kicking in again. Through my videos and blogs, I’ve tried to offer the yoga community ways of navigating the COVID experience that were rooted in evidence and critical thinking.
I believe that’s how we move forward and make a positive impact in our communities – especially now, when our students need the benefits of yoga more than ever.
I know this approach might not sound very yogic to the more esoteric yogi. But many of you know that I’ve never felt comfortable with some of the ideas in modern yoga. I’m not OK with magical thinking. While I absolutely believe we have to hold space for mystery and should open our hearts wide to possibility, I also believe we need to be guided by discernment – Viveka. Patanjali teaches us this.
I want to thank all of you who so kindly shared with me how the videos and other stuff I’ve been putting out there has helped you. From seasoned yoga teachers trying to get their teacher trainings running online, through to local teachers trying to find ways to support their students. Thank you for reaching out - you have lifted my heart and helped me find the silver lining on the storm clouds of 2020.
I continue to take a pragmatic, service focused approach to teaching yoga and training yoga therapists. This approach runs deep through the Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy at Adore. In this course, we combine classical yoga teachings with modern evidence.
We make sure our graduates know how to work alongside healthcare professionals. There is no room for anti-science or unfounded claims of miracle cures. We dig deep into yogic philosophy, but we also focus on what modern research tells us is most effective. If there was good evidence that yoga could help your students manage the symptoms of anxiety or chronic pain, wouldn’t you want to know about that and integrate it into your teaching? I believe it would be irresponsible not to.
I know that not everything in yoga can be quantified (at least not yet)! But where there is evidence, we’ll prioritise it. There has been a big increase in high quality studies in yoga in recent years - we know for a fact that yoga therapy can positively impact the symptoms of many health issues, from anxiety and depression to cardiovascular disease and cancer. And that’s what we teach at Adore– yoga therapy that works.
My service-focused pragmatism also impacts the way we deliver the Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy. That, and my extensive experience as a digital training developer in public health. For the first time ever, Yoga Therapy training is available online. And it’s not one long boring Zoom fest, either.
I’ve developed a yoga therapy training program that is super interactive – nobody turns their cameras off and coasts in our online trainings! With multiple platforms that are all easy to use for non-techies, plus a tonne of creative content, we’ve made it easy to learn. Online learning at Adore isn’t a sad COVID compromise. It’s an evolution in the delivery of yoga training.
It also makes yoga therapy training accessible to even more people. I’ve been so excited this year to welcome students who have not had access to this level of training before because of travel, health or family reasons. I’m so happy to see students from regional and rural areas, from interstate and outside of Australia, students who have young children or health issues. These students are now able to follow their calling as yoga therapists thanks to this innovative course.
We are living in extraordinary times and that means we have to step up and serve in new ways. We have to be innovative and provide the results that our students and communities need.
My vision is that everybody who wants to experience yoga therapy to heal their physical, mental or emotional health issues has access to a well trained, authentic yoga therapist.
My job is to empower yoga teachers to support their students to heal with yoga. With a passion for yoga and some good quality evidence based training, you can make a real impact in the world.
I’d love to hear from you if you’re passionate about supporting your students to heal with yoga. The 2021 Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy begins on the 31st January. Join me and an extraordinary community of passionate and compassionate yoga teachers who will be at the forefront of the new science of yoga therapy.
Thank you again for all your support in the past year and let me know what you need to do your best work as a yoga teacher in the year to come.