Lee Majewski & Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani on Yoga Therapy as a Whole-Person Approach to Health

Lee Majewski and Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani’s new book, Yoga Therapy as a Whole-person Approach to Health, is published in July 2020 – a groundbreaking book that explores yoga and yoga therapy as a multi-faceted approach to wellness.

Lee Majewski C-IAYT is a yoga therapist at Marsden Centre for Integrative Medicine, Vaughn, Canada and visiting senior yoga therapist at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, India. She is a cancer survivor and since 2006 has worked with cancer and psychosomatic chronic disease patients, including running intensive yogic retreats for cancer patients in Europe, North America, India and Australia.

Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is Director of the Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research (CYTER) and Professor of Yoga Therapy at Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University. He is also Chairman of the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India and Yoganjali Natyalayam, the premier institute of Yoga and Carnatic Music and Bharatanatyam in Pondicherry.

Together, they created this book for yoga therapists, health professionals and all those interested in this modality to provide a deeper understanding of yoga therapy, carefully clarifying yogic concepts and exploring how deep yogic work can be practically applied to a range of chronic conditions.

Watch an in-depth discussion with the authors, facilitated by Dr Lori Rubenstein Fazzio, clinical professor of yoga and health at Loyola Marymount University, and owner of Mosaic Physical Therapy in Los Angeles.

 

Sarah Scharf: New Opportunities for Yoga Teachers in Lockdown

Sarah Scharf, MFA is a yoga teacher, author of the upcoming book, Holding Space: The Creative Performance and Voice Workbook for Yoga Teachers and theatre artist. She holds an MFA in Physical Theatre and has completed multiple training courses in Yoga of various styles. In London she taught at Triyoga – the largest studio in Europe – and worked as a mentor for the Yogacampus Teacher Training. She runs popular workshops and training on voice work and performance skills for yoga teachers, and works as a movement director and teaching artist for theatre. She is an American currently living in Vienna.

With the onset of regulations that have temporarily closed yoga studios and suspended public gatherings we have seen a rapid change in the yoga industry. Using live streaming video conferencing has become the most common way of teaching. Many of us have been challenged as teachers not only to learn to use the technology, but also to deal with the emotional elements of growing again as teachers. Some feel like they have to start over, especially those that relied heavily on hands on adjustments during their teaching and didn’t develop the language skills to adequately describe detailed movement or actions. This process of shifting online has shown many of us where we need to grow. It’s an opportunity for us to refine our work, to get more comfortable with ourselves and perhaps even create new opportunities.

There are many ways to teach online. I’ll focus on these options in the context of teaching yoga or movement and meditation:

  • interactive livestream classes
  • non-interactive livestream classes
  • online trainings/workshops/courses

Interactive Live stream

Interactive live stream requires conferencing software if you want to control the entry of participants. The main bonus is that you can see your students in real time. This gives you the opportunity to offer verbal adjustments and individualised instruction. This is only possible when you can see your students, which will require a larger screen for bigger groups so you can avoid scrolling. Some teachers use a projector, making sure it is a quiet one so the sound isn’t a problem. Other teachers avoid demonstrating and simply sit close enough to their screen that they can see everyone. Continue reading

Sarah Scharf on Holding Space and Preparing for Teaching Yoga Online

Sarah Scharf, MFA is a yoga teacher, author of the upcoming book, Holding Space: The Creative Performance and Voice Workbook for Yoga Teachers and theatre artist. She holds an MFA in Physical Theatre and has completed multiple training courses in Yoga of various styles. In London she taught at Triyoga – the largest studio in Europe – and worked as a mentor for the Yogacampus Teacher Training. She runs popular workshops and training on voice work and performance skills for yoga teachers, and works as a movement director and teaching artist for theatre. She is an American currently living in Vienna.

Improvisational theatre has a rule that is not to be broken under any circumstances: Yes, And. The principle is simple: whatever is happening must be accepted before we add to it. The pandemic has made this principle my greatest ally. It helps me acknowledge the challenge of uncertain work income, the inability to plan or make decisions with a full picture and the intensity of grief that has rocked me as our world has changed so quickly. At a recent workshop I gave, a longtime yoga and meditation teacher commented that improvisation is very much like mindfulness. I totally agree. Mindfulness as a practice of being aware of what is present, what is actually happening versus being stuck in our thoughts and expectations, is the basis of improvisation.

The “new normal”

Teachers of all types have suddenly been asked to teach through new mediums. People with different types of jobs are zooming and working remotely. Those of us who have work that can be moved online are lucky, yet the transition has been rocky for a lot of us. My background in theatre and many years of teaching experience have really helped me to adapt. Most of this blog is adapted from my upcoming book Holding Space:The Creative Performance and Voice Workbook for Yoga Teachers. We don’t need to be trained actors to communicate clearly and effectively through screens. We do need to embrace improvisation, allow for the learning curves and be extra kind to ourselves. Continue reading

Developing a home yoga practice with Alison Leighton

Alison Leighton wrote a chapter on home practice in the Yoga Student Handbook: Develop Your Knowledge of Yoga Principles and Practice. She has been teaching yoga since 2010 and is registered with both the British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance. She teaches classes and workshops in studios and also on a one-to-one basis with private clients.

During this Coronavirus crisis, remaining healthy and motivated have become more important than ever. Fortunately, technology is on our side and there are many excellent live stream options for home yoga practice with your regular teachers.

To complement this, I highly recommend having a home yoga practice where you practice on your own. You effectively take charge of when you practice, what you practice and the duration of your practice. This gives you total flexibility, especially if you are short on time or you want to focus on something specific as opposed to doing a full spectrum class practice.

Where do you start?

OK, so you want to practice at home but you don’t know where to start or how to find the motivation. Continue reading

The Self-Care Guide to Surgery: An Interview with Noah Karrasch

Singing Dragon speaks to Noah Karrasch, author of the brand new book, The Self-Care Guide to Surgery – a guide for people who have undergone (or who are about to undergo) surgery and what to do to aid recovery.

In the interview, we speak about preventing surgery and why we should be thinking about posture. Noah shares bodywork techniques to help our daily lives and advice for those facing imminent procedure.

Noah Karrasch is a licensed deep tissue massage therapist and holds a teaching degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He teaches CORE bodywork skills around the world. He is also author of: ‘BodyMindCORE Work for the Movement Therapist’, ‘Meet Your Body’, ‘Getting Better at Getting People Better’, and ‘Freeing Emotions and Energy Through Myofascial Release’.

Buy Noah’s books here

Continue reading

The Self-Care Guide to Surgery: Mindful Movement for the New Year

Mindful Movement, Where You Are

Most of us make those New Year’s resolutions: I’ll lose fifteen pounds, I’ll work out regularly, I’ll settle the old score, I’ll make more money, etc., etc. Too many of us don’t seem to get those resolutions to resolve into something new and better. In my head, one of the reasons for that is we set goals too ambitious, instead of setting smaller and more achievable ones. To that end, I’d like you to think about your expenditure of energy in terms of movement during the day. It seems to me that most of us don’t move nearly enough, and that when we finally do move we effort a bit too much in our desire to fix everything quickly. Neither of these ‘fixes’ will fix anything, and in fact, just may make things worse.

Let’s start with that second idea first: it’s a new year, and we’re going to trim off the fifteen holiday (or before) pounds, then we’re going to get the new wardrobe, then the new job, etc., etc. We set very lofty goals, then stop fairly quickly when we feel defeated by the goals we’ve set, and we begin to feel like a failure. How to change this? It’s simple, really. We merely set smaller and more achievable goals instead of lofty grand ones. Instead of forcing ourselves to lose fifteen pounds, why not focus on eating a bit healthier with more of the good foods – vegetables, fruits, fiber and more water in the diet? Without going kamikaze and feeling the need to monitor everything that goes through the lips, we can simply start being a bit mindful of the things we ingest, and mindfully and gratefully absorbing them and their nutrients. Continue reading

Jess Glenny: Finding My Body’s Voice

Supportive Teaching for People with Developmental Trauma in the Yoga Class

This article is adapted from The Yoga Teacher Mentor: A Reflective Guide to Holding Spaces, Maintaining Boundaries, and Creating Inclusive Classes, which will be published by Singing Dragon in January 2019.

Developmental trauma (also known as complex trauma) is more common than is generally assumed and often undisclosed at yoga classes, even where it’s asked about on student intake forms. Most often, you will gradually become aware of the signs of developmental trauma through observing how your student is (or isn’t) in their body, the kinds of connection they are able to make and sustain with you as teacher, and how they relate to the group at large.

Developmental trauma generally begins very early in life, sometimes before birth and often prior to the development of language and cognitive thought, and is a response to childhood experiences such as neglect, abandonment, and/or physical or sexual abuse. The severity of the consequent trauma response depends to a large extent upon whether any trustworthy and caring adult – teacher, grandparent, older sibling, foster-parent – was available to the child. Recovery is generally much harder for those with whom no one formed a genuine, altruistic and nurturing bond.

Successfully resolving developmental trauma is a slow and challenging process, but it is possible, given appropriate forms of therapy (these are different from the types of therapy useful for working with PTSD or one-off trauma). Without therapeutic intervention, the effects of developmental trauma usually persevere into adulthood, profoundly affecting the person’s physical and mental well-being, cognition, capacity for meaningful relationship, and ability to live in and from their present-moment embodied experience. Continue reading

The Complete Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book: Gluteus Maximus

Illustrated with anatomical drawings for coloring throughout, The Complete Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book by Katie Lynch covers physiology of the breath; movements of the joints; workings of the spine, shoulders and pelvis and in-depth muscle information before moving onto Asana Anatomy specifically related to the main standing, seated and inversion postures.

We are happy to share with you our first excerpt from the book, covering the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle of the “glutes group” and the primary muscle for hip extension.

Continue reading

Ann Carter Introduces HEARTS and What it Means for Cancer Care

A multisensory approach to facilitating relaxation in cancer care using aromatherapy, touch and voice, the HEARTS process – created by Ann Carter – offers a new way to help patients achieve a state of relaxation and calm as quickly and easily as possible.

In their new book, Combining Touch and Relaxation Skills for Cancer Care, Ann Carter and Peter Mackereth discuss principles which may influence the effectiveness of touch and relaxation therapies, emphasising that there are approaches that can be learnt and utilised by healthcare workers (and carers) who are not qualified in any therapies when working with distressed and vulnerable patients. Continue reading

Introducing Our Digital Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Catalogue

The new Singing Dragon Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine digital catalogue is now live! Our new format allows you to browse, learn more, purchase or request an inspection copy for your course of any of our books, and is clickable throughout.

We are publishing a host of exciting titles throughout 2019, from an accessible clinical handbook of Tui Na principles and practice to a narrative-based manual of qigong and meditation from a Daoist master.

Take a look at our catalogue to find out more.

Contents include:

  • New Books from Singing Dragon
  • Clinical Practice/Diagnosis
  • Acupuncture
  • Qigong
  • Daoist Arts
  • Bodywork