Yoga For Wellness: Instructor Success
Viniyoga Teachers Making A Difference
A primary mission of AVIF is to provide scholarships to qualified yoga instructors who wish to become Viniyoga teachers. Being of service and helping to provide yoga for wellness is an important aspect to being a Viniyoga teacher, and we proudly present some stories from our scholarship recipients.
I would not have been able to afford Viniyoga therapist training without the scholarship AVIF provided. My Viniyoga training has given me so much more depth of knowledge to share with my students. In addition to meeting with individuals privately for yoga therapy, I teach group classes at a yoga studio, a hospital fitness center, a church, a senior center, a retirement community, to teachers, and at a local community center. I teach four classes a week exclusively to seniors. For those with physical limitations, my Viniyoga classes are a refuge. Just yesterday someone told me that after trying many classes, they were relieved to find mine. Yoga has become part of their lives, providing balance, solace, healing and a way to maintain good functioning.
Recently, I taught yoga to six professionals from Guatemala. They came to Michigan for training in mental health services so they could return to their local community and implement what they learned. Currently, there are no mental health services in this entire area of Guatemala. None of them had practiced yoga; some had never heard of it. I taught them sequences for anxiety, depression, and depression with anxiety. The organizer of this event told me the participants experienced and wholly understood the scope of what yoga could do to help with mental and emotional well being, and that they were excited to take yoga back to their communities. Being the seed and the catalyst that brings yoga to an area where people are suffering with no access to mental health services feels wonderful.
I am very grateful to AVIF for the financial help they provided me, and I, in turn was one of the first to donate back to AVIF. When I asked my students if I could take some photos of them for the AVIF website to help increase support for other people like me they enthusiastically shouted, YES!
I decided to do Viniyoga therapist training to learn more about how I could apply yoga to my practice as a physician. What I learned was that my understanding of yoga based on my non-Viniyoga training was very limited in scope in terms of what yoga has to offer. It really humbled me to realize that yoga therapy is something equivalent to the practice of medicine. It is not something that can be mastered in a few months or years, it is a life long process that requires enormous time and effort. At this point in time, I use what I learned in training for my own individual yoga practice to help keep me centered and present in my allopathic clinical work. As I move further into this life long path of learning, I may decide to bring it to my patients.
I donate 10% of my income to AVIF as part of my Christian practice of tithing. For me, tithing helps to develop the spiritual principle of non attachment, in this case to money. I like that both my Christian tradition and the yoga tradition encourage the idea of non attachment. I like to tithe to organizations that have helped me grow into a more peaceful person, and I feel that Viniyoga has certainly helped me to do that. It has given me tools that I can use for a lifetime, which little by little, help me to deepen into the mystery that I am. I’m so glad to be a part of it!
I’m currently teaching group classes in a clinic with five other therapists. Each of us offer a different modality of healing which brings an integrative approach to the clinic. I also provide private sessions for people out of their homes. This seems to work well as many people are already receiving treatment for what ails them, and no overhead keeps me working for them at a little less expense. I have worked out of a hospital with clients from brain injury groups and with clients from Mental Health and Addictions. Sequencing movement and breathing. I am always learning! I have worked with palliative patients both in their own home and in the hospital. My experience was that I was available for whatever came up for the person making the transition…not unlike coaching at a birth. As I had the patients permission to be with them…almost anything goes, honoring their experience foremost. Often these patients were left alone by the hospital staff, except for routine rounds. Following my own intuition has been profound as in these situations you never know what will happen. It’s far from routine and it is my comprehensive Viniyoga training that allows me to be confidently available and ready to be of service for whatever comes up!