200 Hour & Foundations Program Graduate
Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher
Because of my training with Breathing Deeply, I really feel like I have a real profession and a calling in life! I have a Master’s in Dance/Movement Education and have completed graduate coursework in Dance/Movement Therapy, and have worked since the late 1990s as a movement specialty, early childhood dance educator, etc. I have always loved working with and learning about the body–but what was always missing for me was the training to help people on a deeper level than just the body. I love that now, as a yoga therapist, I’ll get to help people heal all the layers of themselves.
When I applied to Breathing Deeply, I was (informally) looking at different programs for counseling degrees and also MSW programs. I knew I wanted to find a way to build on my body-based graduate education and get training in a healing profession, so when I saw Breathing Deeply pop up in my Facebook feed, I stopped looking at the counseling and MSW programs. I took a look at the BDYT website and I really connected with their professional and down-to-earth approach to yoga therapy. I loved that it was not “airy-fairy” or too complicated to understand, the way some yoga therapy training programs can be. I also appreciated that the BDYT training emphasizes yoga therapists sharing the teachings and techniques with clients and special populations in an understandable and relevant way.
Learning about the koshas and doshas, and practicing keeping these in mind when viewing people’s suffering, is an amazing and valuable framework, and something that was totally new to me when I started my training. It helps me to see myself more deeply, too. I think also the idea that suffering isn’t permanent is powerful and brings me hope.
I loved the curriculum, and I really appreciated how organized it was. Joe, my Teaching Assistant, was always helpful and responsive when I had questions, needed feedback/guidance on assignments, etc. The whole program was super valuable, so I’m not sure I can pick one specific section. I liked learning the therapeutic applications of asanas, since, in many group teaching settings (even adaptive ones), our first point of access with students is the body. I liked learning reasons for why we would assign certain asanas and what physical conditions they could be helpful for.
I feel a lot more prepared to practice yoga therapy after completing the Foundations program than I did at the end of my Master’s program (for teaching dance). I liked how Brandt described the different techniques as part of a “toolkit” and I think everything was taught in a very concrete and accessible way. I’m only in the beginning stages of being a yoga therapist, but I’m confident my training will support me to do well and refine my skills over time.
I currently work with very young yoga students in a daycare setting (ages 1-3), teaching them yoga/movement classes. My training has helped me evolve into a yoga teacher who, I think, is better able to “see” my students’ struggles and suffering, and I’m becoming better at meeting them where they are and sharing yoga with them in a way that encourages them to feel really connected to it. I think I now work on a deeper level with them, focusing much less on “are they doing the activity” and more on things like co-regulation, interoception, social skills, language development, and sensory integration.
In this daycare setting, my work is planting the seeds of yoga with very young children, but I’m going to start teaching adaptive yoga for seniors in my community, as well. I think yoga therapy will have a lot to offer older students dealing with not just physical struggles but also things like memory impairment, dementia, social isolation, sensory problems, etc. One of my professional goals is to provide yoga therapy for cancer support in a hospital setting (as a breast cancer survivor, I know first-hand how my yoga practice helped me hugely through this health challenge), and I’m also interested in trauma-informed yoga.
I am also working with a foundation that provides yoga for the traumatic brain injury (TBI) community, and I’m currently facilitating a discussion group for them and will move into facilitating a discussion-and-yoga group in the near future. In the discussion group, we offer guided meditation and introduce themes of yoga philosophy in a way that can be helpful to the TBI population. I’m not an all an expert of course, but I recently got some nice feedback from one of the directors who said that she really liked how I hold space and allow silence for the participants, and let them just “be” without fixing everything for them or instructing them how to feel. I believe my yoga therapy training helps me share yoga ideas with my group, rather than push them to be on board because it’s “good for them.” I try to allow them to discover truths about themselves and offer yoga ideas as possible ways of looking at their struggles.
To anyone considering the Breathing Deeply Program, I would say, consistent work in manageable amounts is a great way to get through the lessons…and it’s easy to review, review, review! When I do this, I feel like each time I deepen my learning and things become more and more 2nd nature.
Brandt talks about common questions applicants have about the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Program. Tune in to get the full program details.
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