Yoga Impact Institute (YII) Mission, Vision and Objectives
As yoga therapists we must live what we teach. As the director of the YII yoga therapy training program, what I teach comes not only from the wisdom of my teachers, but from my own self-care: I teach skills that I have tested in my life. This, along with a heartfelt connection with my client, and concern for their well-being, is the foundation of my dharma as a yoga therapist. I ask the other faculty of the training program to also teach from their knowledge, experience and their heart.
Our goal at the YII is to train yoga therapists to teach yoga modalities that our clients can incorporate into their daily lives. In so doing, they will find a natural and self-empowered path to preventative health care, the healing of disease and injury, and increased inner peace.
The faculty and I believe that yoga therapy must be made accessible to everyone who could benefit from, and is attracted to, the teachings. IYI training instills a base value that all of the teachings must be accessible to a variety of populations, keeping in mind that all our clients might not have a privileged and comfortable life. We might have to work and be creative to help those who don’t have access to nutritious food or safe living environments. How can we make yoga therapy accessible to those who can’t pay us for private sessions? Can we be creative in bringing the benefits of yoga therapy to the greater community?
The training is structured so that all the information given is applied to the trainees’ personal practice, after which the trainees are taught to share it with private clients and in therapeutic classes. YII yoga therapists are taught to look at the individual as a whole person, and teach them skills to address their healthcare or healing using appropriate exercise, nutrition and digestion, relaxation, positive mental processing and addressing their life’s path – essentially the Koshas in accessible vocabulary. All the information in the IYI manual is supported by either scientific research or the texts of yoga philosophy, and exhaustively endnoted. YII yoga therapists are taught communication skills along with therapeutic yoga modalities, to empower their clients to take charge of their own healthcare and healing, utilizing other complementary and allopathic healthcare systems as needed.
The Yoga Impact Institute Yoga Therapy Education Program trains yoga therapists who will provide yoga therapy for injury, illness, and mental health issues to a variety of demographics. The YII therapeutic model is based on time-tested and evidence-based yoga modalities that can help clients suffering from stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, and addiction, as well as those living with autoimmune issues, chronic pain or illness, cancer, frailty, asthma, allergies, and learning difficulties. Yoga teachings will be applied in a therapeutic framework to empower clients to manage the symptoms that are causing suffering, and to inspire them to practice their new skills to reduce occurrence of imbalance.
The heart of the YII Yoga Therapy Education Program is the knowledge that director Nancy Candea has distilled from her work with Yoga Impact, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering vulnerable populations with therapeutic yoga skills, and from thirty years of education and practice. Nancy has studied with a variety of master yoga teachers. She has been teaching yoga and working with private clients for 19 years, and training yoga teachers for 8 years. She owned a yoga studio for 5 years. She is the author of Practical Yoga Therapy - YII’s training manual. All YII faculty are dedicated yoga practitioners and experts in their specialty fields.
The therapeutic approach in this training is based on the yoga philosophy and research outlined in the YII manual mentioned above, and on books written by distinguished yoga therapists, yoga teachers, researchers, neuroscientists, and healthcare professionals. A central element of the training is The Five Points of Wellness, which empower and educate people to take charge of their own preventative health care and self-care in healing. The assignments and practicum, as well as the principles learned, help the yoga therapist to navigate the subtleties of the therapeutic relationship with their client or yoga therapy classes.
The Five Points of Wellness are inspired by yoga’s most basic philosophic principles, such as the Koshas, Ayurvedic teachings and the work of Patañjali, and are supported by scientific research. The Five Points of Wellness have become a successful model for providing yoga therapy and for introducing yoga lifestyle skills to the general public. The focus of the material is to help a client come to a place of stillness, parasympathetic-dominant response, and homeostasis, so that they can begin their healing process. The Five Points of Wellness give yoga therapists specific criteria for evaluating the wellness skills of their clients, and a clear therapeutic model to apply. After Module 5, the yoga therapist will apply additional Ayurvedic principles to their professional practice, and they will have the background to work with other healthcare professionals.
The information taught in each course will follow a format for optimal learning:
· Learn knowledge (study, observe, assist)
· Apply it to your own practice
· Refine it by asking questions, receiving feedback and/or further study
· If appropriate, apply it/adapt it for your clients
· Follow up with clients and apply refinements
The skills learned in every course will help yoga therapists empower their clients to take a proactive interest in their own healthcare, and to become an informed and active participant in their own healing.
Successful communication requires a yoga therapist to connect with his/her clients, and to impart knowledge and skills in a way that takes into account the clients’ physical abilities, personal histories, and levels of knowledge. This training covers the principles of demonstration, observation, assistance and correction, to be used in yoga therapy classes, plus the qualities of a yoga therapist, and the clients’ process of learning. It also emphasizes the importance of adapting one’s therapeutic approach in teaching yoga modalities such as asana, pranayama and meditation according to the client’s body type, level of skill, and physical condition. Trainees will learn to use language that is trauma-sensitive and cultivates a positive body image, and to make hands-on adjustments that are appropriate in the therapeutic relationship.
Continual study of yoga philosophy is the key to continued growth along the path of a yoga therapist. Our collective understanding of this body of wisdom is enhanced by the discussions that we share. Group and self-directed study of The Vedas, The Upaniṣads, The Bhagavad Gītā, and Tantric Philosophy is included. The relationship between Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and modern psychology will be explored. We will also discuss yoga lifestyle, ethics, law and business for yoga therapists throughout the training. Marketing strategies for classes, seva projects and workshops will be discussed individually with the director. Trainees are required to maintain a daily practice that includes yoga lifestyle choices and kriyas. Trainees must also maintain a daily practice of yoga modalities such as āsana, pranayama, meditation, chanting and yoga studies.