Mental Health Basics for Yoga Teachers

Surveys conducted with yoga participants consistently reveal that seeking assistance with mental health conditions, especially relief from anxiety and depression, is a prime motivator for beginning yoga practice. In this new workshop, learn some of the basic tools all yoga teachers should have to recognise and respond appropriately to these conditions in a class situation.

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Surveys conducted with yoga participants consistently reveal that seeking relief from stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and the experience of trauma are amoung the most frequently cited reasons people come to yoga classes.

However, for most of us, our yoga teacher training provided only minimal information about mental health conditions and how to intentionally use yoga practices to relieve them. There are some general good practice and specific condition adaptations that are useful to be aware in order to create a safer, more supportive environment for these students. Having this knowledge can help yoga teachers feel more confident and capable to guide and respond appropriately to students so they do no harm, and to increase the possibility of providing their students with a positive yoga experience.

This introductory 2-day training provides:

  • Information about the key diagnostic features of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and trauma
  • The physiological mechanisms that are the mind-body basis for anxiety and trauma symptoms
  • Yoga concepts and practices that can help and hinder recovery from an eating disorder
  • Keys to creating a trauma sensitive class
  • Practices that can positively shift physiological states to facilitate calming, positive coping, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation
  • Increased awareness to bring to student interactions and class management to create a safe, supportive environment

Day one: Saturday
About mental health conditions: Anxiety and Depression. Differentiated and shared features. Continuum of severity – everyday human experience to disruptive and severe. What a yoga teachers needs to know to understand and respond constructively to students.
The mind-body interaction: Autonomic nervous system, SNS, PNS. Physical symptoms. Mental/emotional symptoms. How it works and how it changes.
Practice: Experience individual and integrated asana, pranayama, guided relaxation and meditation practices that can directly effect change in the body-mind.

Day two: Sunday
About mental health conditions: Eating Disorders and Trauma. Differentiated and shared features. Continuum of severity – everyday human experience to disruptive and severe. What a yoga teachers needs to know to understand and respond constructively to students.
Things to be aware of in class: Reactions to touch/adjustements, breathing, savasana, lights, language cuing, philosophical concepts, emotional release in class (crying). Holding safe space with clarity and boundaries. Balancing taking care of your self, having compassion, showing interest and not being intrusive.
Knowing your scope of expertise and competence: Knowing your scope, how to expand it, when and how to refer appropriately.
Practice: Experience individual and integrated asana, pranayama, guided relaxation and meditation practices that can directly effect change in the body-mind.

For more in depth mental health focused training with Lisa we offer:

Intuition + Ethics, Intimacy + Boundaries Intuition: How to BE a Yoga Teacher, 9 – 10 September, 2017

Yoga for Anxiety and Depression, 18 – 22 October, 2017

What our students say

I have really enjoyed the course, mostly the physical practices and integrating asana and pranayama (with retentions) together. Something I’ll practice myself and likely introduce into my teaching. It has re-inspired my interest in this type of yoga Jane Robertson on Mental Health Basics, August 2015

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