The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

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Now displaying: October, 2017
Oct 28, 2017

Shannon is very excited to have her friend Shai Plonski on the podcast who also happens to be her very first Thai Yoga Massage teacher.

Shannon and Shai know from experience that Thai Massage can enhance a yoga teacher’s
offerings in a multitude of ways such as building a stronger bond with their students, strengthening their hands-on assists, and providing new workshop and revenue opportunities.

Nowadays Shai is the best-selling author of Compassionate Touch: Giving Massage for Optimal Health, Thriving Relationships & Spiritual Awakening. But back in 2001, Shai came to realize that he was not content to work behind a desk and felt a calling to do something more meaningful, connected to Spirit, and with his hands.

Working for a carnival for the summer to earn money for university had Shai working at a booth making wax molds of people’s hands. He has carried the feeling of this experience with him,
having found the connection and trust he had to establish within seconds profound. The power of touch has been a major theme in Shai’s life ever since.

Another seed was planted when Shai travelled to Asia. He was intrigued by the practice and was eventually exposed to Thai Massage when volunteering at the Omega Institute.  A teacher
invited him to sit in on her class and he saw that the practice blended so many principles that mattered to him like connection, compassion, yoga, and the healing power of touch.

Shai’s passion for sharing the practice with others over the past 15 years has led him to teach at some of the largest yoga centers in Toronto and around the world including upcoming courses at
the Kripalu Center and 1440 Multiversity.

He has also authored or co-authored 15 manuals and books on the practice of Thai massage, trained over 3300 practitioners and 100 teachers in this healing art and is the founder of the Still Light Centre.


[9:40] Shai's journey into Thai Yoga Massage


[15:05] Shai’s first exposure to Thai Massage through a workshop


[16:20] What makes Thai Yoga Massage unique?


[16:50] 3 Principles of Thai Yoga Massage


[17:25] Shai's brand new book - Compassionate Touch


[19:20] How Thai Yoga Massage can compliment your yoga business


[21:30] Metta - loving kindness and compassion


[23:55] Complementary to Yin, gentle and restorative yoga classes and yoga retreats


[27:05] Meditative nature of Thai Yoga Massage


[28:00] Still Light Centre teaching style


[30:50] How to learn Thai Yoga Massage


[37:50] How Shai got his name


[41:30] Bringing Thai Massage into your home


[43:35] Massage is a norm in some cultures and families



Still Light Centre

Compassionate Touch: Giving Massage for Optimal Health, Thriving Relationships & Spiritual Awakening  by Shai Plonski

Gentle Yoga with Thai Massage Assists  at Tone Studio, Owen Sound, Ontario

The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group

Gratitude to Our Sponsor -- Schedulicity

Oct 21, 2017

The prospect of yoga teacher training in a warm climate in the middle of winter sounds amazing to most of us. Maxine Iharosy thought so too when she was offered a spot in the Shakti Initiation: All Women’s Leadership Training. She was lit up by the possibility.

However, taking stock of her finances led her to feel she had to decline the offer.

One of the program’s teachers told her not to give up on the opportunity and mentioned that other students in the past have used crowdfunding in order to attend. At first, Maxine felt there was no way she would feel comfortable asking others for money but through the guidance of Robin ( her mentor in this process), she realized that attending this program could benefit her AND her community.

Maxine realized that through leadership training, teachings, and insight into another part of the world, what would benefit her could benefit her others. She would be asking for a gift (financial help), and in exchange would bring back renewed energy and passion for teaching and insight into another culture.

Maxine is a wonderfully community-minded, spiritually connected being with a passion for travel, the outdoors, and teaching yoga that connects her life experiences, readings and storytelling to the practice. 

As her role as the Tone Studio manager comes to a close, her focus will be shifting towards more personal offerings for classes, private sessions and workshops with the vision of bringing some of her greatest passions together- nature, community and yoga with Inner Wilderness Yoga.

Maxine also serves as an administrator and teacher for the Sarana Institute, which is committed to bringing mindful and self-compassion training to others. This summer Maxine was part of the team that offered The Young Adult Program to Sarana Springs in Chatsworth, Ontario. The program gave young adults (aged 18-30) the chance to connect with nature, mindfulness, and learn leadership skills.

Maxine is so grateful for all those who supported her through the crowdfunding process. It increased her awareness of the interconnectedness between student and teacher and teacher and community and wholeheartedly recommends this process if you are willing to be vulnerable and do the hard emotional, physical, and spiritual work.


7:00 The beginning of Maxine’s crowdfunding journey


9:10 The giving and receiving aspect of Maxine’s experience- the teacher/student balance


10:55 What allowed Maxine to ask for help- the mindset she adopted in order to ask, confronting self-doubt and pride and looking to where the root of those feelings are coming from


12:30 Asking herself:  Who am I to ask for money? How will my training benefit others? Acknowledgment that yoga isn’t as validated as other health-related professions in society or even sometimes in the mind of the teacher.


14:00 Practical aspects Maxine’s crowdfunding process


16:25 The gifts Maxine offered her contributors based on the amount of the donation


17:25 How Maxine emotionally processed the donations


19:00 Did Maxine have a backup plan if her goal wasn’t met- the power of intention and belief


20:25 How she felt when she met her goal- fears and questions and the most difficult point of her journey to Bali


23:00 Processing (still) the financial and emotional support she received


23:30 The hard prep work for attending the Women’s Leadership Training and the work while attending the training


24:35 Feedback from supporters when Maxine returned home


26:15 How it built relationships with her supporters and students outside of her yoga classes


27:00 The clarity crowdfunding and training brought to her life and her feelings of responsibility to the community


28:25 The ‘hats’ Maxine wears in her work life


29:35 Maxine’s teaching style


30:30 Sarana Institute Young Adult Program


31:20 Vision for her personal yoga offerings with Inner Wilderness  


33:20 Advice to those considering crowdfunding


35:55 Keeping in touch with your contributors


38:00 Shannon’s closing thoughts





Maxine's Indigogo Campaign Platform


Shakti Initiation: All Women’s Leadership Training


Maxine’s Website: Inner WIlderness Yoga


Sarana Institute


Sarana's Young Adult Program


Blog Post: "Comparison of Crowdfunding Websites" by


Gratitude to Our Sponsor -- Schedulicity

Oct 14, 2017

Have you struggled with the business side of yoga? Most yoga teachers do, fearing that selling themselves is ‘icky’ or maybe not in line with the principles of yoga.


Amanda Kingsmith works with yoga teachers to break through these financial blocks. As a yoga teacher with a business studies background, she is the perfect coach for those struggling with their money mindsets, business terminology, and seeing the worth of their services.


Amanda is an enthusiastic world traveller who is keen on avoiding the tough Alberta winters. She has travelled to over 50 countries and 6 continents. From her first yoga teacher training in Bali, she was hooked. When she began teaching she struggled to shape her yoga business to make a living (despite her business background) and wondered if maybe others were struggling too.


This led Amanda to create the M.B.OM (Mastering the Business of Yoga) podcast, which has 60 + episodes to its name. She decided she would ask those whose businesses she admired her many questions. Instead of asking them out for coffee, she decided to produce a podcast and share the wisdom she gleaned with others.


Amanda also coaches yoga teachers in business matters and writes with a passion. Check out some of her writing on M.B.OM and on her own website.


9:15 Amanda’s yoga journey


11:25 Mastering the Business of Yoga (M.B.OM) Podcast


14:40 Struggles Amanda hears most often


14:55 Letting go of what you think you “should” do


15:20 Being intentional with your business and what you want from your YTT, what do you want out of this yoga career, try many things but at the end of the day do what feels right and makes you happy


16:40 Meditate, journal or reflect in a way that works for you. Consider the many paths there are to choose from, some that may have never been travelled.


17:20 Do you need yoga to be a business?


18:40 Mixing business with yoga; an often uncomfortable aspect for yoga teachers.  Do you consider what you do a business? Work on reframing your perspective on selling your services in order to move away from unsavoury sales stereotypes


20:00 “Sales funnel”- putting yourself out there and what you have to offer (newsletters, social media, etc.) in a way that is low pressure and encourages your clients to access your services


23:05 Reframing business terms for the yoga industry, learning what they mean and how they can help you run your business with an understanding that you can work in the yoga industry using ethical business practices and that honours karmic and yogic principles


24:15 How can yoga teachers work towards a healthy money mindset? How to work as a full-time yoga teacher, for example, and live a comfortable way and feel good about making income from yoga.


26:15 Being afraid to charge enough money for your classes can leave you feeling burnt out and resentful.


28:55 What are the most powerful marketing tools for yoga teachers?




           -social media


-business cards (carry your card and perhaps others for referrals)

-speaking/ networking


44:15 What does Amanda wish she knew as a new yoga teacher? What is imposter syndrome? The danger of comparing yourself to others.


46:35 How to work with Amanda




M.B.OM Website


Amanda's Personal Website


The World Wanderers Podcast


Courage and Clarity with Steph Podcast


The Yoga Lounge Website


TCYT 021: Refine Your Core Message with Carol Cox


The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group


Gratitude to Our Sponsor -- Schedulicity

Oct 7, 2017

Shannon met Dr. Sinead Dufour at a pelvic health workshop for yoga teachers as part of the MamaNurture prenatal yoga teacher training. It was through Sinead that Shannon discovered she had Diastasis. Shannon talks about how some of the yoga poses done after she gave birth were contributing to her condition.

Diastasis is not widely understood in prenatal and postnatal health. It has been falsely understood as the separation of the abdominal muscles (it is even implied in the name) when it is actually the overstraining or damaging of the linea alba tissue.

It was after giving birth to her twins that Sinead discovered significant gaps and misconceptions in the health care system and fitness community that left women without the tools needed to take care of the pelvic health. She felt strongly that she needed to be part of the solution.

Sinead has been a practising physiotherapist for about 15 years, with a PhD in Primary Health Care. Her extensive studies also include training in obstetrics and urogynecology. She is a professor in the Health and Science department at McMaster University and is the Director of Pelvic Health at The Womb.  

Among this episode’s points of discussion are: the role the linea alba plays in Diastasis, Dr. Sinead Dufour’s  leadership in up-and-coming research on DRA to establish common practice principles, and what can be done to prevent this condition.


8:55 Sinead's journey to becoming a leading Pelvic Health expert

10:50 What is Diastasis? A common misconception about Diastasis.

Diastasis or Diastasis Recti Abdominus (DRA)

12:25 Linea alba’s role in pregnancy and Diastasis

15:30 New study by top 22 Diastasis experts in Canada in order to establish practice principles experts can agree on

18:10 Delphi Process with 3 phases setting the practice principles

20:45 Diastasis related to manometric pressure system

manometric pressure system- the pressure system modulated by the core four, inclusive of the linea alba and the glottis (think the concept of intra-abdominal pressure)


19:10 Dr. Sinead’s research study

20:10 What experts are saying: what is Diastasis and how should we manage it?

23:00 Prenatal - how can we prevent Diastasis?

  1. Avoid exercises that concentrically engage the superficial abdominal muscles such as crunches and sit-ups
  2. Emphasis on facilitating optimal co-activation of the deep inner unit
  3. Ensuring the core 4 are working together: pelvic floor, diaphragm, transversus abdominis and multifidus
  4. Working synergistically
  5. Promoting effective, tension free diaphragmatic breathing
  6. More focus on diaphragmatic breath with ease -- less extended belly breathing and more rib cage breath
  7. Emphasizing postures that reduce excessive strained intra-abdominal pressure
  8. Avoid plank pose while pregnant or straining on the toilet,(especially with breath holding).

25:15 Importance of continuous breath

28:45 Encouraging students, not to breath hold (and why they may be doing so)

31:00 Empowering language - What can students do instead of what can't it do

32:15 Listen to the body - pain or struggling in a pose

33:05 Intrapartum (during childbirth) considerations

  1. Continuous breath - no Valsalva breath
  2. Avoiding a back lying position when possible

37:35 Prenatal yoga teachers are the ones who can advocate, inform and empower those who are susceptible to diastasis or other pelvic health issues

38:25 When to refer a yoga student to a pelvic floor physiotherapist

40:00 Postpartum (4th trimester) - "critical healing period"

  1. Abstain from exercises that concentrically engage the superficial abdominal       muscles
  2. Promote exercises that are not the same action as a crunch
  3. Every body is unique and so each person needs something different
  4. Watch for doming or invagination at linea alba during exercise

5.Optimal load transfer at linea alba

45:25 Later diastasis- watch out for doming or invagination (reverse doming)

46:10 Front loading poses: bird dog, plank - when can we do these?

47:30 Any incontinence issues - because Diastasis is a pelvic floor dysfunction


48:50 How yoga can help with the internal pressure system and nervous system


49:55 Autonomic nervous system tension affects the connective and visceral tissue


50:45 Benefits of a yin yoga style


51:40 Fertility yoga series at The Womb


52:50 Increased inter-recti distance is normal in pregnancy


53:45 Diastasis has nothing to do with the inter-recti distance (the width between the rectus abdominis muscles)


57:20 How to test for Diastasis at home


58:40 How a yoga teacher can help assess linea alba during a pelvic floor contraction


1:00:25 Another Diastasis assessment- digital pelvic floor contraction (highlights how integrated the linea alba is with the pelvic floor)


1:01:25 Yoga teachers are in a great position to get ahead of the curve to spread new information discovered through research (before it will be widely taught)


1:05:50 Inter-recti distance as an assessment needs to be thrown out- as people get better and more functional the distance can actually increase proving that inter-recti is meaningless


1:06:55 The general preface statement that will be published in their research document


1:08:50 Preface statement for assessment of DRA


1:10:10 How to work with Dr. Sinead Dufour





The Womb


Find a Canadian Pelvic Health Specialist


Mama Nurture


Relevant TCYT Episodes:

007: Breath and Pelvic Health with Trisha Zinn

008: Core Breath and Pelvic Health with Kim Vopni

009: Kegals, Mula Banda and Pelvic Health with Shelly Prosko


The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group


Gratitude to Our Sponsor -- Schedulicity