The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

Helping yoga teachers to stay connected to information, entrepreneur advice and a community of supportive yoga teachers and professionals.
RSS Feed
The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast






All Episodes
Now displaying: November, 2018
Nov 26, 2018

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

Ep 92: Accessible Yoga Language with Kesse, Chantel and Katie


As yoga teachers, we’d all like to reach as many people as possible with our practice and share yoga with them. However, what we may not realize is that we may be inadvertently be excluding or even offending people - through something as simple (but powerful) as our language.


I met Chantel Ehler, Katie Juelson and Kesse Hodge at the Accessible Yoga Conference in Toronto last summer. I immediately knew they would be the best people to have a discussion about accessible yoga language, and delve into some uncomfortable areas surrounding the topic.


Language can be a very powerful tool for empowering people, but it can also instill fear, be hurtful, or downright offensive. My three guests share insights about the kind of language it takes to create safe spaces for people to be vulnerable. We touch on topics like using gendered pronouns, inclusive rather than exclusive language, and how to ask people about what they’re going through and build relationships with them.


We’re all going to make mistakes along the way. Even I had some fear around doing this episode, and sharing some of my vulnerable experiences. The key is to remember that every interaction is an opportunity to learn and grow.


If you’ve ever struggled with presenting yoga with accessible language, or worried about offending someone because of something you’ve said, this episode is going to be such an eye-opener.


About the Guests:

Chantel, founder of Amara Vidya Yoga in Ontario, Canada, began teaching yoga in 2002, and was the location manager for the Accessible Yoga Conference in June 2018.

Katie has been a yoga teacher for 5 years, and currently works with Canada's National Para-soccer team and with other community programs. She focuses on sharing yoga with people who have cognitive and developmental disabilities. Chantel and Katie also recently co-founded Yoga Service and Accessibility Canada. Kesse is a self-professed fat, atheist, agender, spoonie (person living with chronic illness/ pain) who specializes in teaching adaptive, mix-level yoga to all humans. They are the founder of Change Yoga, the Director of Inclusion and Communications at Rooted Yoga, and have over 15 years of experience in the field.

Key Takeaways:

[5:00] Shannon introduces her three guests for this episode - Chantel Ehler, Katie Juelson, and Kesse Hodge.

[8:08] Language is very important in empowering students. What kind of language is not as empowering, unhelpful or downright offensive? Chantel shares her thoughts.

[11:19] Katie addresses language that is empowering vs not so helpful in the area of disability.

[12:46] Shannon shares a personal anecdote from her experience with a paraplegic in her class.

[13:33] Katie gives some tips on the cues that can be used in a yoga class.

[15:25] Kesse gives their take on how every opportunity interacting with students is an opportunity to learn and to grow.

[19:29] Emotional safety is a crucial part of creating a safe space for your yoga students. Kesse elaborates more on that idea, sharing some personal anecdotes.

[25:20] Language can exclude people who may benefit from whatever is being offered, be it yoga, or assistance, or anything else- being conscious, deliberate and inclusive can help with this.

[29:26] What are the after-effects of the damage that is inadvertently done through language, and how can they be addressed?

[34:25] Katie raises the importance of community relationships in the healing journey.

[00:36:30] Shannon and Katie discuss the issues with saying that people with disabilities are inspiring.

[39:45] What's the deal with using gendered pronouns to refer to people? Kesse and Chantel share their thoughts on how best to approach this.

[49:25] Asking is the best way to educate yourself. Is it ever offensive to ask about disability, or what someone is going through, or even what pronoun they prefer?

[55:14] Listeners, we'd love to hear your experiences and how you've learned to change something you say.

[56:40] What were some of Shannon's key takeaways from this discussion? We'd love for you to hear yours too - share them in the show notes!

[59:40] Shannon has a special bonus for you!



Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity


Quotes from this episode:


"Someone's going to find something offensive in anything." - Chantel


"Where I think the disconnect is, is how to address it when you've noticed something's going on." - Chantel


"Language is an extremely powerful tool, and it can really empower someone's sense of pride, identity, purpose." - Katie


"Put the person before the impairment." - Katie


"We think that our normal is everybody else's normal .... but [realize] that that's just absolutely not the case." - Kesse


"I didn't like that I was essentially complicit in hurting somebody without my knowledge." - Kesse


"Once you say something, you can't un-say it. And the person can't un-hear it. And the damage that can be done, is done." - Kesse


"You're asking these people to come and be vulnerable, and you have a responsibility to make that space as safe as possible." - Kesse


"The person who's chosen to not say anything, is the person that is the most exposed to harm." - Chantel


"Inclusion grows with relationship." - Chantel


"If we are not getting to know the student, we won't know how to include them." - Chantel

Nov 19, 2018

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

Ep 091: 100 Conversations with Yoga Teachers with Mado Hesselink



What would it be like to talk to 100 yoga teachers and find out what their challenges are, and what they've learned so far? When Mado Hesselink decided she wanted to increase the work she was doing with yoga teachers, she did just that and personally interviewed 100 yoga teachers - this episode is all about what she learned from those conversations.


Mado has been teaching yoga since 2005, and training yoga teachers since 2010. She is the creator of Yoga Teacher Resource, and teaches at yoga teacher trainings around the southeastern US. After some big life changes, Mado felt the need to change things up in her business. Her discussion with her Fairy Godmother Business Coach helped her find her niche, create a lead magnet, and inspired her 100-Conversations project.


As yoga teachers, we may all feel our struggles and challenges are individual, and we are alone in our experiences. Mado’s conversations with yoga teachers young and old, full-time and part-time, and from all walks of life revealed certain similarities. From the pressures of being a yoga teacher, to finding the delicate balance between your own personal yoga practice vs teaching yoga, to the challenges facing entrepreneurs in the yoga space - Shannon and Mado discuss it all.


If you’ve ever wondered what wisdom and insight you could get from talking to 100 other yoga teachers, wonder no more. Mado’s done the legwork so you don’t have to - just sit back and enjoy the great nuggets in this episode.


Key Takeaways:

[5:44] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Mado Hesselink.

[6:36] What inspired Mado to start working on the project of talking to 100 yoga teachers? She shares how her Fairy Godmother Business Coach helped her along her journey of finding her niche.

[9:39] Mado reveals how she applied the concept of a lead magnet to her business and some tips for you to do the same!

[13:27] Why did Mado decide to talk to 100 yoga teachers?

[15:40] What made Mado pick the number 100?

[16:07] How did Mado spread the word about her project, and how did she select the yoga teachers she would connect with?

[18:59] How did Mado pick the questions she asked the yoga teachers?

[23:24] Mado shares some of the responses she received that surprised, intrigued and stuck with her.

[30:02] What are Mado's suggestions for someone considering taking a 200-hr?

[31:07] From her conversations, what are some of the takeaways that have impacted Mado as a yoga teacher?

[34:51] How can yoga teachers market yoga better?

[39:15] Yoga teachers care so much and put so much pressure on themselves to inspire and challenge their students. Mado and Shannon discuss this in relation to drop-in classes vs. registered sessions.

[43:35] Mado highlights the tension that exists between yoga studio owner, yoga teacher and yoga student.

[48:41] Get in touch with Mado via her website to get access to her podcast, 100 Yoga Class Themes download and other resources!

[49:14] Shannon wraps up with her key takeaways from this episode.


Mado Hesselink, Yoga Teacher Resource

The Yoga Teacher Resource Facebook Group

100 Yoga Class Themes

Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast

Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast Episode 6: How to succeed as a yoga teacher by focusing on cooperation over competition with Shannon Crow

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast Episode 088: Creating Professional Yoga Videos with Kira Sloane

Map to connect with other yoga teachers

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast Episode 085: A Discussion About Hands-On Assists with Amanda Kingsmith

Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast Episode 8: [Reality Check] Teaching yoga full time vs part time.

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast Episode 061: Too Many Yoga Teachers with Kimma Stark

Accessible Yoga Conference, Toronto

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast Episode 090: Teaching Baby & Me Yoga with Shannon Crow

One-on-One Coaching with Mado Hesselink

One-on-One Consultation with Shannon Crow

The Yoga Conference and Show, Toronto March 2019

Mama Nurture Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga for Pelvic Health Teacher Training, November 2019


Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity


Quotes from Mado Hesselink:


"Who do you feel most energized when you're teaching?"


"They can look at their content that they already have out there and see what's really resonating with people."


"I just want to get a sense of what is out there. What are the concerns, what are the dreams? What's the environment, the content that people are teaching in, to help me figure out how I can be of service."


"The happiest yoga teachers that I spoke with are not trying to make a living teaching."


"For me, the inherent conflicts and the murkiness of being an entrepreneur in the yoga space is actually really exciting, and keeps me more engaged."


"I learn best through teaching."


"As popular as yoga is, there is still a lot of misinformation about what yoga is."


"I want us to do a better job of marketing yoga to the public, for their own benefit!"


"We make money for what's important to us, what we really find valuable."

Nov 12, 2018

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

Ep 090: Teaching Baby and Me Yoga with Shannon Crow



How can a yoga niche help to grow a profitable and sustainable yoga business? In this episode, Shannon shares about a popular area of yoga - Baby and Me yoga, and how this can be a niche to build your yoga business.


Very often, postnatal parents are wanting to get back to yoga and bring baby along, but adult yoga classes aren’t the right place for them. Having crawling / crying / curious babies in the room, new parents adjusting to new routines, and parents developing that bond with their babies - these are all things that play into the flow and rhythm of a yoga class. Baby and Me yoga classes are designed to take all these and more into consideration.


Shannon shares how she structured her classes and the different elements she incorporates into her classes, keeping both baby and parent in mind. She also highlights other considerations when it comes to Baby and Me yoga, including timing of classes, the spaces in which you conduct these classes, and why she chose the name “Baby and Me yoga” instead of other variations out there.


This episode is perfect for anyone who teaches prenatal or postnatal students and for people who want to find their yoga niche.


Key Takeaways:

[6:34] How did Shannon get into teaching Baby and Me yoga?

[8:37] Why does Shannon call her class "Baby and Me" yoga? Shannon shares some insight into her personal journey as a new mom.

[12:12] What might you see in a student that is coming to a yoga class postnatally?

[16:20] Shannon shares a little about maternity leave, and why supporting new parents is so important.

[20:11] Timing is also important when it comes to Baby and Me yoga. When can new parents start coming to Baby and Me yoga?

[22:04] Where will you be teaching Baby and Me yoga?

[23:32] Baby and Me yoga is very different from traditional yoga classes with adults. Shannon has some tips and tricks for you.

[28:32] If you'd like to learn more about the elements Shannon includes in her Baby and Me yoga class, you can attend the MamaNuture Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training or check out the Online Course that goes into more detail about this.

[29:20] What are the 8 elements that Shannon includes in Baby and Me yoga?

[30:19] Shannon dives into the element of songs and sounds.

[32:54] Shannon's second element is infant massage. How does that tie into Baby and Me yoga?

[36:03] Element #3 is musical movement. Music is as important as movement in a child's development.

[39:20] Shannon incorporates sign language in her Baby and Me yoga classes. She has some tips on how best to do it.

[44:21] #5: Baby poses - the key to this is to really follow baby's lead.

[47:55] Community time is another element of Shannon's Baby and Me yoga classes. She highlights why this is an important part of the class.

[50:39] The next element is independent practice, and how that helps parents reconnect with themselves.

[51:54] Baby and me breath is the final element. Shannon shares an example of a practice she uses.

[55:00] Shannon ends with her final insights about yoga and how it can help parents and babies.

[57:46] What is your one takeaway from this episode about teaching to postnatal parents? Share your thoughts!


Mama Nurture Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training

Online Course on Baby and Me Yoga

The Genius of Natural Childhood, by Sally Goddard Blythe

Itsy Bitsy Yoga, by Helen Garabedian

Baby Om: Yoga for Mothers and Babies by Laura Staton and Sarah Perron


Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity


Quotes from Shannon Crow:


"Your baby doesn't come with an owner's manual, and you have to figure out what that little human needs."


"Sometimes we're feeling shame or ashamed of what we need as parents when it comes to work."


"Be careful about judging, others for sure, but also yourself."


"Touch between parent and baby is another form of communication. It's a really clear and concrete way to express love."


"This Baby and Me yoga class is a really great place to practice and learn together."


"You're not only dealing with parents, you're also dealing with what baby needs."


"Baby and me yoga offers parents a gentle practice to reconnect with body and breath. In this time, they can bond with baby, and also connect to other parents.”

Nov 5, 2018

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

Ep 089: Yoga for Stress Management with Courtney Butler-Robinson



You can’t deny it - we live in a stressful world. Everyone knows yoga is useful when it comes to stress management, but Courtney Butler-Robinson has focused her practice exclusively around dealing with stress and more specifically, heart health.


Courtney has had a long and illustrious career in the field of yoga. She’s been practicing for nearly 40 years, training yoga teachers for 20, and a certified yoga therapist for over 10 years (including being one of the first yoga therapists to be recognized by the International Association of Yoga Therapists). She is the owner and director of Balance Yoga and Wellness, a registered yoga school, and works as a stress management specialist, particularly in relation to reversing heart disease.


Stress is something everyone deals with, but Courtney highlights its connection to heart disease, and how her part in Dr. Dean Ornish’s lifestyle medicine practice is helping to heal patients. She provides insight into how yoga can be a part of the medical world, and why love, support, gratitude, and joy are some of the key ingredients to a long and healthy life.


If you’ve always wondered how to reach the medical world through your yoga teaching, or how to incorporate stress management in your yoga training, this episode is definitely one you need hear.


Key Takeaways:

[1:04] One lucky listener stands a chance to win a prize this week!

[3:45] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Courtney Butler-Robinson.

[6:15] How did Courtney's yoga journey start? When did she get into yoga, and what brought her to it?

[7:39] What pushed Courtney to start working in yoga for stress management?

[9:49] Courtney shares a little about the work that Dr. Dean Ornish does.

[12:31] How is Courtney's class different from the average yoga class in its approach towards stress management?

[16:03] Courtney describes a typical day in the life of one of her clients.

[17:45] What are some of the most common issues people are dealing with when they come to see Courtney?

[20:16] What does a "prescription" entail? Courtney outlines some of the differences between her current work and her work in private practice.

[22:33] Courtney gives some recommendations when it comes to keeping your heart healthy.

[25:25] Courtney highlights the importance of gratitude in heart health.

[28:06] What has Courtney learned through her 10 years of training teachers?

[31:19] How can yoga teachers move into the medical side of things?

[33:49] Courtney has some advice for yoga teachers with students looking to improve their heart health or reduce stress in their lives.

[35:58] Shannon and Courtney discuss whether overall stress and anxiety levels are going up in society.

[41:16] Find out more about Courtney, the work she does and more through her website, and on social media.

[42:12] Courtney's book, The Mud and the Lotus, is a guide and a workbook for yoga teachers.

[48:58] Shannon shares how she connected with Courtney, and how you can use this method to connect with others.

[53:10] What is your biggest takeaway from this episode? Shannon would love to hear from you!


The Mud and the Lotus, by Courtney Butler-Robinson

Courtney Butler-Robinson on Facebook

Courtney Butler-Robinson on Instagram

Courtney Butler-Robinson on YouTube

Balance Yoga and Wellness

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast Ep 088: Creating Professional Yoga Videos with
Kira Sloane

Dr. Baxter Bell

Larry Payne

Dr. Dean Ornish - Lifestyle Medicine


Learn more about Relaxation Response

Learn more about Oxytocin and the Heart

Learn more about the Elizabeth Blackburn Studies


Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity


Quotes from Courtney Butler-Robinson:


"When I started teaching, it was because of illness."


"I work in the field of lifestyle medicine."


"We actually reverse disease without any kind of major medical intervention. It's diet, exercise, yoga, meditation and love and support."


"The point of stress management yoga is to keep the body in a relaxation response from beginning to end."


"Movement helps to increase artery flexibility. It helps reduce lymphatic congestion in your system. ... Keep moving!"


"What I've learned personally is... that my inner wisdom knows better than listening to everything."


"I care more about your heart for service than your headstand."


"I would just encourage people to find who you are as a yoga teacher, and to be that. And to have confidence in that, because there are the people out there that need what you have to offer."


"With the 9 weeks of the program, depression rates are down 60%."


"Taking care of yourself, and loving yourself and being kind to yourself, is more a matter of quality of life... than it is about whether you live or die.”