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The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

Helping yoga teachers to stay connected to information, entrepreneur advice and a community of supportive yoga teachers and professionals.
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Now displaying: October, 2021
Oct 25, 2021

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

 243: What Yoga Texts Should I Read? with Chase Bossart

 

Description:

Many yoga teachers are eager learners and always seeking to expand their knowledge about yoga. However the multitude of texts (and their various translations) available can feel overwhelming and daunting to approach. In this episode, Chase Bossart shares his recommendations and expertise around some of the must-read yoga texts.

 

Chase Bossart is the Director of the Yoga Well Institute, an organization dedicated to yoga, meditation, and holistic health in the tradition of Viniyoga. Chase studied under the tutelage of TKV Desikachar, son of Krishnamacharya who is often described as the father of modern yoga.

 

Chase shares his insights on how to take the yoga sutras into challenging times, the three fundamental texts he suggests yoga teachers read, and why these are so important for yoga teachers as a foundation in their practice and their teaching. Chase also explains why having a teacher to guide you in your study of the texts can be helpful, and whether yoga teachers need to know Sanskrit and all of the texts to practice or teach yoga. Shannon and Chase also discuss cultural appropriation, how and why yoga has changed so much in its practice in the East vs. West, and much more.

 

If you have ever wondered what texts you should read to deepen your knowledge of yoga and yoga philosophy, or how the teachings of yoga apply to our daily lives, this episode is for you.

 

Key Takeaways:

[4:25] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Chase Bossart.

[6:37] Shannon gives a shoutout to Schedulicity.

[7:47] Shannon reads a review from a listener.

[11:25] This interview was recorded on the 20th of January, Inauguration Day in the US. Shannon and Chase discuss the state of things in the US at the moment.

[13:03] How have the yoga sutras held Chase through the challenges we have faced recently?

[19:20] What are the main texts that Chase recommends that yoga teachers read?

[22:14] Chase explains a little more about the Yogasūtra, and Haṭhayoga Pradīpika.

[25:26] These texts are not easy to read or understand. Chase talks about the traditional way that people would go about learning these texts.

[28:40] Not everyone can live with and learn these texts under the tutelage of a teacher. What can they do instead?

[34:12] Chase shares his recommendations on how yoga teachers can approach these texts.

[37:37] Does studying with one teacher mean that we are automatically limiting ourselves to just one person's ideas?

[39:08] Chase shares more about the three texts he recommends for yoga teachers.

[46:09] Context is not well understood in yoga.

[47:33] What is Chase's reaction to someone who just wants to practice yoga and believes that yoga's teachings will come through to them in their practice, without reading the texts?

[53:53] What are Chase's thoughts on bringing yoga from the East to the West? Shannon and Chase discuss the topic of cultural appropriation in yoga.

[60:27] Where should yoga teachers who want to study yoga texts start?

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsors, Schedulicity, and Pelvic Health Professionals.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"The yoga sutras are very clear that you don't have a lot of influence over what happens."

 

“Do what you need to do to maintain your equanimity because that is the determining factor in how you respond, and how you respond is going to determine what happens to you next.”

 

"I think it's so important that people take time to become familiar with yoga as a path, yoga as a way of interacting with the world."

 

"Yoga, like cooking, is experiential knowledge. Like music or dance. It's not just something that you know, it's something you do."

 

"It's important to build a foundation before we add lots of stories."

 

"Another part of difficulty in yoga is that context is not well understood."

 

"We should be, at least, having a fundamental idea of what is yoga as a practice and as a life philosophy, rather than just what is yoga as an exercise class or some huff and puff."

Oct 18, 2021

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

242: Mantra & Chanting with Melissa Shah

 

Description:

As a white yoga practitioner who may have trouble with Sanskrit pronunciations, you may have wondered how to approach using mantra in your practice. You may have wondered - What if I can't pronounce the words correctly? Does pronunciation matter? When is it acceptable to use mantra or Sanskrit chants in my classes? Melissa Shah has answers to these questions and more.

 

Melissa works to make yoga accessible through yoga therapy, mentoring yoga teachers, and mantra, which she has practiced since childhood. She is passionate about bringing yoga and Ayurveda back to its roots, and reclaiming representation within the wellness community. Currently, Melissa works individually with clients offering yoga therapy in the Viniyoga tradition and offers weekly community chanting and pranayama classes.

 

Melissa sheds light on what exactly mantra is, and talks about the benefits and importance of mantra in yoga. She also shares her perspective on getting the pronunciations right when saying mantras, and how we can navigate incorporating mantra into our practice and classes in a way that is mindful, respectful and intentional.

 

Key Takeaways:

[4:55] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Melissa Shah.

[6:52] Check out the hot tip of the week from Schedulicity.

[9:37] Where did Melissa's yoga journey begin? When did she start practicing mantra and chanting?

[13:01] Did Melissa ever have a period of time where she rejected yoga, having started at such a young age?

[16:38] What is the definition of mantra?

[19:02] Are mantras always in Sanskrit or can they be in English? 

[21:03] What's the difference between kirtan and mantra?

[25:46] How should yoga teachers approach the pronunciation of Sanskrit words in mantra?

[30:38] What is the science behind mantra?

[35:36] Where the tongue lands in the mouth has an impact on the body. Melissa explains more about this in relation to mantra.

[41:28] How does Melissa approach people who may feel uncomfortable with chanting and mantras, or like it collides with their beliefs or religion?

[45:10] Learn more about mantra and chanting from Melissa at her classes, and also check out some resources she has available on her website.

[47:13] Melissa closes the interview with a chant.

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsors, Schedulicity, and Pelvic Health Professionals.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"What kind of intended effect do you want the mantra to have?"

 

"Depending on where the individual you're working with this at and what they'll connect to the most, you can give them other kinds of sounds."

 

"When you're in a position of power, especially as a white person in a wellness space, when you're in a position of power like that, what you do, other people model."

 

"It means something when you don't put in the effort. It's a micro aggression and it does mean something and it does cause harm."

 

"I wouldn't say that not being able to pronounce something the perfect way is an excuse for not using it at all."



"You don't necessarily have to know what the mantra means to get its benefit."

Oct 11, 2021

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

241: Bhakti Yoga & Kirtan with Kamini Natarajan

 

Description:

Not many people in North America practice bhakti yoga and kirtan or even associate it with the stereotypical images of yoga portrayed on social media. In fact, for many people sitting and chanting do not fit into their idea of what yoga is and its purpose. Kamini Natarajan, kirtan and raga singer and bhakti teacher for over two decades to share more.

 

Kamini Natarajan comes from a family of bhakti practitioners, and started learning Indian classical music at the age of six. She has undergone rigorous training with acclaimed teachers and musicians in India, and today, she teaches Indian classical music and kirtans, as well as performs at events both in person and online, and records her own music.

 

What is bhakti yoga? What is kirtan? What are the benefits we can get from them? Kamini explains all this and more. She also explains how we can be respectful of Indian culture and heritage, while still incorporating kirtans and bhakti yoga into our own practices. She answers the “whys” and “hows” about Bhakti Yoga and the deep spiritual relationship that exists between Classical Indian music, chanting and how it relates to our daily lives.

 

Key Takeaways:

[7:38] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Kamini Natarajan.

[11:17] What is the work that Kamini does and who does she do it for?

[12:27] Where did Kamini's journey with kirtan and bhakti yoga begin?

[16:04] What is a bhajan? Kamini explains how it differs from a kirtan.

[18:25] Kirtans in North America are often led by people from North America. What are Kamini's thoughts on someone not of the Indian culture learning and sharing kirtans?

[23:37] What are some things Kamini wishes yoga teachers would know to appreciate the culture and understand it better before bringing kirtans into their yoga classes?

[25:53] Not a lot of people practice bhakti yoga in North America, and have very differing concepts of what yoga is.

[30:04] How would Kamini explain the concept of Bhakti yoga to someone who had no idea about what it is?

[34:17] Kamini is also a raga singer. What is raga?

[36:38] What are the benefits of bhakti yoga?

[40:08] Is bhakti yoga something that can be done on your own? Is it something that we can do virtually?

[43:09] Where does Kamini suggest people get started if they are interested in bhakti yoga, singing and chanting?

[48:23] How does Kamini manage singing kirtans early in the morning when everyone else is asleep?

[51:27] Did Kamini have a rebellious period as a teenager when she tried to rebel against what her mother was doing?

[52:22] Is yoga philosophy incorporated into bhakti yoga? How did bhakti yoga originate?

[57:35] Find out more about Kamini and her work on her website.

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsors Schedulicity, Pelvic Health Professionals and the Accessible Yoga Conference.

 

Quotes from this episode:

 

"The kirtans here, they are of course, very, very, very simplified and sometimes, I would say, diluted down versions of what we hear back in India."

 

"Bhakti yoga is about finding your own path, your own spiritual path, your own journey."

 

“If somebody is really deep into their own bhakti and spiritual journey, that is, I think, what matters the most.”

 

"Try to learn from the sources to the best that you can."

 

"A lot of people get mixed up, they get caught up so much in the physical aspect and the exercise aspect of yoga that they don't even know about all of these other forms of yoga."

 

"With devotion comes letting go."

 

“When we talk about devotion, we talk about surrender. We talk about not thinking about ourselves, giving up on the importance that we give to ourselves in certain ways.”

 

"I really always encourage my students as well as people who come to attend my kirtan events to come up with their own melody for a lot of these simple mantras and chants."

 

Oct 4, 2021

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

240: Pelvic Health for Everyone with Shannon Crow

 

Description:

What is pelvic health and who is it for? Many people think of pelvic health as being related to childbirth, or people assigned female at birth, or getting older in a female body - but this is not true! Everyone has a pelvis, and a pelvic floor, and it is important for all of us to understand it better.

 

In this episode, Shannon Crow explains more about what pelvic health is and who it is for. She explains the basics around the form and anatomy of the pelvic floor, as well as its key functions in the body. She also highlights some of the common pelvic health issues people face, as well as shares some statistics on why pelvic health is something we should all know about.

 

If you are a yoga teacher who is teaching people who have a pelvis, this episode is for you.



Key Takeaways:

[4:02] In this episode, Shannon is talking about pelvic health - what it is, and who it's for.

[6:28] Shannon gives a shout out to Schedulicity.

[7:53] Everyone should know more about pelvic health.

[8:18] Many people think of pelvic health as being related to childbirth, people assigned female at birth, or getting older in a female body but this is not true!

[9:20] There tends to be shame and embarrassment around talking about pelvic health issues.

[10:45] Pelvic health issues are extremely common!

[12:33] The first step towards improving pelvic floor starts with understanding how the pelvic floor works.

[13:42] What is the pelvic floor, and where is it?

[15:34] The pelvic floor has three layers.

[17:16] What does the pelvic floor do? Two of its key functions are support and sphincteric.

[18:59] The pelvic floor also contributes to sexual function and stability

[20:23] The pelvic floor acts as a sump pump as well.

[21:14] One of the pelvic floor’s roles is to guard and protect.

[23:13] Shannon shares some statistics around pelvic health.

[24:37] If you would like to learn more about pelvic health, Pelvic Health Professionals is a great place to learn from experts and other professionals.

[28:15] Shannon gives a shout out to the Accessible Yoga Conference - she will be leading a panel on building community!

[29:59] Shannon summarizes her answers to the questions "What is pelvic health?" and "Who is pelvic health for?"

 

Links:



Gratitude to our Sponsors Schedulicity, Pelvic Health Professionals and the Accessible Yoga Conference.

 

Quotes from this episode:

 

"Whether we're assigned male or female at birth, whether we're non-binary or non-gender conforming, that really has nothing to do with pelvic health because everyone on the planet has a pelvis and a pelvic floor."

 

"One of the first steps towards improving our pelvic health is just understanding how the pelvic floor works."

 

"Once you start to understand how the pelvis works, you can be a real benefit to your yoga student."

 

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