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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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The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast
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Now displaying: April, 2022
Apr 25, 2022

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

269: Yoga Philosophy & Colonialism with Shyam Ranganathan

 

Description:

As yoga teachers, we learn a little bit about yoga philosophy in our YTTs, but yoga philosophy is much more than just the 8 limbs, or the brief summary we may have come across in our studies. Dr. Shyam Ranganathan (he/him) is an expert in yoga philosophy and in this episode, he shares more about this topic, as well as how colonialism has influenced what we understand as yoga philosophy.

 

Dr. Shyam Ranganathan is the founder of Yoga Philosophy, and a field-changing researcher on the study and translation of philosophy, especially South Asian philosophy and Yoga. He holds an MA in South Asian Studies, and an MA and PhD in philosophy, and is a member of the Department of Philosophy, and York Center for Asian Research, York University, Toronto. Shyam is a translator of the Yoga Sūtra, and founded his organization, Yoga Philosophy, to provide support for those interested in answering the question - What makes something yoga?

 

Shyam explains how learning about philosophy helps us to get along and why not all opinions are equally good or right. He also shares more about how Europeans misunderstood things when they studied the communities they colonized and how that showed up in the yoga sutras and how they are translated. This continues to influence how yoga is taught and practiced in the world, today, especially in the West. He also gives us insight about the yamas and social justice, choices and responsibility, ahimsa, dharma, self-governing and Ishvara Pranidhana. This is a really rich conversation that all of us can learn from.

 

Key Takeaways:

[3:48] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Shyam Ranganathan.

[6:45] Shyam shares his pronouns and explains how to pronounce his name.

[7:36] What does Shyam do and who does he do it for?

[8:46] What got Shyam interested in the work of studying philosophy?

[10:48] Shyam was born in Toronto, yet felt that he didn't fit in. He talks a bit about that experience.

[13:00] Shyam believes that philosophy enabled him to get along with people without having to agree with them.

[15:06] There are several polarizing issues in the world right now. Shyam highlights the fact that just because we are okay with disagreement doesn't mean there are no right answers.

[16:07] Where did Shyam's journey with yoga philosophy start?

[22:14] Shyam clarifies the role and impact of colonization in the interpretation of yoga sutras.

[31:49] Shyam shares an example of the two different ways of relating to what you contemplate.

[37:00] Shannon and Shyam discuss the linguistic model of thought and how that has influenced different situations and scenarios in history and in the present day.

[40:26] Why is it not yoga when we go in and try to make other people conform to our systems?

[44:08] How does the idea of choice and responsibility connect to the eight limbs?

[49:18] Shannon gives a shout out to OfferingTree.

[51:04] One of the three kriyas is ishvara pranidhana. Shyam unpacks what this really refers to.

[56:10] What are the other two kriyas?

[58:43] How is yoga connected to social justice? What do the niyamas have to do with social justice?

[64:48Shyam explains that fear is trauma and it's the result of a bad decision based on people's experiences.

[67:41] Where do the eight limbs of yoga fit in?

[72:21] What does Shyam mean when he talks about sovereignty?

[76:51] Find out more about Shyam and his work around yoga philosophy on his website.

[77:29] What is something in terms of yoga and philosophy that really has Shyam's interest right now?

[80:00] Shannon shares her key takeaways from this interview with Shyam. What were yours?

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree and Pelvic Health Professionals.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"What I loved about philosophy immediately was that it was a way to get along with people without having to agree."

 

"Just because we're okay with disagreement doesn't mean that there are no right answers. Disagreement doesn't mean that everybody's opinion is equally good."

 

"The actual practice of yoga is something more basic and the eight limbs are there to help you practice. "

 

"After that colonial moment, people have to identify with imposed religious identities in order to find a place in a colonized world and that's where we are today."

 

"Whereas the external world (nature) can be explained in terms of causality, persons have to understand themselves in terms of choice and responsibility."

 

"When you meet up with people who advocate violence, you have to appreciate that that's a result of trauma."

 

"There's no yoga practice that isn't informed by trauma."

 

Apr 18, 2022

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

268: Yoga for Survivors of Sexual Assault with Nikki Adams

 

Description:

Content Warning: This episode contains mentions of sexual violence and may be upsetting for some listeners.

 

Sexual abuse is a huge crisis around the world, directly impacting a significant portion of the global population, and more broadly speaking, affecting everyone. Nikki Adams is on the podcast to share with us more about this topic and how yoga, particularly trauma informed yoga, can be an option and entry point for healing for survivors.

 

Nikki is a trauma-informed yoga teacher, and owner of Beauty for Ashes Wellness Cultivation. She helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse empower themselves to trust love and heal their bodies. Through wellness and yoga, Nikki creates an inspirational, safe space for survivors to naturally breakthrough the stigma of childhood sexual abuse. She draws on her own personal experiences and the healing techniques that have helped her in her healing journey to help others.

 

Nikki shares how yoga helped her as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and explains why all yoga teachers (and humans) need to be trauma-informed. She also offers advice on what poses help and what ones may be triggering, how to hold space with compassion for everyone, why giving choices and the language we use is so important, and how we can re-assessing our yoga spaces from a trauma-informed lens.

 

If you have ever taught a yoga class for humans, this episode is for you, because we have all experienced some form of trauma in our lives.

 

Key Takeaways:

[4:31] Content Warning: This episode contains mentions of sexual violence and may be upsetting for some listeners.

[5:04] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Nikki Adams.

[7:30] Shannon gives thanks to OfferingTree for sponsoring the podcast and shares about a new article they posted!

[11:24] What does Nikki do and who does she do it for?

[11:44] How did Nikki realize that yoga fits really well in helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse?

[14:20] Nikki firmly believes that every yoga teacher should be trauma informed.  What is the importance of that?

[16:00] How can yoga teachers respond if a student tells them that they are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse? What should they know in that moment?

[18:28] How does yoga help survivors of sexual abuse or trauma?

[20:35] What has Nikki learned through her work with survivors and using yoga as a way to heal?

[22:21] How did Nikki decide that she wanted to focus on serving survivors?

[25:50] How can survivors start to find healing through yoga?

[28:34] What does Nikki wish all yoga teachers understood?

[30:56] How can we hold space for the people coming into our yoga classes?

[32:07] How does Nikki work with groups of survivors and what does that look like?

[36:58] Find out more about Nikki and her work on Instagram and via her website.

[38:32] Shannon reflects on her conversation with Nikki.

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree and Pelvic Health Professionals.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"Being able to not have to speak about what happened to me and being able to process through my body - It was very important, a very important part of my healing journey and I wanted to share that with other survivors."

 

"Healing and starting the healing journey through yoga is possible."

 

"Start with yourselves. We've all been through something and maybe starting to use more gentle cues and think about how you want to be treated… Show yourself grace, show yourself compassion so that it can come out into your class."

 

Apr 11, 2022

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

267: Thoughts on Belly Breathing with Shannon Crow

 

Description:

As human beings, we are always learning new information. Sometimes, this new information conflicts with our current beliefs or knowledge, so we need to be willing to dig in and explore this - and if we are wrong, to admit it and change our beliefs. This happened to Shannon Crow (she/her) with belly breathing.

 

You may have learned about the benefits of belly breathing in yoga class or yoga teacher training or even taught it to your students. However, it may not be the best practice for everyone. In this episode, Shannon reflects on how she came to change her views on belly breathing and how she now teaches breath to her students instead. She shares her own experiences as a yoga teacher and a yoga practitioner from what she has learned and then unlearned. If you have ever taught breathing in a yoga class, this episode is for you. 

 

Key Takeaways:

[3:14] Shannon introduces her topic for this episode and why she was inspired to share about it.

[4:58] Shannon shares a little about an upcoming online workshop she is hosting with OfferingTree.

[6:39] Shannon learned about belly breathing in yoga classes and in yoga teacher training. Eventually, she realized that what she knew or believed about belly breathing may not be correct.

[8:54] The more research Shannon did into belly breathing, the worse she felt for teaching it the way she was. She reflects on how she felt at that time.

[10:04] What happens when we take a breath? Where does the breath begin?

[13:24] What do we really mean when we say belly breathing?

[15:38] Some things associated with belly breathing can put additional pressure on the pelvic floor, and this may not be desirable for some people.

[20:46] We are always going to be learning new information, and as yoga teachers, we need to explore how we can move with grace to explain to our students why we have shifted certain things we teach.

[23:28] What are your thoughts on belly breathing? Share them with Shannon!

 

Chart that shows what happens when we breathe:

 

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree and Pelvic Health Professionals.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"The more research I did into this, the worst I felt for teaching the way I was teaching belly breathing."

 

"Something that we all need to embrace as yoga teachers is that we are responsible for how we're guiding our students."

 

"As long as I continue to listen and learn and grow as a human, I'm on the right track."

Apr 4, 2022

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

266: Social Location, Power & Privilege with Raudhah Rahman

 

Description:

What is social location and what does it have to do with teaching yoga? Many of us don’t often think about our identities, how they intersect, and how they afford us privilege and shape our life experiences. In this episode, we learn more from Raudhah Rahman (she/her) about social location and how it is relevant to yoga teachers.

 

Raudhah Rahman describes herself as connecting people with their voices whether that's through web design, teacher training or a yoga class. As a yoga teacher, Raudhah practices disruption as a way of creating conditionas of wellness for all of us. She is a self-taught website designer whose business, Wellness + Websites, was born after she lost her job as a yoga studio assistant because of the pandemic. Her main focus is providing websites & branding services to folks who want to embrace all of their identities and share their value driven work with others.

 

Raudhah explains what social location is, and where we use this as yoga teachers. She also shares more about the importance of recognizing and questioning our privilege and the responsibility we have when we hold privilege. From a yoga philosophy lens, Raudhah sheds light on how the 8 limbs of yoga intersect with social location, how we can deal with mistakes when we make them, and continue to learn and grow.

 

Key Takeaways:

[3:46] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Raudhah Rahman.

[7:21] Shannon gives a shout out to OfferingTree and to one of the podcast listeners.

[11:19] What does Raudhah do and who does she do it for? She shares her social location and how that led to the work that she does.

[16:27] What is social location?

[18:24] How does social location come into the yoga world and how can yoga teachers use it?

[24:26] What are Raudhah's thoughts on the pushback people sometimes have on discussing privilege or specific identities?

[30:59] What are some different identities we can think about when considering our social location?

[34:59] Citizenship is another element of the social location wheel that can play into a person's experience of the world.

[37:50] Shannon and Raudhah explore this idea of fighting for privilege vs. fighting for freedom.

[40:56] How can yoga teachers share these ideas or start to look at incorporating this into their messaging? It's not as simple as tacking on something to your website.

[46:16] Some of this work can feel shocking as we learn about things we didn't know but it is important to do. What are some tips that can help make this practice easier?

[54:34] What's the difference between being called in and someone just lashing out? How can we handle both?

[59:41] What are some other things that Raudhah wishes people knew about social location?

[63:00] Shannon chats with Raudhah about how she can ask podcast guests to introduce themselves with their social location.

[65:46] Shannon reflects on her takeaways from this conversation with Raudhah.

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"Social location is a practice used to reflect on the groups you belong to because of your place of position and history and society." - Raudhah, quoting Michelle Johnson

 

[21:38] "If I don't begin to question that privilege that I have, because I've internalized it as normal, I may not realize the harm that I'm doing by normalizing certain actions I've taken or normalizing the actions that institutions have taken that marginalize those further away from power."

 

[23:45 - 23:53] "I think personal power really comes from disrupting the identities we've internalized."

 

[26:40 - 26:44] "Are we fighting for privilege? Or are we fighting for freedom?" - Raudhah quoting Alok

 

[49:49 - 50:00] "The way to practice is to start. And when you start, give yourself grace and start small."

 

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