Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Meeting of Schools: Wednesday and Thursday, 7 pm–9 pm ET | 9 am–12 noon ET
(Member Schools only; details will be sent to the email address associated with your Member School account soon)
Thursday, June 17, 2021
12:00–12:30 PM ET – Guided Meditation
Meditator: Swami Sitaramananda, C-IAYT
Experience deep quiet and rejuvenation led by a skilled meditator.
1:00–1:45 PM ET – Welcome, Opening Ceremonies, & Chanting: Laura (Sangeeta) Biagi
In this Opening Invocation Yogacharini Dr. Sangeeta Biagi will invoke the Ganesha Gayatri, Shiva Gayatri, and Guru Gayatri; lead us through the energetic awareness of the Ham Sa, So Ham mantra; and begin the conference with the celebratory bhajans (devotional songs) of Ganesha Sharanam and Om Namah Shivaya. These practices come from the parampara (lineage) of Yogahamarishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj.
1:45–2:30 PM ET – Keynote: Carol Krucoff | Grandma Knows: Why Modern Healthcare Needs Yogic Wisdom
In this inspiring talk, Carol Krucoff will reflect on the lessons she has learned over nearly 50 years of yoga practice, including two decades of bringing yoga into the Duke University Health System. Carol translates hard-earned wisdom gleaned on the yoga mat, in the hospital as both a provider and a patient, as a journalist, and as a mother and grandmother into sutras that illuminate what yoga can bring to modern healthcare.
2:30–3:00 PM ET – BREAK: Live Exhibit Hall Open
3:00–6:00 PM ET – Common Interest Community Sessions
Choose your community and connect with like-minded colleagues! Short presentations and interaction time allow for full absorption of a range of perspectives.
Check the e-book program guide for individual presentation descriptions.
Yoga Therapists, the World Needs You Now: Postpandemic Opportunities
At SYTAR 2015, Lori gave a presentation titled “Yoga Therapists, The World Needs You Now.” Today, we’re needed even more! The COVID pandemic has upended every aspect of our lives, from work to family to school, and reprioritized individual and societal concerns about health. Millions are experiencing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dis-ease that is overwhelming health systems across the world. This situation brings unique opportunities for yoga therapists to step up. How can we share our expertise and influence the development of new healthcare systems in a postpandemic world? In this workshop, we will envision action plans to help meet the needs of emerging healthcare models.
Participants will play an active role in this session, which offers great opportunities for networking and small-group discussions. Topics will include identifying possible end results as well as opportunities, challenges, and barriers. Presenters will showcase examples of success, and the afternoon will continue with discussions and guided opportunities to create your own vision. The final step will be to connect with others in the group who have similar missions—we will support one another, share ideas, and create action plans to assist participants toward success!
Integrating Mental Health and Yoga Therapy
With presentations from Mira Binzen, Soleil Hepner, Ellen G. Horovitz, Mukta Kaur Khalsa, Jennifer Kreatsoulas, and Rammohan Rao
This CIC will examine the wide range of work bridging yoga therapy and mental health professions. In the second Yoga Sutra, “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind,” Patanjali clearly places yoga therapy into the realm of mental health. In working with students and clients, the importance of a whole-person transformational model is evident.
How do yoga therapists contribute to the mental health field within their scope of practice, and how does yoga therapy enhance the quest of many mental health practitioners to bring the body to therapy? What can yoga therapists learn from the traditional therapy world? We will address these questions and more and consider yoga therapy’s stance going forward with safe, viable approaches to support trauma recovery and modern lifestyle conditions. Yoga teachers and therapists, mental health professionals, and all who are interested in the mental, psychological, and transformational aspects of yoga therapy will enjoy these new ideas and concrete methods.
Yoga Therapy: The Path from Cancer Survivor to Thriver
With presentations from Karen Apostolina, Alpa Raval, Stella Snyder, and Ann Wagoner
When do individuals first become cancer survivors? The moment they hear, “You have cancer,” people’s lives change forever. Questions, fears, and concerns may fill their thoughts—and every part of their being. Bodies go through physical alterations from surgery to chemotherapy and radiation, and consequently spirits may be broken. The stress response can take over. Most can survive all of that. But how can they truly thrive?
Research shows the benefits of yoga therapy at all layers of being—physical, mental, and spiritual. Yoga therapy can truly be the bridge between a cancer patient’s ability to survive and their ability to thrive. The World Health Organization reports that almost 44 million people are living with cancer. There are more than 18 million new cases per year. One in five men and one in six women will develop cancer during their lifetimes. And these individuals need more resources to support them. Please join us as we explore current and forward-thinking ideas with some of the top yoga therapists in the field.
Business Sutras: Creating an Ethical Business that Pays the Bills
With presentations from Katie Allen, Mindy Eisenberg, Madeleine (Mado) Hesselink, Jivana Heyman, and Kimberly Searl
Most of us leave yoga therapy training programs enthusiastic and eager to serve others. We continue to invest more time and money in education, yet still we may find ourselves in a difficult spot—a place of totally loving the work AND needing more to pay for a dignified livelihood. “But I just want to serve people...And make a living!” That refrain is one of the most often heard among yoga professionals. To grow an ethical and profitable business that pays the bills, we must dedicate time to developing effective business skills.
During this dynamic session, you will hear from innovative professionals with experience in honing the skills needed to grow a sustainable career from the six essential threads of the “Business Sutras”: business ethics, creating financial sustainability, mindful marketing, technology as a business tool, building community, and effective business communication. You will engage in small-group discussion with colleagues who share your passion and challenges. As you share resources to build on the offerings, you’ll be actively creating a plan of action. To conclude, the presenters will take your contributions back to a panel that will conduct a lively “sewing/sutra-ing” session to connect the threads between ideas and weave them into a collective sharing. We are all in this arc of creating yoga therapy careers from what hasn’t been yet—truly creating our own futures together.
Yoga Therapy for Community Health and Social Activism
With presentations from R. W. Alves, Nazaahah Amin, Dana Halkowski, Hallie Love, and Rebecca Sebastian
Explore yoga therapy as a community healing practice for social transformation. Yogis, spiritual activists, and change agents who act as grassroots innovators in their communities will share empowering stories of yoga-based community healing and social action projects that can be adapted to fit the needs of your community. Learn practical skills and essential knowledge to translate a personal practice of self-care into sociocultural and ecological activism.
How can we create fellowship that permits us to meet clients where they are physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually? How are we as a profession balancing our call to serve with the responsibility for our own self-care? This session offers focused information about yoga therapy in community health and social activism alongside an opportunity to connect with those with common interests. There will be multiple chances to participate in dynamic small groups and learn practical gems from each presenter. We will explore what makes yoga therapy unique in mind-body practices, inquiring into “the difference that makes the difference.” Discover the relationship between personal transformation and social justice and investigate our unique role and responsibility in creating the conditions for equity and inclusion in the community health culture.
Yoga Therapy Assessments
With presentations from Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Rachel Krentzman, Carla Schnurr, Shirley Telles, Amy Wheeler, and Alison Whitehead
This CIC focuses on how we as a community are creating yoga therapy assessments that define our roles as integrative care professionals, facilitate communication with Western practitioners, and may even help with reimbursement.
Yoga therapists will have the opportunity to share their own client assessments with the community. Presentations will include real-world examples, applications of yoga therapy assessments with various populations, and time for questions and discussion. Many perspectives will be shared as to how yoga therapists can orient themselves to this topic of assessment in a client-centered, co-facilitated way. A key intention is to help empower yoga therapists to feel confident about the unique work they do based on the subtlety and intelligence of ancient yogic science. Participants will learn what assessment is, why it is important, how fellow yoga therapists are conducting it, the value of referencing a technique’s source, and how to consider all of this in their own practices.
6:00–7:00 PM ET – Alumni and Special-Interest Meetups
7:00–8:00 PM ET – Evening Practices
EPT01 – Foot Strength and Mobility in Therapeutic Asana: Setting a Solid Foundation
Nydia Darby, DPT, PT, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
This practice will introduce Nydia’s signature work, the Therapeutic Astanga Method, which presents an entry to therapeutic yoga for all levels of practitioners. You will experience variations of accessible sun salutations and practice unique approaches to standing, seated, supine, and prone yoga asana with an emphasis on developing foot strength, mobility, and dynamic breath-centered awareness. Instruction in self foot massage and supported relaxation will complement total mind-body-spirit integration, providing an opportunity to experience the subtle aspects of specialized Hatha Yoga practices.
EPT02 – Playing with the Eight Diaphragms of the Body
J. J. Gormley, MS, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Yes, we have eight diaphragms—not just the one respiratory diaphragm we all know and love—and they are all important to our overall health. In this class, J. J. will describe the eight diaphragms as we practice with breath and movement in gentle asana that allow us to feel and synchronize the various diaphragms of the body. By the end of the class, you will understand the importance of aligning the breath with particular movements, help your body tune in to its own natural rhythms, and feel refreshed!
EPT03 – Blending Yoga Therapy and Qi Gong for Fall Prevention in Elderly People
Linda Varnam, C-IAYT
In this experiential class, you will come to an understanding of how the application of simple qi gong principles in a yoga therapy session with elderly people can help to solidify the experience of inner strength and outer awareness for increased stability and confidence. You will participate in a typical session designed in everyday language to embody a basic understanding of how the principles of qi gong can complement and support a yoga therapy session. You may well find the sense of inner strength and confidence to be of benefit on a personal and professional level. Participants will have the choice to practice seated in a chair or standing for all or part of the class.
EPT04 – Best Foot Forward with SomaYoga
SomaYoga is a unique blend of classic asana, therapeutic yoga, and somatic neuromuscular re-education. In this class, you will experience how moving from your center will improve the suppleness and strength of your feet as well as the responsiveness and resilience of your entire body. Because most humans spend the day sitting with feet confined in footwear, stiff, weak, and painful feet and bodies are the norm. Perhaps it’s time to consider a shift and work with the whole body instead of myopically attending to the feet and imposing “better” shoes or arch supports. Explore SomaYoga methodology, creative movement, and soft therapy balls. The results will be happy feet, hopefully with a bonus of less back, hip, and neck pain! We will use two small Yoga Tuneup therapy balls, but you could also use lacrosse balls or similarly sized rubber balls.
EPT05 – Therapeutic Yoga for the Neck and Shoulders
Knekoh Fruge, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Left unchecked, our computer-use postures are destroying our spines. Yoga therapy offers one solution. In this class, we will flow between and within poses, focusing on the tight areas along the spine. Healing as well as preventive, this practice will soothe the knots of the dreaded “phone hunch.” And say goodbye to the physical and mental stress of “computer neck” as we strengthen, lengthen, and cleanse via asana and kriya. We will finish with a quiet celebration of spirit as we sink into stillness through pranayama and Yoga Nidra, bringing relief to these modern maladies.
EPT06 – Touch in. Touch out. Create Wise Connections at SYTAR
Soleil Hepner, C-IAYT, PRYT
Breathe in. Breathe out. Touch in. Touch out. Get embodied. Explore connection. With self and others—even online! Maybe you are recalling SYTAR 2019, before COVID. Whether in the form of a bear hug from a long-lost buddy or playing with assisted postures in a workshop, touch was a part of our work and our lives, perhaps even something we took for granted. At SYTAR 2021, amid the pandemic, hands-on touch is unavailable, or at least severely limited. Or is it? Can we use the touch of connection virtually? Touch in the time of COVID can be a charged choice. The edge of what constitutes “wise” touch is being made collectively known in the ways we use our faces (smiling eyes behind a mask), our bodies (turned-away side hugs and fist bumps), and our hearts (breathing and beating together). Set your intention around your own touch of connection as we practice the current nuances of touch in our bodies, hearts, minds, and beings.
EPT07 – Aging into Vitality
Sherri Koehler, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
“We’ve got longevity. We need better.” —Derianna Mooney, retired hospice nurse
Although science has increased longevity, many people are living long lives miserably. Yoga therapists are especially well equipped to help people find their way to something better than mere longevity—the resilience and vitality needed to enjoy the longevity science offers. Group yoga classes also provide space for community and connection, important ingredients for vitality as we age. During this session we will explore movement and breath practices that are safe for aging bodies, meditation that reconnects us to our essential wholeness, and ways to help students reduce feelings of isolation and build self-esteem.
8:30–10:00 PM ET – Ayurvedic Cooking Class
Ayurveda states that the most joyous meal is the one that honors the sun, the ruler of our digestion—a meal eaten between 10 am and 2 pm will nourish us the most. Poha, an ancient dish that can be considered a perfect brunch, is made with flattened rice, spices, and vegetables. In honor of the transition of ayurveda to American soil, we are updating the dish with locally grown vegetables and further fortifying it with avocado. Because poha is a fairly dry dish we accompany it with a chutney that becomes more of a sauce. We complete the meal with kachumber, or Indian salad. And finally, we will end in a typical ayurvedic manner with a digestive drink called takra. We would love for you to cook along with us!
Friday, June 18, 2021
10:00–11:00 AM ET – Morning Practices
MPF01 – Stabilize the Hips and Steady the Mind
Tracie Brace (Padma Shakti), E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
The vital force within us all begins at the pelvic floor and concentrates at the navel center. The relevance of extended holds and dynamic asana with pranayama, coupled with mastery of the bandhas, cannot be overemphasized for healthy range of motion and power in the hips. This foundation leads to a steadiness of mind that will empower the practitioner, over time, to heal and strengthen the lower body and give rise to vital sustainability for a lifetime. Join Padma to cultivate a steady mind that will make way for an open heart.
MPF02 – Experiencing Movement and Stillness Through Breath
Helene Couvrette, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Invite deeper somatic sensations while “moving toward” and “being in” poses in this breath-centered practice. Asana are inherently living, breathing movements and shapes; breath is ever present and available to create an opportunity for diverse interoceptive sensations in these moments of movement and stillness. These moments can either create tension and discomfort or ease imbalances and disturbances of body, mind, and emotions. You will be guided through a gentle exploration of breath and its relationship to asana in movement and in stillness during this playful journey with your breathing body!
MPF03 – Chakra Tuneup: Feel Awake and Ready All Day!
Nicole DeAvilla, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
From increasing your energy to feeling grounded, from feeling stretched to being strengthened, this chakra-themed class will up your bliss level! You will be guided through yoga postures that will help you tune in to your inner systems. Breathe and focus in ways that will stimulate or relax—and balance—each chakra. Leave class feeling ready for anything and full of joy. Nicole has taught for 35 years and is adept at giving each person variations that will help them to feel safe, cared for, and happy to move, breathe, and center.
MPF04 – Come as You Are Yoga
Judi Bar, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Join a practice that is accessible to everyone, no matter where you are mind, body, or soul. We will use a chair for support as we relax tension in our minds and bodies and practice mindful movement, breath awareness, and gratitude for all the blessings we have in our lives. Experience this sample foundational yoga class used at Cleveland Clinic for patients and caregivers. Please have a sturdy chair available.
MPF05 – The Yoga BLUEPrint for Advanced Age & Living
Stacey Reynolds, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
The Yoga BLUEprint for Advanced Age & Living has been used for 19 years to help senior adults cultivate strength and stability for balance and freedom from assisted mobility. The “BLUEprint” is a compilation of yoga postures and methodology designed to address inflexibility, limited range of motion, and weak musculature. The practice is facilitated from a chair and includes pranayama, meditation, guided imagery, and asana. Every area of the body is integrated into the work, with emphasis on core and quadriceps strength to promote stronger transfers and, for some, independence from canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Brain functioning and cognition is enhanced as these “keenagers” move through a sequence that engages both brain hemispheres. This long-running class boasts many students who did not begin their yoga journeys until their mid-70s. A testament to the success of this BLUEprint is the mobility that allows students to continue to walk into practice twice a week, the eldest being 104 years of age. Please have a sturdy chair available.
MPF06 – Gentle Ayurvedic Yoga
Ann Wagoner, MA-Ayur NAMA, CAP, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Take time to fully arrive and experience the connection of mind, body, and consciousness. Through gentle asana and pranayama for the ayurvedic junction of seasons, unravel tension and ground yourself for deep exploration. Through integrating Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras with asana practice, we’ll experience the natural quieting of the breath—so we can “empty ourselves of form and transcend duality,” as Rama Jyoti Vernon says. By bringing forth a sattvic mind for any dosha (constitution), we can purify the subtle inner pathways. Learn how to integrate tridoshic theory of vata, pitta, and kapha within a practice guided by an ayurvedic practitioner and find balance for the season and your dosha.
MPF07 – Manifesting Through Movement and Meditation
Joy Ravelli, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Explore, discover, and express your deepest heart’s desire through gentle yet invigorating movement that awakens and inspires body, mind, energy, and soul. Somatically weave awareness through all five koshas with imaginative cues that will guide you on your own personal journey. Inspired by the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and the six states of the soul, this class will include all eight limbs of Raja Yoga practice.
MPF08 – Retreat to Spirit, Refill Your Cup
In today’s society we are programmed to go, go, go. Often, we neglect our own self-care practices for the sake of our work and serving others. This session is designed to help you refresh, renew, and recharge. Discovery and self-inquiry through asana and meditation will provide the foundation for developing a conscious relationship with yourself—a relationship that can expand outward into service and leadership. Please have a journal and a mat available.
11:15–11:30 AM ET – Opening Welcome
11:30–12:30 PM ET – Keynote: Helene Langevin | Yoga and Whole-Person Health
Speaker Bio: Helene Langevin
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has a new strategic plan focused on whole-person health—helping individuals to improve their well-being in multiple interconnected biopsychosocial domains. The ancient practice of yoga incorporates many of the principles of whole-person health. This talk will outline NCCIH’s strategic priorities and explain how yoga fits into this whole-person health framework.
12:30–1:15 PM ET – General Session | Sat Bir Singh Khalsa | Ethical Issues for the Future of Yoga and Yoga Therapy in Society
Speaker: Sat Bir Singh Khalsa
Ethical Issues for the Future of Yoga and Yoga Therapy in Society: The Importance of Biomedical Science and Research
Biomedical research on yoga serves multiple purposes for the field of yoga therapy. Survey studies alert us to potential social injustice in the practice of yoga and yoga therapy because the population served is largely well-educated, affluent, and White. We can also become aware of the skewed public perception of yoga as an exercise form for thin women on one extreme and a religion on the other. This kind of information can spur us to action to rectify these disparities by, for example, emphasizing initiatives for unserved and underserved populations. Biomedical research can also provide the information policymakers need to justify the implementation of yoga into mainstream societal institutions that serve diverse populations. This presentation will inspire yoga therapists to design and deliver the best possible future through service to all.
1:15–2:15 PM ET – PANEL: Subtle Anatomy of Microaggressions: Implications in Yoga Therapy Practice
Moderated by Janet Caldwell
If you Google “microaggression,” the first definition, from Wikipedia, describes the phenomenon as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups.” What does this have to do with yoga and yoga therapy, practices that intentionally seek to instill peace, calm, and healing in our lives? As yoga therapists, we understand the impact of experiences on the gross and subtle levels. But have we considered the effect of microaggressions? On clients? On ourselves? This panel discussion will help to define what microaggressions are, how to recognize the ways in which they are delivered and experienced (even in yoga), acknowledge why it matters in our field, and hopefully leave us all committed to searching for ways to change.
2:15–3:00 PM ET – BREAK: Live Exhibit Hall Open
3:00–4:15 PM ET – Concurrent Tracks
TF01 – Motivational Interviewing: How to Start a Yoga Therapy Session Congruent with the Principles of Yoga
Whereas yoga therapists facilitate change from the inside out, Western medical models frequently approach change from the outside in. Because intake processes are often based on a Western model, they do not encourage clients to rely on the internal resources they already possess. But there is another way—we can create an intake process model congruent with change happening from the inside out. Motivational interviewing (MI) is one approach that helps clients draw from internal resources to support their desire for lifestyle changes. This session will introduce MI and its basic characteristics as a collaborative, evocative, and autonomous model, emphasizing the technique’s evocative aspect. Here, clinicians focus on what the client has rather than what the client lacks. Session participants will learn to apply the basics of MI so that from the very first session, clients can begin using yoga to change from the inside out.
TF02 – Developing Yoga Therapy for the Under-Resourced in Your Community
De Jur Jones, RYT-200, C-IAYT
What does it look like to introduce a yoga program to communities unfamiliar with yoga? Many believe yoga only happens in studios and gyms—or that it’s only for the dominant culture, or the affluent…or “other” people. What if places and spaces are unfamiliar to you? How do you even begin? Who do you meet with or talk to? What do you present as “proof” of success for your yoga therapy programming? Every community is rich with potential for serving those in shadow spaces that the mainstream yoga teaching community doesn’t often think about. This session will offer ideas on how to create programming in spaces that are not typically thought of as yoga spaces, with people not typically thought of as potential practitioners. Come explore with De Jur her experiences, successes, and stumbles while working through a process to identify what might best serve your community—or communities totally different from your own. The heart of community care, community health, and social activism is where what we create for our communities can create our best future as yoga therapists.
TF03 – Understanding the Science and Biomedical Research on Yoga: Empowering Your Work in Yoga Therapy
Sat Bir S. Khalsa, PhD
Join Sat Bir for an exploration of the biomedical science and research underlying yoga and yoga therapy, as well as information on how to access and interpret research for specific applications of yoga. Understanding terminology and scientific research is important for communicating and working with executives, policymakers, and administrators who make decisions regarding the implementation of yoga in schools, workplaces, and healthcare institutions. This session will also improve your understanding of how science and research go hand in hand with the needs of the clients you want to serve. You will learn how science and research evidence facilitate decisions and open doors across most venues in our society, and how you can use research literacy to empower your own action plans for serving your community. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss how research is relevant to their specific circumstances.
TF04 – Nada Yoga Therapy: It’s Time We Shared the Yoga of Sound
Sangeeta Laura Biagi, PhD
This workshop will help yoga therapists develop the competence and confidence to begin or expand working with mantra chanting in their unique community settings. We will learn deep sectional breathing to support vocal performance; vocal resonators in the chest, throat, and skull; pronunciation of the Sanskrit alphabet; and selected mantra such as Pranava OM and Lokah Samasthah. We will learn how some mantra can be chanted as bhajans, or devotional chants, and how they can be used to facilitate change and tailored to the cultural perspectives of novice populations. We will also talk about how sound—words, thoughts, and chants—impacts our physical, emotional, and mental health, and how it can be used intentionally to create a healthy present and future.
TF05 – Don’t Go It Alone: Models for Interprofessional Business Collaboration
Are you already enjoying private practice? Maybe you’re employed by an integrative healthcare group? Or does actually working as a yoga therapist—in any setting—just sound like an impossible dream? Regardless of your current situation, you’re welcome at this exploratory session. Together, we’ll work through how yoga therapists are creating viable businesses—and fulfilling yoga therapy careers. We will consider possible collaborative models, share case examples, and cover related questions including those around professional autonomy and the sustainability of solo practice. You will even forge a plan of action to take back to your unique community. Come ready to work and explore!
4:15–5:00 PM ET – BREAK: Live Exhibit Hall Open
5:00–6:00 PM ET – Keynote: Stephen Porges | Yoga Through the Lens of the Polyvagal Theory
Speaker Bio: Stephen Porges
Ancient Wisdom Meets Contemporary Neuroscience: Yoga Through the Lens of the Polyvagal Theory
The principles of polyvagal theory provide an innovative lens to understand yoga and other contemplative practices as neural exercises of vagal pathways. By deconstructing yoga into biobehavioral manipulations that challenge specific vagal pathways, contemporary neuroscience can document mechanisms consistent with the historical traditions of yoga. For example, manipulations of posture, breath, vocalization, and meditation engage and exercise specific vagal pathways that provide portals to compassion, improved health, and greater social accessibility and connectedness. Polyvagal theory explains how these beneficial circuits may be retuned during experiences of threat and disrupt bodily processes sufficiently to affect both mental and physical health. The theory further explains how the neural systems recruited in yoga may reset these disruptions to enhance the physiological processes that support health, growth, and restoration. From a scientific perspective, polyvagal theory identifies specific neural pathways that can be objectively monitored and potentially used to validate and explain the positive health effects of yogic therapies. We will discuss how yoga may retune autonomic nervous system regulation to support more efficient and effective homeostatic functions, leading to improved mental and physical health and greater resilience.
6:00-6:30 PM ET – Guided Meditation
Meditator: Tias Little
Experience deep quiet and rejuvenation led by a skilled meditator.
8:00 PM ET – Town Hall: Yoga Therapy Toolbox for Conversations About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity: A Trauma-Informed Lens—Part 2
Saturday, June 19, 2021
10:00–11:00 AM ET – Morning Practices
MPS01 – Yoga Therapy for Stroke Survivors
Kelli Bethel, DPT, PT, C-IAYT
Yoga therapy is extremely powerful for stroke survivors. Engage in a practice through the eyes of a person who has experienced a stroke. We will explore the use of props to replicate some of the issues often seen in stroke survivors. This practice will include variations that accommodate the more common issues seen in people who have experienced strokes. Participants should have available a mat and a sturdy chair; in addition, a strap is highly recommended. A yoga block may also be useful.
MPS02 – Pain Care Yoga
Angelique Brownlee, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Pain Care Yoga integrates the latest in pain science with a gentle therapeutic yoga practice. Pain affects all aspects of our existence, so a multifaceted approach to pain care is beneficial. Using the panchamaya kosha model, this class is designed to support and assist those living with pain through breath- and body-awareness practices and gentle movements that offer appropriate challenge. Techniques for recovering movement in the face of persistent pain will also be introduced. This safe and effective practice is designed to positively influence the nervous system and promote lasting positive change for those living with chronic pain.
MPS03 – Create Freedom Through Somatic Awakening
As the popular practice of yoga continues to become fitness oriented, people are searching for gentler and more nourishing practices in which to move. In this class, you will be invited to explore innovative techniques that combine Hatha Yoga, Hanna Somatic Education, Core Energetics, and pranayama. We will go the root cause of much muscular pain and reprogram the brain-to-muscle connection, returning muscle groups to their optimal length in a resting position. To do this, you will be guided through self-corrective sequences called Somatic Movement Flows. Not your usual stretching, these mindful sequences can erase chronic pain, dramatically improve flexibility, and re-establish generative posture. The results return us to our natural state of peace and well-being.
MPS04 – Yoga with Proprioceptive Techniques for Awareness, Toning, Stretching, and Releasing
Bill Koff, MS, C-IAYT
This class experience is a model for using the tools and techniques taught in the Approved Professional Development (APD) program of the same name. Developed to adapt modern tools and techniques to gently stay within the context of yoga asana and warmups, the session will provide yoga therapists with a new set of tools to help clients move toward their wellness objectives. Proprioceptive techniques allow for the gentle and safe development of body awareness, toning, fluidity, mobility, and range of motion.
MPS05 – Evolutionary Namaskar
Matthew Krepps, C-IAYT
The “evolutionary namaskar” is a variation of standard sun salutations constructed around principles that guide early human development. The practice follows a cephalocaudal trend, which describes the sequence of morphological changes and their relative proportions as an embryo develops in the womb. It also mirrors developmental milestones for infants learning how to walk. Our practice will therefore include seven basic movement patterns, each with a unique utility for therapeutic strategies. We will also practice a mouth position (jiva bandha) that imitates the mouth position of an infant during nursing. Jiva bandha is a somatosensory object of concentration, providing a connection to a primordial breathing pattern that distinguishes between low-threshold core structures (stabilizers) and high-threshold core structures that connect the front, back, and sides as well as movement between the extremities.
MPS06 – iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation: Being Fully Human, Simply
Stephanie Lopez, LISW-S, C-IAYT
Through yoga, we learn to embrace and inquire into our human experience. When we pay attention to our bodies, breath, emotions, thoughts, and beliefs, the body begins to reveal its wisdom and mystery. During iRest Yoga Nidra, we open to inner sensation and currents of energy—a subtle pulse of life that is animating our body. We also develop an inner stillness and clarity as we realize the ground of Being that is unchanging no matter our circumstances. As we fully embrace being human and simply being, the peace exuded is contagious. Experience an iRest Yoga Nidra practice to unlock the door to your most essential nature. Together we will explore the five messengers of Being (kanchukas); welcoming what arises in meditation and life; meeting emotions and beliefs as messengers; the inner resource of well-being, ease, and peace; and awakening to your essential wholeness of Being.
MPS07 – Start Your Day with Meditation
Carol Crenshaw, MS, EdM, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Set a calming, centering tone for your day by moving inward from relaxation, to breathing, to meditation. This class, from the Himalayan tradition, is for those who would like to learn how to practice systematically for deep and lasting benefits. These practices, which will include OM Kriya relaxation and mantra meditation, are appropriate for all levels. Beginners will learn the basics, and experienced practitioners will delve into the subtleties and nuances of each method. When practiced regularly, these methods may yield many benefits, including greater peace of mind and tranquility, body balance, ability to tap into your intuition, ability to concentrate and listen well, and a sense of empowerment for oneself and for helping others.
MPS08 – RnR Yoga for Burnout
Shailla Vaidya, MD, MPH, CCFP(EM), RYT, C-IAYT
Resilience has been defined as our ability to recover from stress. Stress is like a charge that goes into our bodies; to recover, we need to discharge that stress. Yoga is an incredible tool to aid in that recovery. This mindful bottom-up asana practice will help to increase our awareness of where we individually hold physical tension. In coordination with our breath, we will practice to release that tension and regulate the nervous system. We will also incorporate the powerful practice of maitri karuna (loving kindness and compassion) for ourselves and those around us to help us heal from stress while staying in connection with one another.
11:30–11:45 AM ET – Welcome
11:45 AM–12:45 PM ET – Keynote: Shirley Telles | My Journey in Yoga Research
SYTAR 2021 has given me a unique opportunity to look back at a journey that began more than 30 years ago. During these years the public perception of yoga has changed, evolving from an esoteric sectarian practice to an accessible, universal therapy for mind, body, and spirit. Concurrently, my perception and experience of yoga has changed. Come along on my journey as I explore how milestones in my research career have often coincided with significant happenings in yoga research through the years. As the field has evolved, it has been essential for everyone to improvise, innovate, and adapt. These adaptations have added interest, wisdom, and depth to a continuous process. And importantly, this ongoing evolution is always accompanied by a chance for personal growth.
12:45-1:15 PM ET – General Session: What's Up with IAYT?
1:00–1:30 PM ET – BREAK: Live Exhibit Hall Open
1:30–2:30 PM ET – PANEL: Perspectives on Yoga Therapy: An International Discussion
Moderated by: Diane Finlayson
Applying the IAYT definition of yoga therapy, scope of practice, and educational standards as a common framework, a panel of international members will discuss how yoga therapy is practiced, perceived, and regulated in their countries. We’ll also explore the professional implications for practice in hospital and other healthcare settings, and allow time for your questions to the panelists.
2:45-3:15 PM ET – Guided Meditation
Meditator: Vaidya Jayarajan Kodikannath
Experience deep quiet and rejuvenation led by a skilled meditator.
3:15–3:45 PM ET – BREAK: Live Exhibit Hall Open
3:45–4:45 PM ET – General Session: Amy Weintraub | Collaboration + Co-Creation = Connection
Speaker: Amy Weintraub
In the specialized field of yoga therapy, we sometimes feel we need to know it all. Can we instead relax into the knowledge that we don’t have to know it all, and that we are connected to our colleagues in ways that can support and sustain us? When we attune with students and clients, we are collaborating with them as they learn to become the experts on their own mind-body’s needs. We will talk about the skills of attunement, collaboration, and co-creation and practice ways to develop those abilities. Throughout this session, we will nourish our bodies and calm our minds with self-care practices that can also be used with the precious beings we serve.
Includes an experiential component
4:45–6:00 PM ET – Concurrent Tracks
TS01 – Yoga and Yoga Therapy in Cancer Care: During and Beyond Treatment
Smitha Mallaiah, MSc, C-IAYT
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer can provoke severe psychological distress that affects overall quality of life. Although the goal and scope of yoga therapy do not include treating or curing cancer, yoga can address the client as a whole person, ease symptom burden, and improve quality of life. Because yoga is increasingly popular among cancer patients, we need safe, evidence-informed, and adaptable yoga therapy. Using the yoga therapy models of panchamaya kosha, vyadhi, and the kleshas, we will define the risk factors and disease progression stages of cancer, look at cancer according to yogic philosophy, explore contraindications and safety considerations, and review the work of MD Anderson Cancer Center and yoga research in cancer populations. Finally, we will create and modify practices that address common symptoms and improve health and well-being for those with cancer.
TS02 – Resilience: Self-Care for Trailblazers
Marsha Banks-Harold, E-RYT 500, TCTSY-F, C-IAYT
As a yoga therapist, you inherently possess the trailblazing qualities of being able to lead, transform, and innovate. But as a trailblazer, how can you thrive while facing difficult, unexpected, or stressful situations—both personal and shared by clients—and honoring your own self-care needs? How can you simultaneously manifest inner peace and optimize your work-life balance? How do you succeed in the face of personal or family issues, serious health concerns, work stress, and money worries? Adding resilience, the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, to the trailblazer toolbox is an essential step in offsetting imbalances and achieving holistic well-being. Join Marsha, a recovering workaholic, for an exploration of responding to interrupted success, moving to the next level of achievement, and commanding inner peace and balance in your professional and personal lives.
TS03 – Why Am I So Tired? Stress, Overwhelm, and Coronasomnia
Pamela Stokes Eggleston, MS, MBA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Our stress levels are higher than ever, and the quality of our all-important sleep is at stake. In these times of COVID-19, drifting off into deep states of sleep may be elusive. Coronasomnia describes sleep disruptions resulting from stress, overwhelm, and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this session, Pamela will begin with a discussion about how the overwhelm we are all experiencing leads to a lack of sleep—coronasomnia. She will conclude with yoga therapy practices designed to decrease our collective tension and increase our individual capacity for true rest and relaxation.
TS04 – Losing a Part of Ourselves: Yoga Therapy for Amputations Both Visible and Invisible
Marsha Danzig, C-IAYT
This session will explore the concepts of amputation and wholeness through breath, movement, asana, discussion, partner or group work, lecture, and writing. What is an amputation? How do we define extreme loss, and how does that echo in our bodies? What makes us whole? How do we use yoga therapy to address amputations both physical and emotional/mental? How do we see wholeness in clients? Playing with the notion of limb as both connective bone tissue and connective glue for living our yoga through the eight-limbed path, we will dive deep into our body-mind-spirit wisdom. We will explore teaching yoga to someone missing a limb, and where the body begins and ends. We will uncover yoga therapists’ role in the healing process for that which has been cut off, and whether we have assumptions about disability or ability. You will consider, too, how your own personal amputations can inform your teaching. Join Marsha, a below-knee amputee and kidney transplant recipient, in a mind-bending class to awaken your creativity!
TS05 – Can We Talk About Money? Healthy Relationships to Fuel Your Mission
How do we make this field of yoga therapy sustainable for ourselves and our families? Why do we often fear asking for support from our practice or organization, even when we know we are doing good work? How can we better develop new programs that would draw volunteers, board members, and investors who can provide significant resources? What could we do differently to better cultivate and sustain relationships with the optimal partners for our work? In this experiential afternoon session, unpack some of the most challenging questions faced by you or your organization and gain tools to aid your personal and organizational next steps.
6:00–7:00 PM ET – BREAK: Live Exhibit Hall Open
7:00–9:00 PM ET – IAYT Business, Awards, & Entertainment
Celebrate the 2021 Seva Award winners, sing along in the SYTAR coffeehouse, meet the newest IAYT-acccredited programs, and more!