March 30, 2011

Inspiring Instructors - Monica Cordes

I recently attended a weekend training with Monica Cordes on providing Yoga to Seniors and was very inspired by her knowledge of and care for this population.  She works tirelessly in the seniors' community providing yoga where there is little to be found, and has developed a curriculum and trained fellow instructors in how they too can lead seniors safely through a yoga practice at all ages and abilities.
You have a passion for sharing yoga with seniors that is infectious when you train other teachers. How did this passion begin, and continue to grow for you?
I began teaching yoga to seniors about 15 years ago, and began by adapting traditional yoga poses using a chair, either to sit on or as an aid to balancing. At first it was intimidating to deal with a group where there were so many health challenges, but the feedback was so positive that I persevered and started to see how much they were getting out of the practice. Five years ago I was looking around for specialized training and found, to my surprise, that there were very few yoga programs geared toward certifying yoga teachers to instruct seniors—only one in all of Canada! I found this quite appalling. Here was a large segment of the population with special needs may span 40+ years of a person’s life and yoga geared specifically to them was almost non-existent. I decided to take all the courses offered, mostly in the United States, and then design a training of my own. This path has proved to be most rewarding for me. I continue to be inspired both by the senior students I teach and the yoga teachers I certify to teach them.
 For the rest of the interview click here.

March 11, 2011

Yoga at Durham College

Thanks to Sam, Colin, and Barb of the LGBTQ Centre at Durham College for inviting me to come out and lead a queer yoga class.  Being there reminded me of the privileges that as a Toronto queer I may take for granted in terms of services and safety, even though Toronto is by no means perfect in this regard yet either - but given the short distance between Oshawa and Toronto the disparity felt big in this respect.  It was fantastic to work with the students there, many of whom were trying yoga for the first time.  It's lovely to look into a sea of faces grinning through the tricky moments, and to see eyes flickering to a close as relaxation sets in.  Offering and participating in classes for a community where there is an identified commonality, amongst differences, creates a space that is a wonderful opportunity to work within.
Check out a video about the event