Talking to kids about inequality in a way that makes them feel empowered rather than helpless is challenging. The Street Feet Society works with local school districts in Metro Vancouver to engage youth in understanding and supporting issues of homelessness, marginalization and stigma. Here Tannis Price, co-founder of The Street Feet Society shares how she and her partner Nina Sheere explain homelessness to elementary school kids. Ask Questions Usually kids LOVE asking the questions, but this time you get a turn in the driver's seat. Start by gauging their understanding of homelessness. For example: Do you know what it means to [...]
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So far Wendy Goldsmith has created 31 blog entries.
When we think of trauma, we often imagine an assault from the outside. But when someone is diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer, the attacker is on the inside. People often report feeling betrayed by their own bodies. That sentiment is common to students in Bobbie-Raechelle Ross’s Yoga Nidra class at InspireHealth in Victoria and Vancouver. Attendees come to the centre for physical and emotional support with cancer care beyond medical treatments. “They don’t feel safe because their body is too unpredictable. Instead of focusing on their capabilities, their view of their body becomes negative,” says Ross, a yoga [...]
Touch can be relational, connecting, healing, and necessary for well-being. But Yoga Outreach (YO) classes are touch-free zones for several important reasons. First, no-touch zones make classes feel safer for some survivors of trauma. Not all of YO’s students are trauma survivors. But a high proportion of people in prisons, addiction recovery centres, and domestic violence Transition Houses where YO offers programs do come from abusive backgrounds. Common adjustments such as guiding hips backward in Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), or turning shoulders to face forward in Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1) can trigger frightening memories. “Having someone in a position of [...]
Directly commanding someone to move their body in a certain way can trigger a defensive response, particularly for survivors of trauma. By swapping “invitational language” for a more direct style of instruction, teachers may help students to recover feelings of autonomy, self-esteem, and even joy in their bodies. “Invitational language creates an opportunity to experiment in their body and to build awareness of sensations on their terms. It’s a skill I would argue is more useful in daily life than nailing a perfect form according to one particular yoga lineage or another,” says Sarah Holmes de Castro. Holmes de Castro [...]
Last week I attended our workshop with Alica Forneret on grief. I was really looking forward to digging in and talking about grief, how it can swirl around a drain slowly, and then suddenly burst the pipes when you’re not expecting it. You might think this is a bit late as a marketing attempt for a workshop. That would be true. But grief doesn’t let you meet your deadlines. Grief has its own interesting timeline. When my father died December 7th was the one-year anniversary of my father’s death. His death was a surprise, but not unexpected: he was 85. [...]
Yoga Outreach is trying out sliding scale payments for our exciting new Knowledge Development series in Vancouver beginning fall 2019. That means folks will have three options at check-out for each course: Tier 1 - Pay the true cost of the class, including the facilitator’s time, the facility, and administrative costs. This is what we would charge all students in the absence of a sliding scale. Tier 2 - Pay this amount if you can’t attend at the full price, but you have a steady enough income to cover your basic needs, plus a few treats each month. Please consider drawing [...]
The Inspiration - why host a conference about bad stuff? On May 25, Yoga Outreach hosted its first ever conference: Exploring Boundaries, Building Bridges: Connecting Yoga, community, and self. We started by booking Matthew Remski, who had recently published a book about the aftermath of sexual abuse revelations in a well-known yoga community. While planning this author visit, we realized that there was even more to talk about. In the case of Pattabhi Jois, victims were fearful of coming forward against this popular important leader, and communities around the world reacted with complete denial, vicious anger, or suggestions that victims simply [...]
“People who are unwilling or unable to take an honest look at their own shadows might be equally poor at seeing other people’s shadow sides. This makes them vulnerable to manipulation and abuse.” A Conversation with Liana Yip, Registered Clinical Counsellor Yoga Outreach: Liana, how far is too far ...spiritually? Liana Yip: When I came back from studying yoga in India - intended to supplement my Master’s degree in clinical counselling - I felt a renewed purpose in my life, entirely devoted to the spiritual path, God, and the Universal. But at the same time I felt increasingly disconnected to this [...]
The difference between mainstream "self-care" and caring for oneself A conversation with Insiya Rasiwala-Finn, yoga teacher, writer, and Ayurvedic counsellor YO: When you read “self-care” in a mainstream magazine or on a billboard, what does that bring up for you? IRF: This is so pertinent right now. I was just scrolling through my email – which attracts a lot of junk mail unfortunately – and a button on an email from GOOP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness site) popped out, promising mobile manicures and spa treatments. That is exactly what self-care has come to mean in mainstream culture: taking time out of the [...]
"A yoga studio can be this weird place where you do something together but remain alone, boundaried by a strip of rubber, a Mona-Lisa smile, and a fixed gaze. The premise is that “going inside” is all that’s needed for your life — and all life — to improve. That can be framed in the jargons of self-improvement or spirituality, equally. " -- Matthew Remski, author Yoga Outreach had the opportunity to interview Matthew Remski, author, yoga-culture critic, and keynote speaker at Exploring Boundaries, Building Bridges: Connecting Yoga, community, and self YO: The term Spiritual Bypassing (SB) is becoming more common [...]