Anyone can take a yoga course to learn postures and how to teach others the same, but at ITSA Life, we wanted to bring more of a healing element into our yoga teacher training.
We’ve been doing for the past couple of years. And it’s become obvious to us that everyone gets more by us offering self-healing as their main motivation to learn about self-practice and the pathways to healing.
At first, we thought we were providing two options:
- A yoga teacher training
- A natural healing course
However, we now realize they’re one and the same.
Where Does the Confusion Come From?
In the Western World: We tend to look at yoga as sort of a mystical thing that we couldn’t possibly fully understand. We’re trying to replicate how it was practised many years ago.
The healing element of why we’re doing yoga in the first place kind of gets overlooked. We as a whole and individually need to apply our yoga can not be compared to how it was implemented many years ago, even one year ago.
The world, our plant, or species and ourself continue to evolve; thus, we need to evolve with it. We are forever grateful for those who have come before us who light up pathways. However, we can’t just follow in their footsteps; we need to create new ones.
Over time through working with small groups; we’ve been able to identify how much more people can progress with their own practice, their relationship with yoga, and everything like that if they come from a place of self-healing.
Most people who come for a yoga teacher training attend for a yoga teacher certificate and to become a yoga teacher, but we’ve strived to make it clear. We want people to come who are really looking to self-heal.
We strongly believe the more you can travel in your self-healing, the more it opens up for you to pass that on to someone else.
We believe the pathways of self-healing are limitless, and when it comes to yoga, breathing is the number one thing. It’s the thing that gives us life. If we didn’t do it, we would literally drop dead.
So, being able to cultivate the belief you can oxygenate your body more, understand you can breathe into your organs, and understand that bringing more oxygen into your blood can increase your circulation is paramount.
That’s the importance of breathing, and it’s just one example of self-healing we dive deep into in our course.
If You Focus on Your Breathing, Will It Distract You From the Things Worrying You?
The number one thing to bring you into the present moment is your breathing. Why? Because it’s a really great way of bypassing the mind.
Meditation and the art of focusing on one thing or nothing at all can be moved towards more efficiently by simply concentrating on one’s breath.
If You Are Completely Present With the Air You’re Breathing
As it comes into your body and if you can bring it down into your belly or your core and actually bypass the lungs. That’s where your intuition and place of self-power in yoga (and life for that matter) come from.
Ever wonder where the saying, “Go with your gut” comes from? Well, now, you know. Your solar plexus chakra in the middle of your body is where you make all of those decisions from.
Has Yoga Become a Little Cliché?
If so, is that why healing is a more significant way to impact more people in the right way?
In a way, yoga is a bit limiting for the mind, because we get introduced to yoga through the postures. Since we think we know the postures, we think we know yoga. However, there’s a lot more to yoga than simply following yoga postures.
Yoga is an evolving way to live a more connected life. You can bring yoga into everything you do, including any elements of healing, but you actually don’t need elements of yoga to heal.
There are other energetic pathways, such as Reiki, which is like energy healing and has nothing to do with yoga. That said, this doesn’t mean you can’t combine it with some sort of yoga-style movement. One can apply their Reiki knowledge to their yoga practice and what they’ve learned in their yoga practice to their Reiki energy. Obviously, this takes time and daily attention to master.
People can heal themselves by dancing, which has nothing to do with yoga, but you can tie in some dancing with some yoga. It’s more about complementing pathways to heal, rather than actually sticking to a belief that yoga is the only way (that is not to say everyone has that belief).
What Did We Discover During the Course and Where Are We Now?
We had a few bookings for the training before we added the natural healing course on top of the yoga course. So we made it four days longer and added some extra elements.
Literally, in the first week, the students were offering group healings, which is quite a confronting thing to do if you’ve never done it. However, it was amazing how quickly people understood their own pathways of healing and were able to share that forward.
While we initially thought we were offering yoga teacher training and a natural healing course. What we realized during the time; is that they were and the same. We were always moving in that direction. Now the result of the combination of the 2 is far more powerful for those who attend.
Why is Confrontation Important to Healing?
The mind is very attached to the patterns we’re in, and we derive a sense of self from them.
- To step outside that and recognize those patterns as unhealthy and choose to take a different action to heal past trauma, including:
Old emotional pain
- Family pain
- Relationship breakups
- Things that happened in childhood
The list goes on, and everyone has their own story. We must detach ourselves from these stories, clear out the energy within our bodies, and become more present and in the moment.
Unfortunately, for many, this can be a real challenge. There are over 7 billion human beings on the planet, and every one is unique. Therefore each process to healing may be differ
ent, that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to find them.
Why Did We Combine the Courses? There Were a Couple of Key Things
The first two weeks or so, the people who come to the course are learning, learning, learning, and practising yoga and healing. Every morning we would wake up and do a two ½-hour yoga practice. And we’re still doing it.
But we’ve brought in the healing element and began inviting people to share their pathway for healing with the group.
In one way: It was still really confronting. But it wasn’t as confronting as the yoga because the mind is already attached to what yoga is. So they come believing they want to be a certain standard in their flexibility, posture, and so on.
By bringing in the healing element: And asking them to jump in the deep end and share some healing with the group; students were confronted, but it wasn’t as confronting. Because it’s not really as widely understood about how that happened.
So, it was almost a bit more footloose and fancy-free, which actually led to a more in-depth experience.
We were still doing our two-hour practice, but for the last 1/2 hour, we would hand it over to one of the students. They would get us in a circle and just invite some guided meditation or healing pathway as they themselves felt it.
However, the range of what people shared was so different. And much of it was outside of the yoga zone. This opened up more possibilities for people to let go and surrender.
In one instance: it was the person offering the healing who went through something quite heavy and dramatic in the moment and felt quite healed. It was quite clear to the
rest of us what happened.
In another: Randy had turned them all to Reiki Level 1, so it was like an energy healing.
On another occasion, one of the girls gave some Reiki after one of the group healings, and I could feel her like I can feel Randy when she provides a Reiki healing.
Needless to say: There’s a lot more powerful quick-shifting possibilities from offering the healing in this way. By empowering the people who come to understand they are worthy of healing and powerful enough to offer it to others.
Also, since they started doing these healings in the first week; students were less confronted when it came to sharing their yoga, so they actually shared the yoga better. Their relationship was actually stronger with the yoga because they were less fearful of being upfront and of being sharing back what they’ve felt and learned.
Why is It Important to Attract the Right People Who Are Aligned With Our Path?
Here at ITSA Life, we don’t want to spoon-feed students our version or vision of what healing is. Why? Because we believe healing is a very individual thing.
For instance, one day I shared a dynamic breathing class in the morning yoga practice. The way it works is you dynamically breathe in some different ways while moving your body in different dynamic movements with the intention of bringing up any old energy, such as a past emotional event.
We tap into that and ask that energy to come up with your breath and exit it out your mouth. It involves a lot of repetitious fast breathing, and then you move your body in a certain way to produce some big strong exhales out your mouth to release the energy.
Everyone doesn’t experience it the same. On this particular day, two people were literally in tears. One of them felt better, and one of th
em felt terrible for another 24 hours. However, the rest of the group didn’t feel or have a powerful experience at all.
Therefore, we can’t definitively say how someone should heal. One person breaks a bone, and they recover quickly, while another person breaks a bone, and they take months to heal.
Everyone has their own timing, but I firmly believe the thoughts that align with your physical body, your energy, and your emotions can have a drastic effect on your healing.
Healing is a Journey, Not a Destination
Through facilitating these courses: I’m learning the whole time and always shifting layers. The thing about healing is it’s still in flux. You never fully healed. You’re putting things in your body all the time and always digesting thoughts.
Why Are We Shifting Towards an Emphasis on Healing?
The Western world has taken to yoga to be more fit, flexible, and still in the mind. And all of those things are awesome, but I think yoga is most powerful as a healing modality.
When taking this approach:
You look at the layers of your body, your physical body, mind, emotions, and energy. And look at it from a place of how can I be more healed rather than how can I look better, how can I breathe quieter, or how can I seem to be more emotionally sound?
From our perspective, it’s more effective to be like how do I feel practising my yoga, and how can I be more healed here?
Is It Best for People to Go Through a Natural Progression of Self-discovery Rather Than Push Any Beliefs or Values on Them?
Yes and no. People have to come to their truth, especially when it comes to self-healing.
Not everyone always experiences our offering the same.
No matter what I say or put on our website, or whether it’s a Level I or Level II certificate. People have to come to look at themselves before they can experience healing in whatever way, shape, or form they need too (or are ready to).
That said, while my opinion has no bearing on them, I think it’s essential to be clear and give people as much information as best we can so they’re clear on what they’re coming to us for.
The Level I 200-hour certificate is really fading away into the background for us. We have not attached at all whether people go on to teach or not. If they feel it will be helpful to offer to others and a part of their healing journey after they leave us, they have our unwavering support. If not, that’s ok too.
We’re really looking to be about self-healing. The irony is: Once they do that they’re well-prepared to hold the space for others to do it too.
There are a lot of ways to be a yoga teacher or trainer. You don’t have to own a studio and have people come and put mats out in front of you to help them heal.
You can tap into the healing that worked for you and offer it to someone else in a conversation or practice setting. It doesn’t matter; there’s no wrong or right way.
Above all else, we believe in a personal connection. That’s why we’re not commercialized and don’t spell out everything in black and white.
We even try and Skype with each new person before they come in order to help them understand our unique yoga teacher training concepts and what to expect.
We would be just as interested in talking to someone and have them understand we weren’t for them just as much as speak to someone who we fit perfect with.
We’re not trying to dress up what we’re offering to have more people come. We want people who are ready to travel themselves. Again our courses are limited to 8 people max as personal attention and connection is number 1.
If Joe wants to come for yoga teacher training and realizes we’re not for him after talking to Randy and me, that’s a win for us. We don’t want people to get here and not be ready to travel emotionally. If that’s the case, we’re wasting each other’s time.
What’s Next for ITSA Life?
We’re on a journey, just like our students. While we may have started out only offering yoga teacher training, we’re evolving in a good way.
Now and in the future, we’re going to focus more on the natural healing side of things, because it gives more of a free license for people to come. You don’t have to have the intention of becoming a yoga teacher to come to learn more about yourself and how to stay more aligned in your life to experience what we offer.
We have all of our students share to practice the teaching element in the last week of the course, and one of our students shared a dynamic dance. She mixed some yoga postures in with it, but it was very unlike the offerings we received in the past.
Thanks to the natural healing side of things, she felt empowered to share it her way and didn’t feel compelled to stick to the rules of yoga.
She didn’t just do some sun salutations, then some standing postures, and then some seated postures – she tried to invite the women she was sharing with to tap into their womb space and dance it out.
She did invite some yoga postures sporadically throughout her practice, but it didn’t start and end with yoga.
She was able to tap into How movement felt for her translating into all the woman she was sharing with to do the same.
Really powerful stuff.
Remembering this was offered from someone who had not previously had a deep relationship with yoga or healing but was able to allow the woman in front of her to experience some really beautiful healing in her version the way she felt it.