Jivana Heyman 00:00:01
Hi, I'm Jivana Heyman, and my pronouns are he and him. Thank you for joining me for the Teacher's Guide To Accessible Yoga Podcast. This is a series of conversations that I had with an incredible group of Yoga teachers as I was researching my new book, A Teacher's Guide To Accessible Yoga, and I wanted to share these conversations with you in their fullness. Rather than just pulling quotes for the book, I wanted you to get a chance to hear everything these teachers had to say. So I hope you enjoy these conversations. Thanks for being here.
Jivana Heyman 00:00:34
Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me. This is my intro episode. And I'm so excited to be with you for this podcast series. Thanks for being here with me. And I really, really appreciate your support. So I just want to say a little bit about this book, my new book, The Teacher's Guide To Accessible Yoga. The subtitle is, Best Practices For Sharing Yoga With Everybody. And it's my third book, which is exciting. And I want to tell you a little bit about it and a little bit about why I wrote it, and also introduce this podcast series to you that I'll be releasing over the next few months. So I guess to start with, I can just explain maybe why I wrote the book. I train Yoga teachers, and I've been doing that for many, many years, and I've written a bunch of manuals for those trainings. And I realised that in my first two books, I talked about Yoga and adapting Yoga and making it accessible. In my first book, Accessible Yoga, I focused mostly on Asana. And then in the second book, Yoga Revolution, I really tried to explore Yoga as teachings, philosophy and understanding how we can bring that into our lives and create a meaningful practice. But what I felt was lacking from my books was the work that I'm doing day to day, which is training Yoga teachers, and sharing, you know, tools and tips with Yoga teachers to help them make their teaching more accessible, and equitable. And also to help shift the way that Yoga is taught in general.
Jivana Heyman 00:00:50
So the goal of this book, The Teacher's Guide To Accessible Yoga is really to be a companion for Yoga teachers, either brand new teachers who are in training, just learning how to start out, or experienced teachers, and even Yoga therapists, who have done, hundreds of 1000s of hours of training, and teaching. I thought that I could provide some insight into very, specific areas of teaching, and how we can bring it all together to make our teaching really work for our students. And like I said, to help shift the culture of Yoga and the way that we have presented Yoga as primarily a physical practice for flexible, thin, white bodies. And that's just so wrong. Yoga is a universal practice available for all. And I feel so strongly about that. I mean, all of Yoga philosophy, says the same thing, you know, that we are spiritual beings, having this temporary human experience, and Yoga is about kind of unlearning and undoing and revealing the truth of who we are, and when we connect with that truth, we also connect with this amazing source of power and inspiration and joy. And that's what I love about teaching is creating a supportive environment so that my students can find that themselves, right, they can reinvest in their own internal authority, their agency over their body and their lives, and connect to that internal power that's there for them. I think for me, being a Yoga teacher is being a mirror to reflect back. That people's truth, the truth of their own divine nature, the beauty, the power, the like sheer brilliance of themselves, and teaching Yoga is just such an amazing way of doing that.
Jivana Heyman 00:04:37
So in this book, I share a lot of specific ideas about it, and maybe I could give you a couple of examples. I mean, hopefully you're getting the book and have read it or are starting to read it. But you know, it just came out. I think when this launches, the book may have just come out so you might not have read it yet, but I divide the book into three parts. There's Preparing To Teach, Teaching Asana, and Teaching Subtle Practices.
Jivana Heyman 00:05:10
The first part, Preparing To Teach, is really about reflecting on the Yoga teachings, and our role in how we communicate them, and also how we live them. Looking at what it means to be a Yoga teacher, and how we can do so in light of Yoga as ethical teachings in particular, which is really a priority for me, right? Yoga's ethical teachings are the most important teachings in Yoga. And if we don't follow those ethical teachings, then we're not teaching Yoga. And I'll also go on to say that if we do follow Yoga's ethical teachings, such as Ahimsa, non violence, then our teaching will automatically be accessible, and automatically be equitable, right? Yoga ethics are so powerful, I think they can actually transform our teaching completely. If we really invest in them, right, really invest in what it means to practice Ahimsa, which we can consider non-harm or in a positive way, caring for people, you know, to love the students, to love our students, and see their value and see their true selves. I think Ahimsa can be translated as loving kindness. And to me, that's what it means to be a Yoga teacher is to share that loving kindness with our students and again, create that container for them to explore themselves. So I got quite a bit into Yoga philosophy, I do a quick review of some main source texts, which I thought could be useful for Yoga teachers in general. And then I look at how teaching is a practice in itself, an ongoing practice, even for those of us that have been teaching a very long time. You know, I continue to learn from my students, it's never ending.
Jivana Heyman 00:07:10
And then the second part is on Teaching Asana, and that's kind of what I'm mostly focused on. Because mostly when we say we're teaching Yoga, we're teaching Asana these days. And that's great. You know, Asana is amazing, but it has to be done in a way that is, I think, respectful to Yoga's teachings in general, right, Asana needs to have context. And that makes it accessible and equitable, as I said. So in that section, I talk quite a bit about power and consent, about kind of the business practices of teaching, how to make our offerings financially accessible, having accessible, physically accessible spaces available, and some tips about that, how to structure classes in a way and sequence them in ways that are more accessible. I also talk about teaching specific populations, working with disabled people, with older adults, with people with larger bodies, teaching Chair Yoga, Bed Yoga, adapted mat practice, how to use props, and I go through them in detail and talk about all different props. Anyway, I don't mean to go through everything in the book, because you can just read the book.
Jivana Heyman 00:08:23
But I'll just end by saying the last chapter is, you know, really what I care about so much. And that's the Subtle Practices of Yoga. Relaxation, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama, Meditation, and I talk about trauma-sensitive teaching, and how important that is when you share these subtle practices, and how we can make these subtle practices accessible. And ironically, they are already, right? They're physically accessible. Most of these subtle practices don't demand any physical strength really, at all. But they're not necessarily accessible to people, because they're often taught in ways that are insensitive to people's experience, insensitive to their trauma, and maybe not taught in a way that is really understandable. You know, so that people can have a positive experience and begin to really invest their time in practising them more.
Jivana Heyman 00:09:19
The other part of the book is that I start each chapter with a quote from an interview that I did with a Yoga teacher who I admire, and that I'm learning from, and so this podcast series is actually the original conversations that I had with that incredible group of contributors or Yoga teachers. And what I did is I started with one question for each of them around that chapter's theme, and we had pretty short conversations, I think most of them are less than half an hour. Focus on one particular question that I that I asked them, that I posed to them, and then they shared their thoughts and reflections. And then what I did is I went through their response later, the transcription of their responses, and I pulled out a quote, and I started the chapters with those quotes. So, like I said, this podcast series of the original conversations so you can hear the full conversations that I had with this incredible group of teachers. And maybe I can list them here just to name names. Because they're just so incredible. Okay, wait, I have to find my list. I enjoyed talking to them so much. Well, I should start with Anjali Rao wrote the foreword of the book, and so I did have a conversation with her after I wrote the book and after she wrote the foreword, and I just love her so much and so grateful to her for contributing to the book in this way. Other contributors include Avery Kalapa, and Indu Arora, Jason Crandell, Judith Lasater, Kino MacGregor, M Camellia, Melissa Shah, Michelle, Cassandra Johnson, Nityda Gessel, Shanna Small, Shawn Moore, Tracee Stanley, and Tristan Katz. That was in alphabetical order. Anyway, I love them all so much. So grateful to all of them for talking with me and letting me quote them in the book. I think you'll find their opening quotes really inspiring. And they offer so many useful tips and tools.
Jivana Heyman 00:11:34
The other thing I've done in the book is I've tried to make it practical, I've given some really general teaching or advice about teaching. But I've also offered examples. So in each chapter, I end with, kind of a real life example, what I call a scenario, that I've faced with in my classes over the years. So each chapter has a scenario and then a response to that scenario, like how I would handle it. And then throughout the book, I have reflection questions for you. And I also end each chapter with further reflections, which is really just a way to use the book in more of a workshop way, where you can explore the chapter personally. So I hope that's useful for you. And I'd love to know what you think. So please, you can comment on this podcast, or reach out through our website, and let me know your thoughts. If you're reading the book I'd love to hear what you think about it. And if you have questions or comments, I would love to know. I love talking to Yoga teachers so much. In fact, I started in the I think it was in the introduction I talk about the fact that this book is really an effort to have a conversation with Yoga teachers, and Yoga therapists, I love you all so much. And I'm dedicating my life to you and to serving you. And I could talk to Yoga teachers endlessly. And I have a joke with my husband, because he gets so tired of hearing about me talking about teaching, that if I'm ever going out to meet a Yoga teacher, socially, he refuses to come, he literally will not, you know, put up with endless talking about Yoga teaching, because he's not a Yoga teacher. And he thinks it's quite boring. But that's what I love to do. That's my passion. So please join me in conversation somehow. I'll think of ways you know, maybe we can have, there'll be a book event, and maybe we can have a book club of some kind. I really want to hear what you think. So, again, thanks for being here. Thanks for teaching Yoga and sharing Yoga with the world. Thanks for listening to this podcast. And please, I hope you enjoy the book, let me know what you think. I really appreciate it. All right. Talk to you later. Okay, bye.
Jivana Heyman 00:13:49
Thanks, again for being here. I really appreciate your support. And I hope you'll consider getting my book, The Teacher's Guide To Accessible Yoga. It's available wherever you buy books. My hope is that the book will provide additional support for you in your teaching journey. For me, I always need to have a community of teachers around me to learn from to inspire me to keep me in check. And I hope we can do that for each other. So thanks again for being here. All right, take care. Bye.