Kundalini Yoga! Join the upcoming online session this Friday!! Sept 18th the first 10 people to follow @lookwithin.kundalini.yoga will get free pass this week and your love donations are always welcomed!
I’ll also be giving a discount on Kundalini Cube Shirts for anyone that joins the class! Get your yoga mats ready!
What has been the most lesson you have learned from following your heart?The most valuable lesson I learned from following my heart is that it may be scary at first but it is absolutely for fulfilling. I can’t take concessions where my passion is concerned. When I lead with an open heart I am certainly aligned with my authentic self.
What can be the hardest aspect to control about your emotions that yoga can help with?
Control. Yoga helps me to let go of trying to control and shape everything. To be in flow and align with my highest self. Pranayam helps me to breathe through any emotions that arise or get stuck.
In which ways can your body communicate with you?
Your body always tells you the truth! Body awareness, embodiment and somatic work is integral to my work. Once we understand the link between emotional events and physical symptoms we will have a better understanding of how to heal. My body tells me everything and I listen.
How are some of the ways you manifest soulful joy?
I manifest soulful joy by not taking myself so seriously! I dance often, go for walks in nature, and do my best to connect with my inner child. She likes swimming naked, laughing and doing cartwheels in the grass. 🙂
Have you had any meditation experiences that have been hard to explain?
Movement meditation is where I communicate with my ancestors. The way I move, breath, speak transforms. It’s so magical. In the early hours just as I slip from sleep state into consciousness, I discovered that this is a great time to meditate. It’s when I listen to Divine consciousness. That’s all I can say about that because it is easier experienced.
Can creativity be used as a way to push pass old memories and trauma?
How have you utilized it? DEFINITELY. Creativity is essential to work through old memories and trauma. I write until my hearts content about any and everything. Movement especially somatic movement is a great way to connect with your individual creative side. I believe it gives you an opportunity to face yourself. In order to heal from trauma, you can’t bury them you have to face them. I was able to begin that journey through creative writing and movement.
What is your favorite myth and what is the lesson you received from it?
Well, I don’t know if I have a favorite. I believe there is some truth and lessons in all myths. Mythology is important for every culture especially Black Americans. Our language, customs, culture and spirituality was suppressed but still lives in our DNA and the stories told by our elders.
How has yoga helped you open space for others especially the divine feminine energy?
When women come to my yoga sessions they most likely come to fulfill some superficial purpose. I help them to dig depose. My intention is to guide them to be more expansive with their energy. To reconnect with their body beyond some physical goal. Yoga has been a gateway for me to reveal how essential it is that women be more loving and accepting of themselves just as they are.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers of infocus247?
You are worthy. Just as you are. It is important for me to center my work around creating greater ease in the mind and body. So much of our struggle is because we don’t feel worthy and so we just do more and more to feel valued by others. Do you know who you are? Take time and be present with yourself. Be willing to soften, flow and let go so the you can rediscover your authentic self. You don’t need to become anything or anyone else. You are worthy. Just as you are.
Thanks again for reaching out. These were great questions and it was a pleasure to sit with them and answer them truly.
Yoga Alliance Has Received
$7,445,600 in Application Fees + Charges Teachers & Trainers an Additional $7,509,840 Every Year
In September 2019, Yoga Alliance had 7,748 registered yoga schools.
At $400 per school, Yoga Alliance has charged teacher trainers $3,099,200 for paper processing.
At $240 per year, Yoga Alliance receives $1,859,520 annually from teacher trainers.
Yoga Alliance has 86,928 registered yoga teachers.
Yoga Alliance charges teachers $50 in application fees and $50 in “upgrade” fees. Therefore, many teachers will have paid more than $50 in paper processing fees over their lifetime. But at only one charge of $50 each, that’s $4,346,400 paid by teachers for paper processing.
Yoga Alliance charges teachers $65 annual dues resulting in an additinal $5,650,320 in annual revenue from teachers.
Yoga Alliance has received $7,445,600 in application fees and charges teachers and trainers $7,509,840 every year. This does not includeany other ways the organization may make money off its list of teachers and trainers.
The following screenshots are from the Yoga Alliance web site search results for registered yoga schools and teachers, September 27th, 2019.
Yoga Alliance does not certify yoga teachers nor does it provide accreditation of trainers or training schools. Yoga Alliance does not assess or certify teaching competency. It provides a registry, which is a list.
Neither teachers nor trainers are required to be registered with Yoga Alliance or any other organization.
Teaching and studio insurance may be obtained without Yoga Alliance (or any other) registration.
Registration is Not Accreditation or Certification
Accreditation= the action of officially recognizing someone as having a particular status or being qualified to perform a particular activity, or the acknowledgement of a person’s responsibility for or achievement of something
Certified= officially recognized as possessing certain qualifications or meeting certain standards
Registered= entered or recorded on an official list or directory
Yoga Alliance is a Registry
Yoga Alliance does not certify yoga teachers nor does it provide accreditation of trainers or training schools.
The YA registry amounts to a digital rubber stamp or paid advertising. – J. Brown
Yoga Alliance is a registration service.
A registration is an “official list or directory.” Registration does not mean “approved,” “certified” or “accredited.”
In the case of RYS (registered yoga school), a trainer completes an application and submits a fee. If the application is accepted, the trainer may use a YA logo, receive group discounts on some purchases, and access video workshops.
Trainers are required to pay $240 annually and re-apply every three years.
Yoga Alliance has come to be known in the public eye as a standard bearer for yoga teachers in the United States – in effect, a stamp of legitimacy.
However, from 1999 to 2019, Yoga Alliance registered teachers without actually requiring knowledge or competency standards.
The new standards announced to take effect February 2020 will not be measured or enforced by Yoga Alliance. Rather, Yoga Alliance charges trainers with responsibility for teacher competency while offering little in the way of resources or support to do so. Instead, they require a burdensome application process with demanding documentation requirements, fees and processing time.
It’s a verifiable fact that being on the Yoga Alliance registry has no relationship to teaching competency. Any value provided by the list must therefore be in perceived legitimacy and market value. We must presume that legitimacy and market value is based on a misperception that Yoga Alliance “certifies” teachers and that Yoga Alliance recognition has some relationship to teaching competency or professionalism.
The Yoga Alliance registry categorizes all teachers by a few “levels” based entirely on hours accounted through Yoga Alliance bureaucracy. This hours-based model is a shameful misrepresentation of actual teaching competency which is unrelated to the bureaucratic requirements. As such, teachers with few skills are represented in the Yoga Alliance registry as being on par with far more capable, even elite, teachers.
The knowledge of highly qualified teachers is unrecognized within the Yoga Alliance system. These teachers are instead burdened with an hours-based bureaucracy that depletes their time and finances that presumably could be used in legitimate pursuits of study and teaching.
Teachers and continuing ed providers who have received such “credentials” as RYT and E-RYT have been less impacted by the Yoga Alliance burdens than those who apply to be on the trainer registry (RYS) which incurs much greater fees and paperwork requirements.
Moving Forward: Your Options
Consider whether you wish to perpetuate the false narrative that Yoga Alliance registry is in any way related to competency or legitimacy. In other words, every time an organization states that they or their teachers are “certified by,” “accredited with” or “approved by” Yoga Alliance, they are perpetuating a myth.
Be aware that you are not required to register with Yoga Alliance and that you have alternatives.
Alternatives to Yoga Alliance registration include:
Participate in existing certification programs such as Iyengar, Ashtanga or International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Highlight your roots and education such as the Krishnamacharya lineage, Kripalu or Para Yoga-trained andso on.
Create your own certification process. In other words, if you teach ABC Method, you can certify that your teachers are qualified to teach the ABC Method.
Develop or choose alternative registration services.
A volunteer board is discussing ideas for moving forward. If you would like to participate, pleaseemail Coleman.
Due to the advisement and request of trainers, Yoga Teacher Central will launch an accreditation service on Nov 1st as one option for trainers to choose from.
For more information on Yoga Alliance alternatives, see:
Washington DC … my friend Daisha made note that I’m in Dc quite often these days. It’s a nice in between place before getting to New York! In about a week Daisha will be flying off to Bali for a 6 month yoga teacher training. Im excited for her to start a brand new adventure. Traveling let’s us see life from a different space. We had to link up once more before she goes and it happened to be a drum circle popping off at Malcolm X park. The energy was high and the circle instantly brought back memories of Central Park drum circles I would go to years ago.
It was great to seeing those I rock with the most as usual! It took us 5 minutes to setup the camera for these lil shots so appreciate it! The people walking up the steps watched us fumbling around with iPhone cameras and negro rigged tripods had a laugh. We made plans to link up on that side of the world once our planets align!
I’ve been thinking and getting more encouragement to begin sharing some of the good stories I have in the book of life. Many of them experiences everyone can relate to and some not so relatable one of a kind. I think I will be doing a podcast “Introducing the Cube” and I want to start the first episode talking about that one time my friend Jenny surprised me by bringing me inside a temple in China town that I’ve walked past every day after eating a handful of mushrooms. I like the way the audio sounds on iPhone so I may wing it from the good ol X for now but either way be on the look out for the cubes.
It had been an hour since the plane landed in DC and a hot photoshoot would soon absorb the little energy that I had left. The flight was booked around 3 am it left at 6 am meaning I didn’t sleep all night. Somewhere in between picking up açaí bowls from South Block and finding supplies for an art project we drove pass this wall of greenery. The temperature for the north east is currently set to “hell”. The heat felt like it was giving you a hug and jumping on your back at the same time. We managed to snap a few shots then rush back to the car where the air conditioning was our ticket to heaven!
When I put up the call for Yogi Selects I had a feeling I would get some good feedback! The summer time always opens people up to share a little more about themselves. @Catherine_Dawn_Yoga reached out and after much delay on my end I delivered a questionnaire she sent it back with everything we could ask for!
If you could form thoughts solely on anything other than words what would it be and why?
If I could form thought solely on anything other than words it would be sensation. It is actually my current meditation practice. All thought stems from emotion; emotion stems from sensation; sensation a result of chemical reaction. If we could witness the thought that is attached to the sensation we can undo past patterns and create new ones.
We are overstimulated and have too much external input. People have lost the ability to use a lot of our senses because we are so disconnected from the natural world and stillness. It’s time to reclaim the lost knowledge.
What is your first memory?
When I was about 3 or 4 I used to sit in my mother’s room in Brooklyn. I could hear the church bells ringing because we lived across the street from the church. I would sit in her mirror with my face pressed close and examine how my pupils and iris’ opened and closed. I used to think about how I got here and who made me and if someone made me who made them.
How can one distinguish the difference between intelligence and intuition?
I suppose this question is similar to the question of knowledge and wisdom.
Intelligence: We can learn something from books or from a teacher and rationalize things based on information and perhaps similar experience which would allow for inference.
Intuition: For some it comes more naturally than others. Intuition is a result of being fully present and paying attention to sensation. The sensation you receive contains the wisdom which one might describe as intuition. It may be the case that some can really harness/sharpen intuition that might come naturally with intentional focus allowing it to be less of a phenomena and more of a tool.
I’ve never been on a silent retreat? Can you share an experience that you may never forget from the 12 day Vipassana course
Vipassana is like a science experiment with your own psyche. 12 days. 9.5 days you cannot talk , gesture or look at another person except your teacher during set times to ask questions about the method and emergencies to the program manager. 2 vegetarian meals a day (last one at 11:30am) and 10 hours of meditation per day. There are breaks in between.
After the 9.5 days of silence with no external input all the participants were very excited to talk and connect. It was really beautiful but people became a bit overwhelmed. Schedules were forgotten and food went uneaten. Some could not sleep that night, others had headaches and I myself experienced spasms in my stomach muscles that evening. It was interested to observe how external input manifests in our bodies and our behaviors.
At one point during the Vipassana we saw a bear within 3 feet of us. We were all quite calm after days of 10 hours of meditation.I managed to communicate with the other attendees to move back into their cabins by signing and the bear passed without getting agitated. He was really just curious but if we had screamed the situation might have manifested quite differently.
Have you had any lucid yoga related dreams while sleeping?
I have had lucid dreams related to my path and intertwined with people who I have met along my yogic path. I have found lucid dreaming a powerful tool in gaining messages from the subconscious. Yogic meditation is not that far off from lucid dreaming when you tap into different practices.
Does life have a way of putting you in the right place at the right time? If so how can you realize that in the moment versus retrospectively?
I think it does. There are little details we can begin to notice as time goes on, some people call them synchronicities or messages from higher self. If you begin to follow them and trust it is like cracking the code but it is harder than it sounds. We often have self limiting beliefs that interfere. But that is why practices like yoga are key.
If there was one question you can have answered about the mysteries of life what would the question be?
How can we create harmony without disrupting the beauty of natural chaos and unpredictability?
I am always dancing with this question.
Has yoga help improve your running routine? If so how?
I don’t run as often as I used to but it certainly helped to improve my running. I started practicing yoga during a time where I was running in races and doing bootcamp like workouts. It helped me to better control my breath and also my focus during longer runs. On long runs the monkey mind starts to kick in and you sometime will hear yourself telling you to give up but you have to override it and keep going. Yoga give you specific ways to do that. Mantra, picking a focal point, imagining an object etc.
In which ways can poetry help translate the feelings yoga can provide?
Yoga and poetry are not different to me. Whether I am practicing yoga or writing I am connecting with a higher source. The ego gets lost in both practices. I sometimes use poetry to translate the revelations I receive in the yogic practices; It’s connecting to spirit and creating word.
So many blessing and good things ! Keep creating godly things!
You can follow Catherine on her journey via Instagram
In the 2015 Library of Congress exhibit, “Beyond the Bus: Rosa Parks’ Lifelong Struggle for Justice,” photographs include documentation of Parks supporting Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 presidential campaign. This exhibit also reveals that “the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” was an advocate for mental and public health. When I recently discovered the previously unpublished 1973 picture of “Rosa Parks practicing yoga at an event” in the LOC digital archive, I recognized it is a poignant illustration of how Black women’s healing traditions are historical, spiritual, creative, and political. Revealing the Rosa Parks yoga picture publicly for the first time underscores the ability of Black women’s historians to inform national efforts like Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July) while also bolstering vital community health work of organizations such as the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance.
At a similar time as the LOC exhibit, twenty of Rosa Parks’ nieces and nephews released a book honoring her life and commemorating what would have been her 100th birthday. In the collection, Our Auntie Rosa: The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers her Life and Lessons, both a niece (Sheila McCauley Keys) and nephew (Asheber Macharia) recount Parks accompanying them to yoga class as well as cultivating her own private practice. They wrote,
I came to realize Auntie Rosa had interests that not too many people knew about. Her receptiveness always left me pleasantly surprised. This was especially true when she decided to join us at yoga classes. She really enjoyed it. … (Macharia)
Well into her senior years she has only recently begun practicing yoga. Splendid silver hair gives her away as the oldest student in most of the classes she occasionally attends with family, but she doesn’t care. She’s reached a point when she considers herself a student of life. … Eventually, she learns the movements and yogic principles well enough to practice alone in her home. She’ll answer the door wearing yoga pants…. (McCauley Keys)
In her appeal to Congress for mental health support, Henson noted that religious communities often suggest we “pray away” problems. Rosa Parks, a Deaconess at the AME Church in Detroit, personifies the possibility of incorporating a holistic health approach to personal and community health in Black spaces. Yoga was incorporated into programming at the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, founded in 1987, and is still taught there in several forums. Fittingly, yoga is also a routine activity at the Rosa Parks Elementary School in San Francisco, California. As health professionals begin to prioritize restorative and preventative public policy that includes practices like yoga, they can turn to historical examples for support and proof of efficacy.
Mental health-centered practices include and extend beyond self-care routines. Angela Davis, who wrote about her yoga and meditation practice while imprisoned for her political activism the 1970s, is one of many voices that rightly cautions against “individual” conceptions of self-care. Long-time advocates like Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) founder Byllye Avery clearly state the need for community building around self-care discussions as a form of consciousness raising. For over forty years, public health educators like BWHI in Washington, D. C. and Center for Black Women’s Wellness in Atlanta, GA have trumpeted education about self-care practices as crucial tools for mental health and advocacy groups like No More Martyrs and Black Ladies in Public Health continue to push in that direction forward.
In this chapter of Why we do Yoga, I travel to a few new places to find out the reasons and ways people do yoga. Familiar faces and new encounters lead me through a slew of changes plans but graceful adjustments. Watch as one connection leads to another from Martinique all the way back to Atlanta and a few places in between. Luck and coincidence carried me through this one. Look forward to the next soon enough. Peace
The list of Yogis keeps growing but you can find most of the people seen in this one on Instagram