I have been practicing yoga consistently for over 25 years. In my personal practice I have used yoga to become healthier, more balanced, and more connected to myself and others.
I've been teaching yoga since 1999 in many different settings: yoga studio, senior center, community center, clubhouse, university, gym, church, corporation, private home.
While group classes are great I believe it is in your personal practice, when you are practicing what you need specifically for your body, mind and spirit, that the true potential of yoga takes root and soars. Every time I work with someone I'm so impressed with and grateful for the potency and depth of this work.
My primary teacher for over 15 years has been Gary Kraftsow. I completed 500-hour yoga teacher training with him in 2006 in Austin, Texas. It was a thorough, two-year program. In 2012 I completed his 500-hour yoga therapy training in Santa Cruz, California—another two years packed with knowledge from the ancient to the modern.
To learn more about my training visit www.viniyoga.com.
I am an E-RYT 500 through Yoga Alliance (teacher credential). I am C-IAYT through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (yoga therapy credential).
Yoga for Lung Cancer
From 2013-2015 I participated in a research study on Yoga for Lung Cancer. Judith Fouladbakhsh, Ph.D., of Oakland University, was the principal researcher. The protocols for the study were developed by Vijai Sharma, Ph.D., his teacher (and mine) Gary Kraftsow, Dr. Fouladbakhsh, and me. In addition to teaching the 12 week protocol, I trained other yoga teachers to teach the protocol at multiple sites. The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.
The 2013-2015 study was an expanded pilot of a study we did in 2009. Dr. Fouladbakhsh was the principal researcher and we used the same protocol, but for only eight weeks. The study participants showed significant improvement across the intervention in mood, mental health, breathing, and sleep. The results have been published in several peer-reviewed journals.
In February 2015, March 2016, and June 2018 I was a guest speaker for the Breathers Club at Royal Oak Beaumont. I taught Yoga for Better Breathing to participants with COPD and other lung issues. They did great!
These images are from a video featuring one of the club members which is used for patient information and inspiration.
Yoga for Anxiety and Depression
In 2012 I taught yoga to six professionals from Guatemala who came to Michigan for two weeks on a grant from Rotary International to learn about mental health services. Yoga was one of the alternative therapies the group learned about during their visit.
Linda Eastman (in photo fourth from the left) and Jay Eastman, M.D, procured the grant to augment the services they provide in northwest Guatemala. They have seen a deep need for mental health services where there are currently no such services. This is an area still suffering the effects of civil war and genocide against indigenous peoples as well as the anxieties of living in extreme poverty.
The visiting professionals came from diverse backgrounds (nurse, social worker, psychologist, physician, teacher, program director) and planned on taking what they learned back to the communities they serve.
None of them had practiced yoga, some having never heard of it. They took to the practice right away, were enthusiastic and saw how yoga could help them and their clients. I gave them practices to help reduce anxiety, depression and depression with anxiety.
To learn more about the Eastmans’ work in Guatemala, visit www.casacolibri.org.