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Professional Resources

“Alone we can do so little…but together we can do so much” — Helen Keller

 

A Push for Collaboration

 

With the goal of building collaboration and momentum within a growing international yoga therapy community that seeks to push the profession forward, Yoga for Better Health hosted the first of a series of Global Discussion Forums on Jan. 12.

Too often, the profession of yoga therapy can seem like a lonely pursuit, said Ann Marie Johnston, the founder of Yoga for Better Health and the Global Yoga Therapy Day initiative. The quarterly discussion forum will give yoga therapists from all over the world a regular opportunity to meet, brainstorm and energize the effort to advance profession of yoga therapy forward, she said.

 

Brainstorming: Addressing the Big Problems

Participants in the Jan. 12 event were divided into groups of five or six and asked to consider four questions:

  1. What is (are) our field’s biggest problems? (Participants were asked to focus on one main problem for the discussion.)
  2. What are the possible causes of the problem?
  3. How can we work together to solve the problem?
  4. What would success look like?

 

The Takeaways

Several key themes were identified during the brainstorming session:

 

  • The Problem:

Elevating, diversifying and mainstreaming the profession of yoga therapy within current health-care structures remains a key challenge.

    

Many in the general public and in the health care sector know little about what yoga therapy is, or what distinguishes yoga therapy from yoga, and that is a major hurdle for yoga therapists as they seek to build their clientele or find employment within the health-care sector that will enable them to support themselves, participants said. The ultimate goal, one participant said, is that yoga therapy will become a routine part of health care. “Floss your teeth, see your yoga therapist” is the idea.

 

 

  • The Causes:

There is a general lack of marketing expertise, coherent messaging and marketing support in the field of yoga therapy. As a result, common misperceptions  surrounding yoga and yoga therapy are not being addressed, blocking avenues for development and growth. Insurance reimbursement and the lack of referrals from mainstream health-care providers are also factors that have limited the spread of yoga therapy.

 
Popular misperceptions about yoga as primarily a physical workout for exceptionally flexible people — fueled by images on social media of people bending themselves into pretzel shapes —  have hindered the growth of yoga therapy, because the bigger picture of all that yoga has to offer as a holistic healing practice is missed, participants said.


Yoga therapists not always well-trained to talk about what they do, some said. Other participants said there is a lack of uniformity in yoga therapy training programs that is also responsible for the lack of coherent marketing in the field.


Missed opportunities to market yoga therapy as a healing modality rather than a physical workout has led to a lack of diversity and accessibility in the field, which presents further  barriers to development and growth participants said.

 

 

  • Possible Solutions:

Addressing these challenges will take a concerted effort, with stepped up support from international and national professional yoga therapy organizations.

 

That effort should include public awareness campaigns and educational efforts on the individual, regional and international level, participants said. Evidence-based studies on the efficacy of yoga therapy should be kept in the public eye and case studies shared widely, they said. And more platforms should be developed to publicize yoga and yoga therapy initiatives such as programs for schools and prisons.

 

Health Initiatives that are capturing the public’s imagination, such as the “social prescribing” campaign in the United Kingdom, are great opportunities for promoting yoga therapy, participants said. The “social prescribing” campaign, in which citizens are being urged to take more responsibility for their own health, provides a perfect opening for yoga therapists to promote their role in working with clients to develop a sense of agency  and empowerment where their health is concerned. Working on public health campaigns together will also do much to develop and strengthen referral networks between yoga therapists and mainstream health care providers.


It was noted that the support of a large collective marketing organization is necessary for large scale publicity efforts, and several participants called for more work to develop national associations that would work to promote yoga therapy, ideally in conjunction with larger umbrella associations, such as the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

 

Despite the lack of a coherent marketing yoga therapy message, participants noted that there are unifying principles that yoga therapy schools teach: the use of a client intake process, the customization of treatment plan that considers the biopsychosocial conditions of the individual and a great deal of collaboration between therapist and client. These unifying principles can and should be used to shape a coherent marketing message. More dialogue between yoga teachers and yoga therapists would be helpful as the yoga therapy community seeks to address misperceptions about the profession, participants noted.

 

  • Defining Success

Addressing these challenges will allow yoga therapy to become more widely practiced, more integrated into health-care structures, more available and affordable to the public, and a profession that offers adequate financial compensation and benefits to the practitioner.


Article written by Kelly Couturier

Kelly Couturier, MS, C-IAYT, is a yoga therapist at the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai in New York City. She also teaches yoga and meditation, with both corporate and individual clients.

kellycouturier.com

IG: couturierkelly

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Professional Resources
Dayna Culwell is the kind of client every marketer dreams of.
This gal is ready, willing and extremely proactive in her quest to take her business to the next level.

When Dayna first joined in my Marketing Programs in late 2018, she dove in, head first. Dayna registered for both our Marketing & Branding Foundations program (Strategize for Success) as well as registering for the ongoing monthly group coaching program, ‘Growth Mindset Group Coaching‘.

Over the course of the year, Dayna took each month’s ‘homework’ seriously; often emailing it through as part of her accountability.

She turned up to each call, asked questions and really engaged in the process. And over the year, she took her business from strength to strength.

You can see some of the enhancements she made to the landing page of her website. She tightened up her branding and the enhanced the professionalism of the way she presents herself and her business. She made it clear, front and center, that she offers private yoga therapy sessions and really honed in on her niche area of expertise (chronic pain and back pain); sharing blogs and focusing on SEO to send new customers her way. 

Importantly, she made it easier for her clients to see the action she wants them to take: ‘schedule an appointment today’. She added video testimonials that allow her brand advocates to do the work for her.


Realizing she needed to diversify her offering beyond one to ones and group classes, Dayna created On-Demand courses and Online courses to diversify her revenue streams.

Dayna’s enthusiasm and focus on her business was so great that she decided to join the program ‘Strategize for Success’ for a second time!  In this second round, she’s commented how much more she’s learning & absorbing – where everything isn’t quite so ‘new’ to her.

She’s noticed that her brand values have shifted. She’s clearer about where she is and where she wants to go.
As a marketer, it fills me with such joy & excitement to see where she is headed. I can’t wait to see what unfolds for Dayna over the next year or two!

In Dayna’s words:


“It was gratifying to connect with other yoga therapists around the world who are all striving to go to the next level in their business and aspirations.

The program has helped me leverage my platform from mediocre to the best it can be. I completely re-designed my website with more clarity and focus, I streamlined who I target, I got new headshots, a new logo, new colors, etc.

Best of all, I finally got around to hiring a production crew to video a series of yoga therapy sessions that will be available for subscription (very soon!).

None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for Ann Marie’s wisdom and encouragement. Immense gratitude”

Dayna Culwell, C-IAYT

Yoga by Dayna

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Professional Resources
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Global Yoga Therapy Day, Professional Resources
On Monday we held a Zoom call for opportunities to get involved with the global delivery of Yoga Therapy.

If you missed the opportunities, read on for how you can still get involved.

Applications deadline is Dec 18th.

Opportunity #1: Volunteering for the GYTD Community Outreach Initiative:

Seeking:

‘Community Outreach Coordinators’ (point persons to engage yoga therapists & specialists in their community to get involved in their own outreach efforts for the week of August 16-20th).

> Marketing/design support

> Project Manager to oversee coordinators 


Here I’m looking for geographical diversity in volunteers –  In total; I hope to identify ~4 volunteers to help in this outreach effort. 

Time Commitment: (Role dependant – but anticipate ~2-4 hours week; flexible to your schedule)
Starting Feb 1, 2021 through Sept 1, 2021

Learn more and apply here

 

Opportunity #2: Internship with Yoga for Better Health (YogaMate)

Work with YogaMate (Yoga for Better Health):

Seeking individuals interested in:
> Marketing support (particularly digital / social media)
> Program delivery (research project and community discussion forums)
> Big picture strategy/execution

I anticipate both junior and senior experience to apply depending on the role (looking for 3-4 people). You do not need to be a C-IAYT (but great if you are) – you may even still be studying.

Note: I’ve chosen the word ‘internship’; but what I’m really seeking are people who are interested in becoming an integral part of my team. I know how important personality and fit are; and this ‘internship period’ gives us both the chance to work together to see if we’re right together for a long term fit into YogaMate. Future opportunities may look like a part time, full time or possibly even equity interest in YogaMate, depending on the fit and our long term mutual interests and aspirations.

Initial Time Commitment: (~6-8 hours week; flexible to your schedule)
Starting Feb 1, 2021 through Sept 24, 2021

Learn more and apply here





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Professional Resources

It’s an end of an era – (well, to some degree!)

After long hard consideration, we’ve decided to turn off our website YogaMate.org

After having spent the better part of 2 years building the site, 4 years running it and over 6 figures spent developing it; it’s certainly not a decision that comes (at all) lightly. 

But, as everyone knows – 2020 has changed most everything. The needs of the world are a bit different today than what they were when I originally conceived of YogaMate in 2014.


Are you also having to pivot?

If you’re needing to overhaul your business (or if you’re just getting started) – now might be the ideal time to work on your marketing strategy. Join me in my program Strategize for Success starting Feb 1. I’ll help you avoid the mistakes I’ve learned the hard way…


All is certainly not a loss  for YogaMate. I’m excited to advise, we’re not going anywhere… we’re just shifting over to our new website: YogaBetterHealth.com

Managing 4 websites – as I’ve done for the past couple years – is not the best use of anyone’s resources or time. While I created multiple sites for good reasons (namely bad coding on YogaMate.org which made that custom-built site nearly impossible to enhance) it’s definitely time to consolidate YogaMate.org; YogaMatePro.com and YogaBetterHealth.com into the one site. (GlobalYogaTherapyDay.com will remain on its own).

Many (though not all) of YogaMate’s assets will be brought across to this website over the next month or two.  More details on this in the coming weeks ahead.

Please note that, as part of this decision, we will also move away from using the name YogaMate. 🙁

Whilst that’s a tiny bit sad; it’s the right choice in the long run. The name ‘mate’ here in Australia means ‘friend’, but that meaning didn’t necessarily translate the same around the world; and it’s a smarter marketing decision to focus on one brand rather than many. Sometimes, it’s better to let go for the sake of the long term vision.

While some things will change, and not all of YogaMate.org’s assets will carry through initially (our Practice Creation tool, being one of them); I can confidently inform, our focus remains on championing therapeutic yoga and yoga therapy. 🙂

I’ll also still be offering both Strategize for Success and Growth Mindset Live Group Coaching – the marketing programs for yoga therapists & specialists that I’ve run over the past 3 years.

We’ve also got a few new offerings in store for you, including our new Global Discussion Forum and mid-month Q&A / Accountability calls that have been added in to our monthly group marketing program.

We’re also working on a collaborative research project which we hope to deploy in early 2021 and big plans for the Global Yoga Therapy Day Community Outreach Initiative.

So strap in and stay tuned, we anticipate big things for 2021!

And if you’re at a point where you realise that something must change for your own business, and you’re looking for some strategic guidance to do it smartly; please consider joining in our upcoming Strategize for Success Program Jan 25th; or grabbing a Platinum Subscription to really commit to building your business in 2021.

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Professional Resources
2020 has been quite the year for everyone.
But – excitingly, it affords new & exciting opportunities for our field when we embrace the changes.

I – like each of you – am having to pivot and make strategic business decisions for how to move forward.
I’ve made the difficult (but smart) decision to close down the website YogaMate.org – and am moving forward am focsusing on Yoga for Better Health (read more about that decision).

Our recent survey informed me that while 54% of you have seen business stay the same, or improve; 46% of you have found yourself struggling.

So, for 2021, I have decided to offer 5 scholarships to my premium marketing tier; our Platinum Level Subscription.
This subscription includes our foundational marketing program Strategize for Success (starting Feb 1 – US) and our new Growth Mindset Live Coaching Program.

If you’re a yoga therapist or specialist passionate about bringing your offering to the world in a bigger way, I encourage you to apply for our scholarships.  I’m offering 1 full scholarship (valued $3794) and 4 matched scholarship (pay just 50% of the subscription cost).

Application for the scholarship is Dec 24th; successful applicants will be notified by Dec 31st.

Learn more and Apply here!

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Professional Resources

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Professional Resources, Yoga Therapeutics App

In a recent survey, conducted as part of the inaugural Global Yoga Therapy Day, yoga professionals were asked if there are any yogic practices deemed too dangerous to teach.


Responses from over 1000 yoga professionals around the world identified the following as the 5 yoga poses whose risks outweigh any potential benefits:



No Go Poses #1 and #2:
Handstand & Headstand

In the first instance, these poses require a tremendous sense of balance. In a packed room, the risk of falling & injuring another person is reason enough to not teach these poses; but furthermore, these intense inversions put people with hypertension, heart disease and risk of stroke at extreme risk. The poses are also cautioned for people suffering from neck, back or shoulder injuries, eye conditions like glaucoma, ear infections, heartburn or indigestion, headache, pregnancy, low blood pressure and osteoporosis.


Most yoga professionals indicated there were way too many risks to be worth any potential benefits; particularly when other, safer inversions offer similar benefits.

 

No Go Poses #3 and #4
Shoulderstand & Plow


Shoulderstand followed by plow pose is one of the more common sequences seen in general yoga classes; but many respondents suggested both of these poses has too high a risk for neck injury.  And like the above inversions, these poses put people with hypertension, heart disease and risk of stroke at extreme risk.


Other reasons to steer clear of shoulderstand and plow? If you have back or shoulder injuries, eye conditions like glaucoma, ear infections, heartburn or indigestion, headache, low blood pressure or osteoporosis. That’s a lot of health conditions to be wary of – and with 52% of students indicating they’ve never filled out a student intake form advising on medical history; teachers need to be wary of what they don’t know!


No go pose #5
Extreme backbends like Wheel

Wheel pose and other extreme back bends can aggravate (and possibly create) disc problems; particularly if you’re not fully warmed up when they’re introduced.


In wheel pose, people also have a tendency to rest on their head as they move into the pose, exerting considerable pressure on their neck, which can be extremely dangerous.


This pose is cautioned for individuals with arthritis, back injury, heart conditions, shoulder or wrist injuries or any of the eye conditions like glaucoma.

 


Keep them safe:


With 2 in 31 of the public survey responders indicating they have a pre-existing chronic health concern or injury, it can be a challenge to keep your students safe in their practice. The unfortunate fact is, hospital visits are on the rise, due to yoga injuries. 


To help keep your student safe in their practice, ensure new students fill out a student intake form so you have a better idea of any pre-existing injuries or health concerns that could put them at risk. Then, in every class make sure to ask questions before class begins if there are any injuries or concerns to report.


To further increase your confidence in keeping them safe,  YogaMate has created an app, Yoga Therapeutics Pro, which provides the cautions and potential therapeutic considerations for over 350 yogic practices. The app allows yoga practitioners to search more than 100 of the most common health concerns and injuries to gain instantaneous access to knowledge that helps you better keep your students safe in their practice.


Available in iPhone and Android. Learn more & buy the app here.

1 Safe Yoga Survey, conducted by YogaMate, June – July 2019 of 1058 yoga teachers

 

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