RESTORE Teacher Training with Sam Akers
If you haven’t heard, ODD has some absolutely amazing teacher trainings happening throughout the next few months.
One of them happens to be a restorative yoga workshop with the wonderful Sam Akers. It’s taking place at our Echo Park studio from March 7 – March 10 (find more details here). Whether you’re a certified yoga teacher or a student looking to deepen their practice through restorative asana, this training is for you!
Are you intrigued by this concept but not really clear about what restorative yoga actually is? Keep reading. Check out the photos.
Learn about this beautiful practice, how Sam came to love it, why she continues to do what she does, and what you can expect to get from the training.
Why is Restorative Yoga near and dear to my heart?
Restorative Yoga allowed me to heal from 11 years of Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and Lyme Disease. I had been diagnosed with all of these ailments, in a 3 month period, in 1997. Completely debilitating and confusing. Western medicine attempted to help, but really was making me worse with all kinds of medications. I found myself at a holistic chiropractor, one day in 1998, who suggested that I try yoga. I didn’t find restorative in my first class, but instead, I went to whatever class fit my schedule, as there was not really any guidance. It was a Vinyasa class that nearly killed me. Luckily, the owner of the studio was the teacher, and she sweetly suggested Restorative Yoga. What is this, I asked? Well, she responded, you lay on the floor, completely supported and rest. I was not excited by this, in fact, it sounded ridiculous. I was already laying around all day, why would I spend MORE time doing this?
What I didn’t know, in that moment, was that Restorative Yoga was and could be, so much more than just laying on the floor. I did get myself back to the studio, about a month later. I walked into class and there was the lovely teacher, David. His voice was kind and understanding. He proceeded to guide us through 4-5 asana and he would come over and offer me extra support, for my arms and legs. It was in Reclining Butterfly, Supta Baddha Konasana, that I had my first true healing experience. It was pretty wild. I saw soft golden light, I experienced a sweet voice in my mind, letting me know all would be ok, and I cried and cried. He let me remain in that asana, while others moved on. His support was the reason that I was able to let go, begin to heal and come closer to the pain within my self. I felt completely safe.
I had no idea that I was in any emotional pain at all. I was not aware that the trauma I experienced growing up, was now living in my tissues. I had never given myself permission to slow down, in part, because I knew it could be painful. But with David there, supporting me with his kind heart, voice and his seeing my discomfort and supporting that too, I could stay. And stay I did. That afternoon, I got all the props, bolster, blocks, blankets, and began my daily practice of reclining butterfly, which I still practice to this day. I am sure, that this practice saved my life.
Why is Restorative Yoga of value to me?
Not only because of my own healing experience, but now because of reports from thousands of students and clients I have supported in practice. I find that most of us push ourselves plenty. We push into experience, we push away from experience. We cling, we avert. But how often are we given permission to dive in, to sink in, to our own hearts and our own needs. How often are we supported in the arising and passing of ALL feelings and thoughts? One of the reasons that I lead trainings in Restorative Yoga is because we do not receive enough training in this modality, in our 200 hour training programs. Throw a bolster down and you are good to go, right? My experience 21 years ago was particularly healing because David fully supported my body. I felt safe, cocooned, seen. My nervous system could relax, my endocrine and immune systems could follow suit. My psoas could soften and years of held pain could release, sweetly and fully. My work with Judith Lasater and Leeann Carey just solidified my belief. They both teach in a way that encourages the complete support of the student, but we must train our eyes to see where support might be needed. This means more blankets under the joints of the body, adjustments of height of props and use of sandbags and blankets on the body. The student should be a comfortable as possibly, with little to no stretch sensation. This is why Yin and Restorative are completely different practices.
I have now been guiding students in Restorative healing for over 18 years. My restorative classes, workshops and trainings are my best attended classes and I believe it because of the level of care that I offer, along with the use of loving kindness meditations and breath work. I have had the honor and pleasure of watching hundreds of students heal themselves, through restorative practices, no pushing, just being. Please join me for another wonderful, fun and eye opening weekend of Restorative Yoga!
In this March training at One Down Dog, all students are welcome. You do not need to be a yoga teacher. In fact, I encourage anyone in the health fields to join us as it is fabulous to integrate Restorative into therapy, nursing, PT and OT, just to name a few. If you are a teacher, learn to support the body/mind/hearts of your students even more fully and successfully. You will receive 2 manuals for this training as it is level 1/2 and we will review the basics and foundational asana as well as delve into some of the more interesting and fun asana that can be used in therapeutics. We will discuss trauma, resourcing, Metta meditations, Yoga Nidra and more. I love discussions and often you, the students, inform the training greatly with what your particular interests are. You may also earn CEU’s through YA, if you need them, in taking this course.
Thank you for being a part of the Relaxation Revolution! With Metta and Restorative Yoga, we CAN heal the world. Let’s begin…..”
Samantha Akers, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, CMT, MFRT
What is Yin Yoga Anyway?
Blog by: Samantha Akers
“Yin Yoga.. what is it? Is it safe? Why should be practice this modality? Are we “stretching” ligaments?”
These are all valuable questions. I believe we SHOULD practice Yin Yoga, but as teachers, we must have a deeper understanding of the fascia, ligaments and of what type of body benefits from what type of practice.
Yin Yoga affects the Parasympathetic nervous system as well as the fascial fabric of the body; both are extremely beneficial. Our fascia likes long held poses; one to five minutes, in most cases, begins to melt and lengthen the fascia. As the fascia warms and lengthens, the nervous system can move fight or flight to the rest and digest space. Fascia is informed by the chemicals produced in the body, not by the myotatic reflex in the way the muscles respond. When the “happy” chemicals are produced, such as Oxytocin, the Parasympathetic nervous system is switched. So it’s a win, win!
The concerns are valid, but they can be addressed with proper and skillful training in Yin Yoga. Tom Myers asks, “Are you a temple dancer or a viking?” Meaning, are you hyper mobile in your fascia ( it’s not just joints that are mobile, but the whole fascial network) or are you quite inflexible? We must address this in a Yin practice and I do so by giving mobile bodies cues to strengthen and isometrically contract vs just flopping passively into a pose.
What about flexible vs. Inflexible bodies for Yin Yoga?
Flexible bodies don’t need more flexibility and for these folks, Yin can be a great challenge AND work to strengthen the fascia around their ligaments and tendons. For the more inflexible folks on the spectrum, they need some “stress” to the fascia, and yes, perhaps even the fascia around the ligaments. Tom Myers also believes that many of us need some “stress” not “stretch” of the ligamentation.
As teachers, we can learn to develop our eyes to see who needs what in a class and offer poses and instructions accordingly, always using props to support the body. I have done extensive study with Tom Myers and Russ Pfeiffer as well as cadaver study to delve into what is happening in the body when fascia becomes adhered, especially internally.
The other side of the Yin pose
I bring Metta, a form of loving kindness meditation, into my Yin classes. This is a great opportunity, through long held poses, to practice loving kindness. Students report that they find they experience more ease and less pushing towards a goal, when they incorporate Metta phrases. In my trainings, I incorporate Metta, the Science of a Stretch, Biomechanics, Passive vs Contraction, use of props and developing the eye and the insight to see which students need what type of assistance to benefit from Yin in a safe and holistic way. I also include the TCM meridians, as they run through the myofascial lines of the superficial body.
Yin is a beautiful and beneficial practice and I believe we can assist and keep bodies safe in Yin Yoga. We can lengthen and warm the fascia, reduce stagnation in the tissues and address the nervous and circulatory systems through the Yin practice. Both systems are informed by the messages your fascial network are sending. Judith Lasater states, “ Most of us in the United States are Vata Deranged!” Meaning we are moving too fast, living too much in the head and becoming much too tight in our bodies. I agree!
I believe that practices such as Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga ( two very different practices but both with relaxation of the nervous system in mind) can help our most vital systems to re-balance, renew and live, breathe and move more ease-fully. As teachers, I believe we have a responsibility to know what we are teaching, what we are asking of students bodies and why. Let’s delve in together!”
Yoga Teacher Training – Continuing Education in East LA
July is a month of yoga teacher training continuing education at One Down Dog. Open to any yoga teachers or teachers in training we have a range of opportunities for you to remain a student. Learn and work alongside fellow teachers to grow your practice and what you have to offer your students.
Hands On Assisting and Seeing w/ Janine Glass
July 13th 1:45 – 3:15
This workshop is for yoga teachers and teachers in training.
Awaken your intuitive “seeing” skills in order to strengthen your ability in giving hands-on assists while teaching and working with private clients.
This workshop will cover theory, demonstration, and training of safe and effective hands-on yoga assists
What you get:
- “Seeing” skills training: “seeing” blockages and brightness in bodies.
- Hands-on assisting theory and injury Q&A
- Guidance and coaching in assisting with partners
- Working with injuries and clearing pain
only 20 spaces available onedowndog.com/workshops
Restorative Yoga Teacher Training – Level 1
This is Sam’s second visit with this training. Take level 1 now, she will be back for level 2 again within the next year! Check out the first group of ODDfam that attended.
She will also be offering a 2 hour Restorative class open to the public and the students who attended the workshop. It will be delicious!
Join the relaxation revolution!
Restorative Yoga is a healing practice that brings the body, mind, and nervous system into balance. Learn to teach Restorative Yoga, guided by Samantha Akers (formerly Joseph) (E-RYT 500) (C-IAYT), creator of the TheraYoga Method. Sam is passionate about the immensely powerful practice of Restorative Yoga, since it has been a major part of her own journey to health. These trainings are for teachers & students who are looking to deepen their knowledge of Restorative Yoga!Teachers receive a certificate of completion once all homework and assisting is completed.Level 1 of this training covers the main poses of Restorative Yoga, how to adapt them for a variety of students, how to use props, how to design a satisfying class, and more. Special attention is given to therapeutic applications of Restorative Yoga, and how the practice can benefit people with special needs, or simply relieve stress. The training also includes discussion of the three Ayurvedic Doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and how to build a Restorative and breath practice to best suit the needs of all three. You will also learn the basics of a mindful awareness practice to aid those with anxiety and trauma disorders, helping to keep students feeling more grounded, clear and balanced during their experience of Restorative Yoga and beyond. Students will receive a manual and a reading list.
These trainings are designed to prepare current yoga teachers to teach Restorative classes in studios and other environments. These weekends are also open to students simply wanting to deepen their knowledge, and for those in allied professions (massage therapists, those in the mental health care field, etc.) as a vital part of their practice with clients.
The goal is ‘happy kitty face’ here.
$400 prior to July 1st
DATES & TIME:
Friday July 14th 5-8pm
Saturday July 15th 9-5pm
Sunday July 16th 10-5:30pm
Samantha is currently under the private direction of her teacher George Haas as well as being a student in his 11 month program, A Meaningful Life. She completed Community Trauma Resiliency training, through the Trauma Resource Institute, in August of 2014. Her Restorative practice has been influenced by her teachers Judith Lasater and Leeann Carey. – Learn more about Sam in her bio under the workshop.
Hands-On Savasana Adjustments
7/25 + 2-3:30pm
Did you know we had a massage therapist at One Down Dog? Did you know she’s a yoga teacher!?
Want to give your students that little extra love in Savasana? Need a refresher course or brand new on feeling comfortable palpating and moving areas of the body? Then this workshop is for you! We will…+ Review basic structural anatomy
Where to apply pressure, where not to…+ Simple massage therapy techniques
Help ease muscle tension after an intense practice
+ Carefree joint mobilizations
Traction and movement to areas of the body without
assistance from student
+ Savasana Sequence
Learn a quick sequence outline that allows you to add your own flavor throughout