Santosha Yoga studio offers a yoga teacher training program each fall and requires those accepted into the program to complete community service, known as karma yoga, during their four month training.
Santosha Yoga’s co-owner, Dina Lang, created and leads the 200 hour Initial Yoga Teaching Certification program and she felt strongly that every teacher trainee (TT) needs to give back to the community and created the requirement of Karma Yoga. As Dina explains, “it can be anything in which they are offering selfless service and expecting nothing in return, even recognition.”
Twenty two graduates of Dina’s yoga teacher training completed their certification at the end of January. Since all of them had completed their selfless service, this adds up to 88 hours of good works and volunteering happened since the program began last September.
When asked why Karma Yoga is part of the Yoga Teacher Training, Dina explained, “I include karma yoga, selfless service, in my 200 Hour Initial Yoga Teaching Certification program because yoga philosophy teaches that this is the ultimate purpose of our very existence. So, to dedicate an hour a month to serving others expecting NOTHING in return, not even recognition, gives us a chance to experience yoga in action. To do what must be done with an open heart is what it means to take our practice off the mat."
The experience of this year’s training class varied in how they chose to give back to the local community. One group of four decided to go together to the Oregon Food Bank and donate their time there. Others gave their time through volunteering in their church or with local programs they are involved. The feedback was positive and comments often expressed gratitude for the encouragement to make the time to give back.
Katy Nadal, Santosha Yoga’s other co-owner, fully supports the karma yoga requirement. It’s something that sets the 200 hour Initial Yoga Teaching Certification with Dina Lang at Santosha Yoga apart from other studios. Not everyone knows what goes into a training experience. Some programs focus on the basics of memorizing poses, cues, and a basic sequence. However, programs like Dina’s at Santosha Yoga expand upon that to include yoga philosophy and history, selfless service, and that each TT teach one free hour long community class.
The Community Classes are a way for the TT to gain real experience teaching people and it’s a way for Santosha Yoga to bring yoga into the community without any financial barriers. As Katy says, about the program taught by Dina, “it is sending out new, well-trained yoga teachers into the community.”
If studying yoga or becoming a yoga teacher interests you, Santosha Yoga has the information posted for the 2016-2017 200 Hour Initial Yoga Teaching Certification on the website. Information sessions will be offered in April.
2016 Teacher Training Information
We're excited to bring back the January Challenge at Santosha Yoga!
Establishing a regular consistent practice is an important way of bringing yoga into your life and make the challenges you want to see in your mind and body. Perhaps it's flexibility, strength, calm, or deeper breaths; yoga is an essential part of your wellness in the new year.
The January Challenge will run from 1/1/16 until 2/12/16. We wish everyone a strong, peace-filled new year!
How it works:
Grand Prize Drawing:
On February 13, 2016, we'll announce the Grand Prize Winner!
Every yogi who completed five classes a week for four consecutive weeks with no more than one "daily double" per week will have their name entered into the drawing for the Grand Prize. There is only one Grand Prize Winner per year.
The Grand Prize Winner will received 3 Months of Unlimited Yoga! A prize worth $350!
Every yogi who is qualified for the Grand Prize drawing still wins! Each person who completes the January Challenge will receive 50% off the price of one month of unlimited yoga! That means your next month yoga is unlimited for $65.
Set Your Intentions for the New Year on January 1, 2016
To enter the January Challenge, you'll write your name on the January Challenge sticker board because we're old school and like sticker charts. You can begin your Challenge as early as January 1st with the 12 p.m. Set Your Intention class with Dina and reflect on what you'd like to cultivate in 2016. And, we'll still have free Community Classes happening Jan. 2 - 18 as more opportunities for you to get your practice in each week.
Wishing you a happy holiday and a very merry new year!
Each year, Santosha Yoga has a Giving Tree for a local non-profit's wish list of items that they need for their programs serving others in the greater Portland community.
This year, Santosha Yoga is holding the Giving Tree for Living Yoga whose work brings yoga to shelters, homeless youth, incarcerated people, and to treatment facilities. In the work that Living Yoga does, they are bringing yoga to people in significant transitions and challenges in their lives. The yoga helps to provide them a sense of peace, calm, resiliency, and hope.
We're asking you to help us fill this tree with gift tags of your donations. You don't have to run out to the store and find the latest yoga accessory. We've got a list of the items they need and would use most in their programs - things we might be very used to having: yoga blocks, eye pillows, straps, etc. In fact, last year Living Yoga staff shared with us that often the eye pillows were the most valued prop in their youth in-treatment facility classes because it gave the teens a chance to have quiet and darkness in a place that is often busy with lights on and noises in the halls.
Here is how you can help fill the Giving Tree for Living Yoga!
At the studio, you'll find a list next to the Giving Tree of the Items for Living Yoga.
You'll decide which items you would like to donate to Living Yoga and you pay for them at the studio desk. We'll arrange for all items to be purchased and shipped directly to Living Yoga in very early January. Then, we'll give you a holiday tag to write down which items you donated and your name to "hang" on the giving tree.
This has been a wonderful experience in the past years! We hope you'll join us in the Giving Tree this year!
The Giving Tree is up from Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve. All donations made go to Living Yoga!
On Sunday, Sept. 20th, yogis all around the greater Portland area came together at the Bethany Village fountain for world peace. It was the annual Global Mala hosted by Santosha Yoga and community partner, Bonfire Hot Yoga. Yogis from three year olds up through our Senior yogis came!
In total, along the tiered grass and concrete surrounding the fountain, we had 83 yogis in attendance, plus a few little ones who came to watch the event from mom or dad's mat.
Thank you one and all for participating on Sunday.
A very special way to share an important intention!
Global Mala events happen around the world connecting us ALL in peace! We had 11 teachers from the two yoga studios guiding the sun salutations. At the end, all the yogis joined in the repeat of a mantra for happiness and peace followed by an Om to connect us all to each other and our intention. It was a beautiful sound heard across the street!
Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings be happy.
May all my thoughts, words and actions contribute in some way to the happiness of all beings.
A couple of weeks ago, yogis from around Portland and Beaverton filled the studio to learn how to take better care of their knees and how to reduce the pain they are living and practicing with on a daily basis. We had yogis from our advanced Power Vinyasa classes and yogis from Senior Yoga, because frankly, knee pain can happen to all of us. Here's a few things we learned on what to do about it.
The knee is a hinge joint that moves front to back and has a little bit of side to side movement. The knee works in conjunction with the ankle, feet, and hip to move the leg around in every which way an asana, or life, can take you.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, Get the Body Rolling! Oh my!
After reviewing the bony landmarks of the body, Nina immediately got people to work rolling out the major players that work with and around the knee: gluteus muscles, Deep 6 rotators, tensor fascia, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the calves. Nina explained the importance of "fluffing" the muscles and connective tissue, the fascia. Using the Yoga Tune Up® balls can make all the difference because they have the grip and grab to move the fascia around plus they are small enough to get into the smaller areas, such as the gully between the tail bone and the pelvic bone where you access your Deep 6 rotators.
Fluffing your muscles...
As Nina shared, muscles like the hamstrings can become pretty flattened or tacked down because of how much we sit. When the hamstrings are tight and tacked down, they start to pull. And where do they pull? The hamstrings pull on the knee which can result in knee pain. Check out this video of Nina showing how to move your leg around with a ball between the back of the thigh and the chair to get into all of the hamstrings and attachments. It hurts so good!
How do you fluff? By rolling out the muscles listed above and then moving the ball down to the lower part of the leg and practicing different moves such as shin rolling, foot rolling, and the calf mash. The calf mash is when you keep both of the Yoga Tune Up balls toted in their mesh bag, you place your calf on top of the balls on top of a block and you roll the toted balls up and down the length of your gastroc muscle. (see photo above).
Sometimes the knee pain can come from the inside of the thigh, when the knee cap isn't tracking correctly. Perhaps the knee cap is puling to one side, or the quadriceps aren't able to release the knee cap down. Try placing one ball on either side of a block in between the knees. Breathe and compress the thighs towards each other and then try moving them around, rotating one thigh at a time in and out. (see photo below).
Nina comes up with fun and interesting names of moves to get the body moving through exercises and stretches that will balance out all the major players involved in knee health. She used humor and funny pop culture examples (e.g. Shakira's hips, twerking) to help people picture what their body should be doing in a certain move.
A few moves we used to train the leg muscles to navigate and tone in the right way:
- Imaginary Gas Pedals (with or without a ball under your thigh)
- Quad Stretch
- Hip Hinge (with a back leg raise, similar to Warrior III, to engage the gluteal muscles and the psoas.
Check Up on Your Knees
Stand where you can see your lower half in the reflection of a mirror, with the pant leg up above the knees (or wear shorts). Come into Tree Pose vrksasana on one side. Once you've found your balance, bring your gaze to the knee cap of your standing leg. Is it pulled up? Is the quadricep drawing your knee cap up? Try to relax the quadriceps and release the knee cap down. This is an important test to see how well your knee and surrounding muscles are functioning together. The knee cap should not be lifted. Then, test the other side.
If you missed the Yoga Tune Up® workshop with Nina to learn about Pain Free Knees, you can always set up a private yoga session with her or sign up for the next workshop she'll offer in the fall.
Be kind to you! Be kind to your knees!
More information on Nina and her work can be found at www.yogapitzel.com