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Conferences

The Australasian Yoga Therapy Conference (AYTC) 2018 in Sydney was held on the 15 & 16th of September at the Amora Hotel.

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Upcoming Events

Donna Farhi

Empowering People Through Interoception: Restoring Full Sensory Capacity

Donna Farhi is a Yoga teacher, sought after international teacher trainer and acclaimed author. In this presentation, Donna will explore how you can create structures for learning that improve your client’s ability to tap into their felt sensation and to use it as a potent navigational system. How you can shift from being an audiovisual teacher to a kinesthetic facilitator. How to use kinesthetic information to determine the difference between good pain and bad pain and differentiate between sound and unsound practices.

Donna Farhi is a Yoga teacher, sought after international teacher trainer and acclaimed author.

“Almost anyone can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people, but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.”
E.E. Cummings

For most people educated within a Western context, learning takes place almost exclusively through the visual and auditory sense channels with the kinesthetic sense remaining undeveloped, ignored, and mistrusted. So it should not surprise us that people, young and old, arrive at Yoga classes in a state of kinesthetic kindergarten. Whether you work one-on-one, or whether you teach group classes, Donna will explore how you can create structures for learning that improve people’s ability to tap into their felt sensation and to use it as a potent navigational system. She’ll discuss why the myth of “no pain, no gain” has created an epidemic of both chronic and acute Yoga injuries, and how unravelling the unscientific basis of this myth can help people to appreciate pain as a messenger asking them to make new choices.

You will learn

  • Why “Simon Says” learning perpetuates disconnection from felt sensation and how you can shift from being an audiovisual teacher to a kinesthetic facilitator.
  • The importance of establishing a perceptual baseline as a kinesthetic reference point through which you can appreciate changes (both positive and negative).
  • How the practice of pratyahara (restoration of the senses to their fullest function) leads to an awareness of the neutral ground upon which sensation occurs and can foster non-reactive, creative problem solving.
  • The importance of extrapolating meaning from sensory input and how this can build a sensory memory bank that can become a rich internal resource for growth and learning.
  • How to use kinesthetic information to determine the difference between good pain and bad pain and differentiate between sound and unsound practices.
  • The radical self-inquiry of uncovering unconscious higher allegiances that perpetuate poor choices and poor outcomes.

Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa

The Psychology of Health Recovery: Considerations for Yoga Therapists

Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa, PhD is a Medical Family therapist, highly experienced Yoga therapist, Yoga therapy trainer, and is well known for her Kundalini Yoga program for people living with HIV. She has taught Yoga since 1971 and since 1986 has taught people with chronic or life threatening illnesses. Across all traditions and lineages of Yoga Therapy and across all skill sets, the essential work is transformation. How do we help the injured or ill person recover? How can the Yoga Therapist engage his or her client to assist them to make and keep new health behaviours and to adhere to a practice? Shanti Shanti will explore the new psychology of health recovery and how to cultivate and engender this in our clients. You will learn the first step to Support Behaviour Change, what Self Efficacy is and How to Develop it in Your Clients, the importance of support from friends and family, When to Say Yes and When to Say No and the Case for a Compelling Future.

Annette Loudon

Yoga for the Lymphatic System

Annette Loudon is a world expert in the field of Yoga and breast cancer related lymphoedema.She is currently the most published author worldwide in peer reviewed journals for yoga and breast cancer related lymphoedema and has conducted extensive research in this field combined with decades of practical experience. In this presentation, you will learn how to combine Yoga practice with current evidence-based principles of lymphatic clearing, neuro-plasticity and yoga research to create an effective practice for those who are healthy, have compromised lymphatic systems such as lymphoedema and lipoedema, or who have immune dysfunction.

You will learn

  • What the purpose of the lymphatic system is and its role in immune function;
  • How to use Yoga to enhance lymph function for
    • overall health;
    • those with a compromised lymphatic system;
    • those with immune disorders
  • What the current evidence-base is that supports the effective use of yoga for improved function of the lymphatic system.

Just as many movies portray the eternal battle for supremacy between good and bad, such a struggle also exists in the human body. The amazing lymphatic system is one of the key players that collects, deals with and gets rid of the “baddies” without any conscious effort from us. This extraordinary system picks up any intercellular debris (fats, bacteria, viruses, proteins) and filters it through a network of capillaries, lymph vessels and lymph nodes, with the result that cleansed fluid is returned back to the venous system. It is an integral part of our immune function.

Different to the venous system, the pumping of lymph is partly controlled by slow full breathing and physical movement. This along with the location of lymph vessels in the fascia, makes yoga an ideal practice for enhancing lymph flow whether in a healthy or compromised lymphatic system.

Leigh Blashki

The Heart of Healing

Leigh Blashki is often described as the ‘father of yoga therapy in Australia’ and is sought-after presenter nationally and internationally. He is a past-president and founding member of Yoga Australia. Leigh has over 40 years’ experience as a Yoga and meditation teacher. Much of the work of a yoga therapist depends upon her/his (yoga and therapeutic) knowledge and skills as well as an ability to tap into and trust her/his place of both ‘inner knowing’ and ‘not knowing’ and developing a deep resonance with those we serve through our work. A vital question for yoga therapists is: can we find an effective balance between using our knowledge and skills gained in Yoga therapy training and ‘getting out of the way’ and letting the healing mystery unfold? In this presentation, you will be guided into a self-inquiry to discover, recover or simply call forward the heart of healing that resides in all of us. Ways of establishing this ‘heart of healing’ as the foundation for the work of yoga therapy will be explored, so that participants can come away inspired and with sense of connectedness that will help them throughout the conference and forward into their life and work.

Liz Williams

Yoga Therapy for the Elderly: How the Older Body is Different

Liz Williams is a highly experienced health educator who has specialised in Aged care. She has been working in the health sector for almost 40 years. In the past 17 years, she has trained Yoga teachers, nurses, allied health and medical staff as well as community groups. Some of her areas of speciality include anatomy and physiology, orthogeriatics, rehabilitation, fall prevention, mental health (aged care), acute adult pain and pathophysiology. Liz has a Masters of Clinical Science in Aged Care and Healthy Ageing and a Graduate Certificate in Mental Health. Liz has worked closely with physiotherapists to develop rehabilitation and fall prevention exercise programs.

In this presentation, you will learn about the impact of primary and secondary ageing changes on Yoga practice, modification, precautions and, how to avoid common Yoga injuries in your older clients.

More and more older people are being prescribed yoga as a ‘cure all’. In recent times ‘Yoga for Seniors’ has become a growth area. Yoga therapists/teachers may not have sufficient knowledge of the special precautions necessary for older yoga students. We all know that changes occur as we age, but as a yoga therapist, you need a good understanding of the extent of these changes and how these changes will impact on you being able to deliver safe and effective yoga practice for the older student.

The older person may be undergoing more advanced surgical techniques and medical interventions and then expecting to return to their previous lifestyle. This has resulted in older people who have never done yoga, starting a yoga practice. In other instances, older people who have practiced Yoga for many years, need to be aware they also need to modify their yoga practice to accommodate changes and to avoid some of the most common age-induced yoga injuries.

You will learn

  • Primary ageing changes (the changes we will all have as we age) and their impact on a yoga practice.
  • Secondary ageing changes (the exacerbation of Primary Ageing Changes due to illness, disease, injury) and how these compound the modifications and precautions for a safe yoga practice.
  • The most common injuries in the older person practicing yoga and suggestions for avoiding these injuries.
  • Some facts about ageing and the most common injuries.

Danielle Begg

Yoga Treatment for Refugee, Torture and Trauma Survivors

Danielle Begg is the Co-Founder of the Refugee Yoga Project, Founder/CEO of the Yoga Impact Charity and has overseen the delivery of over 300 trauma sensitive yoga classes in nine locations. In this presentation, you will learn about the impact of trauma on refugees, evidence based research describing how yoga can improve the physical, psychological and interpersonal health of refugees healing from torture and trauma, core principles for tailoring classes to ensure suitability for refugee participants and Yoga practices utilised in the Refugee Yoga Project for improving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression symptomatology.

You will learn

  • The impact of trauma on refugees
  • Evidence based research describing the ways yoga can improve the physical, psychological and interpersonal health of refugees healing from torture and trauma
  • Core principles for tailoring classes to ensure suitability for refugee participants
  • Yoga practices utilised in the Refugee Yoga Project for improving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression symptomatology

The aims of the evaluation of the refugee yoga program were to:

  1. Assess the feasibility and acceptability of a yoga group program for refugee participants;
  2. Identify possible physiological, psychological and interpersonal benefits; and
  3. Explore counsellor and participant attitudes and experiences.

The research was carried out with four client groups including: a mixed group of Arabic speakers, Tamil, Bhutanese and Mandaean clients.

Danielle will discuss her experiences with tailoring the yoga program and the evaluation to participants with a range of backgrounds, physical abilities and literacy levels. She will also discuss both quantitative and qualitative outcomes of the yoga program.

Preliminary data provides evidence for the acceptability and sustainability of this program for refugee clients, with benefits observed across physical, psychological and interpersonal domains.

As worldwide displacement of people continues to increase, so too does the number of refugees experiencing torture and trauma. There is an increasing recognition of the importance of the brain and body in trauma-related symptoms, and an increasing interest in the use of mind-body therapies as a part of treatment. However, there has been very little published research on the use of yoga with refugees.

Trish David

Yoga Therapy: Perspectives on Rehabilitation

Trish David is an experienced Yoga therapist/ teacher, educator and counsellor. She works as a volunteer at the Cancer Council, in schools delivering Yoga and mindfulness to staff and students and as a Lifeline Crisis support worker. In this presentation, Trish will explore rehabilitation through three client case studies – stroke, cancer and mental illness. You will learn how to improve outcomes for your clients, the importance of effective history-taking and how to address obstacles to rehabilitation.

Hearing directly from clients about their lives is vital to effective, compassionate and sound practice. This presentation seeks to explore the lived experiences of a small selection of clients dealing respectively with stroke, cancer and mental illness, from the ‘insider perspective’. By examining clients’ personal narratives we come to understand how disability, illness and isolation may be just one influence – sometimes significant, sometimes minor, but always fluid – in shaping the direction and quality of their lives. Our therapeutic relationships with a range of clients, fosters our own fresh perspectives of understanding individual challenges and strengths.

Through this presentation which will combine theory and practice, conference participants will learn about:

  • What rehabilitation means
  • Who is this individual we’re working with
  • Why the attributes and skills of Yoga Therapists influence clients’ ‘story telling’
  • When to ask questions and when not to
  • How Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras provide a foundation for addressing the obstacles to rehabilitation

The potential application and improved outcomes that result from using clients’ experiences to inform our work, along with intra and inter-professional collaboration, also supports our professional identities as Yoga Therapists.

Stacey Nelson

Pranayama in a Children's Hospital

Stacey Nelson is one of the few Yoga Therapists working with children in a clinical setting in Australia. She works as a Yoga Therapist at the Child & Adolescent ward at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Stacey will present case studies from her work. She will present on what pranayama practices are most therapeutic for children with asthma, encopresis, eating disorders, diabetes, Autism Spectrum Disorder and procedural anxiety.

You will learn

  • the key differences for teaching pranayama to children compared to adults
  • the steps to teach a child how to breath diaphragmatically
  • how to make traditional pranayama techniques like Brahmari and Kapalabhati child-friendly
  • when to add in breath retention, when to avoid it and how to teach it to children
  • the three essential things that children with asthma need to learn about breathing
  • why “belly breathing” doesn’t work for patients with eating disorders
  • how to incorporate breathing with movement to help children with digestive issues

Stacey will give you some of her expert tips for the most effective teaching methods. She will share some of the challenges that she has encountered teaching yoga in a clinical environment and working alongside medical professionals. You will feel inspired to join her in a mission to have a Yoga Therapist in every hospital ward.

Her presentation will give you a clear understanding of the importance of using props to engage children and why they are necessary to explain breathing concepts. You will have the opportunity to enjoy some child-like, hands on experience.

Sharon Longridge

Mistress of Ceremonies

An award-winning broadcaster formerly with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sharon Longridge is passionate about building flourishing workplaces. With two decades in the media and communications industry, she has designed cross media strategies for some of Australia’s leading brands. Over the last fifteen years she has coached hundreds of media professionals and business people in advanced communications and mindfulness and has a reputation for enlivening the training space

Sal Flynn

Mistress of Ceremonies

Sal Flynn is a highly experienced and engaging Yoga therapy educator and mentor. She is a psychotherapist and psychotherapist trainer at the Centre for Existential Practice and formally at Jansen Newman Institute. Sal is also trained to deliver the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs.

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