An Introduction to the Art and Science of Yoga
Not many people, including those in its land of origin, fully comprehend what the word ‘Yoga’ actually means, or all that it encompasses. This intensive course sheds light on the deeper meaning of Yoga, and its historical, philosophical and psychological context. Learners will also learn about the various branches of Yoga and the relevance of Yoga for modern times. Given the increasing popularity of Hathayoga – a path of yoga which includes asanas and pranayama as two key components – the course goes deeper into the study of Hathayoga. While sufficient philosophical background is provided, the emphasis is also on giving learners a more practical view of this particular yogic tradition. Brief introduction is also included on the topics of Mantra Yoga, Tantric Yoga and Chakras – which is sufficient for a beginner student of yoga. The material covered in this course will serve as the necessary theoretical background for anyone who wishes to begin yoga practice, particularly asana and pranayama. Such a curious learner will become reasonably familiar with the appropriate terminology and concepts as a result of going through this course. We strongly recommend that the learner must begin personal practice under the direct teaching and supervision of an expert yoga master.
Eligibility: This course is open to all who have a general interest in or even a slight exposure to yoga and/or any other system of holistic well-being. A learner who is keen on gaining a deeper knowledge of the meaning of yoga, some of its main branches or systems and the relevance of yoga for modern times will benefit greatly from this course. It will also be of great help to those who are interested in starting or deepening their personal yoga practice.
Yoga for Prisons
Prison can have far reaching implications on an individual’s psychological and overall physical working. One of the purposes of prison is rehabilitation which should enable the prisoner to use the time of isolation from the outside world in an efficient and life changing way. Unfortunately, most prisons lack adequate programmes that offer the inmates opportunities to engage in meaningful activities that would enable them to change their lives, both on physical and mental level. Prisoners rarely receive feedback and guidance from trained and experienced staff that could facilitate their self-advancement and self-improvement.
SAFIC has designed a special programme which focuses on the transformational and rehabilitative value of Yoga. It provides a complete foundation for teachers and educators who want to conduct yoga interventions in prison settings. In order to efficiently introduce yoga practice in this kind of environment and with a lasting effect, one must be not only familiarized with Yoga teachings (both theory and practice), but also what must be studied and understood in depth is the prison environment itself, prisoners’ living conditions and the problems that they face. For this reason, the content of the programme includes following components:
- The teachings and philosophy of yoga tradition, including diverse yogic perspectives on the structure, states, functions, and conditions of the body and the mind, based both on classical texts and the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
- Introduction to Integral Yoga and its practice.
- An overview on the specifics of prison environment.
- Basic knowledge of physical and mental health issues specific to prison population (common pathologies, disorders, symptoms).
- The logistics of organizing a yoga intervention in prison, ways of creating/adjusting a yoga intervention based on specific prison requirements.
- Examples of yoga intervention plans: weekend introductory workshop and a 12-week-long programme. Both examples of interventions are prepared on the basis of research studies conducted in prisons in the USA, UK, and Spain.
Eligibility: Yoga teachers and educators who want to conduct yoga interventions in prison settings.
Yoga for Children with Special Needs
This course provides a full program for Yoga teachers and educators who want to conduct yoga interventions among children with special needs. Material included in the course focuses mainly on the following special needs children:
- Children with physical disabilities
- Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- Children with ADD and ADHD
- Children with Sensory Processing Disorder
Given that the range of challenges faced by special needs children is very wide, it is crucial that teachers and caretakers are not only familiar with the proper teaching approaches but also have a good understanding of each child’s experience and challenge on the physical, emotional and mental levels. They must also have the empathy needed to create a safe and friendly space for each individual child to progress.
It is important to remember that children with special needs have the same feelings and emotions as anyone else. Stress, anxiety, fear and anger are typical feelings that all children might experience. Special needs children, however, exhibit some specific responses to stress which include: difficulty with communication, sleep problems, obsessive compulsive or repetitive behaviours and difficulty self-regulating physical and emotional states with body awareness. Such children because of their inability to communicate their feelings might respond to stress in inappropriate ways, and because of the difficulty to regulate their emotions cannot identify and control the level and intensity of their emotional reaction.
Yoga is a movement therapy that not only builds strength, flexibility and balance but also teaches how to quiet and focus the mind which improves one’s capacity to perceive and interact with the world. Yogic breathing techniques calm the mind and the body by developing self-awareness. Yoga practitioners not only stretch the body but also their imagination. And since yoga is non-competitive, it helps to create a sense of community within the group and thus develop more self-esteem and a sense of belonging.
In addition to being a refresher for the Yoga teachers on topics such as the importance of Yoga for healthy living, this course also introduces them to the foundations of Integral Yoga. The major component of the course covers topics related to:
- Various conditions of special needs children.
- Physical and mental health issues specific to this population (common pathologies, disorders, symptoms).
- Introducing Yoga among children with special needs.
- Correct usage of Yoga practice with regard to the specific conditions of special needs children (indications, contraindications, benefits).
- Examples of yoga intervention programmes
Eligibility: Yoga teachers and educators who want to design and conduct yoga interventions for children with special needs.
Please contact SAFIC if you wish to know more details about any of these courses.