Teacher training combines yogic philosophy, Indigenous world views
- Kaitlynn Nordal | July 23, 2019
For everyone at Saskatchewan Indigenous Yoga Association (SIYA), namaste is more than just a word. It is a way of life that they want to share with everyone.
As a way of doing this, SIYA is putting on a 200-hour yoga teacher training from July 13 to 27 and August 3 to 16 at Pura Vida Yoga loft in Saskatoon.
This course is the first of its kind with a mix of Indigenous world views and yogic philosophy. There are also Indigenous cultural experiences that are part of the training.
The idea came from Dawn Deguire and David Edney, two of the founders of SIYA, who were giving out scholarships to Indigenous people to attend yoga teacher training. They noticed there were barriers to people attending teachers training that the main stream teacher trainings weren't addressing. They then decided to make a yoga teacher training class specifically for Indigenous attendees as there are similarities between Indigenous spiritual practices and yoga philosophy.
“We are weaving together the Indigenous ways of knowing with the yoga teachings and philosophy,” said Kristine Divall, lead trainer for the course. “It’s an experiential course where we are out doing both land based Indigenous ceremony and practices and lots of yoga practice. We are doing a lot of comparison. We are doing a lot of embodied experiences.”
Rachelle McHenry Lafferty, associate lead trainer for this course, first started working alongside SIYA in 2018 when she got a scholarship through them for yoga training and then was approved for a grant to teach in Fond Du Lac First Nation where her grandmother is from.
“The north does not have access to the same thing urban centers have access to and we are seeing high levels of mental health and addiction as well as suicide crises among the youth,” said McHenry Lafferty. “So, the fact that we are training a whole bunch of people potentially coming from these areas and then they are able to go back and offer this in the community it just seems to align with my whole purpose and what I have already been doing.”
McHenry Lafferty, who is of Dene descent, thinks it’s a good idea to intertwine the two world views for this class.
“I feel really blessed to be a part of this,” said McHenry Lafferty. “Our knowledge keeper has said this often throughout the training not one of the students or the trainers is there by accident. This was really meant to happen. We have special students in this group the ripple effect of this is going to be a game changer so I am really blessed and grateful to be given this opportunity”
Divall thinks this could be a healing experience for not only the 12 people taking the course but also the people they then teach in their community.
“Yoga is a really healing practice and for people to be able to come from their communities ... and study to be a yoga teacher and then take that practice back to their communities will be a powerful experience for making yoga accessible in smaller communities. And, to offer this as a healing practice to people who have experienced a lot of trauma through colonialism and other things that have happened in the history of Canada.” said Divall.