Not everyone can do yoga poses, but everyone can do yoga actions.
Our Creating Space: Yoga Actions books are the foundation of both our 200-hour Teacher Training and 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training programs. We offer these training packages through yoga studios to individuals interested in deepening their own personal practice as well as their diagnostic and teaching skills. For us, yoga has been our primary vehicle for navigating the current stresses and demands during these times of radical transformation. Because most life challenges faced in today’s complex world are unsolvable alone, radical transformation is a co-creative journey—whether your tools are yoga, meditation, painting, writing, gardening, etc. More and more, humanity must come together in collaboration in order to contribute in meaningful ways.
A creative collaboration between two friends and yoginis.
Fortunately, as humans, we have wise reserves to draw upon, both within and around us, for our times of need. YOGA ACTIONS began as a creative collaboration between two friends and yoginis, Candace Propp and myself, Helen Maupin. Our original intent was to write one book in an attempt to capture even a small portion of the knowledge and wisdom we gained from practising yoga. That modest intention mushroomed into —
- six yoga actions books focusing on specific areas of the body,
- two teacher training programs (200- and 500-hour) complete with facilitator manuals and student handbooks,
- a bi-monthly yoga column in the Winnipeg Free Press, and most importantly,
- a deeply-rewarding sisterhood filled with peace, love and joy.
As always, journeys of creation and discovery, whether on or off the yoga mat, take us beyond the scope of our imagination into the Universe’s intentions and gifts. As plant and stone archetypes, Candace and I opened up whole new worlds of learning and possibility; more than we could imagine or accomplish alone.
Our bodies always tell us the truth about what we are experiencing.
Yoga postures emerged in response to an understanding that tension, tightness and painful suffering can be alleviated and eliminated by tapping into the body’s cellular healing capacity. Our bodies always tell us the truth about what we are experiencing. Unfortunately, we are often too busy or too blind to pay attention. To better utilize our body’s innate ability to heal, we must awaken to how it speaks to us. Yoga poses (asanas) help us to discover where our pain and tension lie. Yoga actions, such as release the thigh bone back and the shin bone forward, take us deeper into our inner experience thereby bringing us ever closer to the source of our suffering. Yoga actions also help us to concentrate our awareness in the present moment. Through this intimate mindfulness of our direct experience, we learn what truth is.
The body must tell one what to do, not the brain. BKS Iyengar
Bless you, for joining us on our co-creative journey into the joy of yoga. Whether in your home, office or wherever you and your computer travel, may our yoga action practices seed collaboration and co-creation in your beautiful life. And, may this connection between us seed even greater compassion and spread peace, love and joy around the world.
2018/19 Yoga Actions 500-hr. Curriculum
(60 Hours): Yr. 2
Helen Maupin (Designer & Facilitator)
Eight 4-hour workshops: Saturdays (1 to 5 pm)
Two Intensives: 8-hr Winter – Saturday & Sunday (1 to 5 pm)
20-hr Summer – Monday to Friday (9 to 1 pm)
Annual International: 15-hr Retreat – Tuesday to Sunday (9 to 11:30 am OR 9 to 10 am & 5 to 6 pm)
4-hr Workshop Design:
Hour 1 — Philosophical teaching appropriate to class content
Hours 2 & 3 — Pratyahara & Asana exploration
Hour 4 — Pranayama & Meditation
September 22 A STILLNESS PRACTICE — From Yoga Nidrasana (Open Hips) to Yoga Nidra (Open Heart) (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
In this workshop, you will open your hips, hamstrings and heart in preparation for the deep forward bend of Yoga Nidrasana and the deep relaxation of Yoga Nidra. Both Yoga Nidrasana and Yoga Nidra draw our attention inward stimulating pratyahara, which is the deep peaceful relaxation that emerges when we withdraw our senses from the outer world.
[During Pratyahara,] we learn to surf between the states of wakefulness and sleep, where our body finds its natural state of equilibrium (homeostasis) – the breath balances and becomes quiet, unconscious and conscious aspects of the mind reveal themselves, and we fall into an innate state of deep, blissful awareness. James Reaves
October 13 OPENING ENERGY CHANNELS — Feet, Leg & Arm Loops (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
In Asana practice, we begin by opening and strengthening the outer, gross body — skin, muscle and bones. Once greater capacity is achieved, we move deeper into the energetic body — organs and nadis (energy channels). In this workshop, you will get in touch with and access various energy channels in the body, which will enable you to address deeper, concretized habits. By concentrating our focus on moving energy rather than fascia, muscle or bone, we can open hardened physical habits where even the breath has not succeeded.
November 10 KAIUT YOGA — Detoxing Our Major Joints (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
As a Chiropractor, Francisco Kaiut blended chiropractic medicine, Tibetan Buddhism, Yoga and cranial sacral therapy into what he calls “Yoga for Everybody.” He was shot in the left hip as a child and spent many years in constant pain. His search for relief for both himself and his patients led him to create the Kaiut lineage of yoga. Kaiut Yoga emphasizes long holds where pressure is applied at a variety of angles in order to work deep into the joints. Kaiut postures light up and reprogram the central nervous system, stimulate circulation and, with time and patience, increase mobility while reducing pain. One of Kaiut’s students described the practice as “Anatomical Diplomacy.” This workshop includes two Kaiut sequences, discussions and observations.
December 15 EXPLORING THE FLEXIBLE BODY — Building Towards Stability (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
When students are asked why they do yoga, many say, “to be more flexible”. They talk of tight hips, strong quads, and stiff shoulders. For them, flexibility is their needed component for balanced health. However, yoga also attracts people who are already flexible and some who are too flexible or hypermobile. What they need from their yoga practice is often quite different than other bodies. In this workshop, we will address the following questions:
- How can we as practitioners:
– know where we are on the sturdy to hypermobile scale?
– know what our body needs and interpret the yoga actions to meet those needs?
- How can we as teachers:
– identify our flexible and hypermobile students?
– design sequences to meet the needs of the flexible body as well as the sturdy body?
January 19 BALANCING THE SHOULDER BLADES — Stability & Movement (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Yoga teaches presence, that is, awareness. In the early years of our yoga practice, we are only superficially aware of imbalances and stressors in our body. Nonetheless, any imbalance in the body reflects an imbalance in the mind and breath. By bringing awareness to where these imbalances exist, the yoga practitioner begins a journey of using sensation as a guide to deeper intimacy (awareness) and recovery (integration).
Yogis begin by grounding their legs and pelvis so they can stand with balance and move with freedom. With this capacity, the journey moves up the spine into the heart space and shoulder girdle. This workshop focuses on bringing awareness, stability and movement into the shoulder blades. A variety of heart-opening poses, pranayama, dharana and dhyana (meditation) will be part of the learning experience.
February 02 THE DOSHAS — A Practice for Your Ayurvedic Body Type: Vata, Pitta, Kapha (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Because our emotional, mental and physical health issues are rooted in our body, it is vital to understand our predominant body type (dosha). With this knowledge, we can better choose those movements/asanas, foods and experiences most suited to our health. With such knowledge, we feed our unique energetic constitution. We are energy beings, and our Ayurvedic Dosha significantly influences how we interact with life.
In this workshop, you will discover your prominent dosha type(s) and practice a sequence specifically designed to balance it.
March 16 & 17 YIN TEACHER TRAINING — Exploring Various Approaches
(8-hr Saturday & Sunday Workshop)
Yin yoga is a slow, meditative yoga practice with postures held for periods of time ranging from one to five minutes or more. Holding poses applies moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints as well as improving flexibility. More importantly, Yin yoga creates the conditions necessary to engage with our deeper awareness and inner silence and brings to light the interconnection of body, mind and spirit.
In the Yin Teacher Training workshop, you will learn:
– the many benefits of Yin
– the many poses and methods of sequencing
– the concept of working back of “your edge”
– the difference between pain and sensation; tension and compression
– when to prop and when not to
You will be guided through a variety of practices, group discussions and creative sequencing exercises by Candace Propp.
April 27 MINDFUL MEDITATION II — Meditating, Moving & Writing with Present Moment Awareness (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Everything is indeed yoga. Being aware of and true to the many layers of being within allows us to integrate our physical cellular intelligence with our spiritual intuitive wisdom. When this magical alliance occurs, our mental-emotional body no longer feels the need to dominate and manipulate our experiences. We come to know confidently what is true, and, as a result, we freely express the joyful creations arising from our collaborations with all of life. To live recognizing and honouring all our relations is the yoga of deep collaboration.
In this workshop, you will use your awareness and deep-felt experience in collaboration with spirit to free and express your creative self. Bring your mystery and your journal.
May 25 SPINAL HEALTH II — Lumbar Length & Strength (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Many yoga practitioners use the asanas to stretch muscles and increase flexibility. In time, this emphasis on stretching can overextend and misshape our musculature, which creates even more imbalance. Instead, the asanas aremeant to reveal where our muscles and bones are out of balance. Then, we can learn to anchor and stabilize or create length and ease where our body indicates the need.
This balancing act takes weight off the spine, which liberates and returns it to its natural curves. This workshop focuses on activating the lattisimus dorsi to stabilize the sacrum and lumbar spine while broadening and lengthening the thoracic.
August 19 to 23 DIAGNOSING BODIES — Seeing the Action (20-hr Monday to Friday intensive: 9 am to 1 pm)
During asana practice, when we focus awareness and intention on each of the seven spinal chakras, we feel and see their unique impacts on our body and being. As receivers of life-force energy, each chakra centre or wheel transforms ‘prana’ into the vibrational frequencies needed to nurture and sustain our lower layers of being (our physical body –Annamaya kosha, our energy body–Pranamaya kosha, and our mental-emotional body–Manomaya kosha). By activating and then expanding the capacity of each chakra, we access the dormant pool of energy lying at the base of our spine. Raising our ‘Kundalini power’ to meet and mix in our heart chakra with the descending cosmic wisdom entering from our crown enables us to transform physical energy into spiritual energy. This integration is the heart of manifestation.
In this 5-day intensive (9am – 1pm), various yoga actions will be introduced that facilitate expanding the chakra energy centres and deepening the yogi’s practice. A felt experience of standing poses, inversions, backbends, forward bends and restorative practice, including pranayama, silent practice and meditation, will be used to encourage self-diagnosis, right practice and an awakened spirit.
2017/18 Schedule (60 Hours): Yr. 1
Afternoon Workshops ($80 + gst each) – Saturday 1-5 pm
2 Day Workshop ($200 + GST) – Saturday 1-5 pm / Sunday 1-5 pm
Intensive ($400 + GST) – Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
September 23: TAKING FLIGHT—All About Inversions (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
In this workshop, you will learn to work safely with a partner while you experiment with a cellular mulha bandha breath during an inversion practice. Inversions, allow us to face our fears and open our physical and energy pathways while pranayama increases the amount of energy that can then flow through these opened passages. Thus, our ability to remain detached, trusting and courageous is strengthened, no matter what confronts us.
October 28: SPINAL HEALTH I—Exploring the S-curves (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
In yoga, our aim is to move from Dukha (suffering; unease) to Sukha (well-being, ease, happiness, lightness of being). Deviations from Sukha are registered in the S-curves of the spine. This workshop practices yoga actions that bring your spine back into Tadasana alignment (Sukha), no matter what pose you take.
November 18: HEALTHY KNEES—Prevention & Correction (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Much of our unresolved emotional suffering (Dukha), is held in our larger joints—knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, wrists. The focus of this workshop is on opening and strengthening our joint cavities, in particular, the knee joints. To undo old holding patterns and prevent further strain on this naturally unstable joint, yoga actions for asana and pranayama are practised.
December 16: MINDFUL MEDITATION I—Meditating, Writing & Moving with Present Moment Awareness (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Since yoga’s birth, unexpected energy releases, sensations, imagery, convulsions or even forms of levitation are reported by yoga practitioners. These more mysterious or mystical aspects of yoga are often revealed to us when we quiet our mind during asana movement, Savasana and meditation. The focus of this workshop is to experience meditative movement in asana and to explore your “mysterious energetic” experience(s) through insight meditation, sharing and journaling. Bring your mystery and your journal.
January 27: INTRODUCTION TO KAIUT AND YIN YOGA—Joint & Fascia Release (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Asana opens up the communication pathways between all aspects and systems of our being, in particular, the nervous system (spine) and the tissues (muscle, bone, fascia, etc.). This is significant because in our 20s our bodies begin aging and our muscles get weaker and looser while our fascia shrink wraps around these tissues. Of course, emotional reactions, such as applying our will, add to these aging effects, which is why it is important to address the fascia in beginner students even before addressing the muscular body. Additionally, when we impose our will on what is emerging in our body, we block our subconscious intelligence from maintaining and nurturing our involuntary systems. The focus of this workshop is to experience longer holds in postures while facilitating the spontaneous healing capacity of our cellular body through the use of a cellular mulha bandha breath technique.
February 17 & 18: 5 KOSHAS—A Practice For Each Sheath (8-hr Saturday & Sunday Workshop)
For millennia, human beings have sought certainty, wellness and immortality outside themselves in the physical world. In actuality, such forms of permanence abide within one’s soul or eternal unchanging self. As yogis, we access our soul by removing the layers of accumulated conditioning and reactive habits currently blocking its true expression. In this workshop, we free our soul by tapping into our koshas—five increasingly deeper layers (sheaths) of being housed within our bodies. You will experience a practice for each sheath—physical, breath and life force, mental, intuition, and soul. A regular, thoughtful eight-limb practice integrates these five koshas providing us with mind-body-spirit wellness.
March 24 : THE BANDHAS I—Hasta & Pada (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
In yoga, the five bandhas are often described as “energy locks.” They give us the ability to tone and lift various parts of our body despite gravity’s ever-present downward magnetic pull. From a purely physical perspective, an activated bandha engages specific muscle fibres to accomplish this anti-gravity lift. A primary purpose of engaging the bandhas is to prevent injury by lightening our load, in particular, taking weight off our joints. In this workshop, you will use your Hasta (hands) and Pada (feet) Bandhas to reduce the weight bearing on your joints as experienced in both inversions and backbends.
April 28: SENSATION-AL YOGA—Shifting From Doing To Being (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Layer by layer, the eight limbs of yoga release us from our unhealthy patterns so we can live in the present with discernment. As a result, we move from doing yoga as a sometimes practice to being yoga (authentic) in each moment of our lives. Our yoga practice provides us with many opportunities to experience the mystery of being—accessing our direct/felt experience—which is the focus of this workshop.
May 26: BUILDING A YOGA CORE I — Balancing the Pelvis (Saturday 1 to 5 pm)
Stabilizing, lengthening and broadening are the primary intentions of all yoga actions. In order to build our container so we can adequately respond to everything encountered in our daily lives, we need to strengthen where we are weak, lengthen where we are contracted and broaden where we are restricted. In this workshop, you will practice muscular, skeletal and breath/organic actions to balance the pelvis and optimize your core capacity.
August 20 to 24: DIAGNOSING BODIES I — Space & Stability (20-hr Monday to Friday intensive: 9 am to 1 pm)
The practice of yoga is meant to awaken us to our true self. This only becomes possible when we become aware of the layers of conditioning and the wounds blocking our authenticity. The body gives us clues in the form of sensations to help direct our attention to these areas of numbness and/or holding. This 5-day intensive focuses awareness on inner sensations to diagnose whether space, stability or both are required in one’s yoga practice and life. A felt experience of standing poses, inversions, backbends, forward bends and restorative practice, including pranayama and meditation, will be used to encourage self-diagnosis, right practice and an awakened spirit.-