Teaching Yoga In a Retirement Village

Teaching Yoga in a Retirement Village:
What Do You Need to Know?
I have taught in a retirement village and it was a great experience. I remember my students and I have heard from some since I left. But there are a few quirks in working with a retirement village.
Who Makes the Decision to Have a Yoga Class? The decision maker will usually be at the retirement village (RV) level. Even big companies with several retirement villages usually leave that decision to the local level. But from there it can vary. Many retirement villages have a residents’ council and they will likely be part of the decision. They may have the authority to make the decision or they may make a recommendation to the RV manager or the activities person for the village. Practically, the manager or activities person, may be the person you want to talk to first. They will have a good idea of what the residents have asked for and what they think they will enjoy.
The residents’ council may be more difficult to access unless you know someone at the village. In my experience, residents’ council tend to work by word of mouth. So finding someone you know that knows someone at the RV may be worth your time.
Payment? You can ask the students to pay or (far less probable), the RV pays you a class fee. Make sure that you cover your costs of transport, props, etc., when setting the fee.
It is important to understand the financial realities of mature adult yoga classes. Yoga (while increasing in popularity with older students) may not attract a large number of students over 70 (the average age for entering an RV). So if you only have 50 RV residents, you may only have 3-5 students at each class at best. Older adults have fewer scheduled activities. Half to a third of the class will be gone on any one day because of travel, illness, medical appointments and other activities. So a small retirement village provides a very minimal amount of payment.
Space? Most RV’s will have a meeting room for activities. This means that you may have to move furniture around, and the walls may not be suitable to use for modified asanas. Ensure that the chairs are sturdy (see What Props Do You Need for Senior Yoga Classes http://www.yogalightness.com.au) for more information.
Advertising? I have seen ads at Retirement Villages with very young models doing difficult poses . This type of advertising will not attract the residents. Older people know that very few of them could do that pose and furthermore, they will decide yoga is not for them. Use a picture of an older person doing a gentle or modified pose and you will find that there is more interest in the yoga class.

Ahimsa – Creating safety

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Ahimsa – a safe class with Christine Wushke

2:40 – Ahimsa – creating a safe environment in class to be a healing space.

Need presence and attunement to your students to receive feedback about how they are doing. Slowing everything down, looking for resistance and blockages.

8:00 – Students not connecting with their bodies and forcing their bodies to do poses

10:30 – Trauma informed yoga. Hakomi trauma theapy. Frontline yoga, teacher is tracking the room for trauma activation.

17:00 – Adjustments in a safe environment

26:00 – Mindfulness (being present in yourself) and bringing your student to mindfulness at the beginning of class

34:15 – Christine talks to yoga teachers: a) use a movement attuned to resistance to allow students to release and b) using organic movement

Contact details:

email: journeytolight@gmail.com

Website: www.freelyhuman.com

Book: Freedom is your Nature. See it on Amazon or Christine’s website


What Props Do You Need for Senior Yoga Classes

What Props do I HAVE to have for Senior Yoga Classes
Props will vary depending on the level of the class and the fitness of the students.
For a very gentle class with older students with fragile bodies:
  • you should check for wall space,
  • items that may trip someone,
  • flooring, and
  • chairs.
Often in retirement villages or aged care homes, the walls are not available because of the many pictures. Poses against the wall won’t be available with very crowded wall space.
But because it is a retirement village (or aged care home), the chairs will be very sturdy and heavy. A lightweight folding chair is not an acceptable chair for this group. They often will grab the chair to keep themselves from falling or tripping. If there are polished wood floors (which is unlikely), bring some mats to anchor the chairs so they won’t slide on the floor.
Often the meeting rooms in retirement villages and aged care homes are quite full of furniture and can be difficult to navigate. If you can move some furniture to get a clear space for the class then you have reduced the probability that someone could trip.
I bring blocks, straps, and tennis balls to these types of classes:
  • straps can help with alignment,
  • blocks to press between the knees to work the quads and
  • tennis balls to increase foot flexibility.
For a gentle chair class, then the same information applies about walls, flooring, and room to move. Usually in this group, they are more fit and can manoeuvre better. They still need:
  • a very sturdy chair,
  • the ability to use the wall for poses if possible,
  • will have a mat and may use it for some poses if they can get up and down from the floor.
Again blocks, belts, and tennis balls can be helpful with poses.
For students in a mat class,
  • A mat. I like students to try different kinds of mats during balance poses to challenge them. So having thick squishy mats, as well as very thin and medium thickness mats is helpful.
  • For kneeling poses, a squishy (I cut up a cheap yoga mat that was quite thick) pad for people with knee issues is helpful.
  • You can also fashion a wedge for people that have wrist issues from the squishy mat pieces.
  • Blankets can be very helpful during winter as they lay on the floor in savasana.
  • Chairs should be more substantial than flimsy folding chairs. These students are in better shape but still need something that is stable.

Yoga Volunteering

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Giving Back through Yoga Volunteering

Patti Stevens of Live  Balanced Naturally

1:00 Introduction: Aerobatics, Zen of Las Vegas, volunteering, Patti’s travels.

5:23 – Teaching Yoga, Reiki, Qi Cong  as a Volunteer in a Substance Abuse Facility for Women and Their Children.  Low income individuals who have never experienced these types of modalities

9:20 Benefits for Clients: Breathing, meditation, relax, focus and movement.

Patti Introduced Drum meditation as a tool for personal journey in meditation

18:58 – Reiki  is energy work and unblocks energy channels. Clients of the center can attend reiki circles after leaving the facility. A reiki circle is a group where facilitators provide energy release for the attendees.

24:15 – Patti has combined all of these modalities to help others. She has utilised all of these modalities to build a coaching system: Live Balanced Naturally.  Patti coaches women who are at a crossroads of their life  to find the best exercise, to eat cleanly, and to find a spiritual path that is good for them.

To contact Patti:

FB: www.facebook.com/LiveBalancedNaturally

website: www.livebalancednaturally.com

Speaker page: http://www.myspeakerpage.com/pattistevens/

Twitter: https://twitter.com_LiveBalance

Youtube: https://twitter.com/channel/UC9KyqDYlgXpRi7mto9zcxFQ



Alchemic Yoga – Returning to Our Roots

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Alchemic Yoga with Natalie Almond

1:33 – Alchemic processes and how a yoga class is structured. Working

with the hormones, organs, breath.

7:04 – Natalie’s journey to become an alchemic teacher and her teacher John Burke.

12:45 – Using visualisation

15:26 – Would this yoga class look like a “current” yoga class

22:40 – Students with a variety of wellness and fitness levels and goals all in one class.

29:56 – Website: E-book on its way and retreats,  and teachers should be honest and humorous, and be themselves. www.anahatayogaspace.com.au, anahatyogaspace@gmail.com and FB page: anahataspace



The Future of Yoga – Part 4

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The Future of Yoga: A recap of what we found out in the Future of Yoga Series

1:12 What is the Future of Yoga; how it will and must change in some areas

4:55 Re-introducing our guests in the series

6:55 Yoga is beautifully designed to be helpful in the prevention area in health systems and research is showing how yoga helps all systems of the body.

13:40 What are the roles of yoga teachers and yoga therapists in yoga’s future?

16:34 Where will we be teaching?

20:50 How do we clean up yoga’s reputation given recent ethical and criminal issues in the yoga community?

30.00 As the perception of yoga as a valuable, health-promoting tool becomes more widely known, regulation becomes more and more of an issue.


Future of Yoga 3 – Regulation

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Future of Yoga – Somatics Research and Yoga Regulation

1:00 Intro

2:15 Somatics Definition:Turning our attention to the consciousness of the body. Trying to objectively study our subjective experiences. How does movement affect the hormones, enzymes, nervous system, brain and the muscles and fascia

11:15 New Somatics Research: As the value of Yoga is researched in a variety of ways and this research shows the value of the holistic practice of yoga, it will become more evident that yoga  helps a variety of conditions and will be of even more value to different populations like children, pregnant women, seniors and people with mental and physical health issues. Yoga will find a home in many institutions: schools, prisons, clinics,and  hospitals.

16:00 Regulatory Concerns: Yoga needs to regulate itself or state legislatures will either regulate the industry or allow other certified modalities to take yoga’ s place. Regulation allows the public and other yoga professionals recourse for a yoga teacher with insufficient knowledge and ability. Regulation is to remove the dregs at the bottom not the cream at the top.

24:45 Recent research shows that movement and meditation affect genes by turning some on and others off. Yoga’s system turns on genes associated with movement that lead to better health. This system affects all systems, not just muscle, bones and fascia.

29:15 Harm in not being regulated: Without regulation, yoga will have no standing with legislative authorities. Yoga can be legislated out of existence if other regulated modalities complain about yoga and require that they not practice.  All yoga teacher’s/therapists will be the same in the public’s perceptionas under prepared and harmful yoga teachers/therapists. There is no recourse for someone harmed by a yoga teacher and the industry has no recourse in regards to a yoga teacher with insufficient knowledge and ability.

Future of Yoga 2 – Acting ethically in the classroom

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I welcome Linda Baird to the podcast to talk about ethics in yoga. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the topic. We discuss how to be ethical in the classroom given that yoga teachers and yoga therapists have by nature of the job more power than their students. Linda emphasises that the most important concept in ethics is to have a relationship with your students. To genuinely care for them, to be aware of how they are doing in class, to ask questions to understand instead of assuming are some of the tips she gives. She also discusses ways to be ethical is large classes and how to be present and lead from the heart as a yoga teacher.

Yoga with Musculo-Skeletal Therapies

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Jodie Gillam Penderghast of Source Yoga in Brisbane Australia talks about her fusion of Western evidence based information and Eastern modalities to offer therapeutic help to all of her students.

1:12 Introduction

4:46 Joining the Guru Tradition with Western Evidence Based Information: Jodie has a background in remedial massage and a Satyananda lineage in yoga. She has fused these two areas to develop a series of unique yoga classes.

6:46 Evolution of yoga:

7:57 Life Stories in Students’ Bodies: Students carry their lifestyle in their bodies and many cannot even begin a yoga class without some therapeutic intervention so that they can move more easily.

13:35 Musculo-Skeletal Therapies in the Yoga Class