NB: This is a 2-day course
This two-day course, split over 3 months, aims to provide yoga teachers with a basic awareness of the main mental health conditions that they may come across in any class of students. It will highlight how mental health difficulties may present themselves and offer insight and strategies on how to support students in their yoga practices, including class management. There will be morning and afternoon yoga practice sessions (including asana practices) followed by discussions relevant to yoga teachers of indications and contra-indications of practices for people living with or vulnerable to mental health difficulties. The course will also explore ways in which yoga teachers can play a positive role in supporting mental health through raising their own awareness and sharing this in the wider community. Questions, examples and group discussion will be encouraged throughout the course. No prior knowledge or experience of mental health is required to attend this course. Pre-course information will include brief descriptions of the main mental health conditions.
Bijam has been practising yoga since the early 1970s. She trained with SYTA (now Yoga Scotland) between 1999 –2001 and subsequently undertook various modules, beginning with Philip Xerri’s 6-month Foundation and Teacher Training course in Pranayama. In 2003 she came across Satyananda Yoga, over the next 4 years working with Swamis Pragyamurti and Vedantananda Saraswati to complete various Study and Sadhana courses, Yoga Nidra training and in 2007 an Integration Course in the tradition of the Bihar School of Yoga. As part of this qualification, for the final project she devised and ran an 8-week course (16 hours) of yoga for mental health, which she called “Mind Balancing – Yoga and CBT for Stress Management”. In various guises this programme, revised and updated as new research in both yoga and mental health has emerged, has formed the basis of most of her seminars on yoga and mental health. Jenni was initiated into mantra diksha with her spiritual name “Bijam” in 2006 and into karma sannyasa in 2010. In addition to weekly community classes, monthly seminars and IST/OGT days, Bijam has taught the yoga part of a Yoga Scotland course: Introduction to Ayurveda, the Yogic system of medicine for body and mind.
Bijam/Jenni retired in 2009 from over 30 years’ experience in different mental health fields in the NHS, latterly as a Consultant Psychiatrist at the State Hospital, Carstairs.
Lindsey Porter completed her 200-hour YTT with Yogrishi Vishvketu in Akhanda Hatha Yoga in Rishikesh India in 2006, is also Curvy Yoga qualified and recently completed the online experiential anatomy training with Judith Hanson Lasater and Special Yoga & Mindfulness for Autism & ADHD. Lindsey’s passion for sharing the benefits yoga can bring to all minds and bodies and in particular the importance of mental health and wellbeing led her to propose and successfully lead a Scottish Parliamentary Reception in 2018 talking to MSPs and the Minister for Mental Health about the benefits yoga can bring to mental health and wellbeing. She is an Advocate and champions the yoga community to be Signatories of the Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity & Sport to help break down barriers for people with mental health challenges to participate in activity such as yoga. She works closely with SAMH - the Scottish Association for Mental Health - and recently featured in the SAMH social media video campaign promoting the Charter. She has raised over £2,500 for SAMH co-creating a yoga charity calendar in 2018.