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Yogis from Across the Globe gather for Summer Intensive!



Spring is in the air and that, for many of us, marks also the beginning of planning new summer adventures. Something to look forward to, works towards and pin on our visionboard, or simply above various to-do lists on the fridge.  Today many Yoga students combine their love of Yoga and desire to learn more with a Yoga destination training and San Diego is on the top of the list!  Ever since we started offering Prana’s well-established 200hr foundational training as a Summer Intensive, we’ve had Yogis from across the globe join us in our beautiful seaside town of La Jolla (San Diego). And what’s not to love?

Prana Yoga’s Summer Intensive is an ideal destination experience for aspiring teachers and students who want to deepen their knowledge and learn more about all things Yoga – the Yoga postures and philosophy, meditation, anatomy, the business of Yoga, how to structure classes and give verbal and hands-on adjustments, and much more.  With a carefully designed curriculum and a top notch teaching faculty at one of the most beautiful spots on the West Coast, our training is sort of like ‘summer camp for Yogis.’   You do what you love all day long, make new friends, and end up with a network and community of newly-minted Yoga teachers – all, while immersing yourself in SoCal’s laid back lifestyle.

We found that the condensed format works well for out-of-towners and locals alike, and makes for a fun and interesting mix of Yogis from all over world.  While we take the study of Yoga seriously and go deep, there’s be plenty of time and opportunities to connect with each other, unite as a group and enjoy the best of San Diego’s summer with fun ‘field trips,’  like oceanfront Yoga at the La Jolla Cove, Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga on Mission Bay, and a visit to Paramahansa Yogananda’s Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, CA.

Meet some of our PYTT alumni from around the world!


Hannah Sekovski – High School Graduate, Colorado


Hannah graduated high school in 2016 and is currently busy building her Yoga business.   She will begin her college studies this year with a focus on a bachelor’s degree in nutrition.   “I got certified to teach Yoga at Prana Yoga  in June 2016 following my high school graduation. I wanted to increase my skill level and gain a certification so I could lead others. It was important to me to develop higher levels of competency and confidence in order to effectively teach and guide students in class. Currently, I am in rotation at two local health clubs.  In addition I have launched my own business teaching Vinyasa Flow to corporate clients as part of their health and wellness programs.  I also offer in-home sessions for clients who prefer the convenience and privacy of doing their practice at home.  I am forever indebted to my experience at Prana Yoga Center as the foundation upon which I build my Yoga career.  The lessons I learned under the kind and watchful eye of Gerhard were and continue to be invaluable.”



Aisling Hill Connor Yoga & Ballet Instructor, Kansas

Asiling Hill

“Yoga is and will always be a constant adventure of diving within for new knowledge and discovery.  Ballet is my passion, Yoga is my life! 

I started ballet at the age of 6 in Texas. Ballet Austin’s training was great and provided a well-rounded curriculum. As I finished my training at the North Carolina school of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC (now known as UNC School of the Arts), I was offered a company contract with the Kansas City Ballet. Being completely in love with all that was ballet I decided to make it my career. The accomplishments were not without difficulty. In 2005, at the height of my career, I noticed some knee pain. Well, that knee pain turned into four knee surgeries and many years of rehabilitation. During this time, I used many different methods of rehab – traditional physical therapy, Pilates, and Yoga being my main sources. One in particular stood out as the most impactful, and that was Yoga. I had never known how much yoga could help the body not only stretch and relax, but strengthen and balance. Not to mention the psychological benefits. My doctors and physical therapists were saying I may never get fully back to ballet, but I returned and danced a total of 15 years with the Kansas City Ballet. Yoga has become a major part of my life. With all the positive things it has done for me, I am now sharing those benefits with others.

I have practiced many different styles of yoga, but when I was introduced to Vinyasa my eyes were opened. Being the closest form of yoga to dancing, using breath connected with the asana to guide you through a flowing practice, I realized I was hooked. First being drawn to Yoga for its physical benefits, I now live with a deepened understanding of what yoga means in my life as well as many others.’  It is and will always be a constant adventure of diving into new knowledge and discovery. Yoga is and will always be a constant adventure of diving within for new knowledge and discovery. I received my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training certification in June of 2013 under the direction of Gerhard Gessner at the Prana Yoga Cente . I am a 200hr RYT with the Yoga Alliance. I use alignment-based training as the basis for all of my classes, and as such, you will enjoy a nurturing yet challenging Vinyasa flow-based class that will cultivate your body and mind.”


Rhiann Suen –  Yoga Teacher, Hong Kong


I attended Prana’s Summer Intensive in 2014 and loved every minute of it.  Since then, I’ve moved back to Hong Kong where I now teach Yoga. The most important things I learned are to be more aware of my breath and senses, listen to my body mindfully and live in the present moment. I teach Yoga because I want to inspire my students to find their purpose and discover what Yoga means to them and how it can enrich their lies.”

Rhiann currently teaches public classes at Yoga BamBam, Yoga UP, Yoga Refine and Emi Yeung Dance Academy in Hong Kong.




Cola Hart – Chicago

Cola_Hart2“I attended the Prana’s Summer Intensive Training in 2014 so I could learn and be certified with the intention to share my knowledge of and love for Yoga.  Prana is my Yoga home, my original root where I started Yoga. Yoga is now an integral part of my life and its benefits serve me off the mat as much as on.  I am passionate about making a mindful and healthy Yoga practice available in areas where it is scarce.  I currently offer community classes and donation-based classes, volunteer and pay-what-you-can classes in Chicago and the Chicagoland area. For me, Yoga is about connecting with the breath, the root of our being.  It is being conscious, meaningful and learning to balance life in every sense of the word.  It is an individual and universal practice, while it is also great, euphoric workout.”





Registration is now open for the 200-Hour Summer Intensive, June 16 – July 2, 2017.  The Yoga Alliance certified training is taught by Prana founder Gerhard Gessner, E-RYT, visiting senior guest teachers Robert Birnberg, (L.A.) and Manoj Chalam, and some of San Diego’s most sought after teachers and Prana favorites incl. Sara Deakin RYT500, Shauna MacKay E-RYT500, Vicki Abrams E-RYT and Dr. Alison McLean, PT.

The first free Info Session will be held on Sunday, March 19th at 12-1pm at Prana Yoga Center. Call 858 456 2806 or email to alex@prana-yoga.com to RSVP.

PYTT Alumni Spotlight

Learning to teach Yoga to Help Others
Clinical Psychology Graduate Student
 “As an undergraduate student, I  attended yoga classes, especially during stressful times.    I started working as a Behavioral Health Assistant in the Psychiatric Unit at Rady Children’s Hospital. Many of the patients suffered through various mental illnesses.
One day, one of the patients was having a rough day and I decided to use my knowledge of yoga and meditation to help the patient relax and decrease anxiety.    This patient immediately noticed a huge difference and continued to use the skills I showed her.  Noticing this, I then decided to pursue my yoga teacher training certification so that I could learn more about yoga.  I also thought of doing research in my graduate program to discover the effects of yoga on mental illness.“
After attending Prana’s 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Summer Intensive, I continued my education with a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles.
“It has truly been a rewarding experience, especially living in such a diverse community. It’s been so positively impactful, providing myself the opportunity to not only improve the lives of others, but learning and growing during the process. “
Deepening  My Own Practice Through Yoga Teacher Training – and what happened then
Scientist – Tuebingen, Germany 
Nadine is an associate professor in the Microbiology Department at the University of Tübingen, Germany. She took her 200hr RYT certification at Prana during the spring of 2014.  She divides her time between Germany and La Jolla, where she used to live full time with her husband and dog Nala, before accepting a position abroad.
“When I signed up for the Teacher Training with Gerhard, I didn´t want to become a yoga teacher.   I just wanted to learn more about yoga and deepen my own practice. During the training I noticed that I had fun teaching and people liked my approach to it.   Soon after graduating I started to teach colleagues and friends at Scripps –  a lot of them had no idea about yoga and were surprised how good it felt!
Spending a lot of time in the lab, I started teaching yoga mostly to scientists who sit at their computers or stand in the lab pipetting all day.   A lot of them have lower back issues and shoulder and neck tensions, where yoga can help a lot to release pain and prevent these problems.    But I found that most important are the mental benefits.  I think that especially a yoga flow style, such as Vinyasa Flow,  is perfect for scientists.   For scientists – probably like many other professions –  it’s hard to stop the constant flow of thoughts and relax.  In a flowing vinyasa practice, students can concentrate on the slow movements and transitions that calm the mind and helps to reconnect body and mind.  Many of my  students mentioned that there is no other exercise after which they feel so calm, relaxed, and energized at the same time.    I am happy to help people to get to know all the benefits of yoga for themselves and guide them to discover that yoga is much more than glorified stretching exercises. Personally, I think that yoga keeps me sane, improves my stress coping skills enormously and helps to find my inner balance.
Now back in Germany, I teach a weekly class at a Vinyasa studio in Tuebingen.   Teachers have very different backgrounds here and it is interesting to learn how they got into Yoga.    I also teach a more diverse group of people now with varying backgrounds and age groups, so I learn a lot  too.   The teaching forces me to keep my own practice up, which is sometimes not easy between the job, travelling and adapting to a new city.   But it´s definitely worth it, it makes me happier and more balanced. “

Source: Blogger

YWTT Alumni Spotlight: Shawnee Thornton Hardy

“Finding Your Dharma ~ Yoga for Children with Special Needs”
Shawnee Thornton Hardy is a special education teacher, author and graduate of our 300hr Professional Yogaworks Program. Her book Asanas for Autism and Special Needs has just been released and she will be teaching a workshop on this topic at Prana on May 30.
 “When I began my 300-hour YogaWorks teacher training at Prana Yoga Center,I had no idea that it would be the start of something incredibly big in my life. When I made the decision to further pursue my studies in yoga, I did a tremendous amount of research as to which teacher training would suit me best. I came across the 300-Hour Professional YogaWorks TeacherTraining and immediately connected to their philosophy, focus on alignment and diversity of workshops.
At the time I was very passionate about therapeutic yogaand learning how to work with clients on a therapeutic level. I have worked with children with autism and special needs for 16 years, specializing in working with children who have significant cognitive and language delays, sensory processing deficits, as well as severe behavior problems. I’ve experienced first-hand the benefits yoga can provide to health and overall well-being.
What I found to be of most value in the 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training was the mentorship program.  I was fortunate to have Rachel Krentzman, owner of Embody Physical Therapy & Yoga, as my mentor. Rachel’s knowledge and application of yoga therapeutics surpassed my expectations. I wanted to absorb every bit of information I could learn from her and the other teachers. Gerhard, the lead teacher and owner of Prana Yoga was supportive, incredibly knowledgeable and created a safe and comfortable space for us to learn.
Through this experience, I was able to manifest my greatest desires in life:  To write a book, to teach and bring yoga to children with special needs, to build a private therapeutic yoga business and to share my passion with others by leading my own workshops and trainings.  When I presented my final thesis project in the training, I knew that I had found my dharma, my life calling, and it truly was from that moment on that my dreams began to unfold.
I don’t believe in magic or events happening simply because we wish them to, but I do believe in the power of thought, putting our desires out there, telling the world our passions, goals and dreams. When we decide what we want, say what we want and work hard for what we want, the universe opens up and the opportunities are more visible.
The knowledge and experience I acquired through the YogaWorks Teacher Training gave me the vision to see the opportunities available to me and the confidence to pursue my dreams. Not only did the training help propel me forward towards my goals but it also brought beautiful people into my life with whom I will have ever lasting connections and friendships.  I’m a strong believer that everything we do, every person we meet, every decision we make leads us to greater meaning, joy and purpose in life. Every day I feel grateful for listening to my heart and allowing it to lead me to Prana, to the training, to the teachers, to the people, to the experience and to my dharma.”
About Shawnee

Shawnee Thornton Hardy is a 500 RYT, E-RYT, RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher), Yoga Therapist and M.Ed. Her goal is to bring the experience of yoga to all individuals no matter their differences or challenges. Shawnee has presented workshops on Yoga to Reduce Stress and Increase Relaxation for teachers and other professionals who work in education and youth programs, Yoga for Children with Autism and Special Needsand Yoga for Teens facing the challenges of mental illness. She published a book, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs – Yoga to Help Children with Their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness.  Shawnee started a Yoga School through Yoga Alliance in order to train others in yoga approaches to support children with autism and special needs. Shawnee is dedicated to helping support youth in developing strategies to cope with stress in order to live happier, healthier more peaceful lives.

Source: Blogger

Happy Back Yoga Teacher Training with Rachel Krentzman

Sign up by July 1st to save $150
Happy Back Yoga Certification with Rachel Krentzman, PT, E-RYT:
This is a 100 hour special certification program designed for Yoga teachers who wish to continue their education in anatomy, therapeutics and Yoga for spinal health. The training includes therapeutic use of the Great Yoga Wall TM system.
NEXT TRAINING DATES:  August 13-22, 2015   10 Day Immersion Program 10-5 daily.  To register contact: www.pranayoga.wpengine.com or email rachel@embodyphysicaltherapy.com for inquiries.
Description: Yoga for a Happy Back Certification Program:
With Rachel Krentzman PT, E-RYT
This unique program, Yoga for Safe Spinal Health, is designed for Yoga instructors and includes:
  • Lower Back, Pelvis and Hips
  • Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders
The full “Yoga for a Happy Back” Certification will be awarded when students complete both sections and a case study project, a total of 100 hours of training for 70 contact hours of credit.
Prerequisite: 200-hour Yoga teacher training
About Rachel Krentzman, PT, E-RYT
Rachel is a skilled physical therapist who combines 16 years of PT experience with more than 10 years of Yoga studies. Her treatment methods involve a unique and highly effective approach to healing the whole person. She uses Yoga postures and sequences, breath, and meditation to cultivate awareness and promote healing. Rachel trained with Master teacher Aadil Palkivala, and received his 2000-hour certification as a Purna Yoga instructor as well as continuing education credits in Yoga therapeutics.
During her ten years as a Yoga instructor, Rachel has also assisted Aadil at Yoga Journal conferences and at workshops in the U.S. and abroad. She continues her training with him in Yoga therapeutics and with master teacher Judith Hansen Lasater.
Rachel is the founder and director of Embody Physical Therapy and Yoga. You can learn more about her and her work at www.embodyphysicaltherapy.com
Location: Prana Yoga Center
1041 Silverado St.  La Jolla, CA  92037
August 13-22, 2015  – 10 am-5 pm daily
What it’s all about:
This is a special certification program designed for Yoga teachers who wish to continue their education in anatomy, therapeutics and Yoga for spinal health.  The training includes therapeutic use of the Great Yoga Wall TM system.
The Upper Back Workshop covers functional anatomy and biomechanics of the thoracic and cervical spine and shoulders and how it relates to posture and movement.  Through Yoga practice and hands-on lab time, participants will develop a deeper understanding of the biomechanics associated with Yoga postures and how injuries can develop as a result of incorrect alignment. Experientials will also cover therapeutic sequences for upper back, neck and shoulder pain including degenerative disc disease, nerve root impingement, reversed cervical curve, rotator cuff tear/tendonitis, bursitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The Lower Back, Pelvis and Hips Section will cover the functional anatomy and biomechanics of the lumbar spine, sacrum, pelvis and hips and how it relates to posture and movement. Participants will learn specific therapeutic sequences for conditions including sciatica, disc herniations, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease and sacroiliac joint dysfunction as well as be able to identify improper movement and alignment and how those relate to pain and injury.
Both trainings will offer experience building Yoga programs tailored to the needs of individuals with specific conditions. Participants will emerge with skills to prevent and heal injuries by creating safe Yoga programs that include modifications, adjustments, use of props and the Yoga Wall.
Why a “Happy Back” Certification?
Work confidently with students who have special needs
Today, more people seek Yoga as a way to rid the body of pain and injury.  The “Yoga for a Happy Back” Certification Program is designed to help Yoga teachers have a clear understanding of the functional anatomy and biomechanics of the spine and surrounding areas and how those relate to both posture and movement.  By including varied learning modalities—such as Yoga practice, lecture, hands-on lab, practice teaching and adjustments—this certification gives Yoga teachers what they need to work comfortably and correctly with people experiencing specific conditions, injury or pain.
Attract a larger student base to your classes
This knowledge will help attract more students to group classes and private sessions. Yoga teachers with a broad understanding of anatomy, injury assessment and management skills are an asset to any Yoga studio or sports facility and are sought after by students seeking private Yoga classes for healing.  The “Yoga for Happy Back” Certification offers instructors advanced knowledge and specialized skills equipping them to teach a wider range of students.
Prevent and heal injuries
Often Yoga instructors feel unprepared to properly address student injury and pain in group classes or private lessons. Many begin teaching soon after completing a 200-hour yoga teacher certification, which often lacks the anatomy training needed to prevent and heal injury.  The “Yoga for a Happy Back” Certification Program is a perfect addition to basic or advanced yoga teacher training and provides the tools to work with individuals with injuries and limitations.
Keep yourself and others safe while enjoying Yoga practice!
Yoga is meant to be a sustainable, life-long and enjoyable practice that ultimately unites the mind, body and soul and allows people to connect more deeply with others.  In that process, a Yoga practice can help us stretch what is tight, strengthen what is weak, and allow our bodies to perform everyday activities with more ease and joy.  In order to make a yoga posture practice sustainable, we must learn how to create safe practices built on a solid understanding of anatomy and biomechanics and how they relate to movement and posture.  The Yoga for a Happy Back Certification Program provides the skills necessary to adapt any practice to enhance life and avoid injury.
Gain continuing education credit through the Yoga Alliance.
All hours count toward Yoga Alliance continuing education for Yoga teachers ( 100 hours for the full course).
Cost: Earlybird By June 1 $1,525 ~ Full Tuition $1,675
  • $100 non-refundable deposit required to reserve a space
  • Space is limited
Cancellations/Refund Policy:
Refunds available less $100 non-refundable deposit 2 weeks before the course. After that, credit can be applied towards any future course.
To Register or for more information:
Register online at www.pranayoga.wpengine.com

Source: Blogger

Prana Yoga Teacher Training Alumni Spotight

Greg A is a graduate from Prana’s Summer Intensive Teacher Training in 2014. 

Our next 200hr Summer Intensive will be from June 12-28, 2015! That is only 2 months away!! If you are interested in learning more or signing up check out our website!

Greg currently lives in Newport, RI and his current position is as the Company Sergeant Major for A Co. 2nd Battalion 19th Special Forces Group.

We asked Greg some questions to find out more about his journey into Yoga and where it has taken him since he began!

What brought you to Yoga and deciding to take a Teacher Training?

Although I have been practicing yoga for 15 years the first 8 or 9 were all about the asana practice. It wasn’t until the last 5 or 6 years that I began to go deeper into my practice. This is one thing I truly love about yoga, like the saying goes: “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” when I was at a point in my life when I needed more from my practice it was there waiting patiently for me.  I decided to take Prana’s teacher training in order to increase my own personal knowledge of yoga and also to immerse myself in a community of fellow yogis as I have discovered that spending time with likeminded, caring, non-judgmental people provides me with a great deal of happiness.

Do you teach Yoga now?

I currently teach at Thames Street Yoga here in Newport, RI. Additionally, I started a non-profit “Newport Yogis” who’s mission is to bring the yoga community together in support of the local community. We host events taught in a round robin fashion by local yoga teachers from various studios. These are all donation based classes, proceeds go to whatever local charity the board chooses. 
Finding a balance between my military career and yoga remains a challenge for me but I know that yoga has helped deal with a lot of emotional trauma, in fact it has saved me from a very dark path. My ultimate goal is to continue my practice and continue to heal before eventually sharing what I have learned with other veterans.

Our next info sessions are on Sunday May 17th and June 2nd from 12pm-1pm. If you are interested in attending please email alex@prana-yoga.com

Source: Blogger

Core Strength for a Healthy Lower Back

By: Ann West

running-muscles-500x357Core Strength Workshops
On April 25th I’ll be teaching Core Strength for a Healthy Back workshop at Prana Yoga in La Jolla. Follow this link to reserve your space. The post below explains why core strength is important for a healthy back and how yoga is especially well suited to help.
Core Facts & Functions
Our physical core is the collection of muscles, bones, fascia and organs located between the pelvic floor at the base of the trunk, and the diaphragm at the base of the ribcage. The term “core” usually refers to our core muscles, which wrap around the middle of our trunk like a corset, supporting our back and internal organs.
The core muscles have far a reaching influence in the body. They generate the strength, stability, and mobility we need to perform all of our everyday activities, including walking, running, carrying, climbing, and any kind of sport. They support the weight of the entire body, initiate all of our major movements, keep us balanced, and protect our internal organs. In short, they play a crucial role in our body’s bio-mechanics, and we wouldn’t get far without them.
Core Strength for a Healthy Back
Most people suffering from chronic back pain would benefit from building a stronger core. The spine is the central structural column of the body. It assists in nearly all of our movements, and supports and protects the spinal cord. It should be strong enough to carry our body weight, yet flexible enough to allow our limbs to move freely.
Strong core muscles aid back health by improving our posture to support healthy spinal curves. A strong core is especially helpful when it comes to protecting the lower back as it guards the lumbar spine against bending or rotating too much in any one direction, and also shields the sacroiliac joints from overuse and strain. A strong core can also make the spine taller, which helps lift pressure off of the spinal discs and supports the back as it heals from pain.

Key Core Muscles
Anatomists differ as to which muscles make up the core, but below is a list of some of the major muscles usually included:
  • Abdominals
  • Iliopsoas
  • Erector spinae
  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Pelvic floor
  • Gluteus muscles
  • Adductors
When practicing yoga, we don’t usually isolate or work the core muscles individually. It’s more effective to simultaneously engage the whole body so it works in unison, from the legs and lower core on up. However, it can be helpful to focus on working a particular group of core muscles. To read more about the major core muscles and which yoga asanas (poses) target each group click here.
How Yoga Helps
Because of the integrative, total body involvement of most yoga asanas, yoga is an ideal medium to engage and strengthen our physical core. The wide variety of poses also challenges the core in many different ways, through standing poses, arm balances, backbends, twists and inversions. Alignment also plays an important role in safe, effective core strengthening, making the refined alignment techniques of Iyengar Yoga a great match for careful core strengthening of the back.
The Bandhas
The Sanskrit word “bandha” means bond or join. In yoga it refers to an action that grips and controls a part of the body to form a seal or a lock. Bandhas are practiced to contain and control prana (life-force energy) within the body. There are four main bandhas:
  1. Mula bandha – a contraction of the perineum at the pelvic floor
  2. Uddiyana bandha – a contraction of the abdomen into the ribcage
  3. Jalandhara bandha – tucking the chin into the chest
  4. Maha bandha – a combination of the above three bandhas performed simultaneously
The first two bandhas require a visceral lift from deep within the core region, automatically activating many of the core muscles. This protects the back during yoga practice, and enables us to hold the poses for longer to build strength and stamina. Engaging the bandhas also causes vital pranic energy to flow upwards, shifting the asanas onto a more subtle level of practice. For further reading and detailed instructions on how to practice the bandhas, please refer to “Light on Pranayama” by BKS Iyengar.
If you only had time to practice one core pose regularly, your best choice would be plank pose and its variations. Many movement experts agree that it’s one of the most effective core strengthening exercises out there, in large part because it engages so many core muscles at once. Yogis have been practicing their version of plank pose, Chaturanga Dandasana, for a long time. Head on over to this page for more on Chaturanga Dandasana and how to practice it.
If you want to put some of the above theory into practice, why not join me for my core strength yoga workshop at Prana Yoga at the end of April.

Ann has taught yoga in the San Diego and La Jolla areas since 1994. She teaches beginning through intermediate level classes, along with yoga for students suffering from chronic back conditions, and yoga therapy for students with special physical and physiological needs

Her regular teaching schedule at Prana is:

Mondays ~ 10:30am-11:45am for Happy Back Yoga Wall
Wednesdays ~ 11:30am-1pm for Iyengar Yoga
Fridays ~ 10:30am-11:45am for Happy Back Yoga Wall

Visit her blog here!


Source: Blogger

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