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A Yogi’s Journey: Feeling Empowered

Our latest TT Alumni feature highlights two passionate Yogis – Lyz Scott, Clovis, CA & Cindy Fifield, San Diego. Both are graduates of our 200-Hour Teacher Training and we love following their journey as Yogis, humans & teachers! Follow them on IG @lyzscott and @cindyfifi

Lyz Scott RYT200 is a photographer, Yoga instructor, wife and mother of 2 sweet boys based in Clovis, CA.  She attended Prana’s 200hr Teacher Training in the summer of 2017 and can be found teaching at Old Town Yoga in Clovis as well as at a local Cross Fit Gym. Lyz has also been teaching in-store community Yoga classes at lululemon in Fresno, CA.  IG @lyzscott, www.happinessinfocusphotography.com

Why did you decide to get certified as a Yoga teacher and how has it impacted your life?

My goal was to improve my own practice and grow personally. I also wanted to be able to bring Yoga on a deeper level to my husband and two boys and potentially teach in my hometown of Clovis, California. Taking the Teacher Training,  I knew that I would have to face some of my biggest fears – like failure, talking in front of large groups, and remembering sequences.

After the training, my knowledge of Yoga, both the asanas as well as personal and spiritual side of Yoga has grown so much. I can tell a difference in my life in how I show up as a parent, a friend and as a spouse, and that’s really gratifying. I also immediately got a job teaching at my local home studio and have enjoyed the continual growth and challenge Yoga is constantly bringing.

On a personal level, how has Yoga impacted your life in general?

I find myself slow-er to speak, more patient, my breath is stronger and my belief in myself deeper.

What are you doing now with your Yoga and what is you plan for the future?

I’m teaching yoga at a studio about 5x per week. I have had three other organizations ask to have me as well. My plan for the future is to have a dedicated space in my house where I can deepen my practice and continue to grow. I want my boys to explore and enjoy Yoga. I plan to become the best teacher I can be and hope to inspire many Yogis along the way.



Cindy Fifield RYT200 is a graduate of San Diego State University  and got certified as a Yoga teacher through PRANA’s 200hr Teacher Training. She is currently enrolled in the Professional 300-Hour Teacher Training at Prana Yoga Center and will be a certified RYT500 teacher in April 2018.  Cindy teaches at a gym in Chula Vista, CA and has been substitute teaching  for some of her favorite teachers at Prana.

What inspired you to become a Yoga teacher?

After stepping into my first Yoga class in my freshman year of college, I knew right after the first savasana that I was hooked for life.  I practiced Yoga on my own for three years and upon graduation, I decided it was time to deepen my Yoga journey. I wanted to deepen my practice both physically and spiritually, and I knew I wanted to teach and guide others into their Yogic journeys. I’m fascinated with the human body and bio-mechanics and wanted to grow my knowledge of both Yoga and the human body. After careful online research, Prana Yoga Center took the spotlight with raving reviews and love for their Yoga studio and family. A family I knew I wanted to be a part of.

How was your experience in the teacher training?

During the Teacher Training (I attended the Summer Intensive in 2016), we ate, slept, and breathed Yoga. It was “Yoga 24/7” and it made me immensely happy and grateful for the experience I was undergoing. My body was sore almost every day, but from the soreness and exhaustion, I quickly realized my true love and devotion for Yoga and how I wanted to keep it that way for as long as I lived. The training is dense with knowledge about asana alignment, safety and contraindications of every pose, how to teach and sequence effectively, Yoga philosophy and its roots, and so much more. On top of that, you’ll gain an amazing Yoga family from both students and teachers in the program who you can always turn to in life.

What has changed for you since diving deep into Yoga as a student and teacher?

Yoga has helped me become mindful and present in life. I make smarter choices in regards to my health and everyday decision-making. It has made me realize how short life is and to cherish every moment we share with our loved ones. It can be as simple as keeping the phone away from the dinner table or tuning into your breath on the mat during a challenging Vinyasa flow – or even as challenging as letting go of a difficult relationship.

Where do you see your Yoga journey taking you?

I have taught Yoga for Athletes at a strength and conditioning facility where my knowledge of human anatomy, exercise science and Yoga flourished. My dream job is to be a contracted yoga teacher for professional, collegiate or high school athletics departments, around the US or even the world.


Prana’s 200hr Yoga Teacher Training is offered 3 times per year and taught by an expert faculty of passionate Yogis, incl. Prana founder Gerhard Gessner E-RYT, Sara Deakin E-RYT500, Shauna MacKay E-RYT, C-IYAT, Dr. Alison McLean PT, E-RYT, Vicki Abrams, IBCLC, CBE, and special guest teacher & Yoga Sutra scholar and Yoga Therapist, L.A.-based Robert Birnberg. Learn more

200-Hour TT programs for 2018:

  •  January 26 – April, 2018
  • June 2018 – Summer Intensive
  • September – November 2018


Yoga for Cancer Therapy: Human Resilience is Infinite

Cancer TT_Prana2017

On April 6-8 we are excited to host Dr. Ingrid Yang, M.D., J.D., E-RYT-500 again at Prana for a continuing education intensive for certified Yoga teachers on “Cancer Therapy Yoga.”

Ingrid has been teaching yoga since 1999, cancer therapy yoga since 2006 and has been leading this training since 2009. She specifically designed this training for certified yoga teachers to learn how to teach cancer yoga therapy with skill and confidence. In addition to being a passionate Yogi and former Yoga studio owner, Ingrid is a physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, with a particular emphasis on spinal cord injury, sports medicine and cancer rehab.  Here is a brief interview with Ingrid:


You’ve been offering this training for 7 years. What is the most profound change you see in your trainees while they undergo this training?

How much more confident and comfortable students become to teach cancer survivors and the courage they find within themselves to teach this population.


The great thing about trainings is that you spread your transformative work exponentially through your students/teachers. Where are some of these teachers teaching now? 

Many students have gone on to teach training to their respective students, but also at cancer centers, community centers, and even at hospitals in both group classes and one-on-one in the inpatient setting.


Some of your students are cancer survivors themselves. What have you learned by working with this population?

The capacity for human resilience is infinite.


Part of this training helps teachers with poses which address pain management. What yoga techniques can help with this?

meditation, meditation, meditation, pranayama, and more meditation!


How are eastern and western philosophies merging when it comes to caring for people who are dealing with cancer?

More and more allopathic physicians and oncologists are adopting yoga techniques of embodiment, breathing techniques and meditation.


Where do you see the future of cancer therapy going in the future?

Integrating all modalities of healing for whole-heart and comprehensive medical therapy — acupuncture, meditation, yoga, physical therapy, and more!


IY1Ingrid Yang, M.D., J.D., E-RYT-500 is co-author of Hatha Yoga Asanas and founder and past director of Blue Point Yoga, a yoga center in Durham, NC, where she developed this training while she was employed as a research associate at Duke Medical Center’s breast oncology department. At Duke, she focused her research on breast cancer and genetic and protein signatures demonstrated in chemotherapy treatment. Having worked closely with cancer patients in both clinical and yoga settings, Ingrid is uniquely qualified to inform and inspire teachers to lead cancer patients though the healing process of Yoga. She currently resides in Chicago and leads workshops, trainings and retreats nationally and internationally. www.ingridyang.com

Find out more about the upcoming Cancer Therapy Yoga Teacher Training on April 6-8, 2017 at Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla/San Diego.


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.

Yin is In!

Yin Yoga: The Quieter, Deeper Practice
by Shauna MacKay, BPE, C-IAYT, E-RYT

The first time I took a Yin class it was not what I expected. I’d assumed it would be like a restorative class, where I would be relaxing over bolsters, allowing the props to support me, as the tension released from my body. Instead, I found myself riding the edge of sensation, in a long held lunge, wondering when it would end!

It was sometime later, that I practiced with Yin Master, Bernie Clark, and experienced a deep opening in both my body and mind. I now realize that understanding the basics of Yin Yoga prior to taking a class can make a big difference in the effectiveness and enjoyment of the class. So here are the answers to some common questions I am asked about Yin Yoga.



What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a slow-pace style of yoga where the poses are held for longer periods of time (1 – 5 minutes). Believed to stretch and stimulate the deep connective “yin” tissues of the body, it’s a highly effective way to open the body and still the mind.

How is it different than other styles of Yoga?
Most styles of yoga are yang in comparison, meaning more active, engaging the yang muscle tissues. Generally, muscles like rhythmic, repetitive, short duration movement. Yin Yoga, on the other hand, brings the body into a soft, less muscular shapes and through long holds, releases tension in fascia, tendons and ligaments or more yin tissues of the body.

What are the benefits of Yin Yoga?
Yin works on the physical, energetic and mental bodies. It can improve flexibility, sometimes substantially as the targeted fascia and other yin tissues begin to soften and release their holding patterns.

Emerging from innovative teachers like Paul Grilley and Paulie Zink, Yin Yoga integrates elements of Chinese medicine, in particular, the theory of energetic meridians. Acupressure and acupuncture are common healing techniques utilizing the knowledge of meridians. Similarly, a Yin practice is meant to stimulate energy or the flow of Chi through the body.

Yin poses are held 1 – 5 minutes. Each pose is like a mini meditation session. It’s a chance to settle in and be still. A skilled teacher will support you in your finding your own method of cultivating peace within the poses.

img_5807-copy restorative_212
Who should practice Yin Yoga?
Almost anyone can get value from a regular Yin practice. Yin addresses physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Physically, those who have tight, inflexible or strong athletic bodies can benefit from the slow, mindful approach to releasing tension in the body. Emotionally, it can be a calming practice, particularly to those who find meditation difficult. And the spiritual benefits of a quiet, introspective practice may translate into a more peaceful outlook in everyday life.

Personally, Yin Yoga has helped quiet my mind, improve my flexibility and open my heart. As my teacher Bernie Clark taught, “In Yin Yoga, we use the pose to get into the body, rather than the body to get into the pose.”

Join Shauna on Wednesday mornings, 7:45-8:45 AM for Yin Yoga.

Teacher of the Month: Alison McLean


Alison is a doctor of physical therapy, certified Yoga teacher and teaches Happy Back Yoga classes and Yoga Therapy workshops at Prana. 
How did you get into teaching Yoga? 
I fell in love with Yoga in the early 2000s but was always intimidated of teaching Yoga. However, combining Physical Therapy and Yoga always has had a strong pull with me, in fact this was part of the reason I went back to school for my Doctorate in PT. My mentor at the time encouraged me to complete a Yoga Teacher Training so I could formally combine Yoga and Physical Therapy.  I got certified through Prana Yoga’s 200-hour Teacher Training with Gerhard in 2012. The training really changed and evolved my life in a such a positive way.
Being a doctor of physical therapy you bring a unique approach added value for yoga to yoga. How has your training and work as a PT influenced you as a yoga student and teacher?
My PT training has taught me to slow down my practice and really evaluate how I am moving. I encourage my students to do the same. All of us have patterns of moving, some are functional and some dysfunctional. In a Yoga class, if we just go through the motions, then we always move through our familiar patterns. But, if we slow down and focus on the breath and alignment, we can teach the body to move in new ways. This will help heal any injury or prevent future ones down the road.
What does your own practice look like? 
My own practice is continually evolving. Especially now following pregnancy and an cesarean. I had to let go of “I will get back to” and just embrace a new practice without forcing. It is such a gift to give life, so I want to respect my body where it is now. And, truthfully being a new mom, any time on the mat feels good right now. Even if this time is a short 15-20 minutes or a partner practice with baby. Someday I’ll hop back into my Ashtanga class again when the time is right. Currently I think my body is still healing from the surgery, so I am being a little more gentle. Plus, since I’m hyper mobile in many joints, the strengthening from holding poses longer is very helpful.
Do you incorporate yoga in your work as a physical therapist when treating clients?
Yes, I love adding Yoga to physical therapy work.  Sometimes it’s just an intro to Yoga or sometimes the session is mostly Yoga. It depends on the patient’s goals and desires.
Besides seeing private clients as a physical therapist and yoga instructor you also teach public yoga classes and workshops, as well as anatomy trainings. What fascinates you about anatomy?
I am an anatomy nerd. The body fascinates me, it is so complex. However long you study anatomy, you can never know it all. Science is always discovering something new, either a new connection, function or even part. When you think you have finally got it, then something new is added to the mix changing everything. This keeps you on your toes and is forever evolving. The workshops I teach are just an extension to this knowledge combination. The workshop in June will focus on the Neck, Upper Back and Shoulders. With all the advances in technology we seemed to be glued to our devices, myself included. This posture can lead to lack of movement in some areas of the upper, back and chest, and poor positioning of the neck. We will use the Yoga Wall to reverse the effects of sitting and hunching to lengthen the spine and improve alignment. This will relieve a lot of tension in the neck, and top of the shoulders.
Who are your favorites teachers who most inspire you?
Some of the teachers who most inspire me and I have studied with are Judith Hansen Lasater, Ginger Garner, Roger Cole, Shelly Prosko, Jules Mitchel and Neil Pearson.
Join Alison’s Happy Back Yoga Wall  classes on Wednesdays at 10:00am and Tuesdays at 7:30pm.
Her next Yoga Therapy workshop “Free your Upper Back, Neck & Shoulderswill be June 5 at 2-4pm.
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