Robin Munson’s journey with yoga began when she was recovering from a second bout with cancer in 2002. Since that time, she has benefited from the calming, grounding, and cleansing effects of yoga which have helped her to strengthen her immune system, develop strength and flexibility in her body, and quiet and focus her mind. Feeling that she needed to share the knowledge that had so changed her life, she decided to take teacher training in 2010 with Christy Marsden and is a certified Yoga Alliance RYT-200. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family therapy. She has a passion for helping others who, like her, are in the process of reclaiming their lives following serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries. In addition, Robin has been a singer-songwriter for many years. She lives in Oxnard, California with her husband and writing partner, Art Munson, and their fur baby, Henry.
Regarding Jean DiCarlo-Wagner’s YCS Course:
I have been taking Jean’s course and I am just about finished with all three parts. It has been a very illuminating journey for me.
As a two-time cancer survivor myself and a yoga instructor with a fair amount of experience teaching other cancer survivors and their caregivers, I realized that I still needed more training explicitly for this population. There is virtually no special training in 200-hour teacher training courses (or at least, the one that I took) that touches on this subject. Of course, in a broader sense I was taught that yoga is a healing art, but when faced with the reality of my own YCS classes, I was flying by the seat of my pants.
I was delighted to know that Jean was offering this course, because I knew her from her work with Yoga Bear and I knew what a light she was in the community.
From the “git-go”, I knew that I was about to have a great experience. I took the pre-test and realized there were still holes in my knowledge about cancer. As we progressed further, I learned so many of the effects that cancer has physically, emotionally and spiritually that need to be acknowledged and addressed when we teach cancer patients. I thought I knew all of them. Not even close! Jean also made me see that I still had preconceived notions about “what cancer looks like”.
The range of subjects within this course is vast. We learned about the breath, a new perspective on death, a template for a class with cancer patients (which, by the way, is very different than working with a group of survivors who are in long-term remission.) We have learned about including evidence-based research and yogic philosophy in our classes. It’s been very eye-opening and has opened new channels for me within my own psyche, new revelations about how I view cancer and my relationship to it.
I’ve learned that teaching cancer patients is very challenging, and in some ways, much more challenging than simply teaching a “normal” class while adapting the classic poses. I’ve learned to teach to the most fragile student in the room. This may sound simple, but it’s like trying to do a vinyasa in slow motion — Try it, and you’ll see what I mean!
So, as you can well imagine, this is not an easy course. There is a fair amount of reading. It requires a good deal of thought, and for me, anyway, a good deal of time so that I can really take in the ideas put before me and integrate them into my practice as a teacher. But the subject matter, the quality of the teaching and the work required are all so valuable and have kept me eager to learn more. And now when I teach, I have this amazing new skill set and something I can build on as I evolve as a teacher, whether with cancer patients/survivors or with others.
Link to Robin’s youtube channel with Breathing and Asana Meditations: http://www.youtube.com/user/robinbmunson?feature=watch
Caitlin Parsons, is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. She is currently studying to become a Yoga Therapist at the Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, CA.
“The Art & Science of Teaching Yoga to Cancer Patients and Survivors” I was compelled to take Jean’s 85-hour “Art & Science of Teaching Yoga to Cancer Patients and Survivors” after taking a short 5 hour Intro to Yoga for Cancer Patients workshop earlier this year at Yoga Well. It has been my passion for as long as I can remember to help others, and up until a few years ago, I didn’t know it would be through Yoga Therapy. Helping cancer patients and survivors is one of the first populations that I can think of when I think of Yoga Therapy. I look forward in helping to create a better sense of well-being for every individual I have the pleasure of instructing!
I would OF COURSE recommend the class! (Do you feel confident to use your skills?) Absolutely — thank you for everything, Jean!
Jean impressed me from the very beginning when I first met her over six months ago. She is a strong and empowering female and yoga instructor who has been through so much. Her knowledge and experience in the field left me with only comfort and excitement to move forward learning from her. With a gentle and understanding soul, she has been one of the most motivating instructors I have ever had.
I learned so much from this course! From the basics of cancer and cancer therapies; to yoga, yoga postures, and adapting new therapies of yoga for patients suffering with cancer– the list could go on forever. Luckily, Jean not only left me with all of this knowledge to pass on to others, but also so many resources to ensure I continue learning and growing both as a person and an instructor.
Link to Caitlin’s youtube channel with Breathing and Asana Meditations: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxkdHTxFqnYNKApf6mG0GvQ
Melissa Korte-Saunders is a yoga and fitness instructor who loves travel and adventure. Her philosophy is to integrate various learning techniques to ensure the development of her students’ physical and mental health in a safe, inclusive environment. Starting in Austin, Texas, Melissa was an elementary special education teacher as well as yoga instructor. While living in the Middle East, Melissa developed workshops and classes to introduce members of Israeli and Palestinian communities to Hatha and Kundalini Yoga, participated in outreach to communities in the West Bank, introducing yoga and fitness, with an emphasis on women’s health. She also completed her 200-hour certification in Kundalini Yoga from the School of Kundalini Yoga in Tel Aviv. After moving from Jerusalem to Denver, Colorado, Melissa became Yoga Coordinator at the Westminster Lifetime Fitness, teaching Iyengar-influenced Hatha, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Hot Flow Yoga, Kundalini and Yoga Pilates Fusion as well as private and small group sessions. She facilitated workshops, intensives and yoga events, and assisted in recruiting and training yoga instructors. Now living in sunny San Diego, California, she loves doing yoga on the beach as well as sharing her practice at home with her 4-year-old.
Regarding Jean DiCarlo-Wagner’s YCS Course:
I learned so much from this course and would highly recommend it. In choosing yoga and fitness as a career, I can help others on their pathway to health, and this is such a good way to go! In my classes, there are a variety of people with all sorts of “tissue issues” and with the course knowledge I feel I can help cancer survivors, both with what I’ve learned and also as a guide and resource for students. Jean was very hands on in guiding my learning and ensuring that I was creating an optimal experience for both my students and myself. None of us knows the future, but we can bring loving kindness to all.
Link to Mel’s youtube channel with Breathing and Asana Meditations: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8MBh9ectruE2rI2h9DpkqA
Susan Nelson discovered kundalini yoga in the middle of her own breast cancer journey. She was hooked from that first class and never looked back. Yoga gave her a way to calm her anxious mind, explore her “new” body, and create a deep sense of spirit within her. She wanted to share this amazing discovery with other women, and completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training. She began sharing yoga and breathwork with cancer and caregiver support groups, and she eventually began a weekly yoga class at Rockingham Memorial Hospital serving cancer survivors. Recently, she finished her certification for teaching yoga to cancer survivors. Her focus is to share transformative techniques in the studio that can be taken into your every day lives to help reduce fatigue and stress, and improve well-being. Sue wants you to know that no matter where you are in body, mind and spirit, yoga can bring you strength, peace and joy! Off the yoga mat, Sue enjoys exploring holistic healing, gardening and homesteading at her 100 year old farmette. She is also a Level 1 Healing Touch practitioner . She would love to hear from you at CalmSeaWoman@gmail.com
Regarding Jean DiCarlo-Wagner’s YCS Course:
As a cancer survivor myself, I was already drawn to teaching other survivors and sharing the healing benefits of yoga. I knew that I wanted to share this amazing practice with other survivors, and I knew I needed to find a program to help me deepen my experience. I felt I already had a head start in going into this program, but I soon found myself challenged, learning in new ways, gaining new perspective, and tackling some difficult subjects. This program helped me explore my own teaching style, deepening my understanding of the yoga tenets. What I learned pushed me to look at my teaching with fresh eyes, to be able to adjust and adapt for the needs of my students, and take my teaching to a whole new level. I am a better teacher because of this course. I know more about biology and how it relates to yoga. If you are a yoga teacher that is drawn to teaching Survivors, this program is a great place to start.
Link to Susan’s youtube channel with Breathing and Asana Meditations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sBUgfnTTJ8&feature=youtu.be