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.