YFA Articles

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  • 15 Feb 2021 2:11 PM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)

    Welcome to the Yoga for Arthritis monthly blog series that features our YFA members hard work, dedication, & passion. Without the ongoing efforts of these standout members, we would not be where we are today. 

    How has yoga impacted your life? 

    A friend introduced me to the practice of yoga in 1988. A young stay-at-home mother of two, the flowing movements reminded me of dancing and I felt a profound sense of coming home to my body and spirit. Needless to say, I was hooked and continued to take classes at the local YMCA as I raised my family, completed a masters degree in education and reentered the workforce.

    My yoga practice became a lifeline, seeing me through cancer, a divorce, shifts in my career, several moves, and many other changes for my family. It is a deep well from which I continue to draw, finding sustenance, strength, wisdom and peace as I navigate life's often stormy waters. I am so grateful to the wonderful people yoga has brought into my life, both as colleagues and students. They have taught me much and I am honored to be able to share the practices of yoga with others.

    How did you find YFA? 

    Finding YFA came as a perfectly-timed gift from the universe. After my initial 200-hr YTT in 2010, I knew I needed further training in adapting asanas to accommodate the needs of my mostly older students. As luck would have it, I connected with Lynn Somerstein, an Integral teacher, through LinkedIn in early 2012. She mentioned she was excited about attending Steffany's training in NYC in a few days. I immediately contacted IYI and learned they had one spot left which, of course, I took.

    The training was transformational. Not only did it shape my current approach to teaching yoga, but it also set me on the path to becoming a certified yoga therapist through IYI-NY. I find I return to the YFA teachings over and over again as I continue to hone my teaching skills in service of my students.

    Carrying Steffany and IYI's teachings forward, my mantra is "how may I serve you?" In every class or when planning new classes and workshops, my first thought is "what do my students need?" and "how can I best meet them where they are?" Armed with the tools and creative problems solving skills gained through in my YFA trainings, I am able to meet my students where they are. It is a great joy to watch them embody the principles of yoga for themselves and find a sense of wholeness, inner peace and contentment.

    YES! THE YFA LEVEL I SELF-PACED TRAINING IS NOW LIVE!

     LEARN MORE

    Earn all 34 YFA Level I CEU's ONLINE in this first of its kind training! You can now enjoy our full Level I program which is masterfully presented and supported by the Yoga for Arthritis faculty and staff. 


     Beverly Davis-Baird's Teaching Schedule

    Gentle Yoga for Healthy Aging (Mondays 5-6PM)

    Chair Yoga and Meditation (Tuesdays 3:30-4:30PM)

    Yoga for Arthritis & Chronic Pain (Thursdays 10-11AM)

    Yoga for a Cause (donation-based class to benefit a local service organization; 3rd Thursday of the month at 8PM)

    Strong Bones, Strong Body: Yoga for Bone Health (6-week course starting Wed 3/10/21 @ 9:30-10:45AM)

    Visit Beverly's website Wisdom Tree Yoga & Healing Arts for information on other online courses and workshops for improving posture, better balance, caring for your knees, sleep and back pain


    Beverly Davis-Baird, MA, E-RYT200/RYT 500, C-IAYT

    An elementary school teacher for 20+ years, Beverly brings her knowledge of individual learning styles to her teaching, providing instruction that is clear, concise and inclusive. A certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT) and member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, her teaching encompasses a wide variety of yoga styles, with an emphasis on adapting each class to suit individual needs. She teaches group classes, workshops and offers individual yoga therapy session. Her background includes working with special needs populations, such as disabled teens, seniors, and young children.

    Beverly adapts her classes to meet the spiritual as well as physical needs of her students. Her teaching expertise encompasses vinyasa, therapeutic, restorative, gentle, children and chair yoga as well as key teachings from Iyengar, Kripalu, Anasara, Kundalini, Integral and Viniyoga. She is certified in Yoga for Osteoporosis, Gentle Yoga for Low Back Care, Yoga for Healthy Aging, and Yoga for Arthritis™.

  • 12 Jan 2021 11:52 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)


    Welcome to the Yoga for Arthritis monthly blog series that features our YFA members hard work, dedication, & passion. Without the ongoing efforts of these standout members, we would not be where we are today. 

    How has yoga impacted your life? 

    I am grateful that I have a practice that I can turn to in order to heal from pain, to enliven or calm me and connect with all parts of my being. Through these practices, I find clarity, compassion, and courage. Through yoga, I have found community--people who are on the same path.

    How did you find YFA? How has YFA helped you - personally, business-wise, any other facets. 

    I have always been curious about chronic pain and dedicate a lot of time studying it because a lot of the students who come to my classes suffer from it. I am continually looking for ways to teach yoga in a way that is accessible. Yoga for Arthritis was a natural next step in this search. When Ann Swanson came to Chicago to teach a Level 1 training, I knew I had to take it, and the mentorship and Level 3 training that followed just seemed right and timely.

    YFA has given me a structure for working with groups and individuals with pain.

    YES! THE YFA LEVEL I SELF-PACED TRAINING IS NOW LIVE!

     LEARN MORE

    Earn all 34 YFA Level I CEU's ONLINE in this first of its kind training! You can now enjoy our full Level I program which is masterfully presented and supported by the Yoga for Arthritis faculty and staff. 


    If people can see that they have the capacity to free themselves of their own pain, it would be a different world. Yoga can be a way to get there. It does take some effort, but it is worthwhile.


    What is Your Regular Teaching Schedule?

    I teach Yoga for Arthritis 4-week sessions through the Yoga Effect; Gentle Yoga through the Cancer Wellness Center; Hatha Yoga through my website. I also see people privately for yoga therapy. Currently, all my classes are held through Zoom.

    Maribel is an easy going fitness enthusiast and unabashed spiritual seeker. She was first drawn to yoga as a complement to running many years ago. Her experiences of injury and pain have made her realize that wholeness is innate, healing is possible, and well being comes from re discovering that wholeness.

    As a Certified Yoga Therapist, she offers small group classes and one-on-one sessions for people living with chronic pain and arthritis. She teaches yoga to people living with cancer and those in the work place with a focus on mindfulness. www.maribelalesnayoga.com.

  • 15 Dec 2020 4:25 PM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)


    Welcome to the Yoga for Arthritis monthly blog series that features our YFA members hard work, dedication, & passion. Without the ongoing efforts of these standout members, we would not be where we are today. 

    Tell us about your yoga journey.

    I began practicing yoga in January 1973 and never stopped. I had back pain from an injury I received while picking oranges in Israel. From my first class yoga just felt right to me, like I was coming home. Over the years yoga has been invaluable to me through 3 knee surgeries, 2 shoulder surgeries, a broken ankle, 2 fractured bones in the other foot (2nd day on a retreat I was leading in Mexico), and helping me to manage severe arthritis in my thumbs and wrists.

    For the first 17 years of practicing and teaching yoga I focused on asana attainment. The class was sequenced to prepare the body to attain an asana and then included counter-poses. It made the body stronger and more flexible - all very helpful. Then in 1993 I met Yogini Kaliji, experienced TriYoga, and everything shifted. I came to understand asana as opening energy pathways. It created healing on all levels of my being - the physical, energetic, mental/emotional and spiritual. My understanding of pranayama, mudra and asana deepened. Over the years I have been privileged to witness many students experience the healing and transformative power of yoga. I have learned it doesn't matter if you are doing yoga sitting in a chair on one the floor propped up with many bolsters and pillows. It is all about the breath and focus. Everyone can benefit from yoga. The practice can be made accessible to all.

    How has Yoga impacted your daily life?

    Yoga is the way I live my life and impacts every aspect of my life: how I eat (vegan - ahimsa diet), what I do when I get up in the morning (practice), how I interact with others, how I breathe through pain and flow through life's challenges. I am very grateful for the knowledge and after 45 years of practicing I can't even imagine what my life would be without it. I am also grateful for having found my dharma - sharing this knowledge - and the privilege of witnessing the healing and transformation in others. It is a great blessing.

    How did you find Yoga For Arthritis?

    I found YFA through the IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists). We had a 300 hour therapeutic yoga training and invited Dr. Steffany Moonaz to teach at the center. I'm very happy she accepted and came back multiple times. 

    When I met Steffany it was like meeting a family member. She is a brilliant educator. Her courses are excellent (I have taken them multiple times). All yoga teachers need the knowledge she shares because everyone has students with arthritis and joint pain. Yoga teachers should seek out this knowledge to keep their students safe and learn how to better serve them. The work YFA is doing in this world is wonderful and important work and I support it whole heartedly.

    How can we find your yoga offerings? 

    While we currently do not have specific classes named Yoga for Arthritis, every class I teach is informed by YFA. I always give modifications for any kind of joint pain. Our motto is no pain, all gain. I assume there is always someone in class with some kind of joint limitations as most of our students are over 50. But it is also often the case with younger students as well. All of our classes are online. I also offer individual Yoga Therapy.

    Class Schedule:

    • Wednesday, 6:30 pm Free the Spine is focused on back pain.
    • Friday 12:00 pm is Chair class for those who have difficulty getting down to and up from the floor.
    • I also teach Prana Vidya (breathing and meditation) Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 am. It is very helpful for pain modification and overall life resiliency.
    • Tuesdays and Saturdays I teach all levels classes which include modifications.
    • I am starting to post therapeutic

    Brahmi Gold-Bernstein, Director TriYoga Boston, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500

    Practicing yoga since 1976. Senior TriYoga Teacher and Teacher Trainer. Practicing TriYoga since 1993.

    “After 17 years of practicing yoga as asana attainment and teaching for 10 of those years, I started experiencing subtle energy flows while recuperating from wrist surgery. This was 1993, the centennial anniversary of Swami Vivekananda introducing Yoga to America, and I went to the Unity in Yoga conference to find my teacher. There I met Yogini Kaliji, founder of TriYoga. I found the practice, which unites asana, pranayama and mudra, to be deeply healing and transformative, and so did my first student, whose 10-year old daughter was losing her battle with leukemia. TriYoga includes practices for all the Kośas, and heals on all levels of being.

    Through 45 years of practice, I have healed two decades of back pain (and have helped scores of students heal theirs), recovered from 2 shoulder and 3 knee surgeries, a broken ankle and 2 broken bones in my foot (which occurred on the 2nd day of retreat in Mexico – and I still taught all the classes!). I now have severe arthritis in my thumbs, wrists and knee. I am truly grateful to my body for granting me direct knowledge of how yoga can alleviate suffering, and consider it my dharma to share this knowledge with others."

  • 17 Nov 2020 8:44 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)

    Welcome to the Yoga for Arthritis monthly blog series that features our YFA members hard work, dedication, & passion. Without the ongoing efforts of these standout members, we would not be where we are today. 

    How has Yoga for Arthritis impacted your daily life?

    I have developed new levels of compassion through my growing skills and knowledge. I have more compassion towards others and their challenges. Surprisingly, I have also found greater self compassion and understanding. I now laugh at myself more easily, especially during class, and am more confident in being my authentic self throughout the day. I also find myself inviting fun and joy into every practice, whether it is my own or as I am teaching others.

    YFA has opened up a whole new area of learning for me. YFA trainings have helped me to listen deeply and think more creatively. This has enabled me to be more observant to my student’s needs and modify my class plans accordingly. With more specific knowledge and language skills, I now offer modifications and options during a class to address varying levels of experience, discomfort and pain. Through my yoga practice and trainings I am more expansive, creative, fun, and connected. I am grateful for my yoga journey which nourishes me.

    How did you find YFA?

    Part of my initial excitement in becoming a certified yoga instructor was looking forward to serving those closest to me. My excitement quickly turned to frustration because my own parents at the age of 75 were not able to practice yoga on the floor. My base certification did not prepare me for this. I was determined to find resources, help my parents and the underserved aging population (when it comes to yoga). With some help from the universe, I learned about chair yoga and YFA.

    How has YFA helped you?

    After my first certification in chair yoga I started to teach students ranging in age up to 98. Whenever I would ask for a health history, almost every single person wrote Arthritis and several wrote, Osteoporosis, Lupus, Gout, Fibromyalgia. While chair yoga is a good format for these students, it became vital for me to learn about the aging body, arthritis and many of the other conditions. YFA gave me the knowledge, skills and tools to better serve my students. Inspired by YFA, I continue to educate myself about how yoga can positively impact everybody and every body.

    I continue to benefit immensely from my trainings with YFA, teaching opportunities and personal yoga practice. All combined, they have supported me in being the best version of myself and serving others, especially in this uncertain time.

    How have your YFA teachings evolved during the COVID pandemic? 

    When the pandemic hit, I remember questioning “If I feel scared and anxious what must my clients be feeling?” This motivated me to teach virtually via Zoom as quickly as possible. I wanted to continue serving them, be a friendly face, offer a way to stay connected and healthy during this isolating time.

    I was surprised by the interest and participation, starting in March and April I had close to 150 students in each class from all over the globe. The online format required for me to make changes to my teaching style and mindset. There was also a learning curve, with technology and logistical challenges.

    Over the years I have continued to deepen my knowledge of yoga through various certifications and teachings. Along with Chair Yoga and YFA, I have trained in restorative yoga, yoga nidra, meditation, and Yoga for Seniors. Currently I am in the process of completing a T’ai Chi intensive that I hope to incorporate into my classes. I am also completing my Receive Your Life coaching certification.

    During Covid-19 when the brick and mortar yoga studios and in person locations starting closing their doors, my own community of teachers felt uncertain of the future. My husband Brian and I then founded the Present Wisdom Community, a yoga collaborative that brought together teachers to better serve the greater kula or community.

    Yoga has enabled me to more resilient and help others cultivate that for themselves, while being a source of connection for all of us.

    Where can students take your classes and trainings? 

    Mondays 1-2pm Chair Yoga, Tuesdays 5-6pm Yoga for Arthritis, Wednesday 12-12:30pm Meditation, Wednesday 1-2 pm Chair Yoga.

    Go to PresentWisdom.com for full class schedule.

    Alka Kaminer, E-RYT(500), LVCYT, YFA, YACEP

    Alka is a fun and dynamic yoga instructor who inspires her students to play while challenging themselves. She skillfully combines Dharma talk, asana, pranayama and meditation throughout her teachings. Alka is the founder of the Present Wisdom Community that cultivates happiness and health through yoga and meditation. She is a registered teacher since 2012 with Yoga Alliance and certified (E-500RYT) in Hatha Yoga. Alka also specializes and has advanced certifications in Yoga for Arthritis, Restorative and Chair Yoga instruction. She loves making yoga accessible to everyone, regardless of experience or physical restrictions. Having come from India, a culture steeped in the valued traditions of yoga, Alka brings an energetic approach to movement and a passionate dedication to service in every practice. As a lifelong yoga student, she understands the practical and inspirational importance of yoga and meditation for our daily lives. Alka teaches at studios, community spaces, corporate events and online (including popular live chair yoga classes), she hosts workshops and teacher trainings. To learn more about Alka and the Present Wisdom Community visit www.presentwisdom.com

    Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/alkakamineryoga/

    You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/c/alkakaminer.com

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlkaKaminerYoga

    Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alka-kaminer-3435797/

    Twitter:  https://twitter.com/alkakaminer?lang=en

  • 13 Oct 2020 9:45 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)


    Welcome to the Yoga for Arthritis monthly blog series that features our YFA members hard work, dedication, & passion. Without the ongoing efforts of these standout members, we would not be where we are today. 

    Why were you personally drawn to Yoga for Arthritis?

    I took yoga for 35 years but I really only began to pay careful attention in the last two years of that when I needed a knee replacement due to overuse, misuse and osteoarthritis. I had excellent training thru a physical Therapy/Yoga center for the year prior to the replacement and the year after. I now have two knee replacements. Their training helped me to understand the biomechanics of alignment and mindful movement and strength building, that is the form of yoga I wanted to share and when I heard Dr. Moonaz present on line I knew that was my fit, that was the kind of Yoga I needed to teach and the group I wanted to work with.

    How has Yoga for Arthritis impacted your daily life?

    The Yoga is my life, my daily life, my teaching and my avocation, All my teaching is influenced by my training in Yoga for Arthritis and Dr. Moonaz's and Ann Swanson's training as well as my first powerful Yoga teacher, Angela Sullivan who is well versed in the biomechanics of yoga. I don't think of my myself so much as a yoga teacher as being a yogi in terms of my daily yoga practice and meditation, how I eat, how I conduct myself in the world.

    What lessons have you learned through your Yoga for Arthritis journey?

    First and foremost that it is a total healing process for the mind and spirit and the body. I began to know Yoga as more than just a physical program. then I began to learn to trulls "see" my students as a whole person and to help them accept where they are in this moment. I learned to help them get in touch with their own range of motion and learn to move in a non harming way to strengthen and maintain mobility. To do the very best you can with what you have today, to live joyfully.

    Let us know when and where we can find your classes?

    I teach drop-in classes and two workshops on zoom as well as a chair yoga class thru Olli. The drop in classes are Tuesdays at 10 am and Wednesdays at noon PST. Contact me through my email at dunndiane2@icloud.com or through text or phone at( 775 ) 870- 2092 for more information or a zoom link. The next 8 week workshop which meets twice a week will begin in January dates and times to be announced. To join the chair yoga class through Olli you can go to their website at: www.olli.unr.edu. This class is free to Olli members so you need to go to that website and join.

    You can find more information about me through www.theyogacenterreno.com and www.carsoncityyoga.com.

    Diane Dunn-200-RYT

    I began teaching yoga in Reno in 2016. My focus on the biomechanics of yoga began in 2013 prior to knee replacement due to arthritis I had taken yoga in various forms since 1980, but only really began to pay attention when I needed a knee replacement due to overuse and osteoarthritis. It was at this point that the work I was able to do with physical therapists and Angela Sullivan ,the yoga teacher, at Ascent Physical Therapy in Carson City , Nevada, for the year prior to the surgery and the year after gave me the grounding for what I wanted to pass on, In 2016 I completed basic training in Yoga for the Special Child . This introduced me to Integral Yoga and Adaptive Yoga which I began teaching with Kathy Randolph at The Yoga Center in Reno, Nevada. I earned my 200 hour RYTC Yoga teaching training certificate under Amy Joytir and Kelly Gordon with Angela Sullivan as my mentor in 2017. Then I heard and saw Dr. Moonaz presenting online and I knew that was it: It was exactly what I needed to say and how I wanted to teach. From then I just couldn’t get enough ; I just kept wanting to learn more and go deeper and pass it on.

    I went to specialize in Yoga for Arthritis under Dr. Stephanie Moonaz, in Boston, completing Level I Yoga for Arthritis in 2017 .Then mentored with Ann Swanson, whose book , Science of Yoga ,had already been one of my Yoga Bibles. I completed Level III training in 2020 with Dr. Moonaz . I was blessed to have had the zoom teaching tutorial with Ann Swanson also in 2020. This really helped me when it became necessary to go online. In 2020 I began taking my classes onto zoom classes . These are classes which grow out of my own experience, practice and training. Presently I teach two drop -in classes , a Karma chair class through Olli ,(Osher Life long Learning Institute) at www.olli.unr.edu and the 8 week workshop which I offer twice a year, once in the Fall and once in the Spring beginning in Jan uary. You can email me for more information at dunndiane2@icloud.com

    My classes offer a simple yoga with modifications for special needs and an emphasis on the biomechanics of yoga and the relationship of mind , body and spirit. I encourage students to discover how to feel the poses and the alignment in their own bodies , how to make the practice their own and how to integrate breath, movement and the meditative aspects of yoga in a healing manner.

    My Beginning Yoga is a one hour class that works slowly and mindfully through the basic movements of Yoga. It is designed to build strength , flexibility and mindfulness . It is appropriate for beginners to intermediate students with arthritis or for those who just need or want a gentle class.

  • 31 Aug 2020 10:50 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)

    Welcome to the Yoga for Arthritis monthly blog series that features our YFA members hard work, dedication, & passion. Without the ongoing efforts of these standout members, we would not be where we are today. 

    How has Yoga for Arthritis impacted your daily life?

    Teaching and practicing YFA has impacted my life in many ways, but three main areas stand out for me: I have become more compassionate; more observant; and more creative since becoming a YFA teacher. Teaching students who often are dealing with pain has made me more compassionate towards what they are going through and their strength has been very inspiring. Teaching YFA has made me be much more observant for signs of pain, discomfort and difficulty in performing asanas (I no longer rely solely on verbal reports of pain: I keenly observe how a student moves). Finally, teaching YFA has served to exponentially increase my creativity as a yoga teacher: I am always trying new and different ways to provide propping and support to students whatever their unique needs are and I feel much freer and more expansive in my teaching and thinking thanks to YFA. I will try just about anything to help a student to be comfortable practicing yoga and won’t stop trying until I have found a solution.

    Why were you personally drawn to Yoga for Arthritis?

    I was drawn to YFA because so many students in my yoga classes had Arthritis or pain and I felt that I did not have the skills as a yoga teacher to keep them safe and have them participate fully in my classes. It was a very frustrating situation both for myself and for my students. From my basic yoga training I knew that students should never do anything that caused pain, but I did not have the skills to offer them any alternatives except to tell them to listen to their own bodies. Also, if a student was unable to safely perform a certain asana, I did not have the skill set to adapt the asana to meet the students’ needs. I knew that the YFA training would give me the skills that I needed and indeed it did.

    I have learned many things on my YFA journey, a lot of them about human perseverance and courage and also about the important health benefits of moving. YFA has shown me that anyone can practice yoga. Movement is so important to the maintenance of both physical and mental health but so many people are afraid to move because they have pain or limitations. Teaching YFA has opened my perspective to the reality that everyone can practice yoga. This is such a wonderful gift to be able to share with students.

    What lessons have you learned through your Yoga for Arthritis journey?

    Teaching in the pandemic was very interesting and challenging. For myself, while I had used Zoom before, I had never taught a yoga class before on Zoom. There was definitely a learning curve, mostly about small things like remembering to turn the video on so the students could see me and adjusting to the fact that when I asked the students to do seated forward bends in a chair they all totally disappeared from view until they returned to an upright position. The student response to the online classes was telling: in the first online YFA class in NYC there were 53 students attending! (That was another big adjustment: paying attention to how to keep that number of students’ visually insight and safe). It was also interesting to see elderly students who grew up in the age of pencils, paper and manual typewriters A positive and exciting. The change to online teaching has served as a catalyst for me to examine teaching methods and think about how to accomplish the most effective learning.

    Let us know more about you and your Yoga for Arthritis Journey

    Being a teacher trainer for the Level 1 YFA trainings has been an all-around wonderful experience. I have been very fortunate to co-teach with Nancy Obrien and Livvie Mann: we make a great team (not to mention getting to work with and learn from Steffany and the YFA staff). The preparation for the training is always a hectic combination of immersing myself in the material while at the same time working out the logistics of rooms, props and technology {how do we get the power-point projector to work again? What do we do if the machine gets too hot?}. For some reason, the scheduling of rooms always presents an ongoing and especially tricky challenge. The actual training ends up being a great learning experience as students from so many different backgrounds and experience come together to learn and grow. The whole process is really fun and uplifting.

    As I currently work in a pediatric nursing home New York City, I thought I would share a bit about my experience of the pandemic. Most importantly, none of our residents died. We only had a few residents who got the virus and we were able to successfully treat all of them on-site.

    The beginning of the pandemic was particularly scary—we did not have enough Personal Protective Equipment and as the health industry mobilized to address this pandemic, work became a 24 hour, 7 day a week endeavor. On a daily basis, we would receive guidance’s, directives and surveys from the New York City Department of Health, the New York State Department of Health, the Centers of Disease Control and Executive Orders from the Governor, some of which had conflicting information. The next day we would receive updates on the information we received the day before with different information. Sometimes the Department of Health would send out a one-hour notice about a mandatory webinar on a Saturday night! Information was flying, policies and procedures had to be written, staff had to be trained, residents and families had to be kept informed and reassured. It was a very hectic, confusing and scary time. Of course, all of my friends and family would ask how I was spending all the leisure time I had as the city had been on lockdown, but little did they know that I had NO leisure time.

    Anyway, the good news is that we got through what I hope is the worst of the pandemic and I have definitely learned a lot about how to mobilize in a disaster and about resilience. Life gives us so many lessons.

    Peter Karow

    Peter Karow is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists. In addition, he is a licensed physical therapist and has worked in the health care field as an administrator for many years. He has taught yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute in New York City since 2011 and has certifications in Yoga for Arthritis, Yoga for Cancer and Therapeutic Yoga. In addition to teaching Yoga for Arthritis classes, he serves as a teacher in the Level 1 Yoga for Arthritis teacher trainings. He is particularly interested in Yoga as a vehicle for self-knowledge, healing and inner balance. He has a special interest in using Yoga Nidra as a therapeutic practice to help students affect personal change and healing in their lives.


  • 11 Aug 2020 10:28 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)
    The Global Yoga Therapy Day is hosting a free summit featuring presentations for both the Public and Yoga Professionals on August 13 / 14th.

    The following are talks in the 'Public Stream' - (though anyone can register for any talk - it's all free). I thought you might be interested! 

    You can register at the summit here - but all of the following presentations will also be live streamed to the Global Yoga Therapy Day Facebook Page!

    Come and check out how yoga therapy is used to support better health and well-being! Love to hear what you think!




    The direct links to each of these presentations are:


  • 5 Aug 2020 6:18 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)


    Welcome to the Yoga for Arthritis monthly blog series that features our YFA members hard work, dedication, & passion. Without the ongoing efforts of these standout members, we would not be where we are today. 

    How has Yoga for Arthritis impacted your daily life?

    When a student's face lights up with that "aha" moment after experiencing a new modification or breathing technique , I know this is exactly where I need to be in my life. Yoga for arthritis gave me the courage and confidence to face my fears and pain, It is now my turn to share this gift with others.

    Why were you personally drawn to Yoga for Arthritis?

    I was told to stay away from deep forwards and twisting after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the spine. I was shattered and depressed thinking that my physical practice of yoga was over. Unable to find a class that was adaptable and accessible to my needs, I began my research, and to my elation found Yoga for Arthritis, a research and science based program. I am now able to help myself as well as my students with the knowledge gained in the program.

    What lessons have you learned through your Yoga for Arthritis journey?

    To listen more, not take things personally, to soften and accept gracefully the things I am not able to control. To live life in wonder.

    Let us know when and where we can find your classes?

    Due to Covid-19 restrictions my classes are based on referrals within the Sarasota community. They are private, one on one or small group settings. I can be reached at rcromie22@gmail.com for consultation or a customized class.

    Rajh Cromie

    Trading in a solid career of 25 years in Human resources and recruitment, Rajh is a certified yoga and meditation instructor who now teaches yoga to companies needing to unwind from their busy day. She specializes in Yoga for Arthritis in the workplace as well as being a career and meditation coach . Although her work involves working with a wide range of companies, her enjoyment comes from working with the transportation sector, primarily truck Drivers. She says “these forgotten souls” are responsible for hauling the food that feeds us, the gas that gets us to our destination and the shelter we need to keep us safe and protected. Yoga gives them an opportunity to rest their thinking mind and tired bodies. In her private time, she offers when she can, free yoga for arthritis to individuals who are experiencing financial hardships along with iRest Meditation to individuals with families of mental illness. She is currently enrolled in her 3rd level iRest level teacher certification. Her intention is to share the power of yoga and meditation with women in trauma and abusive relationships.  Connect with Rajh on LinkedIn


  • 27 Jul 2020 2:05 PM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)

    It is safe to assume that not everyone a yoga professional works with is injury or disease free. As a yoga professional, it is your responsibility to ensure that you provide your clientele with safe and effective programming. The question you have to ask yourself is: are you truly qualified and up to date on the latest information to work with your current (and future)? A second question to ask is are you marketing yourself to those who need you most in this healthcare crisis?  If you're honest, you should at least say that perhaps you are not. 

    Well, this is where the MedFit Network (MFN) can help! MedFit Network (MFN) is both a professional membership organization for yoga, fitness and allied healthcare professionals, and a free online resource directory for the community to locate professionals with a background in prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation in working with those with chronic disease or medical conditions. As a yoga professional, here are three reasons why you should take advantage of the partnership YFA has with the MedFit Network.

    Reason #1: Raising Industry Standards by Becoming a Medical Fitness Practitioner (MFP)

    The MFN is the only organization dedicated to making sure fitness professionals as a whole are highly educated & prepared to work with any health concern. The name given for this person is a Medical Fitness Practitioner (MFP). This includes yoga teachers who specialize in supporting those with health concerns, as well as yoga therapists.

    The MFP can help make the transition from medical management and/or physical therapy to a regular program of self-care following a surgery, an injury, a medical diagnosis or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. They also possess the training and skills to support people with chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, neuromuscular disorders and heart disease. 

    In addition to yoga professionals, the MFP category may include wellness and health related disciplines such as chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists, etc. When standards exist for these non-pharmacological approaches, it improves safety and appropriateness of our care practices.

    Reason #2: Continuing Education

    The MedFit Education Foundation (MFEF) is an arm of the MedFit Network dedicated to elevating the quality and amount of available education for the yoga professional and the entire fitness and wellness community. For example, there is a Multiple Sclerosis Fitness Specialist and A Women's Health, Fitness and Hormone Specialist course that are both one of a kind. Continuing education is required for all their specialty courses.  This is typically not the case. It is usually continuing education only for your certification. All of their continuing education courses are approved by a medical advisory board of some of the brightest professionals in the nation. 

    MFEF also has weekly educational webinars that are included with your membership. These webinars are presented weekly (50 in total) by industry experts on such topics as medical fitness and active aging. 

    Reason #3: Networking

    The MFN is an organization filled with people from all walks of the wellness professional spectrum. For example, they have MD's, PT's, chiropractors, dieticians, fitness & massage therapists to name a few. As a result, opportunities to network are endless. Because of this, current members have developed their own educational courses and even started their own blogs. Also, members have been able to designate their facility as medical fitness facilities by working with a member who specializes in helping people achieve this status.

    LISTEN TO MEDFIT PODCAST WITH DR. MOONAZ

    The MedFit Network is a unique organization dedicated to improving the standards of the fitness and allied healthcare professional. The ability for the those with health concerns to use a directory of diverse, qualified health professionals is something unavailable elsewhere. The three reasons given are just the tip of the iceberg as to why you should be a part of this movement, the MFN! 

  • 30 Jun 2020 7:34 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)


    I just finished participating in a survey for the PRIDE Study, which I have been participating in for several years. The PRIDE Study is the first large-scale, long-term national health study of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or another sexual or gender minority (LGBTQ+). Those of you who know me as a cis-gender woman, happily married to a cis-gender man with two beautiful biological children may wonder how I qualify as a research participant for the PRIDE Study. And you’d be correct in assigning me each of those labels. I am also bisexual. I identify as the B in LGBTQ+, which puts me squarely in the middle of the target audience for the PRIDE Study. But how would you know that? You wouldn’t. And that’s sort of the point.

    There is an infamous research study that we teach about in research ethics training called by various names including The Tearoom Trade Study. In it, a researcher observed men having sex with men in public restrooms without their consent. He volunteered to be a “lookout” in case police or strangers entered but was in fact collecting data, both personal and behavioral. There is much debate about whether the knowledge gained from unethical research, such as the Nazi experiments on unwilling subjects, should be used or shared. And while the methods in the Tearoom Trade Study were deplorable, they dispelled widely held myths and stereotypes about human sexuality. An important finding was that many of the men in the “tearooms” were married to women. (It should also be noted that we can largely credit this study among a few others with the current procedures for informed consent by any human research subjects.)

    Because I am a cis-gender woman who is happily (and faithfully) married to a cis-gender man and has two biological children, you might make assumptions about my sexuality and my identity that are untrue. In fact, when I came out to my parents, one of them inquired why I felt it was important to share this information, since I was already happily married to a man and my bisexuality was therefore largely irrelevant. But my identity is not irrelevant, no matter my family structure or my life choices. I am who I am and that continues to matter. It influences how I see the world, even if it doesn’t influence how the world sees me.

    You might similarly ask why I am sharing this with you. What does this have to do with arthritis? With yoga? With Yoga for Arthritis?

    First let’s start with arthritis. When you look at someone, can you tell if they have arthritis? Maybe they require a cane or a wheelchair. Maybe their hands are visibly stiff. Maybe their knees are swollen. But maybe they aren’t. When you look at them, do you know if they are in pain? Fatigued? Depressed? If they are twenty years old and appear able-bodied, would you consider that they might have been living with arthritis since age two? We are all more than meets the eye. We all have stories to share. We are all only ever partly seen. We all should consider how our assumptions shape our behaviors toward each other and whether or not those assumptions might be harmful.

    And now yoga. Sadly, yoga in the West suffers from an epidemic of exclusion. As has been highlighted recently in relation to BIPOC, yoga is far too unwelcoming toward the many kinds of otherness that are not thin, white, young, middle-class and able-bodied. I am all of those things. 

    I am the image of yoga in America. And the fact that I could be in the public sphere for the past 20 years without outing myself as bisexual means that I have benefited from the privilege of straightness even if I don’t wear it as my identity. It is from this privilege that I have the opportunity and the responsibility to advocate for those in my own LGBTQ+ community who don’t feel welcome in heteronormative yoga spaces.

    And finally, Yoga for Arthritis. As a bisexual woman and the founder of YFA, I am committed to advocacy for LGBTQ+ yogis, including those with the intersectional experience of arthritis and disability. Just as BIPOC with arthritis experience worse symptoms and health outcomes, LGBTQ+ persons often have reduced access to quality healthcare and higher incidence of comorbid mental health conditions, which are already elevated in the face of arthritis and chronic pain.

    During the remainder of June, which may be one of the most complicated and challenging Pride Months in recent years, and in the months ahead, I call on each and every one of us to listen. Let’s listen to each other’s stories without the need to jump in, to relate, to commiserate, to explain. Let us recognize the inherent complexity in the stories we carry without trying to overcategorize or oversimplify. 

    We are more than our labels but our identities matter. We are more than our histories, but our experiences matter. We are all one, but we are also many. 

    Thank you for listening. Thank you for being you.

    Love and Light,

    Steffany



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