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