My Experience with YogaFit for Warriors
My Experience as a YogaFit for Warriors Teacher & Ambassador
by Jaimie Gateman, 200-RYT & 100-hr Warrior Certified, YogaFit Canada Hosting Manager
I have been leading a trauma-sensitive Yoga classes at an addiction centre with the YogaFit for Warriors Ambassador program for 13 weeks now. As I reflect on this experience, my heart is full. All I can think of is first of all, how lucky and grateful I am to have had this opportunity, and second of all, WOW! I want to do this forever! I have also been working very closely with the facility’s current physical health instructor, who has now started her YogaFit for Warriors training journey, so she can continue to offer these classes more frequently as well.
I took the Warriors training program out of interest and didn’t really expect to actually teach trauma-specific Yoga, in a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)-unit no less… but the Universe does work in mysterious ways! I LOVED training for my 200-RYT, but there is a very different ‘feel’ in the Warriors programs/courses. There is a massive amount of healing and bonding in these trainings which is just so beautiful to witness. We laugh, we cry, we learn and we move!
I will admit, I did not feel adequately equipped to begin teaching trauma-sensitive Yoga to the general population, let alone within a highly specialized PTSD unit at this particular facility. I didn’t sleep the night before I started, and I was clouded with doubts; “who am I to do this?” As Shaye said in our Warriors training though, when the Universe calls…Answer it. You may not know how or why, but just answer the call, and everything else will fall into place. When I started teaching, it went well, although it took a few weeks to find our ‘groove’ as a group, just as any class does. One particular sloka stands out for me now… “It is better to do your own dharma imperfectly than to excel at another’s dharma.” – Living Gita 18:47. When your dharma or duty calls, answer it! I know it sounds clichéd but it really is the truth :). Once we found that perfect balance of asana, pranayama, meditation, music and fun I could not image a more perfect Yoga class. The group are all serving in, or had previously served in, the military and all had complex PTSD. They are always interested in a challenge, and eager to learn more about Yoga (they now know what Vinyasa, Tadasana, Ahimsa and Namaste mean!), and how Yoga in particular can help them through their trauma. Most of the men in my group (upon graduating the program) said they would absolutely continue practicing Yoga and have felt the direct benefits, both physically and spiritually, of YogaFit for Warriors. Some of them have even begun to close their eyes in Savasana, which is a very special accomplishment for somebody with PTSD.
It is difficult to describe the impact teaching with the YogaFit for Warriors Ambassadors program has had on me. It has profoundly changed my heart and soul and I could not have asked for a more fulfilling experience. I can only hope I have helped this group out as much as they’ve helped me. Every time I left from teaching that class, my heart felt full (I really don't know how else to describe it as that's really how I feel!), and even now as I’m sitting in my office I am smiling both inside and out.
If you have a chance, take the Warriors course, or better yet the full 100-hour program. The ripples we can send out into the world are truly life-changing, for ourselves and those we meet and teach. These ripples we create will happen naturally, whether we think we are ‘ready’ or not. We are all on this journey together, and as Yoga teachers already overflowing with compassion and empathy, let’s work together to Heal our community, one Warrior at a time.