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3 reasons why Yoga Teacher Training will be the BEST decision you’ve ever made

"Something magical and mystical happens when a group of high-intentioned individuals make the decision to gather together for 200 hours with the purpose of uplifting their lives & expanding their consciousness into radical authenticity." - Silvia Mordini, Yoganonymous

After completing my 200-hour RYT program at Yoga People, I can tell you that this was the BEST decision I’ve ever made. If you’re considering it, I can honestly tell you without a doubt that you will: 

1. Become empowered.

In Sanskrit, the word Guru means transforming dark to light, sometimes also translated as teacher.

In teacher training, we learn how to become our own guru. We become responsible for transitioning our darkness to light as a witness to ourselves. We learn how to become empowered and to find our strength through working the physical form and the deeper layers of the subtle body.

2. Truly understand your body and mind.

In the Yoga People teacher training program, we study Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. Through looking at our own dosha and intrinsic qualities, we find out what food and lifestyle choices assist or deplete our life force.

In Yoga Teacher Training, we learn anatomy and how the body works.We learn the mechanics of our body, the muscles, ligaments and tendons, the alignment of our bones, and how everything works in synergy.  Not only does this help us to practice yoga safely, but ripples into our every day activities, too. 

We learn that yoga is so much more than a physical asana practice. We learn how to build confidence in our own voice. We feel strong and steady through the camaraderie of a nurturing sangha or community of supporters. We learn how to really get present and not judge everyone’s process - especially our own. We become more open and comfortable with ourselves and always trusting in our inner voice. 

3. Have a whole new group of friends who “get it.”

Deepening your yoga practice with a group of kind, compassionate mentors and a community of inspired individuals will set the stage for an amazing journey toward a new way of seeing the world and your self! 

Throughout this major life journey, I was truly inspired on levels that I didn’t even know existed. I learned more about myself, spirituality, and the world than I could ever have fathomed.

Having an intimate group of friends who understood that and were going through the exact same thing was the most valuable gift that Teacher Training offered me. 

It might be called a yoga teacher training, but really, it’s a course in learning how to work with your body and mind for the rest of your life.

Yoga People’s next RYT-200 hour Teacher Training begins on September 26. Learn more here: http://yoga-people.com/teachertraining.php

What should I look for in a Teacher Training program?

If you’re considering becoming a yoga teacher, deepening your yoga practice, or a little bit of both, deciding to commit to a training program can be one of the biggest decisions you have ever made - and it will undoubtedly change your life FOREVER!

As a teacher training graduate of Yoga People, I know just how monumental this decision was for me. Committing to my dreams of becoming a teacher and deepening my practice took a leap of faith, but I knew it was the right move when I decided to embark in Teacher Training here. 

Whether you’re not sure about making your own leap, or have already formed a vision and are ready to commit, these questions may help you to understand what you are looking for in a Teacher Training program and whether we are a good fit for your aspirations!

How much practice will you have teaching?

Our trainees get to practice teach with the other trainees and teachers starting the first weekend of training! Practice teaching sessions are scheduled throughout the curriculum. One of my favorite parts of Yoga People’s YTT program was that we had the opportunity to teach each pose to our classmates and receive feedback and helpful critique from our teachers. This ensured that we really knew and understood how to give spot on alignment calls, adjustments, and assists.

How many fellow trainees will you have?


Yoga People offers an intimate training program with a small group of dedicated students. This allows for plenty of individualized attention and instruction from our professional instructors and guest lecturers. In my class, there were 9 trainees, and it was the perfect size! Other classes recently have had between 5-12 trainees.

Can I teach at Yoga People after I complete the Teacher Training?


We love to have our teacher trainees teach at Yoga People! Upon completion of the training, each graduate is eligible to teach a series of Community classes. Upon the recommendation of the training directors, YP staff and students, you will be eligible to audition to become a regular sub and/or instructor at Yoga People.

Who are the teachers?


Our two lead teachers for the training are Donnalynn Civello and Julia Haramis, both 500-hr ERYT (experienced Registered Yoga Teachers).

In addition to teaching yoga and yoga teachers-to-be, Donnalynn is also a Certified Intuitive Life Coach and Certified Holistic Nutritionist, CHHC, and AADP. She is dedicated to helping clients and students find balance in all aspects of their lives. Did you know? Donnalynn was actually the reason I signed up for Yoga People’s Teacher Training Program. I was studying with her for four years at Yoga People and fell in love with the care, attention, and grace she provided to her students. She helped me to uncover my light and desire to teach. Spending every weekend with her throughout the duration of the program was such a gift!

Julia is an NYC native and has been an avid student of Yoga since 1997. Her practice has transformed her body, mind, health and view on life.

 Wanting to deepen her Yoga practice, Julia completed her 200 Hour RYA Teacher Training in the spring of 2007 at Yoga People in Brooklyn Heights. Immediately after that she started teaching and fell in love with it. Since then she has also completed all 108 hours of Anusara Immersions 1, 2 and 3 through Yoga People. Julia has also studied with Seane Corn and completed her Yoga, Purpose and Action Intensive with Off the Mat, Into the World. In March of 2010 Julia completed her 500 Hour RYT at ISHTA (Integrated Science of Hatha Tantra and Ayurveda) Yoga with Alan Finger, Mona Anand and Sarah Finger.  Julia is also certified in Restorative Yoga through two programs - Relax and Renew Restorative Training with Judith Hanson Lasater and ISHTA Restorative and Yoga Nidra Training with Mona Anand and Gina Menza. Julia’s classes are a blend of all of the teachings she has enjoyed and benefited from over the years. 

Julia is also a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She is certified through Purchase College of SUNY, the AADP and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She completed her training in Health Counseling at IIN in 2009.

How often will you be able to communicate with the teachers outside of class?


Donnalynn teaches at the studio 3 times a week and Julia teaches 2 classes here weekly so you have plenty of opportunities to take class with them outside of training. Also, both teachers are available via email and Facebook so you can connect with them off the mat! Our guest teachers also are reachable via email so you may contact them when you have questions or concerns.

What is their personal practice like?

Donnalynn, Julia, and our guest teachers have a daily practice, whether they are taking classes in a studio or having a self-practice at home. As a teacher, as you soon will learn, it is essential to get to your mat (besides for teaching a class) every single day.

How many classes do they teach?


Our teachers instruct as many as 10 classes per week at studios around New York City, with additional private clients. They are quite busy and have made yoga teaching a successful, fulfilling career!

What happens if you’re injured or have an emergency and can’t make it to class one day?

During the training, you can miss one session as long as all homework, practice teachings, and curriculum exercises for that day are made up at a later date. We ask for advance notice of any absences outside of emergencies.

Are there certain poses you have to “achieve” to graduate?


No! Our trainees come to us at all different levels. While no particular level of asana practice is required for the training, the curriculum is not geared for beginning students, and we require at least one year of yoga practice as a prerequisite.

Do I need to pass a Final Test to register with the Yoga Alliance?


Yes. The certification process concludes with a Final Exam that covers the entire curriculum, and a teaching Practicum in which each trainee leads a class.

I am not necessarily interested in teaching, can I participate?

Absolutely! Yoga People’s 200-hour teacher training program is a yoga immersion designed to deepen your own practice. Many students are unsure when they enroll if teaching is in their future. This in-depth experience of yoga will be rewarding regardless of your plans to teach. While we do spend a great deal of time preparing you to teach and assist, the journey of self-awareness is life changing. We encourage all interested yogis to take this step and see where it leads them!

 

Yoga People’s Fall 2014 program starts September 26th! 



Yoga People’s 200-hour Teacher Training program is designed for individuals with passion for yoga. This Vinyasa training will immerse you in yoga, yogic philosophy, and intensive asana instruction. It will also transform the way you practice and give you the tools necessary to teach. 
Learn more

Yoga People is Brooklyn Lululemon's Studio of the Month! Join our wonderful teachers for FREE yoga classes every Sunday in July! No RSVP required, just show up at Lululemon at 166 Smith Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn at 9am. Learn more here. 
Yoga People is Brooklyn Lululemon's Studio of the Month! Join our wonderful teachers for FREE yoga classes every Sunday in July! No RSVP required, just show up at Lululemon at 166 Smith Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn at 9am. Learn more here. 

Yoga People is Brooklyn Lululemon's Studio of the Month! Join our wonderful teachers for FREE yoga classes every Sunday in July! No RSVP required, just show up at Lululemon at 166 Smith Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn at 9am. Learn more here

Yoga People Teacher Training Graduates: Where Are They Now?

If you’re still on the fence, this may be the inspiration you need to dive into your career as a yoga teacher - or to deepen your yoga practice! 

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"The YPTT has been a wonderful journey where I have the privilege to be taught by lovely and experienced teachers. I never thought this TT would change my life the way it has! I feel blessed since the moment I decided to sign up!" Paula Cunha

Truly one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. It has exceeded every expectation and I am beyond grateful that I have had the opportunity to learn from these experienced, genuine and gracious teachers.” Rachel Tuckerman

“It’s even better than I thought it was going to be!” RW

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Yoga People Teacher Training Graduates: Where Are They Now?

Kathryn Robinson, Spring 2011 - Teaches 4 classes weekly at Yoga People! Mon 8:15-9:30pm Slow Flow, Tues 1:00-2:00pm Basic Express, Weds 6:30-8:00pm All Levels, Thurs 1:00-2:00pm All Levels Express

In addition to these classes, Kathryn teaches around Brooklyn and has a brand new web presence: http://www.kathryncorinne.com/

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Kristin Law, Spring 2011 - Did you know that Kristin formerly completed her Kundalini teacher training before her Vinyasa training with us? She brings her diverse knowledge of pranayama and asana to her classes - join her Weds 8:15-9:30pm Slow Flow, Fri 6:30-8:00pm All Levels! 

Andrea Dershin, Spring 2011 - Andrea was teaching several classes weekly at Yoga People before moving back to her hometown in British Columbia, Canada to open The Good Life Cleanse! We’re so proud of Andrea and miss her dearly!

Nicole Romito, Fall 2012 - Nicole was recently teaching and subbing at our studio and now teaches 2 classes a week in Brooklyn and has co-founded a yoga retreat company with our other recent graduate, Vanessa Falcone McGlynn! 

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Vanessa Falcone McGlynn, Fall 2012 - Vanessa was recently subbing at our studio and now teaches classes around Brooklyn and has co-founded a yoga retreat company with our other recent graduate, Nicole Romito! 

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Arielle Danziger, Fall 2012 - Arielle was recently our studio manager, taught 2 classes weekly and led a Beginners series before heading back to New Jersey to further her education in Occupational Therapy. Although we miss her, we know she’s going to be making huge strides and helping so many people! 

Courtney Rubin, Fall 2012 – Courtney teaches a 7am power Vinyasa class at Yoga People and also several classes around Brooklyn!

Fern Langham, Fall 2012 - Fern is our blog writer (currently writing in third person!) and can be seen daily taking classes at Yoga People, where she took her very first yoga class about 5 years ago and fell in love. Teacher Training here was a natural fit. Fern has subbed classes at Yoga People and leads yoga and wellness workshops and retreats in NYC and around the world! Learn more: http://yogawithfern.com

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Yoga People’s Fall 2014 program starts September 26th.
(Early Bird Deadline July 1st!) 

Yoga People’s 200-hour Teacher Training program is designed for individuals with passion for yoga. This Vinyasa training will immerse you in yoga, yogic philosophy, and intensive asana instruction. It will also transform the way you practice and give you the tools necessary to teach. 
Learn more

If you have any other questions, please feel free to get in touch with Wendy or Katie at info@yoga-people.com.

Meet our new additions + the ULTIMATE Mother’s Day Gift

Happy May! Here at Yoga People, spring is in full bloom and we have lots of new happenings to share.

Our lovely, radiant studio manager Arielle has moved back to New Jersey to pursue an education in Occupational Therapy, and we bid her farewell with a surprise party in her honor. She will be deeply missed but fear not, we have another sweet and energetic yogini filling her shoes.

Meet Katie, our new studio manager!

Katie has been practicing yoga for 8 years and is very excited to be a part of the team! Did you know? Katie is all in-the-know with Ayurveda and her favorite simple ayurvedic breakfast recipe contains 3 easy ingredients: 1 Banana, 1 tsp Ghee, and a pinch of Cinnamon. “Slice the banana, sauté the slices in ghee, and sprinkle with cinnamon before serving!” Yum! This is the perfect pre-morning class yogi breakfast. 

In spirit of spring and all things new, we are excited to have new teachers and classes added to our schedule! 

Meet April Dechagas!

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April began her yoga practice in 2008 at Yoga People as a preparation for surf camp in Costa Rica, but fell in love with yoga and only fell in-like with surfing. Fast forward 6 years later, in 2014, April completed her 800-hour Jivamukti Yoga certification, apprenticing under Gayatri Sandhi Ferreira. Fun fact: April is a vegan chef, and founder of Cookie Devi, a vegan and gluten-free cookie company! Join us at 9:30am Monday and Friday for classes with this vibrant yogini! 

Meet James Fielder! 

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James is 500hr RYT certified, and believes in the power of regular asana practice as the seat of self-healing and transformation. He has studied meditation with David Harshada Wagner including Spiritual Leadership Training.  Currently he studies Tantric philosophy and practice with Christopher Hareesh Wallis. In addition to teaching yoga, James is a musician and cinematographer! Join James on Wednesdays at 4:30pm. 

Meet Ali Van Putten

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Our lovely Ali will be teaching our Monday 4:30pm class. Ali has her 300 hour certification from Sharon Gannon & David Life. She also has started a community and resource for Entrepreneurs called Createapreneur - Tools and Resources for Creative Entrepreneurs. 

Don’t forget Mother’s Day, May 11!

This Mother’s Day, offer love to that incredible woman who took care of you, supported you, and encouraged you to be the best version of you. That woman who spent many sleepless nights giving you attention and tender love. It’s time to give back. So send mom to Yoga People and we’ll take care of her. We offer gift cards and a massage club to treat mom like a queen. 

Learn more why massage at Yoga People is an unparalleled experience! 

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Are you new to yoga? Here are the top 5 lessons I learned as I began my practice.

Coming to a yoga class for the first time can be very intimidating. 
I actually began my yoga practice at Yoga People about 5 years ago on a whim. I was super stressed out at work and needed a break. I was a bootcamp and spin addict, and was thinking yoga would be a nice “off day” workout for me, but after coming to Julia’s beginner lunchtime classes once or twice a week, I began realizing that yoga was so much more than just a nice lunch break. 
Here are the top lessons I learned as I started my practice. 

1. Ignore the other people on other mats.

Open classes are typically going to have a variety of levels. One of the biggest life lessons from yoga that I have learned is that it’s totally, 100% perfect to be where you are right now and it is always a practice and a journey. Many beginner students often admit that they feel intimidated or even silly in classes where there are more advanced yogis. Here’s the secret: no one is judging you! Stop paying attention to everyone else in class and focus on yourself.

2. On that note…. avoid advanced classes! 

There are certain classes on the schedule that are designed for more advanced yogis. The classes tend to move quickly, there is an expectation that you know the names of the poses without seeing the instructor demonstrate, and some of the more basic poses are not explained. When you are starting your practice, it may be a good idea to avoid these classes. It’s not you, it’s the class! At Yoga People, we indicate what level the classes are (i.e, beginner, slow flow, open, power yoga). Opt for the beginner, slow flow, and restorative classes at first and then work your way to an all levels or power yoga class. If you have any questions at all, ask someone at the front desk. We are here to help you navigate the schedule and the classes to find teachers and times that are just right for YOU! 

3. Breathe!

Your breath comes first. Before starting a class, set the intention of remembering to breathe. The more you practice, the more you will start to synchronize your breath with your movements. This is Vinyasa, linking breath with your body and mind. This may not come easy at first, but if you deepen your breath, it will guide you through the asanas (poses) and even more challenging poses can become easeful. As long as you are breathing, you are practicing yoga!

4. Laugh at yourself

You are going to fall. Your belly may make noises, you may pass gas. That’s OK! You might be on the other side of the pose or on the wrong leg. That’s also OK! You might slide off your mat. That’s cool too. Don’t worry; even the most advanced yogis are experiencing these things, I promise you. Experiencing silly moments is a natural part of yoga and sometimes it’s pretty darn funny. You have the choice to either add laughter into your day or beat yourself up. Choose to smile, and go with the flow.  

5. Commit! 

When you make yoga a part of your weekly schedule, you will build your skills without a doubt! Plus, you will get to know the teachers and they will help you on what it is you are here to work on. One of my favorite parts of Yoga People is the community here. I began falling in love with the teachers, the students, and the staff. When you make a yoga studio your home, coming to class stops being a tick box on your to-do list.

Still feeling a bit timid? No fear, Yoga People has an amazing Absolute Beginner course to build your confidence, strength and flexibility! 

Develop Strength, Flexibility, and Balance

4-Week course, 4 Sundays, 3:30-4:45 
Next Session: June 1, 8, 15, 22
$90 Pre-registration required.
Click HERE to register.

This course is designed for those who are brand new to yoga.
Call us to reserve your spot in class at 718-522-YOGA 
or register online.

See FAQs about the Absolute Beginner Course and learn more here

Join Yoga People and Julia Haramis, Brooklyn Yogini, for a Blissful Mediterranean Yoga Retreat in Greece!

The retreat will take place from June 21st-28th, 2014 on the Island of Naxos at the Lagos Mare HotelSpend 7 nights at a 4-star hotel on the unforgettable island of Naxos! 

We will practice yoga, meditate, enjoy luxurious Yoga Nidra practices, sun ourselves on beautiful white sands beaches and dine on deliciously healthful fresh Mediterranean food. 
 

The retreat includes:

•7 nights accommodation (balcony with sea view)

•2 yoga classes per day

•All Breakfasts

•2 Dinners at gourmet “1924” Restaurant

•Wine & Cheese tasting

•Mountain Village Tour 

Why you should go:

Spend a week in serene and picturesque settings around the Mediterranean while you practice yoga, make powerful new friendships, explore, relax, sweat, wine, dine, and experience…and of course eat amazing cuisine, meditate amongst gorgeous surroundings, and bliss in vinyasa and restorative yoga poses.

Please let Julia or Yoga People know if you have any questions and if you are interested in joining her for this blissful adventure in paradise!

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE

About Julia Haramis, your retreat guide

Julia K. Haramis, E-RYT 500, is an NYC native of Greek heritage. Julia speaks Greek fluently and is committed to providing an authentic Greek experience for all retreat students. Julia completed her 200 Hour RYA Teacher Training in the spring of 2007 at Yoga People in Brooklyn Heights. Julia has also studied with Seane Corn and completed her Yoga, Purpose and Action Intensive with Off the Mat, Into the World. In March of 2010 Julia completed her 500 Hour RYT at ISHTA Yoga with Alan Finger, Mona Anand and Sarah Finger. Julia is also certified in Restorative Yoga through two programs - Relax and Renew Restorative Training with Judith Hanson Lasater and ISHTA Restorative and Yoga Nidra Training with Mona Anand and Gina Menza. Julia’s classes are a blend of all of the teachings she has enjoyed and benefited from over the years. 

Julia is also a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She is certified through Purchase College of SUNY, the AADP and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She completed her training in Health Counseling at IIN in 2009.

Spring has sprung in Brooklyn Heights! Join me and Sarah Anne Stewart of Introducing Wellness this Saturday March 15 for a cleansing vinyasa flow yoga class packed with lots of twists and backbends to expand the chest and open the heart! Plus, we’ll be sharing our top 10 tips to stay healthy as the seasons change, all while giving back to the amazing nonprofit, Africa Yoga Project! To thank you for supporting this great cause, all guests receive a FREE 3-month membership to the premier holistic health center, One Medical Group.
After class, we’ll be enjoying delicious, healthy refreshments generously provided by our friends at sweetgreen & TumericALIVE!
Want to contribute to this cause? Grab your ticket for Saturday here.
Spring has sprung in Brooklyn Heights! Join me and Sarah Anne Stewart of Introducing Wellness this Saturday March 15 for a cleansing vinyasa flow yoga class packed with lots of twists and backbends to expand the chest and open the heart! Plus, we’ll be sharing our top 10 tips to stay healthy as the seasons change, all while giving back to the amazing nonprofit, Africa Yoga Project! To thank you for supporting this great cause, all guests receive a FREE 3-month membership to the premier holistic health center, One Medical Group.
After class, we’ll be enjoying delicious, healthy refreshments generously provided by our friends at sweetgreen & TumericALIVE!
Want to contribute to this cause? Grab your ticket for Saturday here.

Spring has sprung in Brooklyn Heights! Join me and Sarah Anne Stewart of Introducing Wellness this Saturday March 15 for a cleansing vinyasa flow yoga class packed with lots of twists and backbends to expand the chest and open the heart! Plus, we’ll be sharing our top 10 tips to stay healthy as the seasons change, all while giving back to the amazing nonprofit, Africa Yoga Project! To thank you for supporting this great cause, all guests receive a FREE 3-month membership to the premier holistic health center, One Medical Group.

After class, we’ll be enjoying delicious, healthy refreshments generously provided by our friends at sweetgreen & TumericALIVE!

Want to contribute to this cause? Grab your ticket for Saturday here.

Are you a new mom or mom-to-be in Brooklyn Heights?

Yoga People offers a wonderful pre- and post-natal community for new moms and moms-to-be. Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Yoga People’s lovely prenatal yoga teacher, Tymaree Cook. 

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Tymaree Renaud LMT, CD(DONA), began her journey as a birth doula in January 2010. She has been fascinated by birth since she first picked up “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin in 1994. An avid traveler, she has lived, worked, and wandered in 43 countries. She marvels at synthesizing all these experiences and being present; appreciating the uniqueness and universal in every moment. Tymaree is also a Licensed Massage Therapist! She trained at Swedish institute in NYC in 2002 and with Susan Rachel Condon for her Pre/Post Natal certification in 2006. In 2009, she did her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at the Nosara Institute in Costa Rica. She studied Prenatal Yoga with the Prenatal Yoga Center in New York.

Along with teaching prenatal yoga at Yoga People, Tymaree offers one-on-one sessions. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in Printmaking and also has a deep love for photography. Her next adventure in education has beenpursuing certification as a childbirth educator with ICE. She is deeply interested in women’s health, nutrition, movement, and rite-of-passages. Her experience with touch and movement can help you to have a more comfortable and empowering birth experience. Learn more about Tymaree at the NYC Doula Collective, a community of doulas serving New York City and the surrounding areas with labor and postpartum services. 

Tymaree smiled and told me that even when she is not in the birthing facility with her clients, often after the birth, they “I heard your voice during my labor.” 

Tymaree is passionate for supporting women during and leading up to birth. One of her main focuses is empowering women with strengthening exercises, breathing, and meditation that will help them their own labour process and early parenthood. 

Tymaree also is a certified Prenatal massage therapist and loves the synergistic effect of prenatal yoga, massage, and working as a doula. These different modalities enable her to reach and touch more women, as there are only so many women can help as a doula or as a massage therapist. In her prenatal classes, she is able to help more women feel nurtured, strong, and supported during this special time. 

Join Tymaree for prenatal yoga at Yoga People and the mother’s group which is open to all moms-to-be and new moms in the community. The mother’s group at Yoga People is a safe, sacred place where women share issues, challenges, and milestones. It is completely mom-led, where Tymaree is simply the facilitator. Because there is not a post-natal class here just yet, this group is a great way to stay connected with the other women from the pre-natal class.

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Have questions about preparing for birth? Connect with Tymaree on the NYC Doula Collective’s Facebook page and check our class schedule to find a prenatal class that works for you! Happy birthing!

Meet Kat Blandino, Yoga People’s lovely new Prenatal yoga teacher + Top 8 Reasons why Prenatal Yoga is amazing for moms-to-be!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of sitting down for tea at Vineapple with Kat Blandino, a Brooklyn Heights mom and Yoga People prenatal yoga teacher. 

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Kat became impassioned about teaching prenatal yoga after witnessing the transformative ability of yoga during her own pregnancy, birth and early years of mothering. 

Kat is originally from London and has a sweet and nurturing aura. She is immediately one of those teachers that you can just feel comfortable around. I could get swept away by her voice and could have tea with her for hours! 

So you’re right down the street from Yoga People? How nice!

Yes, I live in North Brooklyn Heights with my husband and son Luca, who turned 3 at the end of last year. I love being teaching and living in the same neighborhood, there’s such a sense of community which is really important when raising children and its great being able to walk to ‘work’!

Did you practice prenatal yoga when you were pregnant with Luca? 

Yes! I started practicing yoga years before I became a mother but the importance of the practice in my life was solidified when I became pregnant. We had recently moved to California and all my friends and family were back on the East coast and in the UK. It was within the prenatal yoga community and later in my postnatal/mommy and me classes that I found my support group and deep friendships that guided me through the joys, frustrations, worries and everything in between that you experience as a new mother! Community is such a wonderful part of the prenatal journey and I love seeing bonds being made in my classes. I credit prenatal yoga to being able to enjoy a pretty much aches and pains free pregnancy and prepare me for birth.

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So you think prenatal yoga helped with your birth too?

No doubt! it was by practicing prenatal yoga that I developed not only the physical strength and stamina but more importantly the understanding of how to surrender and soften. I felt so connected to my body and to my baby that was able to work WITH my body to birth my baby. I gained a better understanding of myself and how to listen to that inner voice and trust my instincts. In the end I was able to have the birth I had hoped for – a water birth at home. 

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and then you decided to teach yoga?

Exactly! I took my 200 hour yoga teach training after Luca was born and then went on to take the 85 hour Yoga Alliance Prenatal teacher training and the advanced 500 hour training! I am very passionate and dedicated to offering every mother-to-be a yoga practice that builds the confidence, strength and ‘tools’ to have a pregnancy and to birth in the way THEY want to. There is no one size fits all, right or wrong way when it comes to pregnancy and birth, it is a highly individualized journey. What matters most is that the mother is able to connect to herself and baby, be healthy and feel confident to voice her desires and wishes. As we know we can have the best laid plans but baby and birth can take us in a whole other direction! and that’s the other great thing about yoga, it aids you having the ability to be adapt when things change, and to stay calm and centered amongst changing circumstances. image

What can moms-to-be expect from your class?

My intention is always to provide students with a warm, welcoming and sacred space to focus on their pregnancy in a deeper way. Creating the space and time needed to adjust to the changes taking place, bond with baby and celebrate themselves. The asanas, breathing practices and deep relaxation techniques in my classes are designed to alleviate the physical discomforts of pregnancy, understand emotional ups and downs and prepare the body and mind for pregnancy, birth and beyond. Pregnancy can be exhausting, overwhelming and a hormonal roller coaster as well as a time of excitement and joy. I want women to be able to come to the mat with whatever they are experiencing that day and feel supported and loved. In short ,I want my students to leave class feeling really good!

Kat’s top 8 reasons why prenatal yoga is so important for a smooth pregnancy.

1. Really learn to let go! The breathing techniques and asanas we practice tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, (the opposite of the fight or flight feeling) which helps smooth out the emotional roller coaster of pregnancy AND aid in more restful sleep for when that snoogle body pillow just isn’t cutting it anymore!

2. Prenatal yoga helps to relieve the general aches and discomforts of pregnancy. Shoulders, back and hips hurting? That pregnancy waddle setting in? We’ll take care of that! Good posture = good pregnancy.

3. Prenatal yoga improves circulation, gets the muscles working effectively which helps to avoid varicose veins, hemorrhoids and fluid retention. Puffy ankles be gone!

4. Prenatal yoga creates a mama community, not only important during pregnancy but in those early weeks and months after birth too, having a sisterhood of support helps reduce the baby blues. 

5. Prenatal yoga creates a scared space to bond with baby and nurture yourself. In general we need to slow down and create space, especially as New Yorkers. Catching up on your Netflix shows with a bag of popcorn doesn’t count! Prenatal yoga is solely about honoring yourself, your growing baby and your pregnancy journey together.

6. Prenatal yoga helps mamas prepare for the big BIRTH DAY by increasing stamina and strength, it’s called labor for a reason. And just as importantly, your time on the mat will help unveil a deeper understanding of the self including any fears or doubts. Knowing the self more fully and dealing with these fears before birth can help avoid having them arise during labor and inhibit the birth process. 

7. Prenatal yoga teaches pregnancy-safe modifications for your yoga practice. Some mothers-to-be still want to go to their regular yoga class and/or continue a home practice, prenatal yoga will give you knowledge of how to safely do that.

8. Know thy Pelvic floor! I can’t stress how important that is not only for birth and labor but long term health.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am so excited to be a part of the Yoga People team and to join YP’s existing yoga teacher and my friend Tymaree to expand the offering of prenatal yoga within the community. I look forward to meeting all the mamas on the mat!

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See you on your mat with Kat, Saturdays from 2-3:15pm.

What to give yourself or your beloved for Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the perfect time to treat yourself or a loved one to a massage. If that’s not a good enough reason, how about this: Not only can massage therapy evoke relaxation and relieve stress, it can lessen chronic pain, reduce muscle soreness, increase blood circulation and flush out toxins. That’s reason enough for me!

Today I had the pleasure of sitting down for juice and brunch with Yoga People’s lovely massage therapist, Yves Cedano. 

Yves’ mission is to explore the profound and infinite rewards of natural health and encourages clients and students to find balance and health through self-love. After all, we believe massage is a necessity, not a luxury! 

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Tell me about yourself:

With a desire to further understand the benefits of natural healing and compassionate self-care, I began studies in Massage Therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in 2009. I am a licensed practitioner of massage therapy including modalities such as Thai Yoga Massage, Sports and Rehabilitative Therapy, Reflexology, and a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. I continue to explore the profound and infinite rewards of natural health and massage therapy.

What inspired you to become a massage therapist? 
My 7+ years of yoga practice and study lead to my curiosity with natural healing and the mind-body relationship. I am not quite sure why I chose Massage Therapy as I had never received nor given a massage prior to enrolling in school. I think I just answered a calling and it was the best decision I’ve ever made- being a therapist has made me the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever felt and I get to help others in the meantime which is the real reward. I read once in Psychology Today that massage therapists and those with jobs requiring touch have the lowest levels of stress surrounding their careers. I whole heartedly agree. My job is my stress relief at times and a huge part of my own personal wellness therapy!
Why is Thai Massage your favorite type of massage to give, and who is it helpful for?
Thai massage is hands down my favorite modality to offer, it’s unique in how it is performed: on a mat with the receiver fully clothed without the use of oils or lotions. The modality appealed to me in particular because the techniques applied in a Thai Massage treatment are similar to those of Yogic postures. It is often called Thai Yoga Massage and it feels like someone is doing Yoga to you. When I first learned the modality I felt I had found my work in the world. With movement and breath being at it’s core, I thought, Bingo, That’s the one for me!  For both receiver and practitioner this treatment makes for a truly healing experience. And much like Yoga, it takes a lifetime of study, practice, self-care and also patience and mindfulness, I mean- it’s a 2,000 year old practice!
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You’re a huge advocate for self-care, and it shows, because you’re always glowing. Why is regular massage such an important part of your self-care ritual? 
I receive massage regularly because it helps me to re-connect with my self, body and soul. Sometimes while receiving bodywork, I experience very strong emotions from crying to uncontrollable laughter! I just let it happen and listen to what my body is trying to say. I often gain more mental clarity from massage and have experienced huge reduction in just plain old pain if nothing else. Massage helps to eliminate the terrible effects that stress hormones wreak on the body by creating a surge of endorphins (which naturally eliminate pain) and improve your emotional outlook. Often body work facilitates restful sleep, which we all know is supremely important for health, and I find when I take the time out for myself I experience more productivity in my day to day life. 
I know you make lotions and beauty products using organic essential oils. Tell me more!
I make my own lotions, lip balms and body oils because, well, I am a spend thrift primarily but also because I like to know what’s going in my body from what I eat to what products I use on my skin. I have a love affair with essential oils, they don’t just smell great they offer a multitude of healing benefit from pain relief, to wound care and even divine spiritual connection. To really gain a full understanding would take another interview on just essential oils!

Have you been to the Yoga People Healing Room?

Learn more about our massage offerings and membership in the Massage Club here

Twist Your Way Into Spring Workshop

 

WHERE: Yoga People 160 Montague St, Brooklyn, NY

 

WHEN: March 15, 2014

 

TIME: 5-7pm

 

CHARITY: Africa Yoga Project

 

COST: $30 Early Bird Special Booked by March 1st | $35 After March 1st

REGISTER: Please call (718) -522-9642 or sign up online

THE DETAILS:

WELLNESS is your greatest gift and greatest asset. And everyone who has lost it needs to be re-introduced to it.

Most of us  - especially in the hustle and bustle of NYC - have lost our health compass.  We’ve lost the mere understanding that every single person and every single body is different. Instead, when our health disappears, we frantically seek out unrealistic quick fix, fad diet, intense cleanse solutions that statistically just doesn’t work.

The great news is that true WELLNESS is a lifestyle and actual can be taught - to anyone with a desire for it. 

Join Fern Langham, Registered Yoga Instructor and Sarah Anne Stewart, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner for this special, 2-hour workshop that will re-introduce you to the world of health and wellness, empower you, raise awareness, and teach you healthy detox and cleanse principals that can be used every single day. The principals from this workshop will be your go-to practice whenever you feel the need to “lighten” up and refresh your mind, body and soul.

A percentage of all proceeds for this event will be donated to the Africa Yoga Project.

WORKSHOP INCLUDES:

*A special twisting-detox class designed to teach you specific postures to rejuvenate and cleanse your body

*Guided meditation

*An optimal cleanse + detox workshop

*Three months FREE membership to One Medical Group NYC

*Healthy drinks and snacks

Spots are limited! Sign up online.

 

TOPICS COVERED:

 

*Healthier eating and living habits


*Practical approaches to mindful eating for the busy person


*Sustainable nutrition tips
and lifestyle choices

*Ways to improve digestion and increase energy

*Why diets don’t work and how to stop counting calories

*Principles of cleansing & detoxing

*The merits of a plant-based diet

*The benefits of raw foods & superfoods

 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ONE MEDICAL, YOUR WELLNESS HOSTS + THE AFRICA YOGA PROJECT:

ABOUT ONE MEDICAL GROUP:

With 6 Manhattan locations and dozens more across the country, One Medical Group has designed their practice around your needs. Their doctors deliver high-quality, hassle-free care through excellent customer service and efficient use of technology. Convenient and flexible, they’re in-network with most insurance plans and offer same-day, on-time appointments; email access to your doctor; and online/mobile appointment scheduling, prescription renewals, and more. Perfect for a life on-the-go.

 

To help you maintain optimal health and wellness, One Medical Group is offering you 3 free months of membership at their innovative, patient-centered medical practice (normally $199/year). Simply use code WELLNY14 during online registration at http://onemedical.com. (Valid for new NYC members only – expires 7/1/14.)

 

Whether you have an immediate health need or are simply overdue for a “tune-up,” we know you’ll enjoy being a member of One Medical. Experience the difference firsthand and join online at http://onemedical.com

 

ABOUT YOUR WELLNESS HOSTS:

Fern Langham, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200)

Fern is a registered Yoga instructor, wellness and lifestyle consultant, writer, blogger, presenter and self-love advocate. She is humbled by the love and support of all her teachers, especially Donnalynn Civello, Julia Haramis, Katelin Sisson, Andrea Dershin and Lindsay Buehler who guided her through Yoga People’s 200-hour Teacher Training. Fern’s mission is to inspire you to become aware of your movement and breath as you become more vibrant and at ease on and off your yoga mat. As she has done with her own body, Fern aims to empower you with the tools you need to heal what ails you – whether that might be anxiety, digestion distress, weak immunity, a thyroid condition, adrenal fatigue, or low energy. Her approach to yoga is nurturing and playful, with a strong attention to the body and breath. Connect with her at http://yogawithfern.com and http://blissoutretreats.com.

 

Sarah Anne Stewart, Holistic Health Practitioner (AADP)

Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (AADP), writer, speaker, world traveler, free spirit & lover of life. Founder of Introducing Wellness LLC and co-founder of Bliss Out Retreats, Sarah Anne passionately invites others to experience a new-found “love for life” and WELLNESS through holistic healing. While helping her father cure terminal cancer with alternative medicine, Sarah discovered a hands-on approach to healing. Hundreds of hours of training and coaching later, she now empowers individuals to adopt wellness as a mindset and develop an all-encompassing lifestyle that is in complete balance –mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She enjoys writing about her down-to-earth life experiences and de-bunking conventional misconceptions about health and wellness. Connect with her at http://introducingwellness.com and http://blissoutretreats.com.

 

 

ABOUT THE AFRICA YOGA PROJECT:

Africa Yoga Project is a non-profit based in Kenya, that educates, empowers, elevates, and employs youth from Africa using the transformational power of yoga. The vision of Africa Yoga Project is to deliver free teacher trainings and create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness, become self-sustaining and leaders in their communities. The organization employs almost 100 Kenyan yoga teachers who empower over 6,000 people a week through its 300 free outreach yoga classes.  Visit www.africayogaproject.org for more information. To get involved, email info@africayogaproject.org.

Sign up online today to reserve your spot or donate. 

Pure Wisdom for the New Year from Kat Colla: “Be home within yourself.”

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Today I had the lovely treat of moving, flowing, and breathing in Kat’s Friday morning class, followed by a juice date down the street at Siggy’s. 

If you haven’t taken one of Kat’s classes, I highly, highly recommend rolling out your yoga mat on Friday morning with her. Her classes are creative and make me feel open and spacious in my body. In one of Kat’s recent classes, she read a passage from “Pure Wisdom, The simple things that transform everyday life” by Dean Cunningham:

If your confidence is built on your actions and the subsequent outcomes - a title, a qualification, a spouse or any other prize - then it’s standing on shaky ground. You see, confidence isn’t all about being successful. Genuine confidence is built on knowing you’re like every other human being on this planet: fallible, unique and constantly changing. Sure, parts of who you are may be different, better or worse than another person. But that doesn’t make you superior or inferior to them.

Understand: genuine confidence isn’t built on success alone. And it can’t be undermined by external circumstances - the way you look, failures, mistakes, or other people’s opinions.

So accept yourself unconditionally and your confidence will be as firm as the ground you stand on.

One of the reasons I find myself gravitating to Kat’s class is because she is an authentic teacher and her classes feel authentic. My body craves the creative flow that she seems to weave together seamlessly. 

Kat says, “My role is to help you experience yourself: your feelings, emotions, physical things like pain, the last think you drank, all the offshoots of who you think you are and help get you to know who you are essentially, to help you realize why you may have stopped breathing for a moment, to notice your tendencies and your habits. I’m hoping the more you get to know your self, your unconditional love and confidence for yourself grows infinitely.

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Kat on Confidence:

Eventually the ultimate goal as far as confidence goes it that we need to begin to inspire our selves. YOU become the person you can be proud of, floored over. It’s hard. People don’t feel like that’s success, but self-worth is the key to it all. I am learning this by watching my own behavior.

In my classes, I aim to build your confidence so you have an ability to do things for the pure sake of trying and feeling them. Confidence is being unsure of the future and still walking forward through the fear, without limiting ourselves to expectations of what it may be or feel like. 

We have to examine ourselves. Confidence is a changing thing. As soon as the rug is taken out from under our feet, our confidence changes and we need to adapt to that. We have to see the confidence in ourselves unconditionally.

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Thank you, Kat, for being a light and showing our yoga community how to feel comfortable and loved in our own skin, exactly as we are. I am so grateful to know you and have the opportunity to work with you on becoming the best version of myself. 

Kat teaches at Yoga People: Tuesdays - 8:15 - 9:30pm and Fridays - 9:30 - 11:00am.  See the full schedule here.

Stressed and can’t sleep? How Julia Haramis found the perfect antidote.

Today I caught up with Julia Haramis for some green juice and brunch at Siggy’s Organic Foods down the street from Yoga People. Like many students here, I’ve been captivated by her Bliss Out Restorative classes and Yoga Nidra workshops and just dying to know how she discovered this healing practice. 

"The first time I experienced restorative yoga was during my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I couldn’t relax, I think I literally was laying there with my eyes open. I didn’t think it was "yoga" if it was basic or slow, and I felt like I had to break a sweat in order for it to count. I would even take a second class if the first class was too relaxing. I soon came to realize that the difficulty to relax meant I really needed to do it! It was a symptom in my life I needed to overcome at the time, as I was working in a high-stress career and never slowed down."

Sound familiar? I can totally relate. I tend to find myself also gravitating toward dynamic flow classes, also known as Vinyasa yoga, where we are moving quickly as we link our breath with movement. Although this is my favorite style of yoga to practice, I’ve also noticed the benefits of a more grounding, restorative class. 

"Prior to a restorative yoga class, I found it really difficult to not move and it was a challenge to be quiet and still. Restorative yoga is the entree to being quiet and still and therefore is a great entree to meditation. I’m not a great sleeper, and yoga nidra has changed my life. My teacher, mentor, and dear friend, Mona Anand says "We are ancient beings living in a modern world." Our bodies aren’t equipped to deal with stresses in modern society. In many cultures, siestas are part of the daily ritual. In New York, we are perpetually moving. We crave rest but we aren’t giving ourselves what we need. 

Looking to try restorative yoga? Here’s one thing to note.

"When we come off the street and enter into the yoga space, we shouldn’t go "1, 2, 3, restorative yoga." There is no such thing as instant bliss after coming inside from the stress of New York City. To allow the body to fully relax, we come into a dim room and practice poses where we are close to the ground and are experiencing gentle movement in the body to release stress. For the first 15-20 minutes of a restorative class, we are targeting stress spots in the shoulders, neck, and back, and are focusing on gentle movements linking our breath and our bodies. Once we have allowed the stale energy to move out of our bodies, we can fully relax. This is where we can truly experience bliss in our yoga practice."

Who could use a restorative yoga practice?

"EVERYONE. Benefits of this restorative yoga and nidra include a serene mind, calm nervous system, improved concentration and an improvement of chronic conditions such as stress, insomnia, asthma, pain, migraines and depression." 

Can you tell me about yoga nidra? I heard it’s also been called ‘yogi sleep.’ What exactly can I expect?

"In Sanskrit "Nidra" means sleep. In Yoga Nidra we bring ourselves to the place between sleep and dreaming known as the hypnagogic state. Remaining in this state for an extended period of time allows us to experience total relaxation and to tap into the unconscious and subconscious mind. In this state we are able to release emotional, physical and mental tensions that we have been holding onto in our taxed city lives. This is the most restful state of the sleep cycle. For this reason, twenty minutes of yoga nidra is equal to four to six hours of deep sleep!
Go to Bliss and Beyond in Julia’s upcoming Workshop that will combine gentle asana, restorative postures and Yoga Nidra. 
Saturday January 11, 2014 from 4-6pm at Yoga People
(160 Montague Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn Heights)
You will start with 30 minutes of slow flow to open up the energy lines in the body and relieve tension in the joints and muscles. From there you will move into 60 minutes of luxurious restorative postures to calm the nervous system and relax the mind. The workshop will culminate with a 30 minute Yoga Nidra which is a guided meditation technique practiced in Savasana. Our practice will be geared towards finding balance in the physical, mental and energetic bodies. 
 
Through the perfect combination of a tranquil atmosphere, supportive prop use, essential oils and nurturing hands-on adjustments, this class will enable you to relax, renew and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.  Restorative poses are set up so that the body is held by the props and can completely surrender. 
All levels are welcome. Space is limited. 
To sign up: Online Registration or call Yoga People at 718-522-9642.

Tapas and finding the lesson in healing from an injury

In your yoga classes, you may have heard the word tapas, a Sanskrit word meaning discipline. We often refer to tapas when we talk about generating discipline to challenge ourselves on our mats and in our daily lives. Yoga helps us to realize that there is a fire inside each and every one of us, a fire igniting our creativity, our desire to move and grow in every aspect of our lives, our careers, our relationships, and our awareness of our selves.

When we talk about tapas, as much as we talk about an internal fire and moving with passion, we also need to talk about slowing down and working on things we put at the back of the shelf, things we may know we need to work on, but are too busy to really dig deep. For me, this means working on my Chaturanga Dandasana, or four-limbed staff post.

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Correct alignment in Chaturanga, Illustration by Sharon Ellis

Earlier this year, I think the universe needed to tell me to slow down. I was feeling pretty confident with arm balances and inversions, taking vigorous Vinyasa classes seven days a week, sometimes paired with a spinning class beforehand. I didn’t know I needed to slow down, but the universe did. I wasn’t being careful in my Chaturanga, and by dipping my shoulders and nose-diving forward I was setting myself up for chaos. The result was a labral tear in my rotator cuff, spasms starting in my tricep, up around the shoulder, and trigger points around my neck and cervical spine. Unable to lift my left arm or carry even an empty water bottle, I was feeling depressed and bummed out. Taking ONE day off my yoga practice felt like a nightmare. My ego was getting the best of me - I was attaching myself to the physical practice of yoga asana. I was distraught and worried about when I could start working on my headstand practice again or how my audition would go later in the week if I couldn’t even lift my arm.

I had to take a step back and realize that the road to recovery is indeed a road, a road which requires patience (something I need to work on) listening (something also I need to work on) and baby steps instead of leaps. I also needed to focus on my alignment in Chaturanga!

Yoganonymous mentions that for most yoga practitioners, Chaturanga is a classic series of unhealthy movements: “As people begin Chaturanga by bending their arms, their elbows start to drift away from the ribs, shoulder blades move toward each other and they crane their necks down, moving their heads lower than their torsos.  Repeat 20-30 times per class, 3 classes per week. This is a hot mess.” (Do you need to brush up on your Chaturanga Dandasana? Here’s how.)

Properly executed Chaturanga can give you deliciously strong, healthy and shapely shoulders. Yoga related injuries are preventable. If you do suffer from an injury, though, do your best to learn the lesson.

Yoga teaches us to be patient, to be faithful, and to be kind to our bodies. When we are recovering from an injury, we have to remain optimistic and thankful for the body’s amazing potential to heal. The biggest lesson I learned when healing from my injury was that when I stopped living in my emotions, and when I detached from the pain and the negative emotions of feeling limited from my practice, I was able to truly find peace within myself. Right here, in this space, is where real healing occurs. 

Our lovely teacher and studio manager, Arielle, also experienced a recent injury. She talks about her recovery and lessons she learned in our November Gratitude Post.

Post a comment below and let me know about your injuries and how you healed. 

What lessons have you learned from an injury?