Rob: What are some of your ideas about, or hopes for, the future of yoga service in America in the next decade?
Jennifer: My work with the Yoga Service Council has given me a broad perspective on the opportunities in this field. One imminent change, as yoga becomes more widely accepted, will be an increasingly diverse body of students in all yoga classes, not just specialty classes. It's a responsibility of our community to make sure that yoga teacher trainings prepare graduates to teach in a way that is inclusive, respectful, and trauma sensitive.
There is also great opportunity in the helping professions. Those who have direct contact with clients, students, or patients are in a position to share the most effective practices, and we can work to help empower those professionals. I teach staff development workshops at schools, and even teachers who don't have any yoga experience are amazed at the effectiveness of some of the easy-to-teach activities. It would be ideal for students to have regular access to classes with certified yoga teachers, and then to have classroom teachers or counselors use and teach simple, daily practices that reinforce the principles learned in yoga class.
At the annual Yoga Service Conference, teachers, social workers, counselors, health care providers, and others can come learn these tools and develop their own personal practice. If the inspiring, energetic people at the conference are an indication of our strength, I feel certain there is nothing this community can't accomplish in a decade if we put our minds to it.
Adapted from an interview originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Posted with permission of Rob Schware and Jennifer Cohen Harper.