In these challenging times, it feels more important than ever to build and celebrate community. The work of developing real partnerships with our students, peers, and the communities in which we live and serve, is vital in an increasingly divisive world.
How do we offer yoga that is accessible, inclusive, and effective for all individuals and all communities? How can our yoga practice—in and out of the studio—support us in becoming ever-stronger stewards of conscious community and advocates for justice? And how do we use this individual and collective work to create positive social change?
Join us at the 7th annual Yoga Service Conference, copresented by the Yoga Service Council and Omega Institute, as we gather to strengthen our community, our practice, and our vision. Connect in fellowship with friends, teachers, and colleagues, old and new. Throughout this joyous, community-building weekend, we explore concrete tools we can use to support our common work of sharing yoga service and its many benefits in our lives, our communities, and the world.
You do not need to be a yoga teacher to share these transformative practices with your community and to radically improve lives, including your own. Social workers and health-care providers, school teachers and counselors, yoga and mindfulness teachers, and many others will find the resources, inspiration, and support they need to reflect and build on their work and mission in the world.
Choose one of three Pre-Conference Intensives, and then join us for the full Conference to:
- Experience the power of the healing collective
- Learn embodied practices to cultivate resilience and well-being
- Deepen your understanding of trauma-informed yoga for children and adults
- Address issues of cultural competency, inclusion, safety, and implicit bias
- Examine the intersection of yoga and social justice
Select breakout workshops designed to teach skills, build capacity, and support personal reflection and growth. Choose from optional roundtable discussions with Advisors and Board members from the Yoga Service Council, as well as peer-sharing Service Community Network groups. Saturday evening we gather for a community-building party with other conference participants, teachers, and leaders of yoga service organizations from around the world.
Looking for a great way to start the Yoga Service Conference? We are offering three Pre-Conference Intensives on May 11. These full-day intensives begin 10:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m., and can be taken alone, or as part of the Yoga Service Conference. Please call Omega at 877.944.2002 to register for preconference intensives.
FRIDAY • May 11, 2018
10:00 a.m.-Noon; 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Looking for a great way to start the Yoga Service Conference? We are offering three Pre-Conference Intensives on May 11. These full-day intensives can be taken alone, or as part of the Yoga Service Conference. Please call Omega at 877.944.2002 to register for preconference intensives.
- Accessible Yoga
- Inclusive Cuing: Offering Sensitive Cues for Diverse Learners
- Safe & Supportive Touch in Trauma-Informed Yoga
Yoga Service Conference
FRIDAY EVENING • May 11, 2018
4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
8:00 p.m.-8:15 p.m.
Welcome & Introduction to the Weekend
Jennifer Cohen Harper
8:15 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Marshawn Feltus, Molly Lannon Kenny, and Lynne Boucher
SATURDAY • May 12, 2018
7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m.
Optional Practice Sessions:
Meditation, Vigorous Yoga, or Gentle Yoga
9:00 a.m.-9:15 a.m.
Introduction and short practice
9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Stepping Forward into Your Medicine:
The Relationship Between Spiritual Practice and a Path of Service
There is a dynamic relationship between what we are learning to give ourselves and the form of service we can provide to our communities. In this talk we will look at this learning process that is spiritual practice and how that process includes both the role of the student and the role of the teacher. My meditation teachers describe it as internal and external mindfulness. In modern education theory "teaching something back" offers the student her best chance at retention.
In 12-step programs they may have said it best: "you have to give it away to keep it". The ability for an individual to experience physical and emotional well-being, freedom from limiting or self-defeating beliefs, clarity, abundance, and creativity has never been more attainable, and doing so fundamentally changes that individuals ability to impact the world in positive ways. My talk will focus on the words of a shaman who has taught me that as I step forward into my healing medicine I am stepping into the medicine I was born to bring into the world.
Integration and Group Work
Lunch roundtable meet-up groups (optional)
1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
- Skill in Action: An exploration of the Intersection of Yoga and Social Justice How to be Skillful and Responsive: Michelle Johnson
- Essential Considerations of Trauma Informed Yoga: Mark Lilly
- Yoga Research: A Guide to the Process of Creating and Evaluating Quality Yoga Programs: Catherine Cook-Cottone
- Radical Togetherness: Best Practices for Building Community Within and Beyond The Yoga Classroom: Marshawn Feltus and Lynne Boucher
5:00 p.m.-5:45 p.m.
Yoga Practice with Rolf Gates
6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Reception and Celebration
SUNDAY • May 13, 2018
7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m.
Optional Practice Sessions:
Meditation, Vigorous Yoga, or Gentle Yoga
9:00 a.m.-9:15 a.m.
Introduction and short practice
9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
Common Interest Community Presentations and Discussion
10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
Exploring the Role of Contemplative Practices When Identity-Based Suffering Has Happened
In this dynamic presentation, Professor and Mindfulness teacher Rhonda Magee will explore how contemplative practices assist us in the work of personal and social transformation leading to a more just world. She share stories from her own life and work experiences, and she will review research indicating some of the ways we might bring contemplative practices to bear in a variety of contexts to support teaching, learning and engaging with others confronting social suffering at personal, interpersonal and systemic levels.
Some practical and ethical considerations related to offering particular practices in a variety of contexts will be explored, with the aim of enhancing the inclusivity of research, inquiry and communities of practices across the field. She will guide a practice and facilitate discussion aimed at demonstrating the potential of contemplative awareness practices to support the work of social justice in a world beset with both challenges and opportunities.
- Learn about and reflect on research on the benefits of contemplative practices for decreasing bias, for regulating emotion and for facilitating difficult conversations
- Explore practices that support being willing to see, and seeing, turning toward and engaging with identity-based suffering
- Experience how contemplative practices may support their own efforts toward personal, interpersonal and/or systemic transformation
12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m.
The above schedule and teachers are subject to change at the discretion of the faculty. The Children's Program will not be available for this conference.
Dining Hall Hours (Meals begin with dinner on arrival day and end with lunch on departure day.):
Breakfast: 7:00 a.m.–8:45 a.m.
Lunch: Noon–2:00 p.m.
Dinner: 6:00 p.m.–7:15 p.m.
Daily Open Classes in meditation, yoga, tai chi, or movement (subject to availability):
7:00–8:00 a.m., 12:15–1:00 p.m., 5:30–6:15 p.m., 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Meet the Teachers
Rhonda V. Magee, JD, MA, a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, is professor of law at the Univ ...
Rolf Gates is a former social worker and United States Airborne Ranger who has practiced med ...
Jivana Heyman, C-IAYT, eRYT500, is founder of Accessible Yoga, an international nonprofit organiz ...
Sue Jones is founder and executive director of yogaHOPE, a nonprofit outreach organization dedica ...
Jasmine Chehrazi is founder of Yoga Activist, a nonprofit outreach organization dedicated to impr ...
Michelle Johnson is a yoga teacher, social justice activist, licensed clinical social worker, and ...
Catherine Cook-Cottone, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, registered yoga teacher, associate profe ...
Mark Lilly, director of Insight Communication, is founder and president of Street Yoga, a no ...
Marshawn Feltus, a Chicago Westside native, just shy of his 18th birthday, was sentenced to 38 ye ...
Lynne Boucher, RYT, is a yoga coach/teacher from Rochester, New York, who coordinates the work of ...
Molly Lannon Kenny is the founder of The Samarya Center, a nonprofit service and training organiz ...
Jennifer Cohen Harper, MA, E-RYT, RCYT, is a leading voice in the children’s yoga and mindfulne ...
Tuition & Fees
Yoga Service Conference
|Tier Name||Tier Price|
This is the price of your workshop. Choosing this price helps Omega continue to retain world-class teachers and sustain classroom facilities.
Tier 1 Donor-Supported
This is our partially subsidized price for those with temporary or minor financial need.
Tier 2 Donor-Supported
This is our fully subsidized price for those in need of deeper financial assistance.
Tuition covers your workshop costs and time spent in class with the faculty. Please see Stay With Us below for accommodation choices—which include meals and other amenities for those who wish to stay with us. Or see Commute for those who will not be staying on campus overnight.
Accommodations cover your room, all meals, and use of amenities and facilities—which includes optional classes, evening performances, sampler classes (during the week), the lake, walking trails, parking, and all other guest services. A list of local hotels and inns is available for those who wish to stay off-campus and commute (see Commute below).
Omega reserves the right to cancel a program at any time. If Omega cancels a program, you will receive a full refund. Some programs may have special cancellation policies; see individual workshop descriptions or the more detailed Omega Cancellations & Refund Policies page.
Refunds are available (less a $50 processing fee) up to eight days before your program or stay.
Nonrefundable credit toward a future Omega program or stay (less a $50 processing fee) is available if you give notice between seven and one day(s) before your program or stay. Credit may be applied to any Omega program or stay for one year following date of issue.
No credit or refund is available if you cancel on the arrival day; if you do not show up; or if you leave an event early for any reason. No refund will be available if you attend a program and are dissatisfied with its presentation or content.
For more cancellation policies, see individual workshops or the more detailed Omega Cancellations & Refund Policies page.
Program Insurance is available through TravMark's A+ Program Protection Plans. Get a free quote today.
Certificate of Attendance $ 25.00
YA - Yoga Teachers $ 50.00
These full-day preconference workshops offer you the opportunity to deeply immerse yourself in study of important topics in the field, supported by extraordinary teachers and leaders. Each of these workshops provides an inspiring and grounding way start to the full Yoga Service Conference, which begins on Friday evening.
Please call Omega at 877.944.2002 to register for preconference intensives.
FRIDAY • May 11, 2018
10:00 a.m.-Noon; 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
The Pre-Conference starts on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m., with individual intensives beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.
Choose One of the Following Intensives
1) Accessible Yoga
Course 1001-428 / Tuition $95
Join Accessible Yoga founder Jivana Heyman as we explore the question: “Who deserves the teachings of yoga?” Together we discuss practical ways to make the teachings and practices of yoga available to all students, regardless of ability or background. In particular, we look at how to integrate different levels of ability into our classes so that we can serve the needs of all our students. We consider how the essential principals of yoga are accessible to everyone, and how the challenges that come with disability, illness, and pain can lead to greater wisdom and insight. This program includes a mixture of yoga practice, lectures, small group work, and practice teaching. We also explore:
- How to make the subtle practices of yoga available for all students
- The role of the yoga teacher in accessibility
- Variations of popular asanas, including chair yoga and bed yoga
- Techniques for creating integrated Accessible Yoga classes
- How to empower people with disabilities by giving them a deep understanding of yoga teachings
Jivana Heyman, C-IAYT, eRYT500, co-owner of the Santa Barbara Yoga Center, is founder of Accessible Yoga, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to the yoga teachings. Accessible Yoga offers conferences, trainings, an ambassador program, and an online network dedicated to sharing yoga. accessibleyoga.org
2) Inclusive Cuing
Course 1001-429 / Tuition $95
How do we decide which practice options to offer our students, and how do we offer them in a way that equally fosters each student’s inclusivity and self-empowerment? Explore the best practices of using objective rather than subjective qualifiers in cuing, as well as process-oriented cues rather than goal-oriented cues.
Our discussion also examines how to present options sensitive to common physical and psychological conditions. We learn how to use class time before the practice begins to set guidelines that promote inclusivity and celebrate diverse practice expressions. If we are to authentically offer our students diverse cues in a way that the options are perceived as equal, we must offer ourselves the same opportunity. Accordingly, this session provides an opportunity for us to explore how we approach our personal practice, working to leave behind any self-judgment for our own sakes, and for our students’ too.
Jasmine Chehrazi, founder of Yoga Activist, teaches yoga studies as faculty at the George Washington University School of Public Health. She also is founder of five community-based yoga studios where she leads trauma-sensitive 200-hour teacher training programs. yogaactivist.org
3) Safe & Supportive Touch in Trauma-Informed Yoga
Course 1001-430 / Tuition $95
Where, when, and how to touch survivors of trauma in trauma-informed yoga classes is rarely addressed and often labeled as taboo, even though it can be profoundly healing. This workshop teaches you the fundamentals of offering safe and supportive touch in yoga classes and programs for survivors of trauma.
You leave with a basic understanding of the role touch plays in healthy neurobiological and psychosocial development, positive implications of touch in society, and potential short and long-term impacts of traumatic events on the experience of touch in survivors. You also learn the components and practices necessary for creating safe spaces within which students can choose to receive touch, as well as principles and practices for touch itself.
This workshop includes a practicum component allowing participants to put their knowledge into action. After an afternoon of practicing safe and supportive touch under the supervision and coaching of a qualified team, you leave this workshop with the confidence to begin offering this powerful modality to students in all your classes.
Sue Jones is founder and executive director of yogaHOPE, a nonprofit outreach organization dedicated to establishing rehabilitative yoga programs in residential facilities for underserved women. She has trained, inspired, and led hundreds of volunteer yoga teachers, who have donated their time in substance abuse rehabilitation centers, domestic abuse safe houses, and homeless shelters for women. yogahope.org
Yoga Service Council
As yoga, mindfulness, and meditation continue to demonstrate the capacity to heal, inspire, reduce stress, and improve health in widely diverse settings, the yoga community has come together to support the work of expanding access to these transformational practices.
In 2009 , the Yoga Service Council (YSC) was formed at Omega by a group of organizations bringing yoga to vulnerable populations. As YSC members worked to support each other, exchange ideas, and envision the future, a collaboration was sparked that has made the efforts of everyone stronger and more intentional. Each year the membership of the YSC grows, and the capacity to serve others grows with it.
The YSC meets every May at Omega to hear from leaders in the field of yoga service, exchange best practices, discuss how to achieve greater inclusiveness and expand access in yoga service, and infuse yoga service programs with renewed energy and inspiration.
The YSC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop a community of professional support in the field of yoga service, engaged in helping YSC members move from inspired to effective in using the tools of yoga and mindfulness to support underserved and vulnerable populations. This collaborative YSC community welcomes the knowledge and experience of yoga teachers, therapists, social service providers, educators, health professionals, and researchers in an effort to support this mission.
Current YSC initiatives include the annual Yoga Service Conference at Omega, a forum for learning from the leaders in yoga service from around the country, as well as an opportunity to exchange ideas and network with others involved in yoga service; an annual Best Practices White Book Series, which articulates best practices in the wide spectrum of yoga service work; and publication of periodic Yoga Service Journal articles, providing a forum for sharing major initiatives, advances, and research in the yoga service field, focused on providing practical information that our members can use immediately to help advance their work. Long-term goals include the establishment of a mentorship program, the promotion of collaborative research, and increasing access to professional quality training in the field.
To learn more about becoming a member of the Yoga Service Council, please visit the YSC website at yogaservicecouncil.org.
What People Are Saying About the Yoga Service Conference
“Presenters at the Yoga Service Conference were knowledgeable, attentive, engaged, and ever so inspiring. The conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect with folks whose yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices are primarily focused on ‘service to the world.’”
“The Yoga Service Conference was an excellent way to receive mentorship from those who are paving the path of yoga service! The teachers adeptly wove the thread of learning through spheres of personal, community, and global transformation. I left feeling nourished and supported in both pragmatic and spiritual ways.”
“At the Yoga Service Conference, I experienced the size and intensity of the energy of commitment of many teachers serving ‘underserved and under-resourced parts of our communities.’”
“What an incredible, jam-packed weekend of service, love, and light. Thank you so very much. I joined the Yoga Service Council and I look forward to next year's conference and to our collaboration and revolution!”
“Attending the Yoga Service Conference was immensely impactful for me and my newly founded yoga service organization. It was such a tremendous value and so well put together. Many, many thanks for offering this. I feel we found our larger community. We are not alone.”
—Jackie Le Meur
Yoga Service Best Practices Guides
The Yoga Service Council and Omega Institute have joined together to produce a series of Yoga Service Best Practices Guides, starting with Best Practices for Yoga in Schools (2015) and Yoga With Veterans (2016). Forthcoming guides in the series will include Yoga in the Criminal Justice System (2018).
A Yoga Service Best Practices Guide; Edited by Traci Childress, MA, and Jennifer Cohen Harper, MA
Available for $12
Are you interested in offering students in your school the most effective, sustainable, and inclusive yoga programming possible? Would you like to teach yoga in schools and have the support and advice of those with many years of successful experience? Have you been interested in sharing yoga with your students, but wondering how to do so safely?
Best Practices for Yoga in Schools is a guide for yoga teachers, classroom teachers, school administrators, social workers, and anyone else interested in bringing yoga to children safely, and in a just and inclusive way. By outlining suggestions and considerations across a wide variety of topics, this book will help you effectively and sustainably offer high-quality yoga programming for all children.
Based on the collective wisdom and experience of 23 contributors and four reviewers, this Best Practices Guide will support your capacity to implement meaningful school-based yoga programs, with the potential to transform the educational environment and help students thrive in a wide variety of situations.
Best Practices for Yoga With Sexual Trauma Survivors
A Yoga Service Best Practices Guide; Edited by Danielle Rousseu, PhD, LMHC
Available Fall 2018
The fourth book in the series, Best Practices for Yoga With Survivors of Sexual Trauma represents a collaboration of leading experts dedicated to addressing the impacts of sexual violence and trauma through yoga and mindfulness practices. The work will support a holistic approach to ameliorating the impacts of traumatic stress, and specifically the impacts of sexual trauma.
The work presented in this Guide will serve as resource to survivors, yoga teachers and practitioners, yoga service providers, trauma practitioners, and agency administrators. Best Practices for Yoga With Survivors of Sexual Trauma will also present a foundational understanding of sexual trauma and illuminate current best practices for integrating trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness practices into work with persons and systems impacted by sexual trauma.
For more information, contact Board@YogaServiceCouncil.org.
A Yoga Service Best Practices Guide; Edited by Carol Horton, PhD
Available for $12
Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans is a vital resource for yoga teachers, yoga service organizations, veterans, and their families, veterans organizations, VA administrators, and anyone interested in bringing yoga and mindfulness to veterans in ways that are safe, effective, sustainable, socially equitable, and responsive to military experience and culture.
The second book in the Yoga Service Council and Omega Institute’s Yoga Service Best Practices series, Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans is the product of a unique collaborative process involving 30 contributors with expertise not only in yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, but also in veterans affairs, military operations and culture, traditional and integrative medicine, clinical psychology, trauma therapy, social work, nonprofit management, and more.
Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans synthesizes this wealth of knowledge to produce over 100 Best Practice guidelines for teaching yoga in ways that will enable all veterans—regardless of age, gender, physical ability, or health status—to experience it as a means of supporting physical, psychological, and emotional health, well-being, and resilience.
Key topics addressed include adapting yoga to military culture, working with trauma, hiring and training yoga teachers, developing yoga programs and curriculum, understanding gender issues, and working with incarcerated veterans, in the VA, and with families of veterans.