Volunteer Work for Yoga Teachers

Exciting announcement! Erica LaGarde (pictured) and Ashley Randall (to be featured soon- more exciting announcements to come regarding Ashley), both yoga teachers in the Raleigh community, volunteered to learn about Dysautonomia in order to provide a safe space, both physically and emotionally, for patients to practice yoga in their classes alongside healthy students.

Why? How does this work, and how can you be involved?

Many patients contacted me asking how to start yoga. They want to try it NOW, even though the medical study at Duke hasn't started. They understand that this is not yet a recommended physical therapy, but the theory makes sense to them, and they're ready to try it without the backing of a medical study.

I struggle to give recommendations as patients may not realize how much I modified (much more than what was verbally offered during group classes) the first year of my practice. I am concerned that patients participating in a group class may try to do too much too quickly, not knowing the available and proper modifications to make for their condition.

Yoga teachers who understand Dysautonomia can encourage patients to listen to their bodies, allowing Dysautonomia students to break the yoga practice down to an incredibly modified level, even if the rest of the class is practicing differently.

Simply knowing their teacher is aware of and educated about their condition will encourage patients to practice at their intensely modified level without worry or embarrassment during class. *Many yoga students, healthy or otherwise, find it embarrassing to modify their practice. This could not be farther from the heart of yoga, as practicing intelligent and unique modifications based on personal circumstance is the sign of a mature yogi. These teachers will encourage Dysautonomia students to step out of any inaccurate perceptions about modifications, no matter how extreme those modifications may be, and teach them additional ones specific to their physical needs.* 

Educated teachers will possess a comprehensive understanding of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), Dysautonomia, and comorbid conditions that compound Dysautonomia symptoms. They will learn additional modifications not taught in their 200 RYT that are specific to Dysautonomia patients. They will learn the best recovery positions (and why) for patients after class.

Due to this education and awareness, they will provide a compassionate space to practice, understanding how brave and strong these patients are for attending class.

Our first two volunteers, Erica and Ashley are leading the way. Thank you both for being the change. Glass Body Steel Soul is incredibly grateful and excited to partner with you. 

Yoga teachers, if you'd like to volunteer several hours of your time to learn about Dysautonomia and partner with us, please email me: abbey@glassbodysteelsoul.org. 

After your education, you will be featured as a partner on our website, so that patients can connect with Dysautonomia knowledgeable yoga teachers.

We are in need of non-heated yoga teachers, as most patients are not willing to experiment with the "torture" of heat training to build heat tolerance since the medical study testing this theory has not yet occurred (hot yoga is phase 2 of the medical study at Duke- limiting variables).