Module #1 Feedback

Thank you for your focused work in completing Module #1.  This is just the start of our learning process together. It is so exciting to see all of you progress through the online training modules.  We are carefully monitoring progress and activity.

Spoiler alert! For those who have not yet completed Module #1, we recommend finishing the module and all assignments before reading the below.

We often notice similar challenges, concerns and questions that arise among the group as a whole. For this reason, the feedback below will address these common themes for everyone’s benefit, while also aiming to provide individual support. If your questions are not answered or if you still need support, please send us a note at


On the ‘Fear of cancer’:  There is such power in words, both spoken and written. ‘Cancer’ is one of those words, like ‘yoga’, that is accompanied with many complex meanings, associations and emotions, like fear.

It may seem obvious; Cancer causes fear in everyone. Some fears we hold in common – that of treatments, pain and loss. Articulating fears, even just three of them, is an important exercise of personal reflection. To do so grounds our compassion in fearlessness to face similar concerns with others. The value of such reflection begins a peacemaking with the cause of all fear- the unknown, the impermanence of life.

Stating your personal fears becomes the bench mark for the work you are about to begin. Fear is often based in misinformation and the lack of facts. That is where we start our work – changing fears into facts and knowledge. My hope is that upon the completion of this training, some of your fears may change.

About your teaching concerns: There is much room for error in everything! Cancer treatments are constantly changing, and even doctors cannot predict what side effects will manifest in each patient, nor are they certain of the path a cancer will take. How can a yoga teacher know enough to not cause harm and to provide the healing powers of yoga? Caution is the first step to knowledge. This question was an exercise in refining your curiosity. By all measures this C-word, ‘curiosity’, will cultivate the skills necessary to understand physically and emotionally how to create a safe yoga practice for those who come to you.

Knowing what questions to ask, which yoga asanas to teach, or what words to use is an indication not just of compassion for the ‘other’, but of wisdom. This is the starting point of a good teacher for cancer survivors.

The goals ahead in the next 4 modules are to :

  1. Understand, through observation, discussion and exploration
  2. Anticipate what might cause pain
  3. Be critical about the benefits of a particular pose
  4. Feel comfortable with medical terms
  5. Cultivate sensitivity to the words you use and begin using words that offer authentic comfort

I know your concerns about teaching yoga to those touched by cancer will change.  Because you are committed to study and question, your confidence will also evolve as a y4c teacher. And the yoga you teach can truly become helpful and meaningful to others.

Why the benefits are important: Increasingly we hear about and see research on the benefits of yoga – not just for cancer patients and survivors, but for everyone. The list could be endless. Over the course of this training we will add to that list of benefits.

The goal of our training is to place science behind each and every benefit – to understand how and why yoga provides these benefits. When scientific reasons are given, the motivation to use the tool of yoga and the potential healing in someone touched by cancer is doubled. The science then becomes a great tool for the teacher. When a yoga teacher can understand and explain what is happening in a yoga pose or for example, how breathing physically strengthens the immune system, then knowledge empowers both the yoga teacher and the survivor. Yoga is as scientific as it is spiritual.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and fears with me in this first assignment. I look forward to watching you progress through the program, and my team and I are here supporting you along the way!



One thought on “Module #1 Feedback

  1. Great Module. As a non-cancer survivor and yoga teacher I constantly remind myself of the quote you have placed in our manual and your book.
    “Do not imagine that you already understand and impose our imperfect understanding on those that come to you for help” ~B.K.S. Iyengar

    I have walked along side many relatives with cancer. But I have just walked along side not ever pretending to know what they are feeling emotionally and physically. I get a glimpse of those feelings by being fully in awareness while I spent or spending time with them. Holding that scared space so they can feel safe discussing those feelings or sitting in silence with them with no words spoken. Listening & watching the emotions and physical sensations they may be feeling without judgement or advice on how they should do or feel.
    I think this is very important for teachers cancer survivors or not, but especially important for us teachers that have not experienced cancer in our own lives.
    Learning the benefits of yoga is so important and how to weave those phrases into our teaching skills, but keep the technical phrases and terms out of the yoga language in instruction.
    I constantly am trying to learn more about the work Im doing so I never want to stop improving my knowledge of cancer and classroom experiences that teach me so much.
    The “C “words were expressed beautifully.
    “Curiosity & Care” I would say for me the rules that are placed in teaching classes in a hospital environment make this extremely challenging. Using the FUN FACTS has helped. Also what has helped I aways arrive early to class have my space set up and then immediately being present and in a place of awareness to start intake on new?old students. Another time that intake naturally unfolds is in the conversation happening in after class. I find students will come to me after class and talk about updates to there treatments or how the are feeling. Rushing out before your class is completely gone out of the room is something I never do. In fact while putting up props etc… and end of class is were the conversations continue amongst themselves, great way to here some valuable updates or new information about your students. They are in a community space with other survivors and are asking each other about life itself, done with treatments, upcoming treatments etc…. Some of this information you may not know. It helps you be a better teacher in meeting that student were they are in there cancer treatments, emotionally & physically, While they are in your yoga class.
    One “C” (Compassion) word that I am always thinking of is in my voice while I am teaching. Be with a strong voice. I am a very soft speaking person and a strong voice is what my class will most benefit from. I was always told by one of my yoga teachers teach out of compassion not empathy, you can never place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling, nor should we try to pretend. I know Tari talks a lot about this and this is really important.

    Introduction great, Love to see this in you on-line training, feeling connected to Tari is great so early in the training (Webinar was vital for real time interaction).

    Myth Busting quiz is great & fun!!! Makes you think.

    Metaphor section is really hard for me. Is this because I am not a cancer survivor, not sure thinking about this. Even those the samples you gave us were from cancer survivors and non-cancer survivors I can easily say they word cancer but I am honestly weak in using metaphors in my classes so I really need to work on this.

    So as far as they smoothness and content of this Module I love it. The videos are great and material extremely important, and I do see the extreme importance of the metaphors, especially as we move forward in the later part of the training. I personally need to work on this in my teaching.

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