Yoga Service Conference Schedule, 2015

Thursday Evening – May 14, 2015

8:00-9:00 Welcome, Welcome and Community Building: Jenn Cohen Harper (Lake Theater)

9:00-10:00 Chair Yoga and Meditation Practice (Lake Theater)


Friday – May 15, 2015


7:00-8:00 Practice: Yoga (Stillwater), Meditation (Sanctuary)

9:00-9:15 Introduction: Jenn Cohen Harper (Lake Theater)

9:15-10:30 A Framework for Safety and Our Community Agreements: Traci Childress and Nikki Myers

The YSC aims to create a vibrant community of yoga service professionals and visionaries in which participants can fully and completely engage in a way that fosters deep connection, understanding, and respect. Creating shared agreements about how we communicate, provide feedback, maintain safety and become allies serves as a way to empower and encourage community members to voice their ideas, concerns and differences with consideration and respect. Join Traci and Nikki as they share the conference’s community agreements and invite you into a personal exploration of how they can be meaningful for you this week.

10:45-12:00 The Body, The Brain, Trauma and Yoga: David Emerson

This presentation will outline the theoretical underpinnings, methodology, and unique research associated with Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) as developed at the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts. TSY has been used as an adjunctive treatment for thousands of women and men with treatment-persistent PTSD (complex trauma) including survivors of chronic childhood abuse and neglect, survivors of torture and captivity, and combat war veterans.



2:30-4:00 Yoga and Social Justice Panel Discussion: Carol Horton (moderator); Marshawn Feltus, Leslie Booker, Chandlee Kuhn, Argos Gonzalez (panelists)

Can the yoga service movement expand its work to support broader commitments to social justice? This panel discussion explores this question by focusing on the case of the “school-to-prison pipeline,” which channels millions of low-income youth (particularly males of color) directly from failing schools into the criminal justice system. Panelists will discuss challenges and opportunities involved in working with yoga as a tool for positive social change, drawing from their relevant personal and professional experience in contexts including low-income communities, public school systems, juvenile detention centers, jails and prisons, and the judicial system.

4:15-5:30 Networking and Support Options

  • Discussion Groups (sign up in advance, meet anywhere on campus)
  • Mentoring (sign up in advance, meet anywhere on campus)*

*About Sign Ups: Participants will have the opportunity to sign up for 30 minute mentoring sessions with YSC board and advisory board members, on matters related to organizational development, fundraising, outreach, developing teacher trainings, and other requested topics. Space will be limited and offered on a first come first served basis. Sign up for the YSC email newsletter list to receive notification when sign ups open. ( Discussion group sign ups will happen on site.

7:30-9:00pm Practice: Rolf Gates (Main Hall)


Saturday – May 16, 2015


7:00-8:00 Practice: Vinyasa Yoga (Pavilion), Gentle Yoga (Cabin By the Field), Meditation (Sanctuary)

9:00-12:00 Morning Breakout Workshops!

1. Building a Mindful Community, Crafting a Mindful Culture: Becoming a conscious provider with practices of inquiry and reflection: Traci Childress
As mindfulness programs have become more common in service settings, it has become apparent that buy in, involvement, and understanding are key factors to program success, sustainability, and real organizational impact. This workshop will utilize a process, integral to the work of The Mindful Reflection Project, to support individuals and organizations sharing yoga and mindfulness practices to become aware of and informed by the culture of the group /organization/community they are being shared with. This enables programs to be meaningful to, and respectful of, individuals and communities that they serve. Ultimately, this enables programs to have the greatest impact in the most socially just manner. This practice integrates reflection practices in a group setting that are informed by principles of mindfulness, the work of educator Parker Palmer, and issues critical to socially just practices. Using concrete tools, this workshop will help you to better understand and meet your community’s needs, align the mission & vision of your program with those needs, mobilize the capacities & wisdom present in your program and in the community you share the program with and identify where development and support is needed. Experiential and discussion.

2. Trauma Sensitive Teaching for Children and Teens: Leslie Booker and Melissa Kleinman
One in four children will experience a traumatic event before the age of 16. It is recognized that trauma has a particularly unique and significant impact on children, altering brain development and impairing the stress response system. In this engaging workshop, Melissa and Booker will share with you how yoga and mindfulness can help children and adolescents build emotional literacy, facilitate communication, calm minds and bodies and develop healthy relationships. Focus will be placed on setting the environment for a trauma sensitive class and building practical strategies and tools that increases children’s self-esteem and capacity to self-regulate.

3. Yoga Basics in Social Service Settings: a simple chair-based practice for self- awareness and self-regulation: Joanne Spence!
In this experiential and practical workshop you will learn a few key yoga movements and breathing exercises that will help you and your clients to shift and manage their mood and feel more relaxed in their bodies. Taught by Joanne Spence, an experienced yoga teacher and social worker who delivers this particular practice to patients in an acute care psychiatric facility (both inpatient and outpatient), a juvenile detention center, a cancer center, public schools, and alternative schools. This would also work well in shelters, nursing homes and group homes.



2:00-5:00 Afternoon Breakout Workshops

1. Sustainable Self-Care for the Helping Professions: Rolf Gates
My Yoga practice began as a way to relieve the symptoms of vicarious traumatization I was displaying during my first year as a counselor in a residential treatment facility for adolescents with behavior disorders. Within six months the practice of yoga relieved my symptoms and although I was still working as a junior member of a team under a lot of stress; with yoga I had found my way to working from a place of vision and pro-activity. This workshop will be an examination of the principles and practices of Yoga every helping professional can benefit from. Together we will explore these principles and practices that are not only relevant to sustainability on a path of service, but are also proving to be effective as supports in the treatment of both addictions recovery and P.T.S.D.

2. Creating a program that is accessible, sustainable and replicable: Guidelines from the public heath field: Sue Jones
Yoga and mindfulness have gained increased attention in health and healing sectors. A meticulously designed evidence-based mindfulness program can be a powerful partner in healing. Knowing the crucial considerations in program design and scale-up can help you in your development process. Accessibility, replicability, scalability and measurability are all fundamental components for programs that are appropriate for wide scale public health application, yet these considerations are often overlooked. You will leave this workshop with a clear understanding of how to design, pilot, implement, evaluate, and scale your program so that it has a chance of sustainability and growth in the public health and global health domains.

3. Teaching for Diversity: Jacoby Ballard and Elisabeth Garret
This workshop builds off of the Beyond Duality work of last year’s conference, with a recognition of the potential of yoga to create justice, both individually and culturally. As yoga teachers, we are asked and expected to hold a lot – the hearts, souls and bodies of anyone who walks through our doors – and we are often not equipped to skillfully hold and heal dynamics of power and oppression that are present in the room. Here we will plunge more deeply into an exploration of who we are individually, and how we unconsciously participate in dynamics of oppression or consciously show up in practices of alliance within the yoga classroom.

5:30-6:30 Practice

Vinyasa Yoga (Pavilion), Restorative Yoga (Cabin By the Field), Meditation (Sanctuary)

7:30-9:30 Yoga Service Exhibits (Main Hall)

Join us for an opportunity to learn from and network with conference participants and faculty. Yoga service organizations and community members will be present with materials and support to share.


Sunday – May 17, 2015


7:00-8:00 Practice

Vinyasa Yoga (Pavilion), Gentle Yoga (Cabin By the Field), Meditation (Sanctuary)

9:00-9:15 Introduction: Jennifer Cohen Harper (Main Hall)

9:15-10:00 Yoga Research, Rationale, Science, and Application: Sat Bir Khalsa

Yoga has experienced a rapid growth in popularity in the West with 9% of the population practicing yoga. Unfortunately, yoga is predominantly practiced by a privileged minority in our society, primarily those that are affluent, well-educated, white and female. In order to reach and serve the entire population with the benefits of yoga, we must strive for the formal inclusion of yoga into our school and healthcare institutions. This effort will require a significant scientific evidence base that will have to be provided by organized, formal, biomedical/psychosocial research on yoga. This presentation will present an overview of the history and breadth of yoga research and some of the basic science underlying the psychophysiology and neuroscience of yoga practices. It will also overview the significant research on the application of yoga as a therapeutic intervention for psychological conditions and for a wide variety of medical disorders, and as preventive medicine in normative populations including occupational and school settings.

10:05-10:50 Strengthening Compassion: Kelly McGonigal

Teachers, caregivers, volunteers, healthcare providers, and others in the “helping” professions know that compassion is their greatest strength, but can also feel overwhelmed by compassion fatigue. And no matter how much compassion we feel for others, it can be a struggle to practice self-compassion. Learn the latest science of what strong and sustainable compassion is (and is not), how to avoid burnout, and how to cultivate self-compassion. These ideas and tools will support you in your own work serving others, and become skills you can share with those dealing with health issues, trauma, anxiety, d!epression, addiction, and other other life challenges.

11:00-11:45 Engage, Inspire, Impact: How to Tell the Stories of Yoga Service Effectively: Chelsea Roff

Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools you have as a yoga service leader. Studies show that the human brain is wired to remember stories much more than data, facts, and figures. The most impactful service leaders in history — Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Buddha — were individuals who knew how to humanize their mission and inspire action in everyone, regardless of their walk of life. In this session, you’ll learn how tell stories effectively and with maximum impact — in a way that engages emotions, evokes empathy, and even spurs donations. Through group discussion and interactive exercises, you’ll practice communicating the impact of your work in yoga service not as an abstract principle, but as a l!ife-changing human experience.

11:45-12:00 Closing