Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn – Connecting the Dots – Yoga, Acupuncture and the Meridian Pathways

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Todd McLaughlin

I’m really delighted to bring to the podcast today, Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn. She is an experienced acupuncturist. She’s a yoga teacher, she specializes in myofascial trigger point therapy and the practice of science of meridians. She has over 20 years of practice in the field. And she’s got an incredible Instagram page, I really highly recommend you go check it out. It’s at @erin_bodyaware. And then please go look her up on her website, which is scienceofself.com

I recently bought her book The Science of Self, Yoga, Pathways, Organs and Emotions off of Amazon. I’ll put a link in the description below for all these different sites. It’s really interesting. I have to admit, I’ve been reading it and applying some of the ideas during my own yoga practice. I love the way that she’s been able to bring attention to the use of visualization of the meridians while practicing the yoga poses. I really appreciate how she encourages feeling the energy pathways in the body based on our experience. Then having a little bit of guidance from her to know what the tradition of it all is, has been really fascinating. So for me, this is a huge honor to bring Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn on. Let’s go ahead and start. 

I’m so excited to have Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn here today. Dr. Rose Erin, how are you doing today?

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn

I’m doing great. I’m sitting by my wood stove up in upstate New York.

Todd McLaughlin

Oh wow. It’s obviously a little bit colder up there than here in Florida. I am in my flip flops and in the air conditioning. 

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn

Oh, wow. Right?

No, it’s very cold here. Yeah.

Todd McLaughlin

Oh, man. I’m really excited to have this chance to speak with you because I have your book, The Science of Self – Yoga Pathways, Organs and Emotions, and I’m enamored with it. I think what you’ve done with blending your acupuncture career with the yoga together and the visuals of the way that you use the meridian lines from the acupuncture and Chinese medicine system in relation to the yoga poses has been so interesting. I really love your book. I think it’s incredible.

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn

Well, thank you. 

Todd McLaughlin

You’re welcome. And so so that all of our listeners are aware, you’re an experienced acupuncturist, you’re a yoga teacher, you specialize in myofascial trigger point therapy, and practice science of meridians. And you’ve had an opportunity to learn from your 20 years of practice in the field. And I’m curious, was there a lightbulb moment for you that your study and career path would unfold to where you are now?

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn

There was a few but I think as far as combining the energy pathways, which we call meridians, in Chinese medicine, with yoga, those are two different systems. That happened for me, I think that was something that was sort of a seed for a long time, you know, seed and sprout. Where roads and I think when I was studying originally just trigger point manual therapy and yoga before I went to acupuncture school and learned the meridian system. I sensed there is some deeper connection that I needed to find with combining the myofascial pathways that I was learning with the asana. With yoga asana, with an understanding, sort of the emotional connection to it. Like why are these patterns in the body? And why does yoga asana work, to not only heal the body, but to release emotions? Anyone that practices yoga knows that it there is this relationship? Yes. Because you start crying in class sometimes, and then you feel better. Yeah. So I really just had asked my teacher who is Dharma Mitra, my yoga teacher. He’s a master. I mean he’s 83 years old now, and I was pretty close to him. I said I want to learn the energy pathways. And he’s a funny guy. I mean, he will say things like, really short, you know, and then later, you’ll figure out what it meant. But he just said, what you need to do, you need to get a book. He was like, I don’t know that stuff. But you should get a book. He told me to get the Sivananda book that has description of the nadis. And I was like, Oh well, I guess that was a stupid question. But I think he mysteriously put me on the path to go to acupuncture school and learn those pathways. Now every time I see him, he’s always like, are you still doing the needles? You know, acupuncture. And he asked me while I was in school, and yeah, he asked me just last week, are you still doing? And anyway, I think, as I studied the meridian system, which is really overwhelming, in the beginning, yes, it’s a massive amount of very detailed information about the energy pathways in the body. And so it was overwhelming. So I made up these meditations, which I could do during yoga and afterward that worked like body scans. Where you just follow them around the body.

Todd McLaughlin

I don’t want to say it. I guess I was gonna say the word imagination, but you use your power of visualization to body scan and follow the meridian around while you’re in the yoga pose?

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn 

Exactly. That’s crazy imagination. Yeah. Because whether, I mean, my acupuncture teacher is also a master. And he’s like, it doesn’t matter if these pathways are real or not. You know what I mean? Like, people argue over these things. Like, are they useful? And so they are useful. And anyway, yes, it’s totally imagination, visualization. And as I was doing the asana that I’d been doing for years anyway, I was like, wow, I can feel these pathways. Wow. They’re on some level. They’re really real. Doorways unfolded and it opened a whole new world when I did that. 

Todd McLaughlin

Did that light bulb go off more when you started to apply what you’re learning from the Chinese meridian system more so than what you had learned and applied from the myofascial release pressure point work?

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn

Well, the thing about the myofascial release, which is brilliant, and that’s what I had studied, the Travell and Simons’ text. That is what I studied when I went to massage school first.

Todd McLaughlin

Yeah, that’s a very dense text isn’t it? I have those books and they are amazing. For those listening that are unfamiliar with those texts I would like to mention that it is a big undertaking to study these. So that’s pretty amazing that you combed through those volumes and went deep into study of them.

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn

You really do have to comb through them and I still have the original books that I had bought and they’re you know, heavily underlined. I was just like, wow, what is this? Crazy like that? Any I tell everyone to buy those and just spend the rest of their life reading them. 

Todd McLaughlin

They’re absolutely incredible in relation to trigger point and referral points, don’t you think?

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn

Yes. Learning about things that it could do to mimic, or that could mimic those pain patterns. Like, you know, you may think you’re having a heart attack, but you actually have a trigger point in your rhomboids or something like that, or your pec major. Yes. And so that was just fascinating to me, but it has left out one component, mostly which, which was emotions. Like stress and anxiety or anger. Like, how did those things relate and what patterns do they specifically create? And that is what the Chinese system is masterful for. Because they understand the connection of those myofascial pathways to the specific internal organs. When you first hear that the liver is has anger, you know, or is associated with anger, people don’t buy it right away. But I explain it to people like, you know, the heart is related to love. Right? 

Todd McLaughlin 

Yeah. Everyone just sort of intuitively knows that. Because they feel it. Yeah. And that’s one that we accept that. Yet the thought of the connection between anger and my liver, that’s a tough one at first.

Dr. Rose Erin Vaughn

It is, you know, but then if you start to study it and think about it. Then you notice, like, when you get really angry, or there’s something that’s really irritating you that’s not usually there, you notice certain patterns in your body. Like tension around the right side of the ribcage radiating down the right side, or down the IT band or something or up into your jaw. And that’s the liver and gallbladder. The gallbladder pathway, but it’s related to the liver. And then it changes your life, you can’t go back once you see the connection.

Todd McLaughlin

Good point.

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Lindsay Gonzalez ~ Yoga, Surf & Breathwork in El Salvador

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Watch the podcast episode on YouTube Here.

Todd McLaughlin

Welcome to the Native Yoga Toddcast. I’m so excited to introduce to you Lindsay Gonzalez. 

Please check Lindsay out at her website, lindseygonzalezyoga.com. I’m gonna put multiple other links in the description below of places that you can find Lindsay. You can find her on Instagram, the handle @lindsaygonzalezyoga, you can also check out her yoga and surf retreat center in El Salvador Central America called Balance Surf and Yoga on a website called ElSalvadoryoga.com. They also have a website called sunzal.com. And there’ll be a couple of other links in there as well. 

I’m so pleased to have this chance to meet Lindsey and to talk about her life down in El Salvador taking people surfing teaching them yoga, as a birth doula and in leading transformational breathwork workshops and classes. And so with that being said, also, if you all enjoy this show, if at the end, if you can write a quick review and or leave a rating and review. I really, really, really, really appreciate it. Thank you. 

All right. So let me go ahead and let’s get into the discussion. Here we go. I’m so happy to have this chance to speak with you. This is Lindsay Gonzalez and Lindsay, you’re joining us from El Salvador. How are you today?

Lindsay Gonzalez

I’m doing well. Thank you so much for this connection.

TM

I’m really appreciative of my friend Alexandra, who lives down in El Salvador. She recently wrote me and said, “You’ve got to come do a yoga and surf retreat down here in El Salvador.” She sent me your information which led me to be able to get in touch with you. And therefore I’m so appreciative for you to take time out of your busy schedule. Can you tell me how your yoga journey began?

LG

Oh, so it’s actually come full circle in a way. I was a young girl just out of high school and I moved to Costa Rica, and kind of did it on a whim. I thought, I don’t know if I’m gonna go to college right away. But I know I need to go and get better at surfing. And so I bought a one way ticket to Costa Rica, almost over 20 years ago. Wow. And I lived on the beach with these two women that were just a few years older than me. But they were both yoga teachers from California. And they were they’re doing the traveller thing. And they had a little tiny yoga room set up. And we would invite all the local surfers over and they would teach yoga. I had come off of a life of being an athlete. I was really flexible, so they said, “Lindsay, you have to be a yoga teacher. You’re good at this.” That was the first nudge. And it’s interesting that I’m back in Latin America at this point in my life, still doing exactly what they nudged me to do.

TM

Oh, that’s amazing. Yeah, very cool. So then I’m guessing in that 20 year period, you went back to the states and then had been traveling back and forth between US and Central America?

LG

US and all over, really. I went back to the states and I said, Well, I think it’s time, I was 21. I said maybe I should go to college. So I went to college, but I ended up spending all of my time in the yoga studio, just down the road. And you know, being from the East Coast, you may have heard of Charm City Yoga? It was in Baltimore for a long time. And they recently were bought by YogaWorks. But I trained at Charm City 20 years ago with Kim Manfredi. She’s given so much love and respect over the last 20 years. She’s really been a guide in my life. Then I’ve always had this love of surf. So, you know, I was back and forth between Central America and the US and different states that I lived in in the US.

TM

Nice. And how long have you been in El Salvador now?

LG

It’s been about six years. 

TM

Wow. And both you and your husband, is it Adrian? You guys work together and manage the whole center together?

LG

We do it all. Family life and work life.

TM

Nice. Do you have children?

LG

We do. Yes. Yeah, we have two little babies. Our son Luca is three and a half and our daughter, Olivia. She goes by Olivia Paloma. So she kind of has two names. But she’s one and a half.

TM

Nice. Congratulations. Did you both meet in El Salvador or here in the States?

LG

So funny enough, we met in Colorado, and he walked into my yoga class in the middle of winter. And I had just gotten back from leading a retreat in Panama. And I was telling my regular students about the event and how much I love visiting Latin America. He was just very kind and sitting in the back of the room. And he said, “Have you ever been to El Salvador?” And I said, “No, that’s the only place I haven’t been in Latin America.” And he said, “Oh, I should tell you about my project down there.” And we became friends. You know, it was a two year friendship before we before we started our romance. And he invited me down to El Salvador, actually, for a job. He invited me down to help him open and run the yoga retreat center, and really bring it to what it is now. And very quickly, we found that we would be great partners.

TM

That’s amazing. Very cool story. So what is it like running a yoga retreat center in El Salvador?

LG

Oh, gosh, it’s a lot of work. I think we have to prioritize time for surfing now, where before we did this, we would surf a lot. Yeah. But it’s, it’s really been such an amazing project to work on together. And now after being closed for about a year, we’re reopen. We have new rooms. We have a retreat here right now. 

TM

That is wonderful. 

LG

We have another small group of professional young surfers from Panama. So there’s a lot of life here, and a lot of good vibes. So it is a lot of work, of course, but the work is fun. I get to go surfing with the customers. So that was great.

TM

That is amazing. That sounds like the dream job for sure. Your center looks really beautiful. It looks like it has an amazing pool and rooms. I saw from looking at your Instagram today that you have a new cafe opening that is inspired and Balinese style architecture and decor. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

LG

Yes, so separately of each other. My husband and I both spent quite a few years going back and forth to Bali for different reasons. I was there to teach yoga teacher trainings and he was there to go surfing. Years and years ago he had a small jewelry business with his mother and they sourced a lot of jewelry from Bali. So he was spending time there and then finally we got to go to Bali together and when we were there together on our last trip right before the pandemic, we said this is it. We have to take as many pictures as we can and we have to remember this feeling and bring it to Latin America and then create it. We did it in a Latin American way. But I think the Balinese style is beautiful with hardwoods and natural fibers and lots of very intelligent details that make the stay feel luxurious and rustic at the same time.

TM

Nice. That sounds amazing. Did you find an architect and/or builder in El Salvador to build for you? Or is that something that you both were hands on with?

LG

Very hands on! We worked with a local architect. And we had fun meetings where we would come to her with all of these ideas, and then she would put it onto paper. And a lot of times, she would say the builders have never done anything like this before. So we’re going to be able to teach them a new skill. And that was an exciting project, even in regards to like the thatched roof in one of our buildings. The thatch is done in a Balinese style versus a Latin American style. So very different, very challenging. But it works. And it’s beautiful. 

TM

Nice. 

LG

We’re so proud.

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Saskia Bolscher ~ Body Positive Yoga

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Watch the podcast episode on YouTube Here.

Todd McLaughlin

I’m so happy to bring Saskia Bolscher on to the podcast today. Please check Saskia out on her website, which is yogawithsaskia.co.uk. Also you can find her on Instagram @yogawithSaskia_ and also on TikTok, same handle @yogawithSaskia, no underscore. 

I found Saskia through Instagram and I am really inspired by her posts. I find her message to be really motivating. I’m just going to read her intro on the homepage of her website. She writes “I’m Saskia, a curvy yoga teacher who’s passionate about making yoga accessible to anyone, regardless of ability, size or background. As someone who has continually experienced being the largest person in yoga classes, and teacher training courses. I know how difficult it can be to step into a studio class. But believe me, yoga is not just for flexible and thin people. I strongly believe that yoga is for everyone. And so I will make you feel welcome in my classes. I encourage modifying poses and the use of props to make poses work for your body, not the other way around. Yoga is for you.” 

So on that note, let’s bring Saskia on the channel. 

I’m so happy to have Saskia here with me today and Saskia. You’re joining me from London in England. Is that correct? 

Saskia Bolscher

Yes, that’s correct. Thank you for having me. 

TM

Of course, I saw you on Instagram and I love your message. So I really am excited for or thankful for you to take some time out of your day to speak with me. When we were getting connected, I realized that I only put in my timezone and then when it was taking us a second to actually connect I thought, “Oh no, maybe I wasn’t clear about what time we were supposed to meet.” So I’m so glad that it worked out. What time is it over there?

SB 

Actually, it is 6:45pm in the evening.

TM

Oh, that’s not so bad. It’s 1:45pm here. Perfect. That’s pretty reasonable. All right, cool. Thank you so much. And I’m curious if you can just get us started in the direction of what you’re passionate about? In your your teaching?

SB

Yes. Thank you very much for asking Todd. I have been a yoga teacher for almost four years now. And I have practiced yoga for much, much longer than that. I’ve always been sort of in a bigger body, I’ve always been curvy. And so I’ve always found that I’ve had to adapt my practice a little bit to fit my body. And I’ve always been quite conscious that I’ve often been, you know, the biggest person in a yoga class in my yoga teacher training. And for a long time, I felt that as a yoga teacher, I wasn’t good enough. Because I thought you know, you have to be thin, right? Because you see all these other yoga teachers, they’re all thin and flexible. And I was like, oh, you know, if I’m really want to make it then that needs to be my goal. But along the way, I’ve sort of come to realize that it’s good to have representation of different ranges of bodies. So I’ve actually twisted that around and sort of made it my goal to show that anyone can do yoga. And if you’re in a bigger body, you can absolutely do yoga. You may have to adapt along the way and use props. But I’m all for it. And I show that in the classes that I teach, and I show that on Instagram on TikTok. I make videos to show people how they can make yoga work for their body rather than the other way around.

TM

That’s cool. What type of response are you receiving?

SB

Very positive. Yeah, actually, only almost only positive. Yeah. People are very grateful to see how they can adapt poses by using a block or a bolster, or strap or whatnot. And also, I’m getting lots of messages from people similar to me or, you know, yogi’s, in a similar size body, saying, Oh, it’s so nice to see someone else who’s also bigger, who’s practicing yoga, who is a teacher. I’ve had a student in the studio, where I teach locally come up to me and say, you know, I’m so amazed, and I’m inspired. And now I’m gonna take a teacher training, because I know now that I, you know, I can also do it. So yeah, it’s been really, really cool.

TM

That is cool. How did you first get involved in yoga?

SB

Oh, that’s a good question. I get this question a lot. And I don’t really have a good answer to it. I think in I started going to yoga classes at the gym, I think like a lot of people and I think it’s a long time ago, and I just I enjoyed it. I mean, I enjoy moving my body. I enjoy different types of exercise like dance and, and other things. I was never into sports really. So yoga worked very well. I’m fairly flexible. Not super, super flexible. But enough. So to that, yoga felt good. Yeah. I just kept kept going. And over time, I got more and more into it. I started practicing more, took it a bit more seriously, went on some retreats, etc, etc. 

TM

Cool. What style did you gravitate toward? You mentioned  the gym, but do you remember the teacher that you had at that time? Or maybe there was multiple teachers? But was there a specific style or arrangement of postures that stuck out in your mind? Or sticks out?

SB

It was hatha yoga at first. And I vividly remember practicing with ujjai breath, you know, in those first few classes, and I thought it was really cool. And it really added to the practice. And I hope as well that, you know, when I teach people in my classes that they are experiencing the same. But yeah, mostly Hatha Yoga. I  experimented with different styles, going to different teachers, different styles of classes. I’ve tried Kundalini. I’ve tried Bikram but wasn’t a fan. It’s a tough one for various reasons. We won’t go into that. Yeah, vinyasa, ashtanga. All different styles. And then further along the line, I discovered yin yoga and this is one of my one of my favorite styles now. It is really cool to practice and to teach.

TM

That’s how I found you. I thought, let me go into hashtag yin on Instagram and you popped up! 

SB

Oh, cool. 

TM

Yeah, I know, right? Sometimes when I do hashtags, I wonder like, “what the heck am I doing?” I mean, does this even do anything? It does, actually. It’s kind of fun to explore hashtags. It is such a great cataloguing system. You do a great job with your videos. I like the one that you did the most recent on Instagram that you we’re just kind of showing how to use a block to be able to get your spine straight. I’m curious, you’ve had a chance to practice in multiple styles and try different classes out and have gravitated toward yin. Is there a specific prop or modification that is your favorite? Something that you go to every single time that you like? 

SB

Yeah. So definitely when sitting in meditation, as you’ve seen in my latest IG Reel or TikTok video, I always set up either on blocks or on a bolster because it just allows you to sit, you know, up straight, and more comfortably. It doesn’t take any effort. And you can actually be in the pose with ease as we’re meant to be, right? Yeah. So yeah. Sthira Sukham Asanam. Yeah, stable and comfortable. But I think the main thing for me in making yoga work for my for my body and for other people who are in a bigger body is to make space for the body. So like in a child’s pose, taking the knees wide. Taking the feet a little bit wider, so that there’s space for the belly to go in between the legs. In twists, you know…. you can’t sometimes twist that far. So maybe like opening arms to help facilitate the twist. Things like that. That’s the main thing I would say. I always use props in all of my practices. If in a forward fold, if the floor feels far away, you know, put a block underneath. 

TM

Nice. 

SB

Things like that.

You can listen to the full episode for free here: https://nativeyogacenter.buzzsprout.com

Thanks for reading this blog post from this YouTube video. Check out: 👇
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New Student FREE 30 Minute Yoga Meet & Greet ~ Are you new to Native Yoga Center and have questions that you would like us to address? Whether you are coming to In Studio, Livestream or Online Recorded Classes we offer a one time complimentary 30 minute zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a time that is convenient for you. Click Here

Native Yoga website: nativeyogacenter.com
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Native Yoga Blog: toddasanayoga.com
Instagram: @nativeyoga
YouTube channel: Native Yoga Center

Listen to the podcast here on our Podcast website: Native Yoga Toddcast

Please email special requests and feedback to info@nativeyogacenter.com

This is Why Yoga Makes me Happy

Yoga makes me happy because every time I practice, I feel lighter and more calm.

Watch this video so I can share with you reasons why I think yoga can make you happy too.

Before I started to practice yoga, I was very unhappy. I went through a very difficult time in my life. And when I started practicing yoga a little over 30 years ago, I noticed that I began to be able to change my negative thinking into positive thinking. And that simple shift created such a profound change for me in my life. So through a consistent yoga practice, Yoga has brought me tremendous happiness.

So you might be thinking, I’d like to feel some happiness, too. So I just want to share a few reasons why I think yoga can bring about more happiness.

The first reason that I think yoga helps to make me happy is breath and movement. The simplicity of practicing yoga, creating exercise, and coordinating the breath in the movement always has a profound effect on my nervous system, my mood and my general well being. Plus, yoga is designed to improve longevity. And it really is aimed at harnessing the fullness of our human potential.

The second reason yoga makes me happy is that it forces me to take my mind and place it on an object and an object of concentration. The practice of holding attention steady, at a single point of concentration has a profound effect on mood and overall sense of well being.

The third reason that yoga makes me happy is that every time I feel aches and pains, the yoga practice helps me to do something proactive to actually change the situation.

Four, I love sharing yoga. It brings me so much joy. The act of sharing the yoga practice brings me so much happiness.

And the fifth reason that I know yoga makes me happy is that it gives me a profound sense of purpose. Having a daily practice and staying consistent to my practice really helps me to stay focused on something that’s positive and consistent. Through this process of maintaining consistent practice, and really developing a sense of purpose gives me a reason to get on the mat every day.

I know that when I practice, I feel better. So the simple act of just getting on the mat no matter what can cultivate commitment. And whether it’s sitting on a cushion and practicing meditation or getting on the yoga mat and practicing yoga asana. If it’s just simply working with the breathing or, on some days I just lay down on my back and practice Shavasana.

By putting my attention into the practice and maintaining consistency gives me a sense of purpose. I believe that through sense of purpose, immense happiness is available for all of us.

That’s why I want to share the Yoga with you and make it accessible for you. You can join me every day here at Native Yoga Center via our two weeks free, unlimited live stream yoga special for those of you that are new to us here.

Check out the links below and join in and come practice. Just start breathing and moving and bringing your attention to a point of concentration. Start to observe how by taking care of your aches and pains and actually doing something proactive and the art of sharing and when you start to feel the joy and the happiness that comes from practicing yoga, your friends and family will feel that to.

You’ll get a sense of the fact that you’re spreading a little bit of positivity in the world, which double feedback loops into your own happiness. And also just keeping your focus and feeling a sense of purpose and all of these things included can be found by just simply getting on your mat.

So if you need some assistance or you need some help, just start practicing and we’re here for you.

If anything I mentioned here makes sense to you remember to leave a comment below and I will happily answer you back. Remember… just keep practicing!

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New Student Livestream Special ~ Try 2 Weeks of Free Unlimited Livestream Yoga Classes  at Native Yoga Center. Sign into the classes you would like to take and you will receive an email 30 minutes prior to join on Zoom. The class is recorded and uploaded to nativeyogaonline.com ~ Click Here to join.

New Student FREE 30 Minute Yoga Meet & Greet ~ Are you new to Native Yoga Center and have questions that you would like us to address? Whether you are coming to In Studio, Livestream or Online Recorded Classes we offer a one time complimentary 30 minute zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a time that is convenient for you. Click Here

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Listen to the podcast here on our Podcast website: Native Yoga Toddcast

Please email special requests and feedback to info@nativeyogacenter.com

Ross Stambaugh ~ Yogis Helping Yogis

I am pleased to introduce you to Ross Stambaugh in this podcast titled Yogis Helping Yogis. 

Visit Ross on his Instagram site here @ashtanga.yoga.ross
Find him on his website ashtangahub.com

Ross is a 20+ year veteran of Ashtanga Yoga, and is an authorized teacher who learned directly under the teachings of Saraswati Jois in Mysore, India. When he is not traveling internationally for workshops, he welcomes the opportunity to help all levels of dedicated yoga practitioners. He makes annual trips to India to continue his studies and has assisted Saraswati on multiple occasions. Ross seeks to preserve the traditional Ashtanga method by maintaining a daily practice, and has extensive knowledge in the areas of pranayama, philosophy (yoga sutras), and certainly asana.

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Watch the podcast episode on YouTube Here.

Todd McLaughlin

Today I bring to you a special guest, Ross Stambaugh. His website is http://www.ashtangahub.com. You gotta go check him out on Instagram. He does a great job on his IG page. It’s at @Ashtanga.Yoga.Ross. I also want to give a shout out to Waleah Norton at Red Earth Yoga Center in Oklahoma, check her out as well at http://www.redearthyogacenter.com. She introduced me to Ross and both of them had a chance to practice in India together and she got me so pumped to speak with him. And she said you gotta bring this guy on your podcast. He’s great! I had a really nice conversation with him. I hope that you enjoy this. So on that note. Let me go ahead and push play for you here. 

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to speak today with Ross Stambaugh. Ross, how are you doing?

Ross Stambaugh

Fantastic. Thanks for asking.

TM

I’m so happy that you’re here. I received rave reviews from our mutual friend Waleah who owns Red Earth Yoga Center in Oklahoma. She mentioned that you have visited her there. Is that true? You went and taught some yoga workshops there?

RS

Actually, I taught my first official Ashtanga Yoga workshop with there. I met her in Mysore, India. And it’s kind of a funny story. She posted a picture of her standing in front of her apartment, and I knew exactly where it was. So I knocked on her door. And she answers, “Who is it?” And I said, Hey, you know, my name is Ross. We’ve talked to each other on, you know, I think at the time was on Facebook. She kind of looks out and she didn’t want to open the door. So she’s like, how do you know who I am? And then I said, Well, I put things together and I figured I would just come by and say hello. Yes. So but eventually, over the course of the next two months, we became fast friends. And she invited me to her studio and we we did a lot of yoga.

TM

That’s awesome. I know she’s a really great person. So I appreciate the introduction. Thank you Waleah. 

Ross, I noticed that your website is ashtangahub.com. So anyone listening I’ll put the links in the description below. So it’s gonna be really easy to find Ross and also you’re on Instagram. Your handle is @Ashtanga.yoga.Ross, which will also be down below. And I love your Instagram posts. Since I’ve gotten a chance to follow you. You do a great job with your posts. It seems like you’re having fun doing it, which is an art form in and of itself. And then in the process of going to your website and learning about you. You are an ashtanga yoga practitioner and teacher and you’ve studied in Mysore with Saraswati Jois, is that correct?

RS

That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, um, about I think 2014 I took my first trip to Mysore and I’m a school teacher. So I had the summers off, and that’s when Saraswati Jois the daughter of Pattabhi Jois teachers out of her shala. I went there a couple of times for a couple of years. Several years actually, and just fell in love with the city. Fell in love with the temples. Fell in love with philosophy and of course, of course yoga.

TM

Righ! Mysore is an amazing city. What are some of the favorite things to do when there? Apart from the yoga?

RS

Yeah, I think, I think everyone, if they want to have a quintessential Indian experience, you have to get on a scooter. And you have to get lost in the city. And you have to try to navigate your way around the cows and the people in the temples and just get immersed in a culture that’s so very different from our Western eyes and ears and senses and everything.

TM

Nice. I agree. I did. No, actually, I did not rent a motorbike in India. I was a little timid of that. I’ve rented motorbikes in Thailand and in Indonesia. But when I was in India, I really just stuck with the rickshaw. And so that’s a bold move to get on a motorbike there. I applaud that courage.

RS

Oh, thanks. Yeah. 

TM

Have you ever had any close encounters there?

Waleah and I had a few. Yeah, she jumped on the bike. And, of course, she was holding her camera up, and I was waving and a bus I came like within a whisker of each other. Oh, yeah I did. My last trip. I was with my mom. And it was the last day and I was running her around Mysore. And I slipped on some gravel, and I  busted up my elbow. Long story short, I’m in the emergency room in there, and in front of us. I don’t know what happened. Or there’s a group of people there waiting. And like India, you know, money talks sometimes. And and I’m like, wow, I have a I have a flight to catch in like three hours. They won’t let me on the airplane. Because I needed to get some stitches. And so in my pocket, I had all my rupees left. So I had, I don’t know, maybe $20 and rupees. And I take it on my pocket. And I kind of wave it to the, to the nurse up there. And with that they they waved me in and I got the stitches. And I think I think it was maybe $40 or $60 US dollars in the end. Right and then out the door and I got on my flight.

TM

Yeah, amazing. That journey from Bangalore to Mysore is incredible. What city were you flying out of?

RS

I was flying out of Bangalore. So it’s a four hour drive from Mysore to Bangalore. So we have to jump in a taxi and then get that taxi to the airport.

TM

That’s an amazing trip, isn’t it? I remember the first time my wife and I went to Mysore in 2004. And when we got to Bangalore and walked out the doors and there was it seemed like at least 100 people all wanting to help us out. And that was our first like overwhelming, like, oh my gosh, what are we doing unique experience. That is amazing.

RS

You’re right. That’s what makes it so fun to go there. 

TM

I’m really curious, how did how did it evolve that you were able to invite your mom and your mom being willing to say yes to go to India?  How did that happen?

RS

Well, I would spend time there. So like I said I was school teaching and I had a few months off. And my mom just recently retired. And she’s always been, you know, a very quiet mom. But she’s always had a little adventure side to her. And she said, “Well, you know, can I come and see what you do you?” You talked about yoga, you practice yoga, you’re always talking, you know, you’re always doing yoga. Can I come and see what you do? And I said, Yeah, sure. So she jumped on an airplane and she hung out with me for almost three weeks. It was a great experience. 

TM

That’s so cool. What a great opportunity. Yeah, that’s amazing. When was last time you were in India, have you been there since 2019 or 2020?

RS

No, my last trip was 2018 at the end of the summer. And then of course COVID started to build. So I’ve missed out the last two seasons. Yeah, three seasons almost. And so but I’m hoping to return this coming July.

TM

Cool. Yeah. Nice. And I noticed that you said you’re a school teacher but you you teach art to the school kids.

RS

Yeah. I’m a middle school art teacher. I’ve been doing that for 22 years. Because this is 23rd.

TM

Wow, that’s really cool. Have you been an artist your whole life? Is that something that you were involved in when you were in middle school age and then progressed to wanting to go to school for it and now teach?

RS

Yeah, it was sort of the only thing I could get out of school with, I would, you know, I would take all the classes and in Junior High and in high school, and of course, college, I was a fine arts major for two years. I focused on like, traditional painting. I didn’t really have the aptitude for it, you know, I was okay. But I wasn’t. I was in a group of people that were better than okay. You know, they were they were really driven. And I noticed right away, I simply didn’t have that level of talent. But both my parents were teachers, and my sister’s a teacher, and all my cousins are teachers. So it just felt like, a thing to do. I enjoyed traveling, and I recognize that a teacher’s schedule would allow me to do that. So yeah, I’ve been a teacher. And I’ve been really enjoying it.

TM

That’s cool. You know, on that note, I have a daughter who’s in fourth grade. And as I was studying up and getting ready for this opportunity to speak with you, I heard her in the background. She had a substitute teacher, and she said, “All he did was look at his phone all day, he didn’t teach us anything.” And I gotta crack up. When I was in school, we didn’t have cell phones back in the old days, and, and I just thought, I just kind of cracked me up to think about a substitute, just like staring at his or her phone for the whole session. “All right, kids, just do what you want.” I’m guessing, though, that you take a really proactive role in the education process, can you share a story or two about what it’s like being a teacher and working with middle school aged kids?

RS

Ah, well, you have to be proactive, or else they’ll just eat you alive. They you know, I have such a spectrum of abilities and such a spectrum of maturity. And you have to be able to figure out how to engage each and every one. And, you know, sometimes there’s success, and often times, there’s trial and error, and we certainly fall in to the error of things. So I think that’s a great kind of segue into yoga, you know, recognizing when the external circumstances are not in your control, and you have to rely on a little bit of faith, and rely on a little bit of skill and a little bit of, of the unknown to get through the day. And hopefully, you have something left to give to children. To give to people that are not oftentimes willing to accept the struggle of learning. 

TM

Right? 

RS

Whenever we grow, especially in yoga, whenever we grow, we have to be okay with the struggle, which is certainly hard. Hard to do. Yes.

You can listen to the full episode for free here: https://nativeyogacenter.buzzsprout.com

Thanks for reading this blog post from this podcast episode. Check out: 👇
Native Yoga Teacher Training – In Studio and Livestream – for info delivered to your email click this link here: https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

New Student Livestream Special ~ Try 2 Weeks of Free Unlimited Livestream Yoga Classes  at Native Yoga Center. Sign into the classes you would like to take and you will receive an email 30 minutes prior to join on Zoom. The class is recorded and uploaded to nativeyogaonline.com ~ Click Here to join.

New Student FREE 30 Minute Yoga Meet & Greet ~ Are you new to Native Yoga Center and have questions that you would like us to address? Whether you are coming to In Studio, Livestream or Online Recorded Classes we offer a one time complimentary 30 minute zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a time that is convenient for you. Click Here

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Sandy Chasen ~ Inspiring the Next Generation through Yoga

Sat, 11/6 6:52AM • 54:42

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

yoga, children, ladybug, teaching, kids, yoga teacher, class, camp, training, amazing, yoga class, poses, practice, feel, people, curious, teacher, instilling, nice, school

SPEAKERS

Todd McLaughlin, Sandy Chasen

Todd McLaughlin  

Welcome to Native yoga Toddcast. I am so happy you are here. My goal with this channel is to bring inspirational speakers to the mic in the field of yoga, massage, bodywork and beyond. Follow us on IG @nativeyoga and check us out at nativeyogacenter.com. All right, let’s begin. Hello, I’m happy you are here. Thanks for joining in. Today I have a special guest, Sandy Chason. She is the founder of Ladybug Yoga, which is a kid’s yoga program. She’s going to be offering a kid’s yoga teacher training here at Native Yoga Center on Sunday, January 30, 2022 from 12 to 6pm, Eastern Standard Time. We’re also going to be offering the teacher training via livestream. So for those of you that are local, you can come in and for those of you that are living abroad, you can join in via your computer and participate in the training and get certified in Ladybug Yoga. If you’re interested, visit our website nativeyogacenter.com. You’ll see the links where you can sign up. Also check out Sandy at her kids yoga teacher training website, which is called www.theladybugyoga.com. You can also find her on Instagram @Ladybugyoga, on Facebook @Ladybugyoga. All those links will be posted in the show notes below. I hope you enjoy this conversation. She got me really inspired and I can’t wait to take the training myself. I think that the more children get exposed to breathing, practicing yoga  and cultivate the ability to come out of their shell and have a safe space to be creative and express emotion, feelings and thoughts the world will be a happier place. I usually find that hanging out with children I end up feeling better because they impart a little bit of wisdom, selflessness, joy and good vibes. So anyhow I hope you enjoy this conversation. Let’s begin! I’m so pleased to have Sandy Chasen here with me today. Sandy, how are you doing? 

Sandy Chasen  

Good. Thank you for having me, Todd. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Oh, you’re welcome. I’m really excited to have this conversation with you because you are a kids yoga teacher. You offer kids yoga teacher training through your program Ladybug Yoga. But before we go into some of those details, can you give me an idea of how you first got interested in yoga yourself? 

Sandy Chasen  

Yes, definitely. So I’ll tell you a bit about me. I’m originally from South Africa. And as a young child, we moved to Canada and immigrated to Toronto. And my mom became very alternative and holistic and she was a yogi. And this is way back in the early 80s. And anytime I could go with her to get on a yoga mat to go to the yoga classes, I jumped and I just fell in love from the beginning.

Todd McLaughlin  

 Oh, that’s really cool. How old were you then? 

Sandy Chasen  

I was seven.

Todd McLaughlin  

Nice. You have a clear memory of your first yoga class with your mom?

Sandy Chasen  

I do. I do. Her teacher that we went to, his name was Axel Malone. He’s a real traditional yoga teacher guru. And it was just the whole experience every time. He was just amazing. I was in awe every time I could get there. 

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s awesome. Where was that? 

Sandy Chasen  

This was in Toronto. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Gotcha. Gotcha. At what age did you move from South Africa?

Sandy Chasen  

I was three three. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Do you have any memories of South Africa? I couldn’t tell you a memory from my threes.

Sandy Chasen  

No, either can I. But when I go back and visit there are the later year memories. So I still have family there. 

Todd McLaughlin  

And around the Cape Town area or the Johannesburg area? 

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Have you been?

Todd McLaughlin  

I’ve been to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, but I didn’t get a chance to go down to South Africa. I’ve always wanted to go to South Africa, because it’s like, a legendary surf destination. And so, yeah, I, you know, I’ve always wanted to go, I still want to go. But, I haven’t had the chance yet to make it down there.

Sandy Chasen  

Definitely on the bucket list. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Right? That’s cool.

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah. And you have to go on a safari.

Todd McLaughlin  

Oh, man, it’d be so great. I agree. And did you, after you started practicing yoga continue yoga throughout your teenage years and your 20s? Did you keep your yoga going? Or did was it like, come and go for you?

Sandy Chasen  

Um, no, I kept it going. It was come and go though. It was whenever, you know, I could go with my mom. And you know, I wasn’t busy. But it was steady. I just loved it!

Todd McLaughlin  

Nice. And then I guess fast forward at some point. I saw that you established Ladybug yoga in 2009. What was the journey to go from practicing yoga to wanting to create a program that was specific for children in yoga?

Sandy Chasen  

So also while I was growing up, I was a babysitter. I was a camp counselor. I was a gymnastics coach. So kids were always my passion. And back in Toronto, I took my early childhood education, and I practiced as an early childhood educator for a few years. And I really felt something was missing. So when I moved down to Florida, 20 years ago, right away, I said that’s it, I’m going to get certified in yoga. So I got on a plane and flew to Costa Rica and got my RYT there, and then came back and got certified in kids yoga. And I’ve been teaching adults and children ever since for the past 20 years. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Nice. 

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah. And then it was when my first daughter, Maya was born, the light bulb went off. And that was my aha moment when I combined the education and yoga together. And I created Ladybug yoga. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Wow. 

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah, so I made a children’s yoga program, and I teach practical tools to the children. And they just thrive off of it. It’s been amazing. 

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s really cool. I have a ton of questions, because I’m curious how you merged the educational aspects in terms of, you know, like you said, teaching in school, and with teaching kids yoga. What are some of the fundamental principles that you follow in  teaching children’s yoga and whast you have learned form your childhood education practice and study?

Sandy Chasen  

So basically, my creativity and program planning and the curriculum in every Ladybug yoga class…. we always begin with a breathing exercise, we go into yoga poses, then we go into games that incorporate the poses. We go into relaxation, and then close the class. So it’s a beautiful flow. And every aspect of yoga we do. The breathing is directed toward the kids ability level. So it’s always fun and exciting and presented in easy ways that they grasp it. It’s a very easy concept for them to use the poses and we have a blast with it, you know, and then the games, all our fun games, all incorporate the poses. So it teaches them all the tools and techniques in a fun way that relates to them. So they get it right away. They use it in the relaxation. We  take them on a journey. So it’s a guided relaxation. We use crystals, which the kids love, and it’s just beautiful, and they just love and thrive off of it. And we constantly, you know, discuss in class, you know that these are amazing life skill tools and that they’re not coming just for a dance class where it’s fun, and then they go their way. We are instilling these tools in them at this young age so they know when there are times when they’re feeling stressed at home, anxious, overwhelmed. When they’re fighting with siblings or when they have tests at school. They can use these tools to help them. They can incorporate these tools that we’re instilling in their mind during those times at home and at school and throughout their lives.

Todd McLaughlin  

Nice. Do you feel like as a yoga teacher you’re often reminding students, whether it’s children or adults, that what you’re learning here on the yoga mat, is something that you’re going to apply later on?

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah. Especially the breath, because we all forget to breathe.

Todd McLaughlin  

Good point. I hear that! So that’s cool that you still are actively teaching adult classes and children’s classes?

Sandy Chasen  

I do adult private classes and group privates, because adults, you know, I have a passion for that as well. And then, of course, the kids are a great passion as well for me. 

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s cool. Is there something that you use when you teach children that you find you also try to incorporate in with the adults that might not be your traditional thing that we do with adults?

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah, just to have fun. 🙂 Adults can get so serious.

Todd McLaughlin  

Like, do you actually incorporate some gameplay, so to speak in the adult class?

Sandy Chasen  

Definitely, you know, we laugh throughout and when I feel that tension I just get them to just release it and to go back to their child like sense.

Todd McLaughlin  

Nice. I noticed that you use teachable, which is a platform that you’re able to create digital content that people can learn what you’re teaching. Have you had good success and results with moving in that digital arena?

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah, it’s been amazing! And it’s given access to students all around the world. I’ve had students in India, like all over the world who have done my training online as well as which is wonderful. For those that do the in person teacher training, I offer the teachable at half price. So that they have lifetime access to go and refresh, it’s all live and they see it and they grasp it. So a lot of people after graduating, they can enjoy to get that to help them, to keep watching it over again. So they can become more confident in teaching.

Todd McLaughlin  

I really like your whole website and your online information and the way you lay it out. It feels like you’ve done a really great job. Is this something that you’ve had a lot of help with? Are you naturally gifted in marketing? Do you do your video production for your course yourself? Was that something that came really easy? Or is it something that you’ve been working at forever?

Sandy Chasen  

You know, I’m very creative, and it’s just so natural to me, that part. But the technical parts, no. I’m very hands on, you know, in everything. So online, I was sitting, you know, with the lady who did it, and we did it together, like step by step, even, you know, with my company, and when I have teachers go into the school and teach the yoga classes, you know, I connect with them before class. I connect with the teacher. I speak to them after class, I want to be involved, even though sometimes I’m not physically there. I want to know all the details and the outcomes and so I’m very hands on and for me naturally the creativity and the inspiration does come naturally.

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s inspirational. You said that when your daughter, Maya was born. How old is she now?

Sandy Chasen  

So Maya’s 12 and almost a half. And I have a younger daughter, Jada, my baby who’s actually turning nine on Sunday. I taught the night before they were both, you know, both of them popped out. 🙂 So they were born natural Yogi’s as well. And they can even teach Ladybug yoga classes at this point. Nice. Yeah, so she’s a Halloween baby? Yes, she is. And actually, I have the most special story to share with you about my baby Jada, please, who in preschool. This was in pre K. She saw there was a child who was upset and you know, something was bothering her and the teachers couldn’t get her to come and join the class and to feel better. And Jada went over and sat with that child and told her did a three sigh breath with her. And the child just shifted, and Jada was the one to bring her back to a place of happiness and back with the class.

Todd McLaughlin  

Wow! That totally gives me chills because the thought of a child reaching out to a peer at that age with something to refocus the mind to, like you said to shift, and be able to be receptive to communication, or if they were shutting down and just really frustrated. That’s, that’s amazing. That’s like, kind of what we hope for, right!?!

Sandy Chasen  

It’s amazing with these children. They’re so open, you know, and receptive. They haven’t shut or closed yet. As the older you get you can get into your own way. So that’s why it’s special to instill yoga at such a young age.

Todd McLaughlin  

Wow, that’s really cool. Well, I mean, that actually feeds into my next question. So you might have already answered it, but what are some lessons that you’ve learned from teaching children? I find that when I branch out of my comfort zone, and I attempt to share yoga with someone who I thought it would be more challenging to do that with. I find instead of me teaching them something they teach me something. What is something that you’ve learned over the years with working with children?

Sandy Chasen  

So I find that what we’re doing is encouraging these children to build their self esteem and to let them shine as bright as they can. And there’s so many times in their lives, especially at a young age, you know, they’ve been told no, and no and no, and it can crush them. So we in our class, I find the most beautiful approach is we support them, of who they are as individuals and let them shine as bright as they can to just build them up. And by doing that, you just see them grow and shine, and it’s really beautiful.

Todd McLaughlin  

Wow. Yeah! So right there. That’s some inspiration right there. If you can see kids go from, like you said, shutting down and or shy and then turn around. That is pretty amazing.

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah.

Todd McLaughlin  

Cool. You know, I guess, I’m thinking along the lines of there’s probably yoga teachers that are curious about teaching kids yoga. I remember the first time I thought, well, I teach yoga, so teaching kids yoga is just going to be a piece of cake. I can do it. And then we got a group together. And I quickly realized that I wished I’d had a few tricks up my sleeve. I definitely realized that making it more playful was going to be critical. But I also found that I probably could have benefited from from having a few creative ideas in place prior. What qualities or skills do you think a yoga teacher should have to be good at teaching children yoga?

Sandy Chasen  

So the ladybug yoga children’s teacher training that I created, I’ve opened it up to not only yoga teachers, but school teachers, therapists, parents, grandparents, nannies. So I’ve put together the most easy to adapt, and creative program. During the training and by the end of the training, people can see it’s so simple and practical and clear for them that anyone by the end of the training feels ready and inspired to go and impact the lives of children in whichever way, whether it’s doing a yoga class, going into the school and throughout the school day, teaching their kids, parents at home, therapist within their session. So yeah, it’s very inspiring, the program that I’ve put together and easy for anyone and everyone to adapt into it. Easy for them to get it.

Todd McLaughlin  

Yeah, that makes sense. Because I would imagine that there’s a lot of parents and grandparents out there that actually practice yoga already. They haven’t pursued the career path of teaching yoga. But see that they’re around children and would want to share what they already know. So it makes perfect sense, that a grandparent would be excited to, learn tricks and tools to have another way to interact with either their children or grandchildren.

Sandy Chasen  

Yes, in a way that the kids can, you know, connect to and use. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Yeah, that’s amazing. I recently started to do a little research into what people are doing with yoga and elder care. Investigating what they are doing within senior facilities, or elder living facilities. One of the principles that became obvious was that if someone is having hard time with their their abilities either cognitive and/or physical. If they’re attempting to do something, and we’re attempting to show them something, and they aren’t doing it the way that we think they should be doing it, that they might begin to shut down. They will feel less inclined to open up in and express themselves through the postures or through the practice. One of the solutions to that problem given in the book Creative Care by Anne Basting, is an idea that is used in improvisational theater training. The idea is to always say yes, and add to what they say. For example if someone says, is this how I do it? You would affirm…. Yes, and you could also do it like this. It remids me of this saying, once a man is twice a child. We come in a baby, we take care of ourselves, and potentially, at the end, we’re gonna need to be taken care of again, the same way we were as a kid. I am now seeing that there probably are a lot of similarities between child care and elder care?

Sandy Chasen  

Yes, that is true. 

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s cool. What have you noticed with grandparents and working with children in terms of the yoga world and what have you observed?

Sandy Chasen  

Oh, they get so excited when they come to do the training. Because, you know, now they have something to connect with their grandkids to do as well as you know, enjoy. You know, the benefits of yoga, which they are involved in as Yogi’s. And they just can’t wait to go and share with their grandkids and when their grandkids come over, they have fun things to do. And it’s amazing. It’s a bond, a very special bonding moment, you know, like, I’ll never forget the bonding I have with my mom, you know, as together when we you know, as Yogi’s together, it’s very special.

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s a good point. My mom got me into yoga as well.

Sandy Chasen  

Oh, amazing. At what age?

Todd McLaughlin  

I practiced when I was 19. But when I was in my early 20s she was practicing Hatha yoga, and she was taking a local yoga class. And she was like, you gotta come try this. And I was like, sure! That was it. I was hooked after the first session. 

Sandy Chasen  

Wow. That’s beautiful.

Todd McLaughlin  

My mom’s still practicing today. And I practiced with her this morning. 

Sandy Chasen  

That’s a special bond. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Yes. It’s amazing. I agree. I am curious… What have you noticed with the pandemic? In terms of, I know this is a big question, but we’ve had a little bit of time to kind of go through this whole thing and kind of start to come out the other side, and where we can reflect and look back. So I’m just curious, what what have you witnessed? Probably your kids were all in school and then had to go over to the virtual, I don’t know if you homeschool your kids already, or if they are in public school or private school, or if they went to the virtual but what did you observe in terms of like your own practice of teaching people to be with kids and be teaching yoga, but then being needing to be six feet apart and all that stuff that’s come with the pandemic? What’s happened for you?

Sandy Chasen  

Right? So it was an amazing experience. Because like I said, I’m always thinking creatively and you know, my mind’s always going and when everything shut down in March, then when they were talking about schools coming back online in August, I’m like okay, this is an opportunity for Ladybug yoga to get back on its feet because I’ve went from 60 to zero. It was scary.

Todd McLaughlin  

I agree, it was scary.

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah. And I actually created a pod. So I rented space at a hotel. And I hired school teacher. And I became a pod, which was where parents droppped the kids, you know, there were so many working parents that didn’t know what they were going to do with their children, when schools were going online, as well as the parents that felt overwhelmed, to be sitting with them at a computer all day long, you know, so parents would drop the kids early in the morning, and we would have them till the afternoon and the kids, you know, would come with their laptop. And with online, I had teachers helping them throughout their children’s online virtual school. And then we would go and do yoga. And we would do active activities, you know, because it was very hard on the kids. I mean, they were amazing. The way they adapted so quickly, to transitioning to sit online, it was very sad in a way because they were sitting from like, 8:45am in the morning, through 2pm on the computer. Which is so hard for children. So we incorporated the yoga, the breathing for them to move and to get their minds relaxed, you know, and energy release, and to be clear for them to continue on in the day. So we continued that for I think it was about six weeks until the schools went back in person. And then actually, Ladybug yoga transitioned into a camp. So yeah, so anytime there was no school, we would, you know, we would turn into a camp, which it actually then built into, because schools weren’t having us back on campus yet, because of COVID. And then it turned into a summer camp, which the kids just had a blast. And it’s just amazing. You know, every day they would do yoga, and I would incorporate different specialties like karate, art, dance, music drama, we would go swimming, and that was there for them. And then coming back into the fall this year, schools have welcomed us back into doing yoga classes on the premises. So we’re back doing you know, what we used to do, as well as I’m continuing with this amazing camp that I’ve, you know, developed that anytime like, Thanksgiving breaks coming up. So we’ll have camp for those days, you know, winter break will be camp and then go back into another summer camp. Ladybug yoga is just expanding. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Where do you have a facility and or brick and mortar location? Where were you holding the camp at?

Sandy Chasen  

So the camp we were at actually the Renaissance Hotel in Boca. But then that changed and we ended up with summer camp building all the way through till summer camp. But then, now that they’re back in full action, they were too busy to keep hosting us there. So I rent space at this Charter School in Boca Raton, which is wonderful because we have access to the host school. Were the only ones on the premises when I host the camp.

Todd McLaughlin  

Wonderful. I am curious…..which charter school are you with?

Sandy Chasen  

It’s called an Olympus Academy.

Todd McLaughlin  

Okay, I was just curious. That’s great. That way you don’t have to have the challenge of holding down like a five year lease on a place.

Sandy Chasen  

Exactly. And I’ve always you know, all the programs, the yoga classes, I’ve been in all the schools, all the facilities, I go in, you know, rent space there and then even the teacher training you know, I come to you guys. So I come for your whole community, you know, to come and share the Ladybug yoga tools with you guys. So it’s wonderful.

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s really cool. I love the idea! I’ve always been thinking about you know how to create a camp like setting during the summer because as you’re familiar in South Florida, we have such a busy winter season because so many folks are in from out of town and then often in summer people are traveling, on vacation, the snowbirds go back up north. And you know, we kind of feel that like, Whoa, boy, it’s summer, how are we going to get through it? You know, and then, right, you’re thinking like, it’d be so cool to have a kids,  yoga camp in the summer. So I’m so excited to hear some of your ideas about how you’re doing it.  Yeah, it’s my pleasure to share. I liked the idea, too, that he said, It sounds like you mentioned that you would bring and then like specialists, like, whether it was martial arts or maybe yeah, dance or so you then kind of outsource to different skill sets to build the excitement of the experience?

Sandy Chasen  

Exactly. So every day they’ll do yoga. Every morning, we always start with yoga. And then yeah, in the afternoon, we’ll include a different specialists to come?

Todd McLaughlin  

How do you, if you have a child that is having a hard time adapting to what’s going on. Like maybe they get dropped off at camp? And there could be any number of different things that would make them either not want to be there? Or having a difficult time? Do you have a couple of skills or things that you do? That you help the childre to transition into the group? Like perhaps some are having a very difficult situation? Do you ever have children that just don’t want to be there?

Sandy Chasen  

I’m actually thinking back to summer camp, because, you know, a lot of the kids had such anxieties, because they were home confined for so long, that they weren’t around other kids, they weren’t out of their home environment that, you know, they have a lot of anxiety from it, coming back into adapting back into the community. So we did have a handful of children who had a lot of anxiety. And, you know, I don’t know if it’s just natural for me to just, you know, support them. And so they feel the love and care and support and that they can be safe. So, you know, they would stay close to me or close to another counselor of mine to just support them, and assist them until they are ready to, you know, leave the nest, just by saying, you know, to talk to other friends more and to start veering on their own around the camp. Yeah, it was actually a big percentage of children struggled with what they went through.

Todd McLaughlin  

Did you notice a shift in their receptivity relatively quickly? Like within a day or within a week? What were some of the observations you had?

Sandy Chasen  

I would say, each day, you would see them flourishing more, it would take I would say about three days, till they were like shining and felt comfortable. And feel like, oh my gosh, I’m a kid again. You know, like, this is great. Having fun and doing like things with other children.

Todd McLaughlin  

Yeah. That’s a good point, I remember my wife and I, well my son is 15 and my daughter’s eight, and when all this was going down, it was, you know, like, when we were in home, we were just like, let’s just try to create as positive environment as much as possible. Even though maybe her and I were stressing out because we were like, “what in the world is going on right now?” On so many levels, but then, you know, we are attempting to try to be solid for them and not have them freak out. But clearly, the parents are freaking out as well. And then obviously, children are feeding off of that. So I just think that’s amazing that you were prepared and ready for utilizing the skills of yoga when all this happened. Like it sounds like you really thought, “let’s think creatively, think outside the box, look for a solution to the problem.” And you really were able to utilize what you already know and love. So it’s like you were really ready for all of this.

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah. And then all the kids to that do yoga. Their consciousness is all about caring and sharing and being kind. You know, we, every class, we talk about positivity and how we treat others. And so it’s also amazing to see in action, the kids that already are comfortable and familiar with what we are doing and set the stage for he new kids that come on, you know, come into the camp or the program. They’re amazingly full of support and just so kind and caring to the children and provide whatever needs they may have.

Todd McLaughlin  

I hear you! That makes me think, what age range are you focusing on?

Sandy Chasen  

So we teach from three and up through elementary, so it’s preschool through elementary school to fifth grade.

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s great. So that’s like ages three to ten. That sound right, three to 10? It makes sense that you would specialize into that particular age group. We had someone that was teaching Mommy and Me classes where you have infants coming in with the moms. Yeah, totally cool to watch. So cute, but then I start thinking about, like, from my teenager’s perspective. There is such a different approcah within each of these age groups. When I think of saying, “come on teenagers, let’s go do yoga,” like all of a sudden, something changed, where it’s like, yoga is not so cool. 🙂 Teenagers start to think, if my mom or dad or into yoga, I’m definitely not doing it. 🙂 Like no way.

Sandy Chasen  

Well do you want to know the secret with the older kids? You teach more of it, an adult class, like a cool class for them. But the secret is to always challenge them. The minute you challenge the older kids, they thrive off of that, like, they just love that. That’s what gets them. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Yep. Whereas with the 3 to 10 age group, how is that different? Are you not necessarily thinking how can I challenge them? What is your main focus when working with this age group?

Sandy Chasen  

Okay, so with the younger children, so I say preschool up to, you can get away with definitely first grade, sometimes second grade, you’re always painting a picture for them. So it’s all about the storytelling, painting the picture as you’re going through the Yoga, you know, whereas then from that point from third grade and up, it then starts, you’re still like painting the picture. But at the same time, you start challenging. So when they’re in a pose, instead of sharing a story or visualization, you’re telling them okay, hold for the count to 10, or hold for 20. At camp the kids loved it you know, throughout the six weeks of camp, with breathing, we continuously every week, got further and further holding our breath. Up to where at the end of camp at six weeks, I was counting to 100. Of course, I counted fast, but they didn’t realize it. You know, so they’d love that challenge. 

Todd McLaughlin  

Do you ever take apprentices? I mean, obviously, you got people working for you. But it’s something where this is purely selfish from my behalf, yet, could I try come down one day and actually see how you do what you do?

Sandy Chasen  

Yes, I would love for you to, you know, we had in the summer CIC’s, that volunteer, you know, and I’m always open to others who want to come and see it in action and help them be a part of this.

Todd McLaughlin  

Okay, that’s cool. That’d be great. I feel like I always learned so much when I actually get a chance to see a program that someone else is running, like in that environment, because it can be overwhelming. You know, when you first a new program, it’s like, what do I do? Where do I start?

Sandy Chasen  

Yes, I’d love you to come see it in action. And as well, that’s why I love on teachable, you know, that it’s online, and it’s all visual, it’s all there in person. It’s my girls are there with a bunch of other friends. You see it in action. So that also helps.

Todd McLaughlin  

Nice. When Tam and I lived in San Diego, and we had a yoga studio out there and we got involved in the Ashtanga yoga community and right before, I want to say this is in around about 2008-2009, someone had gotten together a really great yoga program where they were allowing yoga teachers to go into the public school system and start teaching yoga. And I guess at one point, some of the teachers were using, you know, down dog and up dog, Then there are poses that are called say Hanuman Asana, which is dedicated to Hanuman, who’s a character out of a story in India called the Ramayana. Therefore there were people that were of religious persuasion that had their buttons pushed  because schools are meant to be kept secular. They were fearing the children were being introduced to Hindu culture and/or different religious ideas. And so a lawsuit ensued, and it created a whole bunch of drama and made fairly big headlines. So my question is, how do you navigate the world of respecting different philosophies and/or religious ideas and teach yoga to children?

Sandy Chasen  

So that’s a great question. Because I make it very clear in the training, that we do not incorporate any religious teachings. We teach practical tools for everyday life. We do not chant, we do not, you know, we don’t Om, the music is instrumental, the only thing we will include is namaste, if we’re in a Jewish school or Catholic school that doesn’t even want that to be put in. Then we end by saying peace. And we never say put your hands together in prayer position, we always say put your hands together to your heart center. Yeah, so our program has no religious faith associated. Because, yes, dealing with children and parents. You know, they have been weary especially, you know, we’re going on so many years, where now yoga is becoming more mainstream. But in the beginning, it was still very like, oh, yeah, God, you know, yeah, my kid. No, thank you. But it, you know, that’s why I make it very clear in my training that we leave the religion out. And we’re teaching the basic practical tools for their everyday lives.

Todd McLaughlin  

Yeah, I think that’s great. That makes perfect perfect sense. But I really like that you even brought attention to the languaging. Around, bring your hands together at heart center versus your hands into prayer position, because I’ve never really thought of that. But you’re right, that implies prayer, which could push a button. Yeah. Interesting. Any other things that you’ve noticed around that? I’m just curious? What else do we do in yoga that we assume is okay but maybe is not?

Sandy Chasen  

We have in our section, you will learn hand poses, which are mudras, that we only call them hand poses? You know, so yeah. So we leave out, you know, that aspect as well as all our poses are named after animals or things or, you know, we don’t use the sanskrit names at all.

Todd McLaughlin  

Gotcha. That’s really cool. In terms of, with children, and this is in the realm of alignment, and I know that alignment is just a great just topic of discussion alone. But for example, we have certain methods of yoga that are really interested in trying to set up good alignment for good reasons that will be healthy, and we won’t maybe try poses that are too advanced for us, like, we got to build a good foundation. And then there’s like really specific details like, you know, put your heels on the same line and turn this foot at this anglel. And when you reach your arm above your head, turn your palm this direction, and what role does alignment play in the process of teaching children yoga?

Sandy Chasen  

So that’s another great question. You’re asking all these amazing questions. I love that. Because I’m very particular as well with, you know, what is involved in my classes and with the kids class, you know, because we’re truly building their self esteem up. So they can shine and grow. We do not, you know, correct them. If they’re not perfectly aligned. If you see that there, they could injure themselves, how they’re doing the pose. Yeah, then we will jump in and correct them. Yeah. But however creatively, they’re doing the pose that we’re you know, all in, we just say what a great job they’re doing. We inspire them, we build their self esteem. So that’s when we, you know, we’ll jump in, if we see they can injure themselves. And, you know, in a class, you have all different levels. So you may have, you know, the gymnasts and the dancers, and then you have a child who can’t even get into a half lotus. So the teacher needs to be very aware of each child’s limitation. But we want to challenge them. So with the gymnasts and the dancers will get them to go into a full lotus at the same time a child who can even cross their legs with the knees down, we will get them to go in that cross leg where they’re comfortable, you know, and we will  tell both of them what a great job they’re doing at their level.

Todd McLaughlin  

Yes. Nice. That makes. Yeah, that makes sense. I was just visualizing the juggling act that is going on, in a sense, like you said, with the different range of ability levels are present.

Sandy Chasen  

It becomes more natural as you go on with your practice of teaching.

Todd McLaughlin  

Yes. Nice.

Sandy Chasen  

And it’s important that you’re challenging at each level so that kids can in one second, if they lose their attention, if you’re not continuously moving, flowing, challenging them making that exciting, you’ve lost them, and then that’s a recipe for disaster because then they misbehave and you know. So yeah, it’s beautiful. It’s like a beautiful flow of class. And it goes really fast. Because it’s so much fun.

Todd McLaughlin  

I bet. What are the typical durations of sessions that you’ll hold with kids say, from the 3 to 10 year group? Are you like a 15 minute class? 30 minute?

Sandy Chasen  

Throughout the training, you’ll see I’ve divided it into three groups. So preschool is 30 minutes. So the younger kids, their attention span is 30 minutes. In which that class goes by in a second. Then you have like, the elementary school age, I would say 45 minutes or an hour. You know, really, even though it’s an hour class, you’re only teaching about 45 minutes. By the time they take their shoes and socks off. And you you know, we always do an introductory icebreaker question. For the kids that are shy, you know, it’s beautiful, that they get to share. And that breaks the ice for class. Everyone’s on the same form together and go so those are the three categories 30, 45 or an hour.

Todd McLaughlin  

Yeah, that makes that makes perfect sense. That’s really cool. When you’re working with kids, and you’re, you have all that going on at the same time. As far as being a trainer like you’re, you’re attempting to train other people how to do this? Is that hard or easy for you?

Sandy Chasen  

I love it. I thrive. You know. It’s just like the kids how it’s natural. You know, how inspired they get throughout a class. It’s the same with my training, like my students. They’re sponges and sucking it in and they’re so inspired and excited. And I love that. Kids are a passion of mine. That’s lots of fun.

Todd McLaughlin  

 I’m excited. You lead by example. Obviously you’re getting in there and saying, “this is how you do it.” Follow me.

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah, definitely. You guys become my kid. During the training.

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s cool. You told me a really great story that was amazing with the way that Maya interacted with that child.

Sandy Chasen  

Oh Jada. Jada is my youngest. Maya is my oldest..

Todd McLaughlin  

Can you share any other really cute moments? Something that you’ve seen that just melted your heart?

Sandy Chasen  

Yeah, I love seeing, you know, the sigh breath is our go to breath. You do three sigh breaths. I’ve taught the girls, I’ve instilled it, no matter where you are, what’s going on? You know, you take those three breaths and everything shifts. And my girls. I mean, any time they’re sad, anxious or stressed. They’re, you know, just overwhelmed or they are fighting with each other. Or they’re tired or so cranky. They do their three breaths. And I’m telling you it’s instant. And they feel it and they’re like, ah, like, Yes, I feel better now. You know, and their minds more clear their bodies calmer and so that I love seeing. It never gets old and I think it’s so important.

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s really cool. And you said that you’ve already watched your daughter’s teach a kids yoga class? They kind of grabbed the reigns and gone ahead with it.

Sandy Chasen  

It’s amazing! Yeah. And especially when they were younger, they used to set up their dolls and they would do a Ladybug yoga class for their dolls. And now it’s like they can teach the other kids and they’ve memorized the whole curriculum. They were there for the online training, they were my models in the manual, as well, as, you know, in the live version.

Todd McLaughlin  

That’s really cool. I, you know, when, when my son was young, we took him to India with us, and he would come and practice alongside with us, yet it was early in the morning, so he probably was like, just wanting to sleep anyway. And so we’d bring a yoga mat, a little blanket, and he would just come in and sleep and crash out. We would bring some coloring books. He could relax or choose to practice yoga if he liked.There was a lot of cats and dogs that were, interestingly enough, just kind of mulling around, and when you would go into down dog and the cats would crawl up on you. And it was quite an interesting experience. I feel like, you know, he got fully immersed in that type of thing. It was really amazing. I might have more questions, but I know I have at least one more for you and it’s one that I get from parents often. And it’s it’s how can I inspire my child to practice yoga? They say “I really want my kid to do yoga.” What is some advice that you would give parents that are wanting their children to practice?

Sandy Chasen  

They should take the Ladybug yoga teacher training! They learn and then go home and bring it to their children. The training works because that’s their language training. You know, this curriculum is the kids language. And once they bring in the fun and excitement, you know it, they’ll be hooked in an instant.

Todd McLaughlin  

Awesome. Good answer. I personally am really excited to take the training with you. I can’t wait. I can’t wait for your visit. Is there anything you would like to close with? Any thoughts, feelings? Anything that comes to mind that you could share with us to help close our conversation today?

Sandy Chasen  

Well, I’m just excited to come and share, you know, this beautiful program with you guys to keep sharing it with and to the kids, because that’s been my dream of, you know, just inspiring every child around the world to teach them these tools to help them throughout their lives. So I really appreciate doing this today, as well as hosting me and, you know, getting my dream to become a reality.

Todd McLaughlin  

Awesome, Sandy. Well, I really appreciate you taking time. I was looking forward to this. Thank you so much.

Sandy Chasen  

I appreciate it.

Todd McLaughlin  

I’ll be seeing you soon.

Sandy Chasen  

Okay, sounds good.

Todd McLaughlin  

Take care.

Sandy Chasen  

Bye, Todd.

Todd McLaughlin  

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed our discussion today. Remember, if you would like to participate in the kids yoga teacher training with Sandy, with the Ladybug yoga program. Go ahead and visit our website nativeyogacenter.com. On the homepage, there’s a link at the bottom that you’ll easily find. And that’s about it my friends. If you have any questions, reach out to me info@nativeyogacenter.com Thanks again and talk to you see you soon.  Native Yoga Toddcast is produced by myself. The theme music is dreamed up by Bryce Allen. If you liked this show, let me know, if there’s room for improvement. I want to hear that too. We are curious to know what you think and what you want more of what I can improve. And if you have ideas for future guests or topics, please send us your thoughts to info@Nativeyogacenter.com. You can find us at nativeyogacenter.com. And hey, if you did like this episode, share it with your friends, rate it and review and join us next time!