Monthly Archives: June 2019

Why Isn’t Yoga Covered By Health Insurance?

The short answer is, it’s complicated.

We spoke with John Kepner, executive director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), and Courtney Butler-Robinson, stress management specialist and yoga therapist for the Dean Ornish Reversal Clinic at Saline Heart Group in Benton, Arkansas, to find out why yoga therapy is largely uncovered by health insurance companies. Dean Ornish, MD, made headlines in 2010 for convincing insurance companies that yoga and meditation, when combined with proper diet and exercise, could reverse heart disease. To date, yoga therapy is covered only under the Ornish Reversal Program for heart disease, but some affiliated clinics, such as Saline Heart Group, are beginning to offer cancer care.

Yoga Journal: With all of its proven benefits, why is it so hard to get yoga covered by insurance?

John Kepner: That’s the big question. IAYT is a self-regulated organization—it’s all voluntary. We have standards and an accrediting body, continued education, certification, and an enforceable code of ethics, but we don’t yet have a certification exam. All professional health fields have some kind of exam. IAYT has just launched that effort, and I expect it will take another two years to complete. Those are necessary but not sufficient pillars when you’re talking about insurance. In most cases, but not all, insurance coverage extends to licenced health care fields.

Courtney Butler-Robinson: We are a wellness center and offer different programing. We recently extended into cancer care. The Ornish Reversal Program is the only program I know of where the whole thing, including yoga therapy, is covered by Medicare. Oftentimes, people who have cancer or have been given chemo will end up with heart problems, and in that case, we can often bill under that.

JK: One of my personal goals is yoga therapy insurance coverage for people …

How to Practice Sama Vritti Pranayama (Box Breathing)

Try Sama Vritti Pranayama (Box Breathing) when you’re stressed, anxious, or upset.

Sama Vritti Pranayama is a powerful relaxation tool that can help clear your mind, relax your body, and allow you to focus. The best part? You can do it anywhere. Just find a comfortable seat with your back supported and feet on the floor.  

  1. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose, slowly counting to 4. Feel the air filling your lungs.
  2. Hold your breath here and slowly count to 4 again. Try not to clamp your airways shut. Simply avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 counts.
  3. Slowly exhale to the count of 4.
  4. Hold the exhale for another 4 counts.
  5. Repeat steps 1–4 for 4 minutes or until you feel calm and centered.

Find other pranayama techniques here

   

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Tantra 101: A Guided Visualization Practice to Open Your Heart


Envision your heart cne as a blossoming flower in this beautiful meditation from Sally Kempton.

Want to invite more love and bliss into your life? Try tapping into the sacred source that emanates from your heart center. Here, Sally Kempton—who teaches YJ’s upcoming course, Tantra 101—guides you through a simple practice to deepen your divine awareness: A beautiful visualization of your heart as a blossoming flower.

Watch also How Tantra Makes Positive Thinking Actually “Stick”

Want to learn how to tap into your innate power? Join our new online course, Tantra 101: Awaken to Your Most Divine Life, led by meditation teacher Sally Kempton. In six weeks you’ll discover Tantra’s potent teachings and practices, so you can transform every breath, movement, and feeling into a pathway to greater insight and peace. Sign up today!

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SIBO Made Simple | EP 20 | Hemp & Digestive Health: CBD, THC and How to Use Them with Chloe Weber

CBD has become a big buzz word in the wellness world, as a salve for everything from anxiety to gut issues to period pain. But what is it and how does it actually work? In today’s episode, I’m joined by Chloe Weber, a trained herbalist, acupuncturist and founder of Radical Roots, which combines the power of Chinese herbs with full spectrum hemp.

Chloe got into the world of hemp because of her son Remy, who has been using various CBD formulas to ease a neurological condition. She’s a wealth of knowledge about how the endocannabinoid system works, what deliveries best serve digestive disorders, and how to use both hemp and cannabis as part of your SIBO plant medicine cabinet.

If you’ve been wondering whether hemp-based extracts are worth all the anti-inflammatory hype, this episode has so many incredible takeaways!

A quick taste of what we’ll cover:

  • The difference between CBD and THC
  • How to use CBD and THC to treat anxiety, insomnia, SIBO, neurological issues and epilepsy
  • The best formulas and delivery methods for gut health
  • Why smoking hemp or cannabis might be a better choice in certain situations than taking an oil or edible
  • Product terminology to beware of and what you want to see on a package to ensure its therapeutic grade and not snake oil
  • And so much more…

Resources, mentions and notes:

This episode is brought to you by Epicured, a

Why Your Spirituality Shouldn't Define You


Kundalini Yoga teacher Priya Jain talks about building your identity around the practice you love.

Yoga can be such a life-altering experience that it drives you to schedule your day around the practice you love. What happens when it starts becoming who you are? Here, YJ ambassadors Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt sit down with Priya Jain—Kundalini Yoga teacher, founder of Seventh Chakra Yoga, and Brandon’s mentor—in Huntington Beach California to talk about yoga and identity.

Read also So You Found Peace Through Yoga—Here’s Why the Practice Shouldn’t Stop There

Live Be Yoga ambassadors Lauren and Brandon are on a road trip across the country to sit down with master teachers, host free local classes, and so much more—all to illuminate the conversations pulsing through the yoga community today. Follow the tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook.

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How Yoga Is Helping Kids with Cancer

A volunteer yoga program at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego is bettering the lives of its oncology kids.

Aimee DeLuna practice yoga in her hospital bed. 

The cornflower-blue sleeper sofa. The formica closet. The tea cart clanking by. Jaymee Jiao will never forget the eight months she spent living in this hospital room with her son Savior-Makani Jiao as he underwent around-the-clock treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. But today, the rambunctious two-and-a-half-year-old is in remission, and he’s arrived at his former bedroom at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital in a red plastic Radio Flyer. “I had to buckle him in because he was going crazy downstairs,” Jiao says when we meet, exhaling. It’s true: Right now, Savior’s energy could fuel a turbine. The familiar nurses who pass by gush over his vivacity and thick, wavy tuft of black hair. You’d never guess that just last year he was undergoing chemotherapy full time.

Five months post-discharge, Jiao is settling into life back at home with her husband and four children, of whom Savior is the youngest. She is visibly tired, yet cheerful. Atop her left shoulder is a large, tight lump, and she points it out, pulling on it as if it might loosen and slip off. “I carry my stress physically,” she says with a shrug.

Also in Savior’s old hospital room is volunteer yoga teacher Liz Fautsch, a smiling brunette who worked weekly with Jiao to ease tension and stress while she was holed up at Rady. “Your shoulder is looking better!” Fautsch encourages. Jiao nods. “Yoga helped relieve my shoulder and back pain,” she tells me. “And,” she says, lowering her voice a little, “it would take my mind off things when we were having a bad day.” But between school drop-offs and shuttling her …

Yoga Alliance to Require Tests in 200-Hour Teacher Trainings, More Credentials for Lead Trainers

There are new standards for registered yoga schools and teachers. Learn what’s changing.

Learn more about the teacher-training tests here. 

Yoga Alliance updated its requirements for 200-hour yoga teacher trainings today, marking the first comprehensive overhaul of its standards for yoga schools and teachers since the organization’s inception in 1999. The updates, which go into effect after February 1, 2020, include mandatory tests for students, required completion of an online course on equity in yoga, and more training and years spent teaching to qualify as a lead trainer.

These additions follow an 18-month standards-review project by Yoga Alliance that included surveys completed by more than 12,000 respondents, recommendation papers from eight working groups, and virtual town halls.

“We heard loud and clear from the community that people are ready for Yoga Alliance to do the work necessary to up-level and then uphold the standards that underlie the credential,” says Shannon Roche, president and CEO of Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation. “We wanted to make the credential mean more but not overstep into a space the community is not ready for us to go.”

Yoga Alliance is also dropping the terms “contact” (with a faculty member) and “non-contact” hours (not in the presence of a faculty member) and instead making all 200 hours in classroom and tied to a newly defined core curriculum. The organization is also allowing up to 40 of those hours to be completed online in a virtual classroom. The remaining 160 hours must be in-person. 

See also A Yogi’s Guide to Evaluating Teacher Training Programs

While these changes target the 200-hour registered yoga schools (RYS 200) and 200-hour registered yoga teachers (RYT 200), expect future updates to the 300-hour and 500-hour trainings to be announced in June 2020, according to Yoga Alliance.

Here, four …

Have a Wrist Injury? These Pose Swaps Will Help You Maintain Your Yoga Practice

Try these alternatives to get all the same benefits without bearing weight on your hands and wrists.

Regardless of the reason you have wrist problems, do not fear: You can easily modify a practice (vinyasa flow or otherwise) with other postures.

Injuries can be frustrating and upsetting, especially when the area that’s hurt feels primary to the heart of your asana practice. If you’re a member of the vinyasa yoga, Power Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga communities, you definitely rely on your wrists for a majority of your practice.

See also Learn How to Protect Your Wrists in Your Practice

Your wrists are very small joints that are not made for bearing the weight of your whole body, and your asana practice can put large weight requirements on them. You may have come to yoga with weak wrists or perhaps acquired a wrist injury from misalignment in postures. Regardless of the reason you have wrist problems, do not fear: You can easily modify a practice (vinyasa flow or otherwise) with other postures. Remember, moving slowly is the key to avoiding injury, so take it easy. Modify carefully and insert these poses to help you enjoy your practice even when you can’t do everything. The good news is that just because you can’t lean on your wrists, it doesn’t mean you can’t explore, strengthen, and grow in other ways. 

See also 8 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Wrists

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