About

ABOUT US

OUR CORE VALUES

  • To be as ACCESSIBLE as possible to ensure inclusion for all
  • To train a highly skilled and qualified teacher, not churn out a mass of low level under skilled teachers that provide a more grounded and SUSTAINABLE practice
  • To respect the DIVERSITY of experience, and background of those who enter into our programs and offer advance placement
  • To honor the thread of traditional lineage, and maintain respect for cultural integrity of practice
  • To encourage critical thinking and evidence based science into practice
  • To build a community of support for organizations that serve the world in an Accessible, Diverse and Sustainable way
  • To bring the practice of yoga back to a STUDENT focus, not TEACHER focus

OUR MISSION IS:

Here is what the Amara Vidya School certifications provide:

  • Learn at your own pace at the 200 hr Yoga Training and the 1000 hour (500hr Yoga Alliance) Teacher Training levels.
  • Both personal growth and certification streams available
  • Intensive Anatomy and Physiology and Special Condition application
  • Module formats for all levels of learning and interests
  • Accessibility to special populations and diverse communities
  • Unique Posture Analysis and Lesson Plan implementation
  • Traditional Yoga Tree studies, including Philosophy and History components
  • Foundation and Transition (Advanced) series with ability to adapt using proper assists, with Integration component instruction
  • Community support and Online/Distance components
  • Previous YTT learning accepted through Prior Learning Assessment Review. Designed for current Yoga Teachers, Registered Massage Therapists and other Clinicians

How it all began…

The 9 Stone philosophy of Amara Vidya was originally conceived as a book on yoga and wellness. It was a project I was co-authoring with my late friend Lorri Medill, and also with my friend Sarah Grimwood. I was the scatter brain of this project, and as I habitually do- my meetings were notes full of labyrinths and maze like structures. I began to jot down my love of finding rocks along a path, and this developed into my own side project that I thought I would endeavor to add “at some point” into our collaboration. The 9 Stone philosophy is my attempt to address our mutual desire to provide useful yoga applications to body-mind-spirit connections. It was critical to us that whatever the outcome of our book, that it be practical, evidence based, and strongly rooted in tradition. The ideas we created stayed with me long after we abandoned the project, and collected dust as I set on my own personal journey.
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 In 2013, I found myself in beautiful Gananoque, pregnant, and about to go on maternity leave. It was working as a Registered Massage Therapist in Kingston when I met Vicki, who now works at the gorgeous Shanti Retreat Center on Wolfe Island. One day, we were chatting and she said “when you decide to lead a teacher training, I will be your student”. Stunned, I didn’t really know what to do! I ran away and spent the next year fully immersed in motherhood. Little did I know that while I was grappling with newly married life, first time motherhood and settling into life in a small town, I was also gestating another baby- the Amara Vidya Yoga School.
 
When I started working at the Ledger Room, a beautiful space then run by the talented duo of Shannon Yates and Zach Treanor, it was a nice change of pace from the hectic urban teaching I was doing before my pregnancy. I enjoyed teaching a Saturday morning group class, keeping it fairly chill and getting acquainted with this gem of a town. This community studio sits atop one of the best places in the world, The Socialist Pig Cafe. One November evening, Shannon expressed her need to be certified in order to sub classes, and I found myself volunteering. Within a couple of weeks, the first group of trainees were registered and ready. it hit me – oh crap, I better figure out what to do about this! How am I going to run a school? It wasn’t until I was in the thick of that first training that I realized just how passionate I was about this idea. All of the things Lorri, Sarah and I spent our time discussing could be transferred from the written word into an active process of experiential learning. Suddenly I was looking at old notes shelved in the bowels of my computer hard drive, and realizing this fresh take on our ideas could morph into what was lacking – the dialogue between the teacher and the student. I inadvertently stumbled upon the missing ingredient that held back our book.
 
In 2016, a second class was graduated, with a realization that the 200 yoga teacher training program was ill suited for all of what Amara Vidya concept needed to be. At the time I was working intensively with Carolyn Harding and Hannah Bock who were instrumental sounding boards for the incubation process. In the spring of 2016, as we hurtled closer toward our first 750 yoga teacher training, with a growing number of guest faculty, we realized we needed some extra support. Enter Carly Stong of Life Yoga Kingston.
 
Carly joined the Faculty in 2016, and supported a group of trainers during the 2016-2017 certification. A small group of the first 500 hour Yoga Alliance graduates attended her Wolfe Island home for their final intensive. Many graduates continue to work with Carly Stong at her business in Kingaton and in the teacher training program she developed during her time with Amara Vidya. Carly was granted an honorary 200 hour Certification with Amara Vidya for her efforts, which enabled her to become an E-RYT 200 hour trainer. She now runs excellent programs in Kingston, Ontario.
In 2017, Dianne Bondy discussed with me the concept of bringing Accessible Yoga to Canada. Dianne introduced me to Jivana Heyman, the Founder and Director of Accessible Yoga, a global non-profit. At the same time, I attended the Toronto Yoga Conference and Show as an exhibitor for the second year in a row, where I was able to meet Andrew Tanner and discuss how to better support the changes within Yoga Alliance. I worked extensively with Carol Horton, Co-Founder of the Socially Engaged Yoga Network (SEYN) and Vice President of the Yoga Service Council. From these discussions, the programs of Accessibility, Diversity and Sustainability were gestated, and implemented into the program. As a result, the School required an overhaul of the program, where I continue to accept applicants in a rolling application.
I became the Regional Representative of Accessible Yoga in May of 2017, attending my first Accessible Yoga Conference in NYC. I met with a fantastic group of socially engaged teachers, and accepted the Lead Logistics Location Manager for the first International Conference, to be held in Toronto. I began an exhaustive search of locations and connected with several local studios who were willing to provide some general advice and support. I met with a group of passionate volunteers in August of 2017, as we embarked on a final hunt for the Conference Location. In our September meet we voted for the venue to be at Victoria University (UofT), my alma mater.
 
It is now 2018, and we are now heading into our next year of training. In the course of planning the Accessible Yoga Conference Toronto, I had the pleasure of getting well acquainted with Katie Juelson, and Ray Chappell. These two created a dialogue with me in which we found ourselves more and more in alignment with a common vision. They have agreed to come on board as mentors and will soon be partners in developing the school. They join the Board of Directors, a team of Faculty and Mentors. I am so excited to now be a part of a team who can begin to tell this story of the school as a common story. Katie and Ray have some great ideas they will be introducing on this platform.
Our school has expanded to offer a wide range of intensives and workshops here and to make available world renowned faculty. At our school, we seek to develop resources for teachers, and a community of ongoing support. Amara Vidya is a hub -a kula – of creative, heart-centered, ethical yogis and entrepreneurs looking to spread the love of the path. We are excited to share all we have to offer with our students, with more exciting news unfolding in the next few years. This school has become an absolute joy to nurture, and I cannot wait to see all of the exciting things it will connect our community to next.

What is the Amara Vidya Yoga School?

We are more than a school: we offer a hub for graduates to collectively share information, a community of people interested in upgrading existing skills, and enriching learning opportunities with a diverse and accessible mindset.

The Amara Vidya Yoga School is more than just a certificate machine. Here, we honor a commitment to progressive and inclusive learning. We offer professional training and personal growth workshops at all levels.

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We stand with our graduates to offer a community of support and teaching opportunities. Our vision is to give a more comprehensive and enriching program than what is currently available in standard programs.

  • We stand for accessibility.
  • We stand for a stable foundational practice, with emphasis on building strength and flexible movements.
  • We stand for a wellness model of functional yoga, that can be personalized and responsive to individual goals. We believe our model can be adapted to suit any model that best serves the student.
  • We believe in practicing yoga as a philosophy that marries one’s beliefs and journey to evidence based peer-reviewed Science.
  • We believe in socially engaged practices that respects diversity.
  • We believe in harmony, grace and practical application.
  • We believe in critical thinking and ontological inquiry.