I’m humbled every season by the triumphant human spirit I see in the scholarship applications for each Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training course. I’m SO grateful for the opportunity to get to know people on this deeper level and to extend a bit of financial relief to make this training possible.

This fall, our course Foundations of Great Teaching will be a mix of new personalities, blended with those who have been the core part of Pranalife YTT’s amazing crew. I’d like to introduce you to two of those new people, our Fall 2013 Scholarship Winners: Cathy Benjamin, and Alison Longstaff.

Cathy Benjamin
YTT_F13 CathyBenjamin

Having lost 130 pounds over the last two years, I’ve learned what my body can achieve physically. After discovering yoga, I’ve been shown what I can achieve mentally. Yoga helps me be the very best version of myself that I can be.

After discovering my passion for yoga, I knew I wanted to be able to guide others into this beautiful practice and community. Every day I work harder during my home practice to enhance my own knowledge so when the time does come, I will be the best yoga guide I know I can be.

Alison Longstaff
Aut2012I have wanted to do YTT with Asia since I first became aware that it was a possibility. This course will deepen my wisdom as a pastor and as a practitioner of spiritual practice and discipline.  It will move me closer to my dream of including the teaching of yoga into my church leadership skills as well.

The practice of yoga has transformed my outlook, rolled back my aging by several years, and helped me fight the depression that has plagued most of my adult life. SO glad I can do this at last!!

 One of the best and toughest parts of my Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training is the process of choosing two Pranalife Yoga scholarship winners for each course. The level of intelligence, passion, courage in the face of challenges, and vision I read in the pages of each and every scholarship application always blows me away.

Out of a pool of simply excellent, amazing people, our winners for the Summer Yoga Teacher Training course “Living Yoga” are Christine Jensen and Aga Wyrzykowska. Congratulations to both of you!! I can’t wait to have you be a part of the magic that is our upcoming course. 

Here’s a bit about each of our winners:

Christine Jensen
Aaron and Christine

Yoga has transformed my body into a body that I trust and respect. Through this physical practice I have also started to incorporate other aspects of yoga into my life and practice, including meditation, self trust, and mindfulness.

The past year has challenged my dedication to yoga. Through a combination of stress and time limitations due to the completion of my MA, I have allowed my yoga practice to be weakened. I see the Pranalife YTT Course “Living Yoga as an opportunity to reawaken, strengthen, and grow my practice as I better learn to (re)integrate yoga into my life.

Pranalife embodies everything I want in yoga instruction: a comprehensive methodology, inclusiveness, encouragement, and humour. My partner has already started the Pranalife YTT, and up to this point we have taken this journey into yoga together. The opportunity to continue to study and grow with one another under Asia’s leadership is a dream come true.

Aga Wyrzykowska
Dog park cropped

“I am ready,” said the inner child in me, “to teachYou’ve been teaching in your own subtle way for a while now.”  

When I first started yoga I was in my early 20s. I was a quick learner, the poses came naturally to me, flexibility seemed to just pour out of me. Now in my mid 30s, I find myself to be less flexible, much harder on myself than when I was young and free. I knew that in time I would benefit from the physical practice, but what I’ve learned is that yoga is more of a spiritual journey of myself.

The scholarship would allow me to stroke off one of my main goals in life: to become a yoga teacher, to share my passion not only for the physical aspect that yoga brings but more importantly for the spiritual wisdom it ever so softly touches me with.

Why Pranalife Yoga? That is simple: Asia Nelson embodies a glow about her, she can relate to her students, can laugh at herself and understands limitations. This makes her humble and a great person to learn from. Asia Nelson reminds me in many parts of Seane Corn, the first person to ever get me interested in yoga. Like Seane Corn, Asia has the magical ability to let each student feel like she is talking to them directly.

 Pranalife Yoga scholarships are awarded to those who express

  • need for financial support for the course,
  • a clear vision of why they’re taking Pranalife Yoga training,
  • dedication to following through with full YTT Certification,
  • a desire to make an impact as Pranalife Certified Instructors in their communities and the lives of those around them. 
Pranalife Yoga founder Asia Nelson at Mali orphanage

 Pranalife Yoga Founder Asia Nelson at SOS Villages d’Enfants in Mali in 2001

When I was 14, I smuggled medical supplies into Vietnam. It was the beginning of a life-long commitment to creating positive change in the world, one action at a time.

In 2001, I hosted the television travel show My Global Adventure, which took me to 24 countries in eight months. I met people in a spectrum of social, political and economic situations beyond what I could’ve understood from inside the comfort of Canadian borders. I became even more committed to doing what I could to make life better for as many as possible in a viable, meaningful way.

When I founded Pranalife Yoga in 2006, I wanted to expand my definition of “profitable” beyond just making money; I wanted my business’s success to extend to others. I committed to sending a portion of profits from my Yoga Teacher Training courses to a cause I could get behind. Having experience with respectable teams like Samaritan’s Purse and Mercy Ships, I had specific requirements for the organization I’d support:

  1. They had to be locally driven. Minimal to no imperialistic planting of foreigners with their own imposed agendas.
  2. Their work had to be sustainable within the community they’d impact.
  3. They had to be fiscally accountable, transparent and responsible.
  4. If possible, they needed to do something related to education, as I believe it’s the cornerstone of personal freedom.

I’m excited to announce that Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training is booming, and I’ve found an organization I can get behind: It’s called Pencils of Promise. It’s an innovative crew building schools and helping integrate education into local communities. Get a great summary of what they’re about via their founder in the video at the bottom of this page.

Be The Change

Beginning with our upcoming summer module “Living Yoga”, when you sign up for any Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training course (and you’re welcome to take any and all of them, even if you’re not planning on teaching), 5% of the fee goes directly to Pencils of Promise to send two kids to school for a year. Beginning in 2014, Pranalife Yoga will be fundraising to sponsor an entire classroom for a year, which includes funding for books, teachers, supplies and education.

When each Pranalife course opens, we’ll let our newsletter subscribers and followers on Twitter and Facebook in on a 5% early bird discount offer for a limited time. Many of our students opt to donate their 5% discount to Pencils of Promise as well, sending FOUR children to school for a year through our joint efforts. That’s all kinds of awesome.

I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to create real change, on our mats through our training courses and off our mats in the lives of kids who are about to discover the world of learning in a way they’ve never known before. Thank you in advance to every one of you about to become a part of this new Pranalife Yoga project!