As a person with a chronic medical condition, Naseem Gulamhusein has long appreciated the therapeutic value of yoga.
A former student of Baba Hari Dass, a yoga master who died last year, she has studied the Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline in northern India, California, and New Mexico.
Gulamhusein, the program coordinator for Langara College’s yoga teacher training program, has also accompanied students to India. In recent years, there has been a plethora of peer-reviewed research papers published highlighting yoga’s positive effects as a complementary therapy for anxiety, depression, cardiovascular health, and pain management, among other conditions.
She told the Straight by phone that this has been the impetus for Langara College to launch a new yoga therapy for integrative health certificate program. It will focus on postures, breathing practices, meditation, and lifestyle choices that promote physical and mental well-being.
“It’s looking at the integrative approach,” Gulamhusein explained. “We look at the allopathic western model for both physiology and psychology, but we also balance it with the eastern and holistic models of well-being, which is looking at the whole individual.”
The new certificate program begins in September and includes a wide range of required courses, including foundations in yoga therapy, Ayurveda foundations in yoga therapy, and anatomy and physiology for yoga therapists. Other courses cover chronic pain and trauma, mindfulness-based stress reduction for chronic pain, and understanding modern pain science.
It’s offered through Langara’s continuing-studies programs, which means students can take up to two years to complete it if they choose to do it on a part-time basis.
“I don’t think health anymore can just be looked at from strictly an allopathic model, because people are so diverse in their bodies,” Gulamhusein said. “What might work for one person might not work for another person.”
The yoga therapy for integrative health certificate program delivers 800 hours of instruction. One of the members of the advisory board is Dr. Arun Garg, a yoga enthusiast and former president of Doctors of B.C.
Langara also offers a 250-hour yoga teacher training course in a summer intensive from May to August. Together, these two programs are enough to obtain the 1,000 hours of training that’s required for accreditation by the International Association of Yoga Therapists, according to Gulamhusein.
“Once people become yoga teachers, the next step, if they’re interested, is to go into the field of yoga therapy,” she said.
Gulamhusein added that the yoga teacher training program provides the necessary background for someone to start a career.
“It’s an entrepreneurial endeavour,” she stated. “You have to put yourself out there and really work on getting students to attend your classes to make a viable living as a yoga teacher. But it’s so rewarding to work in the field of health care and health and wellness.”More