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Kula Kamala Foundation Helps You Heal

By Keith Donaldson

With more than a decade of experience, the Kula Kamala Foundation has been most recently helping the people of Alsace find inner peace. Executive assistant Gwendolyn Williams answered some questions about Kula Kamala and its success.

What​ was the inspiration behind founding Kula Kamala Foundation?

Kula Kamala Foundation took root in 2007 as a result of the healing vision and dedication of Sudha & Ed Allitt. Kula Kamala Foundation is dedicated to coordinating, implementing and supporting therapeutic Yoga education, services and training for individuals and groups from public, special and medical communities, in order to reduce suffering, enhance happiness and improve overall health & wellbeing, with a special emphasis in areas and for individuals where such programs might not otherwise be available or accessible.

​How would you describe the culture and atmosphere your yoga classes offer to students?

We teach a modern yet traditionally inspired style of yoga, called kula-kamala-yoga, which is centered in awakening Anahata (the heart) chakra. It is spiritually uplifting, therapeutically oriented and has a strong focus on alignment of body, mind and spirit. Our work includes a significant commitment to seva or service to our community. Our style of practice is appropriate for all levels of experience. Our students come from all walks of life and from all socioeconomic and religious backgrounds. Yoga teaches us that true happiness emerges as unity, faith, love, and compassion deepen. Whatever you have faith in, yoga can deepen that faith as the wonders of awakening consciousness opens your heart to the greater inclusion and completeness of the universe.

We see yoga as both a unique method and an experience of unity that can empower an end to oppression and suffering for ourselves and for all beings. We work to manifest an environment that is conducive to "yogic living", which is based in the principle of non-violence. We embrace the yogic and buddhist wisdom of sangha (supportive community) and we are deeply committed to heart centered yoga and wisdom teachings, which espouse that to love is the one true path to lasting happiness.

We provide holistic wellness programs to public, military, law enforcement, health care, mental health, crisis prevention, women's shelter, education, correction and rehabilitation, homeless shelter, and special needs care communities. We also educate and empower yoga instructors to conduct or participate in Yogic service programs. Our approach marries traditional and contemporary mindfulness techniques including yoga, yoga therapy, meditation, and relaxation, just to name a few, with current medical research to provide the broadest possible understanding of what the practices of yoga can provide to the individual person and to the community as a whole.

For those who may not be familiar with yoga therapy, how does it differ from regular therapy and how can it benefit those who partake in it?

A lot of people inquire about the difference between yoga therapy and yoga. It is not an easy answer since yoga itself is inherently therapeutic and healing for the body mind and spirit. The greatest difference between the two is the initial focus of the practice. In yoga therapy the initial focus might be to address a level of pain or discomfort in the body brought about by an injury or an illness. In yoga, in many instances, the purpose of practice is to address a level of pain or discomfort in the body or mind brought about by the day to day trauma of life, most of which are not necessarily medical issues. The reality is that people come to the practice of yoga for one of four reasons. They are either in pain physically mentally emotionally or spiritually. In a typical yoga class, practices are not usually highly personalized unless with a skilled teacher. In yoga therapy the practices are instructed such that they are highly personalized and can complement whatever care is being received through medical or mental health care practices. In yoga therapy there aught to be a very thorough understanding of the physiology of the body, psychology of the mind and the approach to health and wellness through contemporary medical and mental health paradigms and how the techniques of yoga can further support and empower the individual. Both yoga and yoga therapy are inherently spiritual practices meant to bring the individual toward a greater happiness and a greater sense of overall freedom and connection. So basically yoga meets you where you are at. If you are suffering or uncomfortable on some level from day to day living, then yoga has something very special that can support you and a local yoga class A skillful teacher would be an ideal first step Learning how yoga can support your life. If you are suffering on a deeper level due to medical concerns then yoga therapy can be tailored to address the cause, the symptoms and the resolution of that suffering.

Why do you think someone should choose Kula Kamala for their yoga teacher training?

We have been working for nearly a decade to offer teachers in training an amazing program robust with wisdom and knowledge and formatted to educate on the importance of an individualized practice making teachers more aptly prepared to address their own and their students' needs in a professional, safe, loving environment.

During this training students will study yoga ethics, asana, meditation, pranayama (breath work), history and philosophy, the use of sound (chanting) and visualization in healing and holistic therapy, anatomy, pathology, the importance of alignment, yoga psychology, energy, and basic Sanskrit (the language of yoga).

Participants will learn basic principles for effective teaching, how to work effectively with beginner and intermediate practitioners as well as individuals with common health concerns. Effective adjustments, how and when to use props, how to create a safe environment for your students and for yourself, sequencing of classes, the importance of your personal practice, and how to manifest your inner teacher are also topics of study.

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