SIYA - Saskatchewan Indigenous Yoga Association
Empower Indigenous Individuals and Communities through the healing powers of yoga.
To facilitate the training of First Nations and Metis people to be yoga teachers, to support Indigenous yoga practitioners and teachers in their practice and teaching, and to encourage an interplay of yoga and Indigenous culture.
SIYA consists of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members who support the reach of yoga to Indigenous people.
SIYA provides the resources to train and support Indigenous yoga teachers throughout Saskatchewan.
The first step was a scholarship, offered through the Saskatoon Tribal Council in September, 2016, for an Indigenous resident of Saskatchewan to take a yoga teacher-training course. The quality of the sixteen applicants, from various parts of the province, persuaded the selection committee to award three people. Three scholarships were again given in the summer of 2017, and four in 2018. In the fall of 2017, a meeting of scholarship winners and other interested people in Saskatoon decided to establish an organization for Indigenous yoga in the province: the Saskatchewan Indigenous Yoga Association (SIYA). A constitution was approved, a Council set up, committees established, and a bank account opened at the First Nations Bank of Canada. SIYA’s membership and activities are open to any interested person, Indigenous or non-Indigenous. In addition to promoting the training of new teachers, SIYA supports Indigenous yoga teachers through workshops for continuing education and support grants to allay expenses. In November, 2017, David Edney gave SIYA’s first workshop, a four-hour training on coherent breathing. The first support grants were also awarded in November, 2017. Rachelle McHenry used hers to teach yoga for three days in a school at Fond-du-Lac, a Dene community in northern Saskatchewan. She subsequently gave a workshop presentation on teaching yoga in isolated Indigenous communities. In August, 2018, work began on an ambitious project—creating SIYA’s own Indigenous yoga teacher training, a new kind of course exploring ways of combining yoga with traditional Indigenous knowledge and practices, and training people to teach yoga specifically to Indigenous communities.
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