Living a healthy lifestyle has always been an important value to me. In 1987, my journey began to living a healthier lifestyle when I became certified as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer. At this time, I smoked and realized it did not fit this new path any longer and quit. I started teaching classes in 1987 and moved on to provide one-on-one personal training, lecturing on a variety of wellness topics and writing a healthy living column. On my first anniversary of being smoke-free and working to improve my cardiovascular fitness, I found my heart rate decreased by 25 points (above average) and my body fat dropped by a healthy 6 points. I even had more energy and felt great.
In 2005, I found myself moving (or being moved) toward wanting to learn and teach Pilates and yoga. I enrolled in several trainings and workshops to learn the teaching methodologies and philosophies through AFAA (Aerobic & Fitness Association in America). But, it wasn’t until 2008, I enrolled in a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified school. By taking this step into the world of yoga, the transformation within me began. The decision to become certified as a yoga instructor involves much dedication and time for study. The learning process is more than showing someone how to do a posture (asana), it is learning and building a strong foundation of the yoga philosophy – the Eight Limbs of Yoga: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – and living it.
I continue my professional yoga continuing education to help a variety of populations including: women, men, seniors, veterans, youth-at-risk and people with special needs – Anxiety, Depression, Grief, PTSD, Back Pain, Scoliosis, Heart Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis to name a few. In 2010, I enrolled in an intensive workshop entitled Mindful Resources for Youth-At-Risk and PTSD withYogaEd. This training is especially good for working with youth who live in under-resourced or high-needs school districts and veterans. In 2014, I started a 500-hour Yoga Therapy Teacher Training, through Healing Movement, which includes learning therapeutic and adaptive teaching methods for a variety of special populations including: children with special needs (Autism, Cerebral Palsy, etc.); Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis, Scoliosis, Back Pain, Cancer, Thai Body Work and many more specialties.
Besides asanas (postures) and meditation (quieting the Monkey Mind), breathing (pranayama) is one of the disciplines that can be helpful to us in our every day life. It is said that if one can breathe, the mind becomes calm and our entire being moves into a state of calmness. This peaceful state is important, especially, when life throws us unexpected curve balls (illness, loss of a loved one, divorce or job loss). These challenging moments can be very difficult to manage. Yoga and breathing help us attain a balanced state of mind so we can make better decisions and continue to function in our every day life whether it is at work, home or in the community.
Toni Ann Riedel
Yoga Alliance Member 500-hr Yoga Therapist, 200-hr Yoga Instrucor
AFAA certified Fitness & Personal Training