Practice Yoga Therapist Emily Smith

Emily Smith, M.Ed., CRC, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Emily is the Director of the Practice School of Yoga Therapy and a practicing yoga therapist. For more than 30 years, Emily has been a guide for clients managing pain, chronic disease, cancer, mental health symptoms, addiction, as well as sports related injuries as a rehabilitation counselor. She became a certified yoga therapist in 2006 when she saw how effectively yoga tools can be used for those who are dealing with issues of rehabilitation and mental health.

Practice Yoga Therapist Jenny E. Orona

Jenny E. Orona, C-IAYT, AHC, E-RYT 500 Hatha and Kundalini, YACEP, MS

I hit the bottom of a pool at my birthday party in my late 20’s, I suffered from continuous numbness on my entire right side due to a reverse curve in my neck and compression in the lower lumbar area. For almost 10 years my back was in constant pain, my entire right side going numb, no one could do anything for it other than put me into the hospital in traction and give me pain pills. Then I remember having this conversation with my dear friend who said “try Yoga”… of course I thought she had absolutely lost her mind, “Yoga” I replied what good is that going to do me, I don’t even understand that concept. I continued on with my life and with my pain. I remember one night just turning the wrong way, I knew there was no way that I was going to be upright the next day. So I woke up at 2 am in the morning got fully dressed, especially shoes cause I know that was going to be a problem, and spent the night sitting, laying, flailing about in the living room until I could call a cab to take me to my doctor's office. I had had enough.I walked into a studio on South Lamar, around 2000, as I entered I heard a Kundalini class going on with lots of chanting and promptly walked out. A few months later my neighbor invited me to an Ashtanga class. Reluctantly, I agreed. After a while I started to feel better, my back felt better. I was hooked.I graduated in 2006 from a 200-hour teacher training and started teaching that week. I have never looked back. My practice keeps me out of pain in my body, mind, and spirit. I became a senior teacher leading summer intensives and trainings in satellite locations outside of Austin as well as in Austin.

I met Chase Bossart during Yoga Therapy training and he blew my mind about how a practice could be tailored to bring Citkitsa, Raksana, and Siksena, that you could bring a body out of pain, heal it and maintain it and all on an individual basis. Again, I never looked back. In the process of finding a way to alleviate my physical pain I also uncovered a way to heal my own trauma. And this is why I teach. Having used these tools to release my trauma has led me to work specifically with those suffering from sexual and physical abuse. I know this works, it has worked for me. I can share my experiences, I can understand exactly where someone is in the process. Our experiences may not match, but the process is the same. Trauma affects all bodies in pretty much the same way. It is a dismantling of a dis-ease process. It is this dis-ease process that led me to Ayurveda. Together these two practices have given my body, mind, and spirit a peace I did not know before. You ask me why I teach, this is why. To alleviate and create paths for others to ease their own suffering.

I use all the pieces of Yoga including mantra, meditation, pranayama and asana.I continue to honor the study of Yoga Therapy by continuing to study from my mentor Chase Bossart C-Iayt and Elizabeth Cunningham Bossart AP. These are some of the teachers and programs who have contributed to my thousands of hours of training and certifications include: iRest with Dr. Richard Miller, Restorative with Judith Lasatar, Guru Dev, Gurucharan Khalsa, Srivatsa Ramaswami, Sally Kempton, Anodea Judith, Donna Farhi, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Shiva Rea, Love Your Brain, Yoga4Cancer, KYM Yoga Mandiram, in Chennai India where I did a Yoga Therapy Internship.

Practice Yoga Therapist Shanti Kelley

Shanti Kelly, MSP., C-IAYT, E-RYT 500

I was born Shanti Nicole, my father being in seminary school and getting his Masters in world religions liked the word and the meaning. I guess it was all circumstance from there. I traveled a lot as a young person, saw a lot of things. By 15 I was inducted into the Suzuki Roshi method of Zen practice and studied under this austerity for many years. By the time a friend suggested I join her for a yoga class I was 20 years old. I needed a change but didn't know it. Upon returning home I enrolled in yoga at the local Community College. This began the next 7 years of study with the most groovy and seasoned Yoga and Thai Chi master named Swami Budhaprem. After 4 years of practice and dedicated studentship, he gave me a certificate to teach in the Indra Devi system of Elemental Yoga. What I learned there, I still teach to this day. I’ve been gifted with amazing teachers that all had the same thing in common: they somehow took me, through the modality of yoga and inquiry, into ever deepening layers of healing and awakening.

My path became one of study/studentship: 500hr Smartflow Teacher certification, Masters in Spiritual Psychology, Restorative Yoga training, Integrative Restoration Practitioner training, anatomy trainer for yoga teachers and authoring my own book on anatomy and kinesiology as a tool for inquiry and insight, until finally landing in the Yoga Therapy Professional program. All of these pieces helped me put together what would become my understanding of the living context of yoga for wellness which includes mind, body and spirit. Today, 28 years after that first yoga class, I am a faculty staff member for the Practice School of Yoga Therapy for which I teach several units on Yoga Therapy perspectives for subtle body and wellness. Interestingly enough I have landed in the synthesis of all my work, a love for philosophy, spirituality and this body as a metaphor for the insight that returns us again and again to our wholeness. I am also currently back in school, continuing as a lifelong learner, for my second Masters and licensure in Counseling Psychology.

Shawn Kent, MA, LPT, RYT

Shawn Kent is a licensed practicing counselor, a licensed massage therapist, and a certified Yoga instructor. Shawn specializes in Mindfulness Based Yoga Therapy and teaches yoga as a practical wellness discipline. He has run Mindfulness Based Yoga Therapy groups for adolescents in juvenile detention, for incarcerated adults, and currently for under-served youth in the public school system. He also runs Mindfulness Based a Relapse Prevention groups for youth in recovery. He sees yoga as a healing discipline that has the potential counteract many of the difficulties of modern life, and encourages students to truly practice mentally, physically, and emotionally both on and off of the mat. Shawn is currently the clinical director at the Amala Foundation where he builds curriculum, facilitates wellness circles with youth, and trains teachers and youth development professionals in culturally responsive mindfulness and self-care.

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