Yoga and Indigenous culture blending well together in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Indigenous Yoga Association is incorporating its yoga philosophy and Indigenous culture into its instructor training.

“What makes it unique is it’s the first time it’s ever been done incorporating indigenous ways with traditional yoga ways,” says Rachelle McHenry, the lead instructor of the Yoga course.
“It’s what makes it unique and the fact we are branching out to more students that are coming from places that don’t have access to yoga.”

Many of the Indigenous participants feel taking part in this yoga instructors training helps them learn more about their Indigenous culture and feel connected to it.

Meditation is similar to prayer and some of the participants pray as they meditate.

“When you’re in ceremony you’re in a mediatory state whether it’s a sweat-lodge or Sundance or even a pow wow,” Jenny Gardipy says. “You do it for other people your connection with the creator and helping that person, in sweat your sacrificing your body and it’s the same thing with the yoga.”

She says yoga and Indigenous spirituality blend well together.

Tyson Fetch is Metis and is the only male participant.

He says he realizes it’s challenging for some Indigenous men to embrace yoga, but he wants to change that.

“ I think because it’s been traditionally seen as a women’s not just a women but a young non first nations thing I think its scares a lot of men,” he says.

“I see a lot of men taking classes in Prince Albert it’s a lot of men but they are not Aboriginal or Metis.”

He says there are some things Indigenous men will have to get over.

“I think its intimidating women occupying a whole space with would be enough that would be one of the most intimidating things.”

The participants who will all be certified yoga instructors in only a few weeks plan to take yoga back to their communities and share it’s benefits for well -being and balance.

Reporter / Saskatoon

Priscilla is Cree and a member of Mistawasis Nehiyawak in Saskatchewan. She has worked with APTN National News in the past as a reporter in Winnipeg, host for an entertainment segment, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Wolf is an alumni of the INCA –Indian Communications Arts Program at FNUC & has a BA of Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina. She brings over ten years of experience working in media across the prairie provinces.