YAA Yoga Outreach Program History


By Marcia Langenberg

Originally published in Yoga Bridge - WINTER 2012 VOLUME 12 ISSUE 1

In 1976, the Yoga Association of Alberta was registered with the Societies Act as a non-profit organization that offers yoga activities to the public in order to promote yoga throughout Alberta.

In 1989, the YAA Yoga Outreach Program was formally established. At first, the purpose of this program was to provide communities, in which there were no yoga classes, with opportunities to experience yoga through workshops; and then, to support the development of weekly classes through the development of teacher training for those students who were inspired to become teachers as a result of attending the workshops.

Margo Balog was the Outreach Coordinator for northern Alberta and Madeleine Joss was the Outreach Coordinator for southern Alberta. These dedicated teachers and others travelled throughout Alberta — on slick, wintery roads; during the awakening signs of spring; under clear, blue summer skies; and past the golden fall fields — to bring yoga to the people. Today, as a result of these adventurous, Yoga Outreach Program pioneers igniting a spark of passion for yoga, many weekly yoga classes and workshops are offered by YAA certified yoga teachers, who live in these same communities. As well, there are teachers who are still traveling to communities to offer their services as described by Mary Leblanc in the first of the following three articles on outreach.

In 2008, the YAA received a support grant from the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation for program development. Some of the funds were applied to reaching out to targeted population groups that would not normally be able to attend yoga classes. The other two Outreach Program articles, by Jennie Miller and Judy Murphy, describe their experiences teaching yoga to some of these population groups, such as soldiers, women in need, and teenagers. Other YAA certified teachers have been teaching classes in Alberta prisons and seniors’ facilities through the Outreach Program.

The dedicated work of the Yoga Association of Alberta Outreach Teachers, both in the past and today, is like the flame of a candle sending light into the lives of people. When one candle burns out, another one is lit to keep the flame burning.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead (1901-1978).

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