Interview with Shannon Paterson, RYT-500

Shannon Paterson, RYT-500, is a yoga therapeutics instructor who completed her Yoga Medicine 500HR certification at the end of December 2015. We interviewed her to find out more about her experience as a student in our teacher training program and how she’s using her knowledge and experience to serve her community in Vail, Colorado.


1. If you teach privates – what kind of people do you work with, why?

I live in Vail, Colorado, which where many Olympic athletes come to train. This makes it a unique athletic bubble, and I find that I teach a lot of private classes to athletes. Especially those who have undergone surgery(ies).  Afterwards, they’re deemed as “graduated” by their Physical Therapist and then advised to do Yoga.  This is where my YM  knowledge really kicks in. Often times they’re still recovering, and I find that they also have a lot of other stuff going on in their bodies from their years of sports training; so I also get to work with a lot of imbalances.  It also gives me the opportunity to teach them some yogic head game tricks so they’re mentally stronger when they return to their normal sports routines and competitions.

2. Have you had any remarkable examples of yoga as medicine with your students?

Most definitely!  There are several. My favourite example is a student of mine who used to be a competitive “Snowboarder Cross” racer, who is now a Snowcat Supervisor for Vail.  Between her previous injuries and her job grooming our ski runs she was suffering some pretty severe back pain.  Her PT recommended me to her and after about 10 Privates she had cut her pain half and became a regular yogi in my classes.

3.  How has your training with Yoga Medicine helped you to better serve your community?

My 500 Hr YM training has really opened up more possibility not only for me but has helped me create more opportunities for my students to find their optimal health.  I love that I’m able to teach to so many different body types and yogic needs!  With yoga gaining more and more popularity I find that we have so many students from our community coming to class not necessarily to do a Handstand but because they want the therapeutic health benefits, they want the competitive edge in their sport and more importantly; they want to learn the science behind why it’s so beneficial.

4. What are some highlights of your training?

I think the biggest highlight of my training has been finding my “YM Clan”, as I call it.  A clan of yoga teachers who truly want to heal with yoga and who are so amazingly supportive, authentic, and creative about how we, as teachers, can spread the YM love. When I look back over the past 2 1/2 years of training though; I think the most magical moment was meditating in Sevilla, Spain with this beautifully vibrant colorful sunrise each morning and realizing how infinite my talent as a teacher really is.  Oh!  And being chosen as Lulu’s preferred human lap pillow in Napa!

5. What did you love learning the most & why?

Out of all my modules; the “Yoga for Athletes” was the most eye-opening. It really helped me relate more to my students as a teacher since I was armed in how to teach to their sport.  I loved taking the anatomy modules too because they really empowered me to work more with sports injuries.  I have so many athletes now, some of which are sponsored Pro’s; that will come to me for a “drive-by” consultation and ask me to fix them so they can be ready for their next competition.  It’s so rewarding to see them buying into Yoga as Medicine and then going out and crushing it!

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