Saskatchewan

Saskatoon yoga teacher working to bring the practice to Indigenous communities

David Edney wants to bring yoga into Indigenous communities because he believes the ancient practice shares philosophies with the traditional First Nations way of life. He is partnering with the Saskatoon Tribal Council to train Indigenous people to become yoga teachers.

"I think there's an incredible healing power in yoga," says Dawn Deguire, aspiring yoga teacher

David Edney is working to help Dawn Deguire follow her dream of becoming a yoga instructor. (CBC Saskatoon Morning)

David Edney has seen first-hand how yoga can heal.

Edney is a Saskatoon-based yoga instructor, and he introduced yoga to the inmates at the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre. He said he became a yoga teacher to bring the practice to people who would not normally have access.

Now, he wants to bring yoga into Indigenous communities because he believes the ancient practice shares philosophies with the traditional First Nations way of life. He is partnering with the Saskatoon Tribal Council to train Indigenous people to become yoga teachers.

Edney approached the Saskatoon Tribal Council about teaching people to become yoga instructors rather than teaching it himself.

"I thought, well really, this old white guy, I'm not the best person to do that," said Edney.

"It would be much better if there was an Indian or Metis instructor and that gave me the idea of thinking of a scholarship to train people."

Scholarship

Dawn Deguire is applying for a scholarship to take part in the new program.

Deguire started practicing yoga as many do, hanging out at the back of the class trying to go unnoticed. But she walked away with so much more.

"Maybe I wasn't aware at the time but what I walked away [with] that day was with a sense of grounding and a sense of just inner peace," said Deguire.

"It was a bit of an experience I'd never really had before in my life."

Dawn Deguire practicing yoga. (Submitted by Dawn Deguire)

Personal journey

Deguire agreed that there is a great healing power to yoga. She said that the peace yoga gave to her would be beneficial to all.

"It helped me journey inward and I think as individuals, there's a lot of healing to be done in our community and that journey inward can happen with each of us as individuals," she said.

"And I think a lot of that healing needs to happen, it's an inside job first, and there's actions happening in our community that are moving towards reconciliation and I think as individuals … and as a community we can begin to receive."

Putting it into practice

Deguire is interested in fusing aspects of different cultures together, and sees similarities between the holistic way of life associated with yoga and the traditional Aboriginal medicine wheel.

"I think there's something to be learned from all ways of living, all ways of life, all faiths, all belief systems," she said.

"That's certainly how I live my life and I'd like to be able to bring that idea to other people, that we don't have to live in a box, we don't have to live in a set way."

With files from Alicia Bridges

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