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30 Days of Yoga for Aid Workers: Do Well & Be Well

Are you too busy (or too stressed) to do yoga?

As aid workers our lives can involve lots of travel, long and irregular hours, exposure to disease, pollutants and violence, stressful work conditions and a general lack of control over diet, sleep patterns and physical activity.

It’s a great life, and we love it. Sometimes, at least. But it also takes a toll.

We all know it, and we do our best to stay healthy and do a good job. But maybe you’re one of the many people looking for more tools to ‘do well & be well’.

Have you ever looked at a yoga class or DVD and thought to yourself: “That’s probably exactly what I need to lose this tension in my shoulders, that pain in my lower back or this constant feeling of anxiety. But I don’t have time for that, I’m overwhelmed as it is!”

Maybe you’ve heard about the benefits of yoga, but can’t get to a yoga class because there are none. Or maybe there are classes, but your travel and work schedule or security restrictions make it impossible to get along to them.

Maybe you’ve tried doing yoga by yourself, but it’s hard to find the energy, to know what to do and to stay motivated. Maybe you think you’ll never be one of those people who can practice yoga by yourself?

You are not alone. And this program is for you.

MelissaMsmallI came to 30 Days of Yoga while living under very restrictive security conditions. Little chance for exercise plus dealing with stressful working and living conditions took a toll on my body and spirit. Marianne’s course gave me the tools to build my own home yoga practice. More importantly, she taught me the importance of taking time for myself every day to be able to be of service to others. Having the skills to build my own practice has been so important after rough days in the field and it is totally portable so I can get exercise no matter where I find myself.”  – Melissa

30 Days of Yoga for Aid Workers is an online program designed to support you to begin or restart a regular practice of yoga. We’ve shaped it specifically to meet the needs of aid workers, which means it’s designed to help you take yoga with you wherever you go, and to adjust to your changing needs.

More than 1000 people, including aid workers, have taken Marianne’s 30 Days of Yoga program, and the feedback is consistent: it works.

People who have tried for more than 20 years to start a yoga practice are finally getting the results they want through this program. People who have never been able to get into yoga at all are discovering that they actually like it.

Why does it work? Because we are teaching what we know.

Who are we?

amandaMarianneWe are Marianne Elliott and Amanda Scothern. Between us we’ve spent 25 years working in the humanitarian and development sectors, including 17 years in ‘the field’. We first met 14 years ago in the Gaza Strip. Back then, our idea of dealing with stress was to load up on cheap Israeli wine and dance the night away.

Since then we’ve been diagnosed with malaria, giardia and depression, witnessed violence, been sexually assaulted, fired on and caught in the midst of riots. We’ve been given unreasonable deadlines, asked to work in unhealthy conditions, worked with colleagues who themselves were under extreme stress and – perhaps hardest of all – we’ve regularly been in situations where we were unable to help people who were suffering.

Over the years, with more experience and missions in East Timor, Liberia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Solomon Islands, we both turned to yoga as a fundamental tool in self-care, especially in difficult and traumatic times. In this interview from 2012, Marianne visited Amanda in Islamabad and recorded our reminiscences.

Yoga is not a panacea for all these challenges, but yoga provided us with tools to manage stress and stay relatively well and sane, under difficult conditions.

“I think yoga may actually have saved my life. I’m certain it saved my sanity. I’d been dabbling in yoga for years but I finally committed to my own daily practice of yoga when I was working in Afghanistan. My life was chaotic and my body, mind and spirit were in crisis. Yoga was my lifeline”. – Marianne

If you are too busy to do yoga, you are not alone. And this course is for you.

IngeI signed up for 30 Days of Yoga as part of my preparation for an assignment in an IDP camp in Kenya. Yoga had always been a struggle for me, so I was delighted to discover that Marianne’s gentle teaching style put ‘newbies’ like me at ease. Throughout my time in East Africa the yoga practice helped ground me after long, draining days at work and gave me focus when I needed it. Knowing how to breathe and move well both increased my energy levels and made me feel peaceful at the same time. – Inge De Leeuw

meghansmallParticipating in 30 Days of Yoga was one of the best things I did to keep myself balanced and healthy while I was living in rural Cambodia. Marianne helped me learn to listen to my own body, which was so important when everything about my surroundings was foreign. The practice kept me active and reminded me to take time for myself each day, even if it was just 20 minutes. Years later I still use her encouragements and reminders to motivate myself to be both active and gentle.” – Meghan Battle

This course challenges the idea that ‘yoga’ can only happen in a yoga studio, on a sticky mat, or in chunks of 90 minutes. It breaks yoga down into short, simple, yet powerful practices.

Our mission is to show you are never too busy for yoga.

To do that we’ve created yoga practices you can do anywhere at all (including stealthy yoga you can do without your office or rooms mates even knowing), practices you can do at your computer (although we do encourage leaving the computer if possible) and short, simple sequences of poses you can do in the morning and evening.

Making the yoga kinder, as well as shorter.

When we judge ourselves harshly for our “failure” to do something like yoga, we make it even harder to keep ourselves motivated. Kindness, on the other hand is very motivating. So in this course we encourage you to be kind to yourself too.

  • Yoga that is simple, short and kind…
  • Yoga designed to fit into even the busiest aid worker life…
  • Daily reminders, tips and encouragement delivered to your inbox…

That’s 30 Days of Yoga for Aid Workers in a nutshell.

Don’t need to know anything more? Ready to sign up now? Click here to skip to the business end of this page.

ZehraSmallI had a chance to learn yoga with Amanda during a challenging mission in Pakistan. Her strength was meeting me where I was in my practice and encouraging me to take what I needed to ground and balance. Which led me to sign up for Marianne’s course.  Given my travel schedule and the non-availability of yoga classes where I may be based, this was a life saver.  I am SO EXCITED to see the combination of Amanda and Marianne come together for 30 Days of Yoga for Aid Workers.”

– Zehra Rizvi.  Aid worker and Health Coach.  www.zehrarizvi.net

KKI’ve really appreciated the course, and Marianne’s calm and gentle way. I took this course while working in Somalia in some pretty stressful conditions, and I was able to use the lessons, particularly the breathing practices, on those days when I really, really needed them – and they helped! For aid workers, this course is great – easy to have on hand if you are traveling; Marianne reminds you you are connected to something bigger than whatever emergency/political situation you are focused on in your work!” – Karoline 

What is 30 Days of Yoga for Aid Workers?

It’s a unique online program that brings the benefits of a yoga class (including direct access to your teacher and connection to a community) to you wherever you are. Our main goal is to leave you with the tools you need to practice yoga wherever you are.

It’s a customised version of Marianne’s popular online yoga program (read more testimonials here) designed specifically to help aid workers with full, unpredictable and often stressful lives fit yoga into their days. It’s our experience that yoga gave us a sense of stability and routine, in situations where there was otherwise none.

The program is informed by current research, including evidence that as little as ten minutes of yoga a day can have more beneficial effects than doing nothing at all, and that shorter practices, done often, can have more benefit than a long class once a week.

30 Days of Yoga for Aid Workers includes:

  • A selection of yoga practices ranging in duration from one to 45 minutes, including grounding, breathing and short simple sequences of poses specifically designed for: energising; relaxing; and undoing the damage from spending too much time at a computer.
  • Weekly Podcasts with us – we’ll share simple practices you can incorporate into your home yoga, and answer your questions about yoga practice (all Podcasts are recorded and distributed weekly).
  • Daily emails from us addressing the main challenges people face in establishing a regular home yoga practice, with practical tips and encouragement to help you overcome them.
  • Access to a private course site where you’ll be able to access all the lessons and resources of the course.
  • Optional membership of a private Facebook group for support and encouragement
  • The option of being allocated an online 30 days of yoga buddy for encouragement and accountability. This really helps many people with their commitment to the practice;
  • Weekly profiles of yoga teachers who also happen to be aid workers and who are currently offering yoga classes in ‘the field’
  • Audio interviews with Marianne, Amanda and other aid workers about how yoga can help us stay healthy and sane.
  • An e-book containing all the written materials from the course.

Amanda’s classes make you feel you are in a safe space to release and let go of the stress you hold on to.  She has a way of seeing exactly what it is you need at that time.  I recommend if you get the opportunity, to study with Amanda.” – Ali Tariq

I’m so crazy about the way you teach, Marianne. It’s absolutely different from every teacher I’ve ever tried. I understand everything you’re talking about and I feel inspired. You’re amazing.’

Dr. Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly

What does it cost?

The price is US$175. If the cost is a barrier, we offer the option for you up to pay in five weekly payments of $40 over the course of the five weeks.

Will it work for you?

The common factor among the people who established a yoga practice through this course was that they set a clear intention to do so. Once you are clear on your intention, the rest will flow. We’ll talk more about that in the course.

This is a program about making small changes to your daily life. It’s a practice. We’re confident that we have the insights, tools and experience to help you to make those changes – but you need to want to make them. If you are ready, then this course will work for you.

This course is suitable for you if you’ve done yoga before. If you have been doing yoga for years, but struggle to practice outside of class, this course is also for you.

In terms of physical accessibility, if you are pregnant, have a specific injury or a limit on movement, please get in touch with us by email before signing up. For more information you could also read these answers to frequently asked questions.

brigitte 120x160Like so many others, I struggled to establish a consistent yoga practiced for nearly a decade. Midway through the 30 Day program, I had a breakthrough in my practice — seeing results both physically and emotionally. If you have wanted to establish your own yoga practice, you can’t go wrong with Marianne. Marianne’s 30 Days of Yoga program is simply the best money I’ve ever spent. And it’s ridiculously affordable for the value it provides.

– Brigitte Lyons (Read Brigitte’s full review of 30 days of yoga)

I love this program in more ways than I can count. I stumbled on it at a time when my body was craving movement, but I just couldn’t seem to do it. The program was a godsend for me. I’m definitely continuing my practice and usually daily.” – Maribeth Doer

Sold? No questions left? Click here to buy now.

What are the benefits of yoga?

Studies have shown that yoga can help improve physical strength and endurance as well as improved balance and flexibility. Research also shows that a regular yoga practice (including postures, breathing and meditation) can offer relief from asthma, chronic back pain, arthritis, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder amongst other problems. For many of us, the most valuable benefits of yoga are effective stress management and better sleep.

The good news for busy people is that the research suggests that even very short yoga practices (including the specific practices we will teach you in this course) done regularly can help bring about these benefits. A little bit of yoga, done often, will bring you more benefit than a long class once a week.

Want to get a peek at Marianne’s teaching style before you sign up?

You can check out some free sample videos here.

What if I still have questions?

If you have more questions (Do I have to do yoga every day? How do I get the video? How long are the practices?) check out the FAQ page where we answer all those questions and more. If you still have questions, please email us at support@marianne-elliott.com

BEFORE YOU PURCHASE: If you have been told by a medical professional that yoga may be particularly difficult or dangerous for you, or if you are pregnant, please contact us (support@marianne-elliott.com) before you sign up for the course. Your safety is of utmost importance to us.

Meet the team

Marianne

IMG_6524_MI’m a human rights advocate, writer and yoga teacher who came to yoga via a decade working in international human rights. In yoga I discovered the tools and practices to make my humanitarian work and advocacy more effective and more sustainable.

My yoga teacher training certification is from Byron Yoga, and I have also studied with teachers in the Iyengar, Astanga, Anusara, Sivananda, Satyananda and Vinyasa Flow traditions including Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow. You can read more about my yoga lineage here. Above all else, I believe in the power of kindness as a central teaching force and that we are ultimately each our own best teacher.

Want to get a peak at my teaching style before you sign up? You can check out some free sample videos here.

Amanda

Amanda headshotI’ve worked in the humanitarian sector for 15 years, primarily in conflict and post-conflict environments. I’m curious and passionate about how individual awareness and wellbeing connects with being able to effectively be of service, and how we cope with – and grow in response to – change and uncertainty.

I’ve practiced yoga for over 10 years and been a teacher for the last three.  My professional focus in the last six years has been on supporting organizational change processes, strategic planning, learning and development.  I bring my yoga practice ‘off the mat’ to my training, facilitating and coaching work.  I’m certified as a holistic health coach by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, and as a yoga teacher by Sushumna Yoga in Goa. You can find out a bit more about me here.

Nita

Nita Apple is the technical and administrative wonder-woman who helps ensure the 30 days of yoga experience goes as smoothly as possibly for you, and who helps us find time for our own yoga practice and self-care.

Nita is your first and best bet on any technical issues related to registering for this course, or any problems or questions you might have about the logistics of the course itself either before you register or once you are under way. That’s what Nita is here for. And for that we are eternally grateful.

For any technical or administrative questions about this course, please don’t hesitate to email: support@marianne-elliott.com

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