Chelsea Cleeton has changed the way she looks at pain, sickness and injury since studying the 300-hour Yoga Therapy Program at Vancouver School of Healing Arts.
A competitive ski racer who also raced dirt bikes and mountain bikes, Chelsea was no stranger to injuries and sought out yoga as a way to improve her sleep habits and mental health. “I started with Yin, a calming, grounding practice that creates stillness. It wasn’t long until I realised I was so much happier doing yoga than anything else,” Chelsea said.
Tired of her sports injuries and curious about a new career path, Chelsea decided to make the leap from her job as a fishery consultant and took the 200-hour Foundation Yoga Teacher Training Program at VSOHA in May of 2016, followed by the 300-hour Foundations of Yoga Therapy Program in October of the same year. “What inspired me to continue down the yoga therapy path was my interest in addressing sports injury not just on a physical level, but on an emotional, mental and spiritual level.”
Chelsea said this is particularly important for people with competitive or a-type personalities for whom sport is huge part of their lifestyle. “When somebody identifies with being an athlete and their physical capability is taken away due to injury, it has a huge impact on every facet of their life. There are changes in eating and sleeping habits, weight gain, lack of lustre and life force. It can really affect family and interpersonal relationships.”
Chelsea is passionate about getting people suffering from injury access to the tools they need to address their mental health before it becomes a problem. “Starting meditation, breathwork and visualisation in the acute stages of injury gives athletes a leg up when returning back to full sport, rather than addressing it 6 months down the road in psychotherapy when a serious problem has developed with trauma.”
After graduating from the 200-hour yoga program, Chelsea taught yoga at a seniors’ centre and in corporate settings. Since graduating from the 300-hour yoga therapy program, the primary base of her work has been private settings including at an integrated naturopathic clinic, tennis club, sports complex and doing lots of in-home sessions.
“It’s a wonderful experience to help somebody on a one-on-one basis. There’s a real energy exchange. I think as human beings we are hard-wired for personal connection so when I work with people one on one, it really feeds my soul.”
Chelsea has enrolled in the first ever intake of the 500-hour Advanced Yoga Therapy Program starting in February of 2019 and is looking forward to continuing to learn from Program Director Chelsea Lee.
“Her [Chelsea Lee’s] knowledge base is so expansive. One day I would like to get to that level. I love how she touches on all of the kosha layers in the body using the integrated systems model. It’s a really neat way of helping somebody heal in a holistic way.”
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