A Sit Down with Three Streams Yoga

with Three Streams Yoga co-owners, Jenn Dunn & Ian Pullen

Q. Three Streams Yoga is a yoga studio in Falmouth. You draw on the 'three streams' or traditions of yoga. Can you tell us a little about these?

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A. The three streams are the wisdom traditions of yoga, Ayurveda, and Tantra. The first of these, yoga, is one of the six systems or darshana of Indian philosophy. Darshana means “to see,” “to reflect.” Most of us know yoga through postures and have enjoyed its great physical benefits and the stress relief it can bring. But actually, yoga’s specific focus is mastery of the mind and the cultivation of self-knowledge. We use a combination of postures, breath work, meditation, and other techniques to aid us on this path. These techniques have been passed down from from a long line of teachers, including our own teachers, in the Tantra Sri Vidya tradition.

The second stream, Ayurveda, is known as the sister science to yoga. The focus of Ayurveda is how matter (food, body, and the world around us) affects the mind. Ayurveda helps us understand our unique constitution and how we can thrive on a daily basis from season to season. Ayurveda offers guidance on things like dietary intake and self-care, for example.

Tantra is how we intertwine the other two streams; in fact, although Tantra encompasses many different schools and traditions, one of the oldest meanings of Tantra is “to weave.” Tantra’s goal is threefold: fulfillment (bhoga), accomplishment (bhukti), and freedom (moksha). Tantra is also the science of energy management. If we can effectively, efficiently build and contain energy, we not only feel more vibrant and free but are also better positioned to achieve our goals in life.

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Q. Jenn and Ian, you are co-owners of the studio. One of Ian's specialties is using yoga as support for addiction recovery. Can you tell us a little about this approach and how one can use yoga as a supportive tool?

A. Ian uses Yoga and Ayurveda to provide an individualized wellness plan for his clients and students in recovery. The tools of yoga—such as postures, breath work, and meditation—are used to unite or reconnect the mind, body, and spirit. These connections can be lost or covered up by years of addiction and the trauma that accompanies it. Ian also draws on the yogic model of the mind to bring awareness to habituations, including patterns that are maybe not so helpful. The tools of Ayurveda are used to create healthy habits and daily routines—more supportive patterns. Ayurveda also offers us a way to individualize a yoga practice based on a person’s dosha. Dosha is our elemental make-up or, as our own Ayurvedic teacher likes to say, our “secret sauce” that makes us us! This information provides us with a road map to develop a student’s practice. Some aims in doing that, for those in recovery specifically, are to promote better self-regulation, adaptability, and resiliency.

Q. Your studio offers yoga for therapeutic purposes. Can you tell us more about these offerings and some of the conditions this type of yoga can support?

A. Yoga for therapeutic purposes or yoga therapy was originally known as “yoga chikitsa.” In today’s context, here in the West, therapeutic yoga is holistic and complementary; it is not a replacement for allopathic medicine but can be used in conjunction with medical treatment and always with the permission of a client’s doctor. Therapeutic yoga draws on the tools of yoga and Ayurveda to help reduce suffering and move the client towards wellness, whether that person is dealing with poor sleep, the side effects of cancer treatment, or low-back discomfort. This approach is much more personalized and specific than a typical yoga postures class. It takes each person’s unique situation, and the whole person, into account. It’s not about stretching your hamstrings or building a beautiful handstand or triangle pose. Those things are great, and we’ll sometimes work on them in our weekly yoga classes. But therapeutic yoga is about navigating the mind-body connection to create more stability at physical, emotional, mental, and other levels. Therapeutic yoga can help with lots of common conditions: stress and anxiety, low mood, hip and low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and digestion and elimination problems, to name a few examples. In conjunction with conventional medicine (and again, always with a doctor’s approval), yoga therapy can also offer support for those undergoing treatment for cancer and other ongoing conditions. We’ve been honored to support cancer patients in this way, and to see how therapeutic yoga can support both their yoga practice and overall wellbeing as they move through treatment.

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In addition, Three Streams Yoga offers in-depth teacher trainings. Tell us more about these trainings.

We undergo a lot of training ourselves so we can keep improving as teachers. In addition to each of us holding 200-hour and 500-hour certifications in yoga, we are completing a second 500+-hour Master Training in yoga and Tantra and a 1200-hour training in Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy. Additionally, Jenn holds a PhD and teaches and develops online courses for Oxford University in the UK, where she also supervises and trains academic lecturers. So we think a lot about what makes for best educational practices for yoga teachers!

Drawing carefully on our studies and other backgrounds, we have two comprehensive teacher trainings in development. Both will be offered in 2020, along with shorter continuing education workshops.

One training is for those looking become certified as yoga teachers. A 200-hour program is the minimum requirement for registration as a teacher with Yoga Alliance, and the industry standard for becoming an instructor. Our 200-hour level training is actually longer than 200 hours, and will teach anatomy, functional movement, yoga philosophy, postures, breath practices, meditation, instructional methodology, the business and ethics of yoga, and more.

The other training is an advanced program leading to a 500-hour certification, and aimed at existing instructors who want to “fill the gaps” by learning even more about this vast tradition, really hone their teaching skills, and gain competency in working with special groups and individuals.

Both programs will be taught by us—Ian and Jenn—as Experienced Registered Yoga Teachers at the 500-hour level and Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Providers. We draw on our experience teaching in studios, classrooms, privately, and as faculty on other yoga certification programs.

Three Streams offers yoga classes, meditation classes and workshops. Any workshops coming up soon? Are there any special offerings that you'd like to tell our readers about?

Yes! All coming this fall:

· a workshop for beginners

· Yoga for Men with Ian

· a therapeutic yoga series

Right now, we also offer daily classes for all levels: vinyasa, hatha, beginners yoga, and slow flow. You can see our schedule and all of our offerings on our website—www.threestreamsyoga.com—and on Mind Body Online.

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Ian and Jenn are husband-and-wife teachers (E-RYT 500, YACEP) and owners of Three Streams Yoga, Falmouth. They are members of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, Continuing Education Providers for Yoga Alliance, and lead teachers for 200- and 300-hour trainings at Three Streams Yoga. Ian and Jenn's offerings encompass vinyasa, hatha, yin, meditation, ParaYoga, Tantra, Ayurveda, and yoga's therapeutic applications. Their teachings are rooted in ParaYoga and dedicated personal practice. In their classes, you will be guided through meaningful sequencing that helps you move towards deeper awareness, clarity, and calm. In all their offerings, Ian and Jenn strive to honor yoga tradition and their teaching motto: "intelligent practices for a purposeful life."

Jenn Dunn, E-RYT 500, YACEP, PhD, Owner of Three Streams Yoga

Ian Pullen, E-RYT 200, RYT-500, YACEP, Owner of Three Streams Yoga