Helene Couvrette: Winnie the Pooh, Taoism, & Yoga
This is an interview with H. Over the years she has seen the profound effects of yoga in a wide range of people and health conditions.
When she opened H~OM Yoga Wellness Center in 2007 her intent was to create a personable, compassionate and fun space for those of all ages, fitness levels and limitations, who are in need of physical and emotional comfort. Helene shares her passion for yoga therapeutics and education through public classes, private yoga therapy sessions, and mentoring a 200hr YTT registered certificate program. Her teachings are based on yoga for health, healing & happiness. Simply put, Helene aspires to “Touch as many people in as positive a way as possible”.
If you can incorporate some quotes throughout the blog from the book she mentioned that would be awesome. Quotes from the book are here!
1. Talk a little bit about your clinical practice/business.
What a journey it has been! When I look back it is hard to imagine how I got here! Since 1999 when I entered my first yoga class I have taken over 1000 hours of Yoga Trainings, Workshops & Educational courses which add up to credentials including; E-RYT500, C-IAYT, Certified in Pain Care, Trauma-Sensitive Certified, and Yoga Teacher Trainer at the 200hr & 300hr Advanced levels. In 2007 I founded H~OM Yoga Health & Wellness Centre and in 2010 H~OM became a YA Registered Yoga School. 2011 was another adventure when I co-founded MISTY - Montreal International Symposium on Therapeutic Yoga. To date, I have taught over 7000 hours to all levels and so many different body limitations. I feel blessed and inspired and never bored! More so I feel I still have so much to learn and teach!
2. What's the best continuing education course/conference you've ever taken (this can be clinical, business, webinar, live)?
How do I choose from all the amazing learning opportunities over the last 17 year!
For sure what I can say is that learning about the nervous system and pain science and its role in our physical and mental suffering patterns is the most profound. The complexity of the human system is so fascinating!
Working with those who suffer is always more than the sum of the parts of what I learned. Great educators I have had the opportunity to study with include; Neil Pearson, Leslie Kaminoff, Michael Lee, Staffen Elgelid, Dharma Mittra, Bo Forbes, Susie Lately, Ray Long, Rod Stryker, Kelly McGonigal, Gary Kraftsow, Seane Corn, Rodney Yee, Leeann Carey, Yogi Vishvketu, Mark Whitwell.
Each had a part in what brought me to where I am.
3. What's Your Favourite Book?
Fave book oh my! Long ago I read the "Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff. I had not even started doing yoga yet. As a child, Pooh was my fave storybook. This book took all the characters' personalities as a way to express Taoism. How cool is that! And so right on! I see it as a yogic view of the Winnie the Pooh characters in such a relatable simplified expression. Even after all the amazing, interesting, brilliant books, I have read on pain, neuroplasticity, biomechanics this book is so simple and adorable. Sometimes simple is easiest to relate to!
The how of Pooh? The Tao of who? The Tao of Pooh!?! In which it is revealed that one of the world's great Taoist masters isn't Chinese--or a venerable philosopher--but is in fact none other than that effortlessly calm, still, reflective bear. A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh! While Eeyore frets and Piglet hesitates, and Rabbit calculates, and Owl pontificates, Pooh just is.
And that's a clue to the secret wisdom of the Taoists.
4. What's your favorite blog, podcast or online resource?
I have only a couple of podcasts I have been turned on to so far. So little time!
The first came from 3 amigos; Michael Lee, Steffan Eleglid and Matthew Taylor. All came to present at MISTY 2014.
Misty is just a wonderful adventure to organize and the best part is the lifelong connections that come out of this intimate setting for a symposium.
These wise men reunited and thereafter managed regular bi-monthly chats with each other. From there they ignited a podcast called “On Your Authority”. I just love love love listening to these guys chat it up in a very relaxed and playfully endearing manner. It is like being a fly on the wall in their close friendship convos. I usually make myself a nice breakfast the 1 day a week I have a lazy morning and either tune into their podcast or Jay Brown "Yoga Talks” which I also love. He has some awesome guests on (including me!) and there a personal tone to it that brings the conversation to a “realness” as wisdom and experience is shared.
Two short and wise earfuls are Shelly Prosko’s WOW (Words of Wisdom) chats, and Michael Lee’s daily walk mediations which they post on FB. About 2-7 min each they are just the right dose of wisdom from lovely hearts I hold dear to mine.
On Your Authority - 3 body/mind experts share practical ideas and resources that become fuel to ignite YOUR LIFE. Here you will find the latest news about the body/mind complex as it relates to everyday life, as well as musings about what is happening in our society and how to use those changes to lead you to a more enriched and mindful life.
Jay Brown "Yoga Talks” - Candid conversations about yoga and beyond. From yoga philosophy to the business of yoga, to subjects unrelated to yoga, J and his esteemed guests always have something interesting to say.
Shelly Prosko’s WOW - 'Words Of Wisdom' or W.O.W. Chats are a series of brief candid conversations with Shelly Prosko and a variety of guests that she respects, admires and loves.
5. What advice would you give to your 25-year-old self?
To be able to talk to my 25-year-old strong-minded self there would be so much advice I would hope my independent young women would take!
Primarily I would have said “start yoga!” sooner! I know then the wisdom to guide my personal and emotional life would have come sooner than later.
If I had to break it down to a few essential guiding bits of learned wisdom:
- “Pace yourself! Life has a lot in store so don’t get too lost in what is happening. It will change and the energy spent emotionally drains you when what you need is the strength to get you through!”
- “Worry more about yourself and know others will manage! It is ok to let them down, walk away, say no… just do it as kindly and as compassionately as you can, then let them deal with how they feel.”
- “Find ways to nourish yourself no matter what. Actually the more you are giving outward the more you must make time for your inward self”
- “When something does not feel good and you find yourself crying more than laughing, for goodness and sanity and health, sake don’t hang on to it!”
6. What's something you've recently learned that you're really excited to implement?
Self-care has become my soapbox. It seems we are in the ate of overworking, overthinking, overdoing. Outward focused on what others need and expect. I feel taking time off and doing nothing or doing something simple just for oneself, is not valued enough. A sense of guilt almost when one attends to oneself. As a single mom of 4 on top of all I am in my work life, I am now in my 50’s finally feeling like it is not a bad word to do what I want to do and if that is nothing for a day or 3 in a row, or go away for time out for myself to enjoy whatever I want to do there, then that is the best give I can do for myself. In doing so I am nourishing my soul. I then am more energized to best serve all those around me.
Self-care, therefore, is caring for all around me as well. I want to teach this to my kids as well as students and clients.
Among all the education I have had as a yoga therapist, this I feel has to be part of the healing, health and happiness plan!
7. Why did you decide to join the Embodia Instructor community?
Embodia was highly recommended to me by a MISTY past presenter, Shelly Prosko whom I love and respect, to do some tapings of the MISTY sessions. I have to say I have been absolutely thrilled with Embodia ever step of the way! Even more so, I am excited to discover all the amazing online courses available on Embodia! So much quality on this site! Blessed to have connected on both levels as having MISTY sessions available on Embodia and being able to learn from all other sessions on site. Let the learning continue!
Helene Couvrette, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, E-RYT500, 200RYS, 300RYS
Her passion for yoga inspired her to share yoga with a few friends in the basement of one of whom eventually lost her battle with cancer. She soon realized her love of yoga could only be surpassed by the desire to share it with others & the joy of seeing them benefit from yoga on many levels.
In 2002 just after delivering a stillborn boy Helene embarked on a 200hr YTT Certification Course. During 2003 she continued the training at same time began teaching yoga at the St. Lazare Community Center. Helene continues to teach regular yoga classes with a therapeutic approach, offers Private Yoga Therapy Sessions & mentors a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training. Winter of 2018 she will introduce an Advanced Yoga Teacher Training focusing on Therapeutics
Helene is also co-founder of this international conference bringing health care professionals & yoga therapist together with the mission of integrating yoga into the Canadian health care system.