Celebrating 40 Years - Free Training

It will be 40 years this September that I’ve taught yoga to people with learning disabilities, and I will be celebrating with YOU & ME Yoga events and special offers. 

The first of which I’m pleased to offer throughout this Summer to experienced yoga enthusiasts the opportunity to train one day with me in YOU & ME Yoga for just the purchase of a set of the YOU & ME Yoga teaching materials @ £325 (originally £345). 

There is no fee for my time teaching you how to effectively use the materials and sharing with you several case studies of clients benefitting from the system (anonymously and with permission). This training offer is available up to the end of Aug 2018, at my studio in Kent; and it can also be arranged online for 3-hour session via FaceTime or Skype, to suit mutual convenience.

Details of all the 14 YOU & ME Yoga Training Materials can be found on the website: http://www.youandmeyoga.com/modules/ 

NB This offer will give you the teaching materials to develop your practice in line with the YOU & ME Yoga Modular Training Programme as portrayed on the website, with substantial reference to the listed ‘learning outcomes’ from your own teaching experience, in due course.

If you’re interested in this exceptional offer and would like to start teaching YOU & ME Yoga next term, please don’t hesitate to reserve your place, which will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

I look forward to hearing from you and if there are any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me.

In Yoga and Light,
Maria Gunstone
YOU & ME Yoga, Author and Consultant

07734 014876


“I spent a day with Maria learning the basics about YOU & ME Yoga. It gave a good insight into her yoga programme. Working one-to-one meant we could focus it on my needs and interests as a teacher. Maria is friendly, warm and very knowledgeable.”  J.B. Satori Yoga, Sheffield. 

"The most comprehensive and useful course materials I have ever received. Very clear, structured and detailed."  E.B. BWYoga Tutor, S.N. School Teacher, Yorkshire.

"Excellent materials - very well researched; a wonderful resource for future use. Highly recommended." J.R. BWYoga Teacher, Wakefield.

"The beauty of the YOU & ME system is that it can be adapted to everyone's needs, regardless of their ability.” S.G. Trainer, Distington.

“After learning YOU & ME Yoga, I was able to create an experience for my clients that took them on a journey of self-discovery. The colour coded system and the character of Eddie was something easy to relate to, non-threatening and fun; which is important when dealing with people with autism.”  A.L. Occupational Therapist, London.

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The Whole-Body Joint Looseners PhysioTool

Explanation of the Colour Code
We use colour because it is one of the best mediums through which people can be motivated to learn. The use of colour in the YOU & ME Yoga system helps special clients understand that Yoga is a meaningful experience for the whole of their body.

Hence, the legs are coloured red, hips and lower back orange, waist and mid-back yellow, chest and upper back green, and the arms blue. Indigo and violet colours represent the mindful aspect of the movements: Indigo deals with coordination and violet the concept of whole body awareness.

Colour assists with the learning process and the selection of a sequence of movement for the whole body organised to suit the client's needs and abilities. 

Variations of the Looseners
If there is restriction in performing any particular Loosener in the usual way, a variation can be used instead. For example, if the client has restricted leg movement, a red variation technique can be selected for the client’s ability. 
It is necessary to include one of each of the coloured Looseners for a carefully selected and arranged sequence of Whole-Body Joint Looseners. 

Health and Safety
Before planning a Joint Looseners programme for clients, it is necessary to be aware of any client’s health condition that could cause any of the Joint Looseners to be contraindicative. This information is available in the Whole-Body Joint Looseners and Variations for Special Needs’ PhysioTool. 

Provides and develops software to produce lesson plans and personalised exercise handouts, at the click of a button. PhysioTools is the world’s largest exercise library with 20,000+ techniques, which can be installed on the computer or use online. It is used by healthcare and fitness professionals around the world.

Select. Edit. Print. Email.
Simply select the techniques, edit the text to customize, then print or email the handout, as appropriate. Whether you choose to install the DVD or prefer using the software online, PhysioTools has the right exercise product for your clients.

By using this voucher code: MGPX66 you can get 10% discount off any PhysioTools product, including the colour-coded Whole-Body Joint Looseners and Variations for Special Needs module with 706 line drawings:  Go to Link: http://eepurl.com/bfG6Yb

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Introduction to YOU & ME Yoga – DVD

Fabiola Wiseman recently joined the YOU & ME Yoga Modular Training Programme. On her very first day of home study she watched the 24-minute Introduction to YOU & ME Yoga – DVD, completed and submitted her first assignment explaining what the film meant to her. She was pleased to allow me to include it in full as follows: 

While watching the Introduction to YOU & ME Yoga - DVD, I noticed firstly how my enthusiasm for starting the YOU & ME Yoga Course increased, and that I have, no doubt, chosen the correct course. I think this was due to the fact that there were marked benefits and improvements in all aspects for the students – proving that the YOU & ME Yoga system works!

The fact that the colour system is so simple and yet so effective, struck me
immediately. I am beginning to understand how the students can identify the
colours with the different body parts and how that in turn allows them to
identify which part of the body is being strengthened. Allowing the students to match the cards with the body parts and then move their bodies into shapes on the mat, really encourages them to take part individually and as part of the group, and begin to follow precise instructions. Allowing students to describe how they feel also gives them greater awareness of body and mind and confidence in their practice. The 20 postures are such that every one allows for variations to suit the individual student, which is absolutely essential due to all the clients having differing abilities and challenges.

The wonderful use of sound was very interesting too, as this feels so natural, for example when breathing out, saying ‘Ah’. This, and the use of words, pictures and song to help people of all ages and abilities enjoy the benefits of yoga, is marvellous.

I think the thing that struck me most was the clear and proven benefits that the YOU & ME Yoga system continues to provide for people. This is to do with the fact that every posture can be modified to fit individual physical needs, but the modifications are also possible on an emotional and mental level, so that every person can have a version of yoga that improves their life.

As a teacher it is crucial that I can assess a student and modify sequences according to what they can do, what they need to improve on and what will be most beneficial to them. The fact that students found the YOU & ME Yoga enjoyable, relaxing, gained more muscle control, are more responsive and observant in their activities; and in general appear to be healthier is the perfect incentive for me to succeed in the course.
Fabiola Wiseman, YOU & ME Yoga Module 1.1

Extracts from 'Introduction to YOU & ME Yoga' - DVD

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Yoga Research and Experience

From research and experience I found that no one Posture (asana) has a specific therapeutic effect without a general tone-up of the whole bodily system. With this in mind, the Whole-Body-Movement system was formulated. The basis of the YOU & ME Yoga system - colour coding of the body and Postures - enables trainers to teach appropriate yoga techniques to their clients with learning difficulties and special needs. This is done by reference to the seven coloured areas of the body and twenty appropriately coloured Postures - from which individual sequences of Whole-Body-Movement are determined. The techniques are organised to suit the needs and abilities of the individual. Each sequence contains Postures to ensure that the whole body is being toned while the client is made aware of each part. 

The aim of Whole-Body-Movement is to treat the whole person and not just a particular part in isolation. This is done by acknowledging the area of the body needing most attention, identifying the colour associated with that area and selecting a Main Posture in the same colour. Then, one of each of the six remaining coloured Postures is chosen to complete a sequence of Whole-Body-Movement. The value of practising Whole-Body-Movement is that it helps clients gain awareness of their feelings and bodily sensations, which leads to a greater sense of being in control.

Disabled people have unusual individual needs, and practice of Yoga Postures will vary from one client to another. Clients who have a normal range of movement can usually do the Postures in the normal way. In addition, clients with a limited range of movement can also practise some modified techniques as shown in ‘YOU & ME Yoga Postures and Variations for Special Needs’. However, prior to practice of any yoga postures or variations of them, it is necessary to understand the clients’ abilities, to be aware of what they must not do, and to establish a good relationship with them. This all adds to the inclusive spirit that exists within the YOU & ME Yoga System. Practice is aimed at improving general health, span of attention, motor coordination and social interaction.

The suitability of yoga techniques for people with special needs have been worked out with careful consideration. This includes simple yet effective techniques involving the Joint Looseners for establishing the range of joint movements and the related Yoga Postures for safe practice. These 42 techniques do not require too much balance or physical effort and have been found adequate in dealing with a wide range of problems. Apart from being simple to grasp and relatively easy to perform, they lend themselves well to adaptation. It has also been found that using simple techniques allows the teacher to be more effective.

YOU & ME Joint Looseners and Variations for Special Needs (with 247 variations) and YOU & ME Yoga Postures and Variations for Special Needs (with 462 variations) are now on offer here.

In this 7-minute video I explain a set of five YOU & ME Yoga teaching materials for use in the classroom and/or for individual needs and abilities:

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Trainee Yoga Teacher's Testimonial

Gary Walshe with his YOU & ME Yoga modular training materials

I recently received my YOU & ME training materials, which consists of the 3 levels. I was initially impressed by each level's individual colourful folders and the bright, positive imagery within each module. Upon taking a deeper look into the contents of the programme, I was amazed by the amount of extensive information given through a variety of mediums i.e. audio-visual elements, workbooks, colour coding with fantastic illustrations, instruction cards, extensive case studies within the textbooks and the reproducible activity sheets. It appears that absolutely every angle is covered within the content, in supporting all individuals’ capabilities and clear instructions on how to devise person centred yoga programmes for each individual.

From the outset I was looking for a method of combining a number of my personal interest including: Yoga, Art, Creativity and my Career in working with individuals with both physical and intellectual disabilities. While I had experience teaching yoga to people from a mild to moderate range of intellectual disability, I struggled greatly with even considering teaching yoga to people with severe autism or extreme challenging behaviour. Upon further research I found Maria Gunstone and was immediately drawn to her, because of her own personal life story and her studies in India, as I hold a great connection with the country. I felt this was somewhat serendipitous and synchronised. I was in the early stages of planning my trip to India to explore a method of incorporating Yoga and Disability. I was then however very lucky to encounter Maria Gunstone's YOU & ME Yoga System. I now feel I have a positive guide with an array of experience who will assist me with this new journey. She is exactly what the disabilities sector in Ireland needs at this time and in the future.

I am now beginning my studies and am currently reading "The Origin of the YOU & ME Yoga System". Maria writes from the heart in an open, honest and loving manner that is truly inspiring. Her words invoke memories of my early experiences, why I began my path in yoga, the incredible lessons that I learned on that path and also from each of my masters. I am thoroughly excited about continuing my journey with my new inspirational teacher, Maria Gunstone.

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Autism yoga case-study

Jade’s YOU & ME Yoga
A report by Dharmani Hart

Jade is a 46 year old with extreme communication and speech challenges. She is autistic, has learning difficulties and chronic epilepsy. Jade is able to respond to familiar behaviour patterns in a small way but her concentration span is almost nonexistent. Consequently her YOU & ME Yoga is mainly on a one to one basis.
Jade is tall and heavy-set, with excess weight being carried around her hips and thighs.  This results in certain movements being quite difficult for her to perform. 
As Jade has no concept of colour or numbers, she does not choose which Looseners or Postures to perform. However, Jade is encouraged to share in the process of choosing movements, so she does have some control over her yoga The blue, indigo and violet Loosener cards are used at every class to help body and spatial awareness. The orange cards have enabled Jade to work on strength and flexibility in her hips and lower back, areas that are both comparatively weak for Jade.
The first two classes consisted of mainly getting to know each other and using the Loosener cards to give Jade awareness of her own body with the ability to move freely in a safe and flexible way.
The YOU & ME Yoga programme has enabled Jade’s self-esteem and confidence to grow. Her love of yoga is evident when, at the end of each class when we work towards a salute of the sun, Jade excels. In fact, her behaviour in class is always excellent. She is always willing to work with any Loosener and Posture I ask of her and Jade’s support workers are impressed with her progress.
Dharmani Hart, Yoga Teacher, YOU & ME Practitioner, MacIntyre Care
In addition, here is a video of Maria Gunstone teaching Peter (with autistic tendencies) two of the Orange YOU & ME Joint Loosener techniques.

YOU & ME Yoga Basic Techniques - CD tutorial
Loosener Dislay Cards Instruction Pack

Learning Difficulties and Associated Conditions Explained with YOGA CASE STUDIES
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Cerebral palsy yoga case-study

YOU & ME Yoga trainers' coursework now involves doing three case-studies. To demonstrate the trainer's competence teaching the system to students with varying abilities. They must provide visual and written evidence of their carefully selected yoga programmes to safely accommodate each individual's particular needs and abilities, along with records of practice, achievement and evaluation.

Here Pat Pickering, a YOU & ME Yoga practitioner talks about her yoga training with a very special client called Jane, which is followed by her case-study.