September 2019 Newsletter

YAFA and its Mission 

Our mission is to bring the health and well being benefits of yoga to all those people not comfortable or able to  attend a regular studio class out in the community.   YAFA brings together agencies and YAFA yoga teachers to develop yoga programs based on the needs of the group of people coming together.  We hope to reach out to other groups of people not yet served, including cultural diversity and those dealing returning to the community from  recent incarceration.  LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN WORK WITH YOU TO DEVELOP YOUR YOGA PROGRAM!

Community Seasonal Classes 

Classes are ongoing , with an 8 week series held each season.

Dates for the 2019/20 seasons:  

Fall Session: Week of September 12 through week of October 31st.

Winter Session: Week of November 4th through January 11th.


Yoga for Parkinsons: A Research Informed Practice : This class  utilizes supported standing, seated and lying down movements held at the American Center.  It is an 8 week class series beginning in mid September. New students are welcome to join in at any time!


Yoga as Expressive Art:    Arts for All  and YAFA are partnering to offer two classes:  A mat class that utilizes standing, seated and lying down movements and a Chair Yoga Class (wheelchairs welcome) held at the VSA.  Note:* If you utilize the IRIS (Indepence, Respect, I Self Direct) Program you can use these funds to pay for your classes. Link to register:

Yoga For Caregivers: Continuation of the program recently completed. More information to come for classes in 2020


YAFA Teacher Gathering:  Look for the date for YAFA Teacher Gathering Soon!

Yoga For Amputees Training: Coming in December. 

Teacher Spotlight 

Each newsletter will highlight a YAFA teacher!

We are happy to introduce our two co founders. 

Iris Mickey 


As a Wisconsin native, I began my path in the health and healing fields 40 years ago!  I attended Madison College to complete by AA. in Occupational Therapy, and worked as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant as a young practitioner.  I feel blessed that it gave me such a great foundation for practical application of problem solving for whatever challenge life might present. I worked in various settings in OT before returning to school to complete my M.S. in Rehabilitation Psychology.  This education provided me with another level of practical knowledge of working with people with a variety of life challenges due to a change in their ability to navigate life due to injury/disability.


I worked for a number of years in the field of Brain Injury Rehabilitation, providing services as a Return to Work Specialist (Vocational Rehabilitation), a Rehab counselor and  Rehabilitation Case Manager, working with clients, agencies, insurance companies and families to ensure the best possible outcomes after a person was injured.

My mother had always practiced yoga , but it was not until a particularly stressful time in my life in Grad school that I turned back to my roots of yoga. I became a 200 hour level Certified Yoga Instructor and fell in love with the gifts of yoga.  The application of yoga seemed endless and I wanted to learn more! (My husband accuses me of being a “learning junkie”, but I like the adage; eternal student of life :) I continued my yoga education by completing an advanced training in alignment based yoga, which has served in helping to teach postural awareness and alignment to all my students. Most recently in 2014, I completed the intensive 2 year training in the new and upcoming field of Yoga Therapy.  I am a Certified Yoga Therapist, incorporating the lifestyle and healing tools that yoga has to offer into practices that are individualized for individual needs. Another passion and certification is in teaching IRest Yoga Nidra, a powerful practice of self inquiry and stress management tool that I bring to all of my teaching. Most of my time is spent teaching group therapeutic yoga classes, working with individuals one on one or developing programs for YAFA.  There are so very many teachers, including my students, in my life that I am enternally grateful for what they shared with and taught me. I feel incredibly fortunate to be doing this work that I love in the world and to have a supportive husband cheering me on! I also love to garden and to be in nature and currently am participating in weekly circuit training to keep a healthy heart!


Paul Mross

My name is Paul Mross and I live in Wisconsin with my amazing wife and son. It is an honor to serve the yoga community. My journey has taken many twists and turns over the past 19 years. I am a certified yoga instructor through the Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 200). My passion is providing safe and effective access to yoga for all individuals, no matter what their challenges. I have been the project manager and yoga consultant for 5 research studies on Fall Prevention and Yoga with UW-Madison. I have adapted our fall prevention, yoga intervention for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Yoga community. My research life has blessed me with two publications, both on the topic of Yoga’s Effect on Fall Prevention in rural, Older Adults. 


I have had the privilege to present on healthy aging and yoga topics at multiple conferences, including: Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging: Healthy Aging Summit, Catholic Charities: Healthy Aging Conference, Morgridge Institute: Celebrating Healthy and Purposeful Aging, The Aging and Disability Network Conference, the International Association of Yoga Therapist: SYR and SYTAR and The Accessible Yoga Conference. 

I am the co-founder YAFA, Yoga Accessible for All.  I created The Happ:y Yoga Mat to assist with accessibility in an asana practice for students, teachers, therapists and researchers. You can my website, for more information about Happ:y. 

Working with YAFA is a gift. It truly is a joy to help people access the benefits of yoga. My mantra is, “if you can breathe, you can do yoga”. Helping individuals and communities realize that yoga can be an effective wellness tool is an honor. I thank all my past, present and future teachers, colleagues and students for allowing me to be on this amazing path.  

Be well. 



Phone: 608-469-5784

Success Stories

Special Olympics:  We recently completed a 10 week program that received funding through a grant from the Madison Area Sports Commission. It was a success with a 78% attendance rate throughout the program.  Some of Lessons included: Diaphragmatic breathing, Building resiliency by “pushing the pause button” stress management tool, Finding inner strength through our core of power, and Flexibility training. This program was developed in conjunction with the local Special Olympics office and their national program of SOFit, a  national campaign that Special Olympics is bringing to help their athletes move from “Weekend Warriors’ to a healthier overall lifestyle.

Caregivers Program:  This program was created for caregivers to address challenges they face in taking care of their care-receivers. The 7 week class consisted of mindfulness meditation and functional movement to help with basic activities of daily living. This program was developed in conjunction with the Dane Co. Agency on Aging and the Fitchburg Senior. Center.   

Disability Pride Festival:  YAFA offered a yoga class at the festival.  There were so many great activities at the festival and although we had small numbers in attendance, we had BIG fun!  


Accessible Yoga in the News

Finally, social media is recognizing the disability community by having inclusive emojis.

Issues like accessibility and diversity are two gigantic awarenesses that are happening within the yoga community. This is a great article by Lara Falberb for Yoga international addressing these topics. Read more here:



Pranayama (yogic breathing) has been associated with improving the ability of people with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to better tolerate exercise. One fascinating piece of this pilot study demonstrates that non-yoga instructors can pass along and teach the benefits of pranayama. These research coordinators were educated and supervised by yoga instructors. However, it was the research coordinators who instructed and practiced with the participants. This points to another way the benefits of yoga can be shared with more people. To read the full research publication, please follow the link here:


Daily Life Yoga Technique of the Month 

Here is a very easy practice to experience pranayama (yogic breathing). This is by Rolf Sovik, 

How Breathing Works (And How to Breathe Therapeutically). 


All donations made to YAFA (C4CS) are used to provide yoga programs for underserved communities. This might include development of new yoga programs or sustaining existing yoga programs. We provide assistance to individuals who are unable to pay for programming. Donations can be made for a specific individual to provide a yoga program that fits their needs. 

patricia Espedal