Ginger Garner DPT, MPT, ATC, PYT
Founder & Executive Director
Faculty, Professional Yoga Therapy Institute
Founder of Professional Yoga Therapy – A Grassroots Movement in Evidence-Based Yoga Education to Improve Health Care In America
During her graduate studies in physical therapy and public health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, almost 20 years ago, Ginger developed her original mission for the first education program in medical yoga, out of what she perceived as a great disconnect in American health care. Professional Yoga Therapy (PYT) was born out of the vision to see eastern and western medicine yoked to offer more comprehensive health care for both the healthy and complex American patient. Today, PYT offers a working model for educational standards in medical yoga education and integrative health care delivery in the US.
Ginger has trained hundreds of medical professionals across North America over the last decade in using yoga and Pilates in Complementary and Alternative Medicine; while at the same time working to raise awareness and funds for improving women’s health. As a result, PYTS graduates have created or taken jobs as integrative rehabilitation supervisors in hospital systems, clinics, and non-traditional settings in nursing, medicine, as well as therapy.
Says Ginger, “the quality of our students and their work is a testament to the effectiveness of the PYT method and to the model of medical yoga training it will become in the United States.”
Mentors & Teachers
Dr. Riane Eisler stands as Ginger’s most influential teacher in changing the conversation to value caregiving in the US and abroad. Her work in economics, and Ginger’s involvement as a Caring Economics Campaign member and Certified Conversation Leader in Caring Economics, has inspired Ginger to continue her mission in influencing health care policy and change in the US. In August 2012 Ginger was invited to be a Caring Economics blogger and since that time Ginger and PYTS have become Coalitions Members. Visit the Caring Economics Campaign.
Dr. David Frawley (Ayurvedic expert Pandit Vamadeva Shastri), Aadil Palkhivala, Sarita Shrestha (mother of Ayurveda in the west and Nepal’s first female Ayurvedic physician, female OB/GYN), and countless yoga teachers have directed Ginger’s path since 1992. Some teachers include Pattabhi Jois, Shiva Rea, Tias Little, David Swenson, Rodney Yee, Scott Blossom, and others; however, the most influential would probably be Dr. Shrestha, because of her powerful testament to breaking the glass ceiling and empowering women in India.
Ginger ultimately made the conscious decision to depart from claiming any specific lineage. Her time in PT school and through graduate work in public health in the mid-90′s led Ginger to develop methodology combining evidence based rehabilitation with non-dogmatic yoga. What has emerged is a discipline useable by licensed health care providers, known as medical therapeutic yoga.
Ginger states, I have learned the most about living my yoga, not from my education or experience, but from my mission/karma yoga projects, which include raising my own children They are the real gurus.
Stefanie Foster, PT, MSPT, FAAOMPT, PYT-C
Adjunct Faculty, PYTS
Lecturer, Texas State University San Marcos
Stefanie is a licensed physical therapist, fellowship trained in orthopaedic manual therapy, and a yoga therapist. She received her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Texas State University in San Marcos, and her Fellowship training via the Manual Therapy Institute. She is the founder of Asana with Intelligence, yoga, physical therapy and education.
Her mission is to merge the ancient wisdom of yoga and current intuitive intelligence of the yoga teaching community with her medical training to connect the yoga and medical communities with a common language and understanding for trust and collaboration. Stefanie currently practices in an outpatient orthopedic manual therapy setting, and sees private yoga therapy clients for orthopedics and women’s pelvic health.
She teaches therapeutic yoga workshops and trains yoga teachers on anatomy and injury prevention. She also lectures in various PT and PTA programs about medical therapeutic yoga, women’s health and wellness. She will soon be a certified health and nutrition coach through the Integrative Pelvic Health Institute. Outside of her professional pursuits and personal yoga practice, Stefanie enjoys traveling, cycling, art, music, anything outdoors and spending quality time with family and friends.
Adjunct Faculty, PYTI
Lecturer, School of Medicine, The University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Shelly is a Registered Physical Therapist, Yoga Therapist and a Certified Pilates Instructor. She received her Physical Therapy degree at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada in 1998, her Professional Yoga Therapist certification through Professional Yoga Therapy Institute in North Carolina (www.professionalyogatherapy.org) and her Pilates certification through Professional Health and Fitness Institute in Maryland (www.prohealthandfitness.com).
Since 1998, Shelly has been integrating evidence-based medical therapeutic yoga principles and methods into her physical therapy treatments. She has treated a wide variety of musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiorespiratory conditions while working in private orthopaedic clinics and long term care facilities across Canada and the United States.
Currently, Shelly resides in Sylvan Lake, AB and travels across Canada and the United States offering specialty Physio-Yoga Therapy workshops, classes, private sessions, lecturing at University and College programs, and actively promoting the integration of medical therapeutic yoga into our current healthcare system. She believes that bridging the gap between Western and Eastern healthcare philosophies is essential in order to achieve optimal health. Her treatments are individually based and are a unique blend of both approaches.
In addition to her many skills as a health care practitioner, Shelly is also an accomplished figure skater and has traveled the world with many professional ice shows. She is also passionate about music, dance, acting, trapeze and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Kristina Dorkoski PT, DPT, NCS, PYT, CPI
Adjunct Faculty, PYTI
Adjunct Faculty, Misericorida University
Dr. Dorkoski is an outpatient physical therapist, board-certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist, Professional Yoga Therapist, and certified Pilates instructor. At Allied Services Integrated Health Care System in Wilkes-Barre, PA, she couples integrative care with the latest evidence and technology in neurologic rehab. Her varied experience also includes the treatment of medically complex geriatrics, chronic pain conditions, vestibular disorders, and acute care and trauma patients. Dr. Dorkoski earned her BS in health science and MS in physical therapy from Misericordia University, and doctorate in physical therapy from Temple University. She is an LSVT Big™ certified and PWR! trained clinician. Dr. Dorkoski is an adjunct faculty member at Misericordia University, where she instructs neuroscience labs and a special practices course on the use of Pilates and medical therapeutic yoga in rehabilitation.
Patricia Oyarce PT, DPT, MS, PYT
Adjunct Faculty, PYTI
Lecturer, School of Medicine, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, MS
Dr. Oyarce received her Bachelor degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Chile (Santiago, Chile), and her advanced post-professional Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy with Neurology focus from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA. In 2011 completed transitional doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). She has been working at Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center (MRC) for 20 years specializing in the treatment of patients with neurological conditions. Has completed 4 student Levels of certification by Healing Touch International, Inc. Currently, works at MRC Quest comprehensive outpatient program for people with brain or spinal injuries.
Nauka Joshi PT
Sanskrit Language Advisor
Adjunct Faculty, PYTI
Nauka is a faculty member at PYT and is our Sanskrit & philosophy advisor. She received her graduate training at MS University, Medical College, School of Physiotherapy, in the city of Baroda, India. Nauka has over 24 years experience as a physical therapist in a variety of patient backgrounds, having practiced in India, England, and the United States. Nauka was born and raised in India, where her upbringing included exposure to Yoga at a tender age. While in India, Nauka also chose to be schooled in Sanskrit and Gujarati as second languages. She spent over 15 years honing her practice of physical therapy in the United States before deciding it was time to rekindle her true loves of Yoga and art. As a painter, her desire to create led her back to her early love of Yoga. She sought out specialty training at PYT for her post graduate level training in Professional Yoga Therapy in order to blend her eastern and western knowledge of medicine. Being able to merge her preferred profession of physical therapy and her deep love of Yoga was a moment of epiphany. Since the early 2000's Nauka has focused her practice toward the specialty of orthopaedics and medical therapeutic yoga. Nauka’s adventurous spirit and love of creating and travel in her spare time has made her an artist, a teacher, a talented alchemist of Ayurvedic cookery (this a testament from Ginger!), a perpetual student of life, an effective physical and yoga therapist, and avid bookworm. Her own life mission is to be good, giving and loving. Says Nauka, “it is the habit of being good that leads to excellence.” Nauka lives and practices in Chicago, IL.
Diana Munger DPT, PT
Adjunct Faculty, PYTI
Dr. Munger is a licensed physical therapist who runs a private practice specializing in women’s health and pelvic rehabilitation. She graduated from NorthernArizonaUniversity with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. She integrates hands-on manual therapy techniques, including myofascial release and visceral manipulation, with yoga therapy to assist her patients with a wide variety of women’s health conditions, such as pelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.
She received her yoga teacher training and professional yoga therapist training through Integrative Yoga Therapy. She is a contributor and peer review editor for the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. By combining her background in yoga with traditional physical therapy, Diana enjoys creating holistic wellness programs for women across their lifespan. She is passionate about community education and empowering women to be active participants in their healthcare.
Diana joins the PYTS adjunct faculty to assist in the development of a women’s wellness yoga therapy program. She lives in Phoenix, AZ with her loving husband, two beautiful children, and spirited standard poodles.
Jessica Hartmann, PT, PYT, RYT
Guest Lecturer, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Jessica is a licensed physical therapist with a focus on osteopathic manual therapy. She received her Master of Physical Therapy Degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and her Professional Yoga Therapist certificate from Professional Yoga Therapy Institute. Jessica practices in Wilmington, NC and is the founder of Integrative Rehab and Wellness, Inc., where she provides manual physical therapy and yoga therapy services.
In addition to clinical practice, Jessica is a guest lecturer for the Exercise Science Department of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She also teaches anatomy at the Wilmington Yoga Center for yoga teacher trainings.
In addition to her professional development and personal yoga practice, Jessica enjoys spending time traveling to anywhere new and exciting, stand up paddle boarding, running, cycling, swimming, cooking, and relaxing at the beach with her husband and dog.