yoga teacher training

4 Reasons to Get A 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate

By Business Of Yoga, Yoga, Yoga Teachers

yoga teacher trainingThinking about becoming a yoga teacher?  A 200-hour training is your first step. In this training, you’ll learn proper alignment, how to sequence classes, anatomy and philosophy.  Like many other physical activities, yoga demands significant practice, patience, concentration, and dedication.  A 200-hour yoga teacher training (YTT) certification one of the biggest personal investments you’ll ever make as any yoga teacher will tell you – it’ll change your life. Here are four reasons to take a 200-hour yoga teacher training.

The Teachings Are Invaluable

The things you learn in a yoga teacher training course valuable, because they not only teach you how to master all of the major poses, but you’ll also practice the mind body connection in a variety of ways, which is essential in yoga. This information can prove useful to you for years to come, especially as you become older and strive to take greater care of your body and soul. 

It’ll Help in Life Off the Mat, Too

You’ll be able to use your new knowledge in your daily life outside the studio, especially during times when you feel anxious and overwhelmed. You can then share what you learned from your own practice with your friends and family and thus help other people feel less stressed or anxious in their own lives. If you eventually plan to open your own studio, your certification can also help you acquire the peace of mind that is essential to starting a business. 

You’ll Get Regular Exercise

Yoga serves as an excellent form of exercise and if you sign up for your 200-hour training, you’ll be moving – a lot. Even if you aren’t naturally flexible, an experienced instructor can teach you how to appropriately get into all of the postures without exceeding your body’s limits. Studies show that regular exercise provides multiple benefits — including better sleep, improved mood, and a reduced risk of heart disease — so don’t underestimate the wonders a 200-hour certification can do for your overall well-being. Practicing yoga for 3 or more months can help reduce stress hormones such as cortisol. 

Gain Valuable Connections And Resources

Being part of a 200-hour yoga teacher training will lead to lifelong friendships as well as valuable professional connections. Regardless of whether you’re looking for new friends or are interested in networking opportunities, yoga training is an excellent setting to form such connections. 

Get 200-Hour Online Training At YogaRenew

Become a certified yoga teacher today by enrolling in YogaRenew’s 200-hour online training certification. We are a Registered Yoga School (RYS®) with Yoga Alliance. Our comprehensive YTT curriculum will provide you with a solid foundation for both yoga practice and philosophy through detailed readings, videos, workbooks, lectures, and handouts. You’ll learn about anatomy, The Asanas, Pranayama, Mudras, meditation, Chakra therapy, sequencing and structure, teaching tips, and different styles of yoga. If you complete this training before the end of 2021, you can register with Yoga Alliance as an RYT-200. 

At YogaRenew, our yogis are committed to helping people from a wide range of backgrounds create a solid connection between their mind and body. Our online certifications are self-paced, which means you can complete them from the comfort of your home. Contact YogaRenew online today to learn more about our 200-hour training certification. 

childrens-yoga

7 Powerful Tips for Teaching Children’s Yoga

By Yoga For Kids, Yoga Teachers

childrens-yogaChildren’s yoga is more accessible than ever before since schools and day cares are adding the practice to their curriculums.  With the increase in demand comes a strong need for new teachers.  Whether you have your children’s teaching certificate already or are currently working on it, we put together our top tips for teaching kids.  

Enjoy their company.

Being able to connect with your students is a key requirement for a good yoga teacher. It applies just as much when you teach young children, and you can only build a true connection if you like being around them. Teaching children requires a different mindset and level of patience than teaching adults, and it’s usually easier for people who love spending time with children.  

Awaken your inner child.

When teaching young kids, it’s important not to take yourself too seriously. Kids learn through play, and you can’t teach them to play without practicing what you preach. This will quickly enable them to relate to you and to trust you.

Tell a story. 

While it is true that children are open-minded and receptive, they often have a short attention span. In order to keep them engaged, you need to give them something to look forward to. A story does just that – it encourages children to participate actively and enthusiastically, and also awakens their imagination.  

When you’re planning a kids’ yoga session, try to focus on an asana sequence that tells a story. Some poses naturally lend themselves to storytelling (like Tree Pose – “imagine reaching for the sun, your roots growing deep into the ground,” or Lion Pose – “hear the mighty roar with each breath out”) and for others… you might just need to get creative. Remember, for the purpose of telling a story, you can even give asanas new names the kids can relate to. 

Always have a plan B.

When you’re teaching adults, you might prepare your class centering around a particular theme. Session planning is a great tool that will help you advance as a teacher. This is also true for planning children’s yoga classes, but it requires a slightly different approach.  

When kids are involved, things are subject to change. And sometimes, they change very quickly, forcing you to improvise. That’s not to say you have to completely abandon your session plan, but it might mean you have to take a detour. In short, be prepared to wing it! 

Honor the principles of yoga.

Making a children’s yoga session into a fun game is a fantastic strategy. However, it’s also important to educate your little students about the core principles of this practice. Take time to talk to the kids about the history of yoga, the reasons we practice, and the things we try to achieve through yoga.  

And by talk we mean exactly that. Instead of simply giving them information, have a discussion and encourage the children to ask questions (be ready for some weird ones, too!). Depending on the age group, you may be able to go into more detail, or dedicate more of your lesson to this discussion. You don’t necessarily have to do this every session.  As long as you do it regularly, your students should have a solid idea of what yoga is about.

Teach them to slow down.

As a children’s yoga teacher, you are not only teaching them to move, you’re also teaching them to embrace stillness. At the start of each lesson, take a few minutes to focus on breathing. You might frame it as a discussion or even as a game. Let the kids imagine that their belly is a balloon as it expands, or draw their attention to the sound of their breath. 

Beginning and ending each class with defined elements like breath work and relaxation will help to create  a sustainable routine, provide the kids with a sense of familiarity, and teach them to slow down.  No matter what, don’t ever skip the final relaxation, even if the kids are a little restless.  Before you know it, Savasana will become their favorite part of the class.

Be patient.

Just like adult students, every child will have a unique experience with yoga. From a purely physical standpoint, some kids will be more flexible, some kids will have a better sense of balance, and some will be able to progress faster than their peers.  

Same applies to the mindfulness practice.  Some children will be able to easily engage with it, while others might find it difficult to stay still, or to maintain focus. That’s perfectly fine! Remember, kids are just miniature visions of us, and just like us, they have complex emotions, and they come from a variety of backgrounds. Take that into account and be patient.  It pays off for you and for them, we promise.

What Does it Really Mean to Let Go? (plus yoga teaching tips!)

By Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Poses, Yoga Practice, Yoga Teachers

In my early days of practicing yoga, I found myself curious about what seemed to be a very common yoga theme – letting go. I’d hear it at the studio, I’d see it on social media, and in blog posts, but I didn’t quite understand what it meant. When in a yoga pose, let go seemed to be a cue to relax where possible. In terms of yogic philosophy, I took letting go to mean loosening my grip on the things I couldn’t control. In a sense, both are true, but as I dove into the nitty gritty of yoga, I discovered more.

Letting go is a simple phrase, but the instruction isn’t. Even for the most seasoned yoga practitioners, relinquishing control, detaching from sense distractions, and demonstrating faith is a constant, daily practice that can ebb and flow between graceful diligence and downright frustration. The following paragraphs offer another perspective of letting go, plus suggestions for teaching this topic in a yoga class.

Detachment isn’t enough – we must seek out something higher.

Like letting go, the concept of detachment or dispassion – called vairāgya in Sanskrit – suggests a release of something. But what are we letting go of and what fills the gap left behind? Vairāgya – the necessary counterpart to abhyāsa, or practice – is more than severing our attachments to the shiny objects of our sense world; it also entails repositioning our energy towards what really matters – our souls. And the texts speak to this. Translators of the Bhagavad Gītā agree that detaching from material desires is not enough; we must also engage in something greater than ourselves 1,2. Yoga Sūtra commentators mirror this understanding of vairāgya, explaining that detachment means pursuing the soul3,4.

Letting go is a choice to focus on the deeper essence of who we are, and this perspective is a powerful lesson to weave through a dharma talk, or the spiritual message of a yoga class. I’ve met this moment again and again, of realizing that a job, a relationship, or routine distracted me from Spirit, and from knowing myself. At those times, I’ve had to practice quieting my mind in order to refocus inwards. It’s really impactful to share this type of experiential knowledge with our students, backed by yogic teachings, because relating these concepts to modern life makes them more understandable and transformative.

It all comes back to calming our fluctuating thoughts.

So how does this all translate to an āsana practice? Yogic postures are tools for shifting our awareness from the actions of our bodies to the energetic levels of our souls. The reason why the postures should be steady (sthira) and comfortable (sukha) is so we can maintain them for meditation5. It all comes back to quieting our minds. In order to turn our attention within, we need to bring our minds under control so we can untangle ourselves from material lures.

To help students experience āsana as a mental discipline, pair movement with breathwork (prāṇāyāma). Focusing on our breathing gives our minds something to do, rather than fixate on our fleeting thoughts. Regulating the pace of an āsana sequence is also important. If we tire out our bodies a bit with steady to fast-paced vinyāsa before holding stationary poses, our minds have a better chance of slowing down. This might look something like multiple Sun Salutation (Sūrya Namaskar) variations to start, followed by 10 breaths in Warrior II (Vīrabhadrāsana II), several counts in Chair Pose (Utkaṭāsana), Fierce Angle Pose (Utkaṭā Koṇāsana), and Garland.

Pose (Mālāsana), and so on and so forth. This approach combines physical endurance with mental focus – the two dynamic components of āsana.

When it comes to letting go, presenting this deeper meaning opens doors for our students to connect, in even small ways, to something bigger than themselves. Letting go of the things we can’t control is part of it, as is releasing tension and giving up expectations of ourselves for our practice. But, in truth, letting go is more than a single moment; it’s a lifelong process of connecting to what’s most important, of devoting our hearts to the eternal, divine truth knitting us all together.

1. Prabhupāda, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, translator. Bhagavad Gītā, As It Is. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1983, p. 288.

2. Goswami, H.D. A Comprehensive Guide to Bhagavad Gītā, with Literal Translation. Krishna West, Inc. 2015, p. 95.

3. Iyengar, B.K.S., translator. Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Thorsons, 2002, p 62.

4. Bryant, Edwin F., translator. The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. North Point Press, 2009, p. 53.

5. Bryant, Edwin F., translator. The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. North Point Press, 2009, p. 284.

3 Mindset Tips for Finding Balance

By Yoga Lifestyle, Yoga Philosophy

Consider this common scenario. It’s the start of a new day or work week and the anxiety rises up in your chest, settling in like a ton of bricks as you anticipate the scope of what you need to get done. You’re exhausted and your efforts to focus are futile. It feels impossible to slow down and your plate is so full you can’t figure out what needs to go or ways you can try finding balance.

What Can You Do To Help Yourself Gain Balance?

women Finding Balance in a classI’ve been there, too. When we have too much to pay attention to, it’s challenging to focus and establish better rhythms for ourselves. Sometimes too many unexpected changes happen all at once and it’s tough to scale back. But very often we can find some balance by managing our thoughts and changing our perspectives. The Yoga Sūtras offer practical teachings for achieving balance through mental discipline.

You are not your thoughts.

Our minds are like flooded internet browsers with numerous tabs and pop-ups open at any given time. However, we do have the option of clearing any and all irrelevant windows. According to yogic wisdom, our true selves and our minds are two separate things. Let’s consider Yoga Sūtra 1.4, “Otherwise, at other times, [the seer] is absorbed in the changing states [of the mind] (1, p. 24).” Sometimes our thoughts overwhelm us, and at other times we’re able to let them go.

While our minds are very reactive and become easily consumed by what’s happening around us, often leading us off track and distorting reality, we can discern which thoughts warrant our attention. For example, if you think you’ve failed because something didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you have or that there’s no chance of turning things around. A missed step is not failure, nor is it a reflection of who you are; it’s just another way to move your feet. Keep your mind open, steady on the path forward, and detach from the thoughts that threaten to distract you.

What can you let go of?

When we’re scrambling to meet every demand, it’s hard to know which priorities to keep and which ones to toss. This relates to tasks as well as expectations for what we can accomplish. And that’s where Yoga Sūtra 1.15 comes in, which states: “Renunciation is the practice of detachment from desires (2, p. 64).” Not attaching to our desire for success is a learned skill of keeping the mind steady and clear of distractions. Without attachment to worldly gain, we can work with greater ease, fulfilled by what we’ve accomplished, and unbothered by feelings of failure or lack. When the pressure to do it all feels utterly consuming, take a pause. Step away from the computer or the paperwork. What can you scratch off your list? What expectations of yourself, or desires for achievement can you let go of all together?

Change your thought patterns.

man working on Finding BalanceDisciplining our minds also includes changing our thoughts when they threaten to drag us down. For this one, let’s turn to Yoga Sūtra 2.33, “Upon being harassed by negative thoughts, one should cultivate counteracting thoughts (1, p. 255).” This teaching could mean reversing our outlook from a glass-half-empty mentality to a glass-half-full. But sometimes that can feel like we’re forcing optimism where it doesn’t belong rather than looking at things through a different lens.

Perhaps you can relate this thought, “I’m never going to be able to accomplish X and Y by Z.” Maybe that’s true, but this mindset can be debilitating midst pressure to meet all the demands thrown at you. An example counteracting thought could go something like this, “I won’t be able to accomplish X and Y by Z, but I can get A and B done by C.” When the unfavorable thoughts won’t stop no matter how much you dismiss them, consider this exercise. Write down your negative thoughts on one side of a piece of paper, and then write out the counteracting thoughts right next to them. Cross out the negative and proceed with the opposite thoughts.

Yoga provides some of the very best instruction on how to live life, especially when life is difficult. It’s helpful to apply yogic teachings to our lives in practical ways so that they serve their purpose of helping us transform. Yoga is meant to be lived and experienced; That’s how we experience its gifts. The wisdom of these three sūtras can help us bring a chaotic situation back into balance by enabling us to see things clearly and examine our lives with some fresh perspective.

(1) Bryant, Edwin F., translator. The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. North Point Press, 2009.
(2) Iyengar, B.K.S., translator. Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Thorsons, 2002.

Śraddhā: Faith as Yogic Practice

By Sanskrit, Yoga Philosophy

We all have a story to tell, a story of collapsing to our knees, winded and weary, and then picking ourselves up from wherever we’ve fallen in order to keep going. What fuels our ability to persevere through loss and adversity? One short answer is faith. But what is faith? What is sraddha and how does it really work? Because faith relates more to the heart than it does to logic, it’s something we can feel but not necessarily define with absolute certainty. We tend to think of faith as something we have or we don’t, as in having faith in God or the Universe, or in a worldly sense, as having faith in humanity or a particular organization. Yoga offers another perspective, one that links faith to personal practice.

What Does Sraddha Mean?

women posing for sraddhaThe Sanskrit word sraddha translates to faith or trust. But encased in this word is a deeper, more illuminating meaning. B.K.S. Iyengar describes sraddha as mental and intellectual firmness, which fosters an innate trust (1). Vyasa, an original commentator on the Yoga Sūtras, interprets sraddha as clarity of mind that sustains us as we move along with our yoga practice. When the mind is clear, truth reveals itself; With untainted vision, we can see the way forward and trust it (2).

Faith in Yogic Practice

Faith is something many of us long for, and it’s also something we need – a deep trust in our purpose, preceded by mental clarity and fortitude. Faith is, without question, a necessary component of yogic practice. It’s our sustenance, our spiritual nourishment. But faith is also a practice in and of itself. It’s a quality of being that need not be left up to chance, but rather is something we can cultivate. Just as any type of personal growth stems from effort rather than luck alone, we can develop a relationship with faith wherein it becomes a reliable and vibrant force in our lives.

Whether it’s faith in the potential for personal transformation, faith in humanity, or faith in the goal of equity and justice for all, it starts with quieting our minds. Cultivating faith is not a linear process, and that’s because focusing the mind and removing obstacles, like ignorance and attachment, are by no means easy undertakings. Our minds are wild and turbulent like the wind, and therefore seemingly impossible to control, so exclaims Arjuna in Bhagavad Gītā 6.34. But, Lord Krishna replies in 6.35, it is possible to control the mind, however obstinate it might be, through practice and detachment. Yet, try as we might, sometimes the mind is steady and focused, revealing our true nature, and at other times we identify with our fluctuating thoughts (See Yoga Sūtras 1.3 and 1.4). Such is the nature of practice.

Putting Ourselves Into Our Practices

girl doing sraddha yoga in sunsetAs we work to transform ourselves and better the world around us, it’s normal and necessary to fall down from time to time, whether from the weight of doubt and despair, a wave of humility, or just exhaustion. But within spiritual work like yoga runs a river of grace. Each moment is an opportunity to examine ourselves, to course-correct, to try again, to make real change happen. If we give it the time faith will lead us somewhere special, towards authenticity, deeper empathy and compassion, so we truly become caretakers of each other. If we work to still our minds, truth will arise and reveal the next right steps.

We can’t force faith upon ourselves through any type of logical thinking, but we can allow it to expand within us by creating the necessary conditions to reveal our inner selves as holy places where truth does exist. In times of great despair and hardship, it may feel like we’re dragging ourselves across the floor, hoping for just a shred of strength to peel ourselves up. In those moments, practice faith like medicine. Be still and listen. Just like a sailor must know the direction of the wind in order to guide the ship, we must know truth in order to persevere. We must seek out that divine wisdom, adjust our course accordingly, and then allow that steady breath to fill our sails. It will lead us to where we need to go.

 

(1) Iyengar, B.K.S., translator. Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Thorsons, 2002, p 75.

(2) Bryant, Edwin F., translator. The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. North Point Press, 2009, p. 77-78.

4 Ways You’ll Benefit from Teaching Kids Yoga

By Yoga For Kids, Yoga Teachers

Yoga’s an excellent practice for children, because it helps build the foundation for a happy and healthy life.  As a matter of fact, 1.7 million children in the US are practicing yoga today.  Whether you’re a current yoga teacher looking to expand your skill set, or are a student going through your 200-hour training, there are so many reasons to consider teaching children’s yoga.  Not only does yoga benefit the practitioner, but you’ll also benefit from teaching kids yoga in ways you wouldn’t expect. Here are a few we found to be the most rewarding.

It inspires creativity and play.

Teaching kids yoga gives you an opportunity to think outside of the box and acts as a reminder of how important the concept of play is in our lives.  Holding a creative space for children to move and breathe awakens your youthful spirit that’ll translate into teaching adults and even into your own practice. When you can find even the most minor ways to inspire a child to do a pose, tune in to themselves, or even practice breath work, it can give you a whole new outlook on what yoga means and why it matters to you.  

You get to watch children begin to connect to themselves and their breath.

It’s also an incredible way for children to cultivate body awareness.  Through this practice, children can learn so much about themselves.  Once they begin to discover what they’re capable of, it’s both exciting and empowering for both of you.  This occurs during the magic when they discover how “cool” it is to watch their bellies rise and fall with their breath.  The more kids learn about themselves through yoga, the more it boosts their self-esteem and helps them connect more deeply to others and their natural world.  

You’ll help children manage their emotions and behaviors.

Children experience stress and anxiety, just as we do.  The most common mental health disorders children face are ADHD, anxiety and behavioral disorders. By practicing yoga,  children are able to recognize and cope with their feelings through exercises and other playful yoga techniques. 

Along with their mental health, yoga also helps children to focus and helps to reduce their impulsivity. The effort and concentration that children put into holding a pose or maintaining balance carry over into other areas of their lives, such as at home and school. 

Teaching kids yoga will help you grow as an instructor.

If you’ve worked with children in any other setting before, you may be aware of just how much children can help you grow. The same goes for teaching yoga, where you’re likely to learn more from your students than you could ever expect to.

Children’s yoga is one of the most fun and exciting challenges you could ever encounter throughout your teaching journey.   Yoga’s becoming more accessible to children in schools, studios, and gyms, providing abundant opportunities for you to grow your audience while positively impacting a future generation of leaders and teachers like you. 

The Difference Between Yin and Restorative Yoga

By Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga

Yin yoga and restorative yoga, while similar, are actually quite different.

Yin yoga is a style of yoga that focuses on stretching the connective tissues in order to lengthen them and help release built-up tension. The poses are held anywhere from two to seven minutes and work with the energy meridians in your body, plus increase flexibility, improve joint mobility, and release trauma in the body.

women doing difference between yin and restorative yogaRestorative yoga is more of a meditative practice that relies on blocks, straps, sandbags, bolsters, and blankets to create a passive release of mind and body. This style helps let go of deep tension in a passive way, without any active stretch or engagements in the body.

Both yin and restorative are slow-paced and focus on only a few different poses in each class. Both practices help calm the mind and nervous system and enable you to turn inward.

Yin yoga and restorative yoga are both gentle and appropriate for all levels of students, from total beginners to experienced practitioners to athletes and seniors or even people with injuries and movement limitations.

Many people think that these two types of yoga are interchangeable because of all the similarities they share. But that’s not really the case.

So, let’s look at the differences.

Differences Between Yin Yoga And Restorative Yoga

close up on hands knowing difference between yin and restorative yogaThese two practices of yoga are similar because they are slow, meditative, and focused on long posture holds. But they also have some key differences, such as:

  • There is an active stretch in yin yoga but in restorative yoga, the goal is to be totally supported by your props and with only passive movements or stretches.
  • In yin yoga, the focus is on stretching your connective tissues and the like, but in restorative yoga, the focus is on the release of any mind-body tension.
  • Both styles use props but in yin yoga, when props are used they are meant to either deepen or ease the stretch. In restorative yoga, props are used to completely support your body. Restorative yoga commonly uses more props than yin in each pose.
  • Restorative yoga poses are held for longer than yin yoga poses.

Who Should Practice Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is best for people looking to:

  • Increase flexibility
  • Keep joints healthy and mobile
  • Improve posture
  • Release trauma and emotions that become stored in the body

Who Should Practice Restorative Yoga?

Restorative yoga is best for:

  • Meditation
  • Stress release
  • Deep relaxation
  • Connecting with the breath
  • Creating a sense of safety in the mind and body
  • Reaching a state of mindful rest

Students should try both types of yoga to see which one best suits their needs, and might even decide to add both into a regular practice. If you want to learn more about yin yoga how it can have a healing and restorative impact on the body.

The Teaching, the Lesson, and the Breath

By Yoga Practice, Yoga Teachers

Within the practice of yoga there is a natural give and return. This principle is at its most obvious in the breath. We can breathe consciously. We can breathe unaware. We breathe, and we breathe, and we breathe, until we breathe no more. The efficacy of yoga lies in becoming aware of the breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. When we practice ujjayi breath, we hear the inhale as it passes though the airway, and into the lungs. We feel the inhale as it moves deeper, depressing the diagram, causing the abdomen to expand.

Why Breathing Is Important In Practice

When we exhale the breath, we feel the abdominals contract inward. We hear the exhalation in the inner ear as it passes through the throat and nostrils. Muscular engagement and release occur in tandem with the breath. In virabhadrasana I, for instance, we can tighten and relax muscles in coordination with the alternating breath cycle. On inhalation, we can create foundation, strength, and stability in the pose by tightening our back quad, and planting the back heel down firmly while straightening the knee joint. In exhalation, we can create openness and flexibility by allowing the hips to get weighty as the bend in the frontward leg is deepened. The principle of give and return can be found throughout the entirety of yoga, not only in asana, but in its philosophy, codes of conduct, and in the subtle practices of yogis that are direct descendants of its ancient lineages.

History Of Breathe In Yoga

In the beginning, there is the breath. Until the end, there is the breath. The underlying principle of yoga is the awareness of breath, an awareness that is practiced in the now. Compiled over 2000 years ago by the sage Patanjali, Raja Yoga, also known as the Yoga Sutras, lays out the entirety of yoga in short, succinct, seed words. The first of 126 sutras states, “atha yoganusasanam,” translated, “Now, the practice of yoga is explained.” The very first thing Patanjali teaches us of yoga is that it is a practice of the NOW. NOW explains the practice of yoga. This teaching is both simple and profound. NOW. NOW, we breathe. Awareness of the breath brings us into the now. Yoga teachers begin and end each asana within the breath because the poses are interchangeable, secondary to the primary practice of breathing. The lesson of breath is a life-long teaching. Through the breath, it does not matter what tradition is practiced, where it’s practiced, or with who. It is the breath alone that links the movement of the moment to the NOW.

Breating In Todays Yoga

Contemporary yoga lineages in non-Eastern countries are diverse, convergent, and ever evolving. In this era of globalization, technology makes it possible for practitioners of an array of disciplines and cultures to come together in collaboration, inspiring one another by sharing their practices. While some modern yoga styles may be unidentifiable to the sadhus and yogis of traditional Vedic lines, there is an undeniable unifying link between them: the giving of teaching, and the practice of learning the lesson. Just as the breath brings life-nourishing prana into the body, is must it be released after completion in order for a new cycle to begin. The role of teacher is bestowed only after the role of student has been fulfilled. Then the new teacher teaches, and another student begins their lessons.

An authentic teacher gives lessons from experience. A lesson is a scope of inward examination. Life lessons, and the teachings that deliver them, can only be received in an open vessel. In other words, true lessons are learned in an open mind, an open heart, and a humble soul. Lessons take place through honest introspection, a focus into the recesses of the self. We all have those parts of ourselves that are uncomfortable, tense, agitating… those restricted places usually left “off-limits” in day-to-day thoughts, but linger on as proverbial skeletons in the closet. Effective teaching gets to the point, and aims to the heart of the matter. A lesson learned releases arrant and excessive elements of the psyche, tight aspects of the self that have been withheld from view. The key to mastering any lesson, any teaching, lies in humility and acceptance. In the NOW, all things are present at once, both the beauty and the beast. The breath teaches us this. In virabhadrasana I, flexibility and tightness are linked simultaneously in our consciousness through the breath. At once, strength and weakness are experienced NOW, within the breath. NOW is the teaching. NOW is the lesson.

Continuing Your Practice

In concession, exploring the deep nature of the NOW, and the cycle of give and return, is at its easiest within the practice of yoga asana. The body is tangible, accessible, and immediate. For most newcomers to yoga, the body is the easiest aspect of the self to connect with. We feel the breath in the body. We have aches and pains in the body. We get the body to class, move the body, sweat the body, and feel the effects of effects of asana in the body.

With practice, and moderate advancement on the mat, a novice yogi usually becomes attracted to the philosophy and subtle elements of yoga. In these deeper studies, the student encounters dualities that will challenge the notions of the self that lie beyond the body. With the guidance of a teacher, the workings of the mind and ego will be revealed in a continual process of teaching and lessoning. And all the while, the presence of the breath is established as the connection to the NOW. A teaching with every inhale, a lesson in every exhale, breathe by breath, guided by the inner-eye of awareness.

childrens-yoga

Why You Should Get Your Children’s Yoga Certification

By Yoga For Kids, Yoga Teachers

childrens-yogaWhether you’ve been teaching for a while or you’ve recently graduated from yoga teacher training, you may be thinking about ways to broaden your teaching opportunities. One way to expand your yoga knowledge and business is to become a children’s yoga teacher.  We rounded up the top three reasons to add the certification to your yoga teaching toolbox.

Expand Your Yoga Knowledge

As a yoga teacher, you’ve built a vocabulary that allows you to teach specifically to a mature set of students. Your teaching style may include anatomy and Sanskrit to suit your adult student base.

As a certified children’s yoga teacher, you’ll learn new ways to teach catering to a much younger audience through your tone, vocabulary, and approach.  You’ll also gain insight into how kids think, act, and solve problems.  Learning to communicate with children in this way will also enhance your relationships with all of the kids in your life.

Have A Positive Effect on Children’s Lives

Whether you’re teaching  pre-school toddlers, or high school teenagers, the concept of yoga can be adapted to suit any age group.  In general, yoga for kids will help build their self-esteem, increase self-awareness, improve their health, and manage their emotions.  You’ll have such a positive impact on their lives.

We have the opportunity to create that for the future by offering young people an opportunity to be more creative and empowered. As their teacher, you can help children find their authentic voice, develop positive stress management skills, and build healthy relationships.

Expand Your Yoga Business

The demand for children’s yoga continues to go up and classes are being offered as part of day care and school programs.  If you’re looking to expand your yoga business, acquiring a children’s yoga teacher certification is an ideal way. Having the experience will allow you to teach kid’s classes in addition to adult classes, which doubles the amount of available classes for you.

man and woman doing yoga

3 Yoga Poses to Reset Your Body

By Wellness, Yoga Poses

I had a job once that required a one hour commute each way, with eight hours at a desk in between, five days per week. It was a lot of sitting. I wish I had yoga then! Excessive sitting, especially at a desk, in front of a computer, hyper-focused, and very possibly stressed, can result in a lot of discomfort and tension in our bodies. If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, try out these three yoga poses to reset your body and mind.

Poses To Reset Your Body

women doing reset your bodyWoman do yoga Downward Facing Dog pose inside of light cozy room through window seen green foliage trees summer landscape morning sun, adho mukha svanasana stronger hands strengthening back exercise[/caption]These postures are also foundational to a more comprehensive āsana practice and worth the extra attention. Practice them often to help counteract the toll sitting takes on your body. And remember to breathe deeply in each shape.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Śvānāsana)

While not a full inversion, like Supported Headstand (Sālamba Śīrṣāsana) for example, Downward Facing Dog reverses our innate upright way of being. This posture, wherein the head falls below the heart and the arms and shoulders begin to bear the body’s weight, literally switches up our perspective. The position of our heads in this pose permits only one point of focus: our feet. Our eyes can’t dart around the room, making us prone to all sorts of distractions. In this mild inversion, we’re more inclined to invert our focus as well, to catch a glimpse of the calm beneath the heavy cloud cover of our busy minds.

If set up properly, Downward Dog can actually release stiffness in the shoulders and upper back, which are common sites of stored tension. Begin on your hands and knees. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers. Lift your hips up, lower your chest towards your thighs, and relax your head completely, as if it were weighted. Align your torso and arms so your chest doesn’t dip below your shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades away from one another, engage your chest muscles, and roll your elbows down towards the floor. Notice how your collarbones broaden and the space in between your shoulder blades expands.

Low Lunge (Aṅjaneyāsana)

This is quite possibly my favorite yoga pose of all time. A pillar of Classical Sun Salutations (Sūrya Namaskar), Low Lunge is grounding, strength-building, and lengthens the iliopsoas muscle. The psoas starts in the Thoracic region of the spine (T-12), runs along the lumbar vertebrae, and connects to the top of the femur bone, or thigh bone. Because it links the legs and the torso, the psoas stabilizes the spine, which is important for balance and proper posture. However, this muscle contracts when we sit, and if we sit for long periods of time without movement or stretching, tension in this muscle can sometimes result in lower back pain.

With the knee of your back leg down, frame your front foot with your hands. Place them either on the ground, two yoga blocks, or whatever you have handy. Elevate the chest so the spine is straight and not curved. Now move your hands to the top of your front knee. Take a few deep breaths. Then, lift them overhead for the full expression of the pose. Notice how the position of your arms and torso in each variation changes the intensity of the stretch in your hip.

Garland Pose (Mālāsana)

Young sporty woman practicing yoga, doing Garland exercise, Malasana pose, working out, wearing sportswear, black pants and top, indoor full length, gray wall in yoga studioThis wide-legged, deep squat stretches the lower back and strengthens the legs. This āsana also opens the hips and exercises the muscles of the ankles and feet. It’s all together a very helpful pose for soothing tension in the lower back and improving posture, which can get thrown off from long hours of desk work.

For this pose, press the soles of your feet into the floor, and engage your lower legs and glutes. Place a prop of sorts underneath your seat, allowing gravity to lengthen your lumbar spine as you relinquish some of your weight to the support of your prop. Press your palms together at your chest. Position your elbows inside your legs, pressing them against your knees. Use this action as leverage to lift your collarbones, sitting taller. If it feels right, remove the prop and practice this pose with your seat hovering over the floor.

When practiced with focused awareness and proper form, yoga āsanas can bring our bodies back into alignment and help to relieve the aches associated with sedentary work. Begin and conclude this mini-flow either standing or seated, close your eyes softly, and take several long deep breaths. With each inhale fill your lungs a little bit more, and with each exhale relax your shoulders away from your ears, releasing tension and stress from your body