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7 Ways To Find More Joy In Your Life

By Wellness, Yoga LifestyleNo Comments

 

 

Finding joy and having a more positive outlook on life is something we all strive towards in our lives. Unfortunately due to life stresses, an ever increasing to do list, and a fast moving society this is difficult to achieve for many. Joy and happiness are traits that are essentially a choice we can make each day. By making the personal choice to choose joy each day, we can take back our own power and ultimately choose the direction of our lives. If we want to have more joy in our lives, we have to be intentional to create this. True lasting joy will never come from outside circumstances or factors but from within.

Here are 7 small steps that you can do to cultivate joy in your daily life starting today.

1. Cultivate Gratitude

Having an attitude of gratitude is the number one thing you can do each day to live a more positive lifestyle. Each day, when you wake up or before you go to bed, make a list of things that you are grateful for and think of why you are grateful for those things. Think about those things as you go about your day. Gratitude allows us to put our life into perspective and create a richer life experience for ourselves.

2. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

In a world where social media is a big part of our daily lives, it can be easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. By doing so, we take away our personal power and find ourselves wishing we had something that another person has. What we need to keep in mind is that what other people portray to the world, doesn’t include any of the suffering or challenges that person may be facing. Challenges and suffering is universal and a normal part of our human experience – none of us can escape it. Let go of any notions you have of what you think you need to be. Strive to only be the kind of person that you would be proud of, regardless of anyone else’s opinion. By doing so, you will find complete and utter freedom in your life.

3. Surround Yourself With Positive People

The old saying goes that you become the 5 people you surround yourself with most each day. Be mindful of your friends and people you interact with daily. Positive people will uplift you and encourage you to be the best you can be. They will also support you and inspire you. Negative people on the other hand, may encourage you to stray away from your personal joy and create negative energy in your life. Take stock of any negative people like this in our life, and make the choice to surround yourself with positive people instead.

4. Do One Thing You Love Each Day

Everyday we may have a list of things that we need to do to accomplish our goals. Sometimes, when making that list, we can omit doing things that truly give us joy. Make a list of things you love to do – this could be something like practicing yoga, writing in a journal, going for a walk, or spending time with a pet. Each day, include one thing from your list of things that you love to do in your daily to do list.


5. Give Back To Others

Giving back from the heart is the greatest gift we can give to others and to ourselves. When we give, it uplifts us and heals our souls. In turn, it helps the other person receiving whatever we give. Find ways to give back to others, whether its through volunteering or just helping a friend in need. Even if you don’t have money to give, just giving your time to others is enough to make a difference in someone else’s life.

6. Meditate Daily

Meditation is a vital part of living a more joyful and positive life. It allows us to get in touch with our inner selves and remove any noise from our minds. It keeps our heads clear and enables us to gain clarity in our lives. It gives us focus to achieve our goals. Meditation also helps us to be more mindful over our thoughts. By meditating, we can be more aware of negative thoughts that we might have and make the choice to turn those negative thoughts into positive ones. Set aside time each day for yourself to sit in stillness anywhere from 5-15 minutes a day

7. Reframe Challenges & Obstacles

We will never be free of challenges or stress because this is a part of our experience as humans. Challenges and stress help us to grow so that we can become a higher version of ourselves. As the old saying goes: “a ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships were built for.” Our difficulties help us grow, teach us to strive for more, and help to eliminate the trap of complacency.
Learn to reframe your challenges as an opportunity and instead of seeing how awful and hard it is – take time to reflect on how this situation is making you stronger and how you are growing from it.

5 Tips To Mastering Public Speaking In Your Yoga Classes

By Yoga TeachersNo Comments

 

 

 

Public speaking can be one of the most terrifying aspects of teaching yoga, but don’t fret! We’re here to provide you with some help getting in front of people and rocking a class! Speaking in public is a skill that can be learned, just like any other skill. Even if you are have an introverted personality, public speaking is a learnable skill. Read on to discover our 5 tips to mastering public speaking in your classes.

1. Preparation

Proper preparation prevents a poor performance as the old saying goes! Practice and preparation will help you overcome anxieties leading up to your class by helping you to build confidence in yourself. This is a great way to familiarize yourself so that you have a routine you can stick with. Many yoga teachers find structure and preparation integral to a successful class!

2. Pace your breath – pranayama

Teaching a class can be a marathon! But as a yogi, we all have a special appreciation for the power of breathing. And just like the runners that run marathons, pacing your breath is an important component of public speaking – it’s a great opportunity to use the power of pranayama to your benefit in a real life scenario.

3. Start strong

Another common public speaking tip that can be employed in a yoga class is to start strong. The opening of a class isn’t just important because it helps to set the tone and mood of the class experience, but also because it can hep you as a teacher build momentum into the rest of the class. Starting out on the wrong foot can sometimes flatten out your confidence. Put alot of thought on your class introduction and it will benefit you greatly for the rest of the class flow.

3. Work With-In Your Comfort Zone

Its good to push yourself and try to step out of your comfort zone as much as possible, but perhaps the class room isn’t the best place to try out new things. Practice, learn, and then bring your experience to the class room. Afterall, that’s what you’re sharing – experience and wisdom as a yoga teacher. If your experience is limited, the lesson may be as well.

4. Repeat Yourself When Appropriate

Depending on how much speaking you do in your class, you may be surprised by how much of your words the class may actually miss. If you have some powerful statements sprinkled into your dialogue, it can be helpful to repeat some of them to emphasize their value.

5. Give The Class A Takeaway

You should always try to give the audience something new that they learned. Try your best to be the one that can bring something new to them, otherwise your value starts to diminish little by little. Whether it’s a unique little phrase or saying, a new asana, sequence, or even a little piece of relevant history they can take away – bringing an educational component to the class helps to build value in your presentation.

 

 

 

50 Yoga Quotes to Inspire Your Practice

By Yoga, Yoga LifestyleNo Comments

 

 

 

The power of language can help to elevate us mentally, or emotionally and propel us between the gap of where we are and where we’re looking to go spiritually. There are many powerful quotes that can help build this bridge. Here, we’ve compiled a list of quotes for you to pull from – not just as a source of personal inspiration but also as a potential tool for you to utilize in the classroom as a yoga teacher.

 

  1. A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves. -Terri Guillemets 
  2. Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. -B.K.S. Iyengar 
  3. Meditation is a way for nourishing and blossoming the divinity within you. -Amit Ray 
  4. That’s why it’s called a practice. We have to practice a practice if it is to be of value. -Allan Lokos 
  5. Silence is not silent. Silence speaks. It speaks most eloquently. Silence is not still. Silence leads. It leads most perfectly. -Sri Chinmoy 
  6. Yoga does not always cure stress. It neutralizes it through increasing awareness and by changing self-perception. -Debasish Mridha 
  7. It isn’t arrogant or egotistical to feel good inside. You had nothing to do with it. It’s simply the honest response to clearly perceived reality. -Erich Schiffman 
  8. The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body. -Jason Crandell 
  9. Yoga begins right where I am – not where I was yesterday or where I long to be. -Linda Sparrow 
  10. Yoga is not a work-out, its a work-in – and this is the point of spiritual practice, to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are. -Rolf Gates 
  11. What yoga philosophy and all the great Buddhist teachings tells us is that solidity is a creation of the ordinary mind and that there never was anything permanent to begin with that we could hold on to. Life would be much easier and substantially less painful if we lived with the knowledge of impermanence as the only constant. -Donna Farhi 
  12. The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness. -Sakyong Mipham 
  13. The mind is everything. What you think, you become. -Buddha 
  14. There will always be people who can do it better than you, but thats a good thing! Start to see competition as inspiration – without envy. -Kathryn Budig 
  15. Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. -The Bhagavad Gita 
  16. Go from a human being doing yoga to a human being yoga. -Baron Baptiste
  17. Yoga is not about touching your toes, its about what you learn on the way down. -Jigar Gor 
  18. True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied. -Aadil Palkhivala 
  19. Yoga begins with listening. When we listen, we are giving space to what is. -Richard Freeman 
  20. Remember, it doesn’t matter how deep into a posture you go – what does matter is who you are when you get there. -Max Strom 
  21. When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. -Patanjali (Yoga Sutras) 
  22. Body is not stiff, mind is stiff. -Sri K. Jois 
  23. We have never arrived. We are in a constant state of becoming. -Bob Dylan 
  24. The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough. -Amy Weintraub 
  25. In truth, yoga doesn’t take time – it gives time. -Ganga White 
  26. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible. -Bob Harper 
  27. Have only love in your heart for others. The more you see the good in them, the more you will establish good in yourself. -T.K.V. Desikachar 
  28. Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements – Amit Ray 
  29. By our stumbling the world is perfected. -Sri Aurobindo 
  30. Yoga is about remembering that we are already one with the divinity and we’ve never left it. -Sri K. Jois 
  31. If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate. You breathe when you walk. You breathe when you stand. You breathe when you lie down. -Ajahn Amaro 
  32. Yoga is the bringing together of that which was never separate. -Richard Miller 
  33. When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. -Hatha Yoga Pradipik 
  34. If its weren’t for my mind, my meditate would be excellent -Ani Pema Chodron 
  35. Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny. -Upanishads 
  36. Before you’ve practiced, the theory is useless. After you’ve practiced, the theory is obvious. -David Williams 
  37. Peace comes from with-in, do not seek it without. -Anonymous 
  38. Remember that sometimes, not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. -Dalai Lama 
  39. The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind. -Rodney Yee 
  40. What I’m looking for is not out there; it is in me. -Helen Keller 
  41. You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. -Sharon Gannon 
  42. What we want out of yoga is ourselves, not something better than ourselves. -Douglas Brooks 
  43. The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind. -Rodney Yee 
  44. Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. -B.K.S. Iyengar 
  45. What yoga philosophy and all the great Buddhist teachings tells us is that solidity is a creation of the ordinary mind and that there never was anything permanent to begin with that we could hold on to. Life would be much easier and substantially less painful if we lived with the knowledge of impermanence as the only constant. -Donna Farhi 
  46. You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside –Wayne Dyer 
  47. When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world -B.K.S. Iyengar 
  48. If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? –Rumi 
  49. Yoga is the art work of awareness on the canvas of body, mind, and soul. –Amit Ray 
  50. Beyond meditation there is the experience of now. -Ryan Parenti

 

9 Great Health Benefits of Yoga

By Yoga, Yoga PracticeNo Comments

 

As yoga’s popularity rises, the health benefits of yoga have become widely understood and accepted throughout medical communities on a global scale. Doctors and scientists have found that yoga is a great cure all for everything from heart health to mind health and even sinus relief.

The more you understand about how yoga can help your students in different ways, the better you can create value for yourself as a yoga instructor. Understanding the health benefits of yoga is an important part of providing a fulfilling and rewarding service to your students. Below we help to break down 9 different health benefits of yoga.

1. Heart

The American Heart Association actually has a fairly thorough recommendation surrounding yoga and its health benefits on the heart. On their site, here they say that “yoga can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, improve respiratory function & heart rate, and boost circulation and muscle tone.” Yoga is a unique exercise because it combines deep breathing, physical exercise, and meditation. All of the these combined, help to reduce our stress levels ultimately helping our heart health to improve. The physical aspect of yoga helps also helps to strengthen our hearts.

2. Sleep

There’s a few different ways that yoga can have a positive impact on sleep. Physical exertion from a healthy yoga practice can help your body seek out rest. When we practice yoga and meditation, it lowers cortisol levels from stress in the body. This in turn, helps our sleep improve. Yoga and meditation helps to quiet the mind’s chatter, also helping us to sleep better. Another way yoga can help you get to sleep better is through breath practice. Breath is an important part of yoga, and as many experts have noted; slow breathing patterns can help to relax the body and help you get to sleep faster.

3. Relieve Back Pain

The “Annals of Internal Medicine” published results from a 3 year study that found a weekly yoga class helped to increase mobility more than traditional treatment for chronic or recurring back pain. There are many other studies with similar results published online – its fair to say that yoga can certainly be an effective method of relief for people suffering from back pain. Yoga helps to strengthen key muscle groups in the back and also stretch them at the same time. It also helps us to maintain proper posture to protect and strengthen our spines.

 

4. Muscle Tone

As you are putting yourself into different yoga poses, you are using your muscles to support the weight of your body. This is essentially doing body weight training to help tone and tighten our muscles. Power yoga or cardio type yoga classes that focus on high energy yoga poses really help to strengthen and target key muscle groups for toning up.

 

5. Flexibility

As your body becomes more flexible through yoga practice, that flexibility is actually leads to a list of other health benefits. More flexible muscles can help to prevent injuries and leads to better back health. As our muscles stretch, also help to provide better blood flow and more effective delivery of different nutrients to our tissues.

 

6. Respiratory

Before famous middle distance runner, Roger Bannister ran a mile in under 4 minutes, it was thought humanly impossible to accomplish it. After Roger Bannister did it, several other people shortly after were able to accomplish this incredible feat. How did Roger pave the way? With his breathing. Breath is an important part of exercise, and even more important part of yoga practice. Yoga promotes a heavy focus on breathing as a way to control the body and body. By enhancing our respiratory system, we begin to improve the the overall health of our bodies, including the brain, heart, and digestive systems.

7. Mind

More than ever we are learning how mental health and physical health are inseparably linked to one another. There is a compelling article here on newsweek that discusses how yoga can help several different mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD, and psychiatric disorders. Ultimately, yoga provides a multi prong approach to quieting the mind through meditation and breathing.


8. Sinus Relief

There’s a great breakdown in the Huffington Post that addresses how yoga can cure sinus pain. In the article, the author breaks down the many different contributing factors to their sinus pain relief such as how inverted poses can help to clear sinus blockage, deep breathing contributes to an increased flow of oxygen. It also explains how our sweat can help to reduce different toxins within the body and how the endorphins from exercise can help to alleviate pressure in our sinuses.

9. Immune System

One of the best health benefits of yoga is an over all boost to your immune system. As we discussed earlier, yoga can help to strengthen your respiratory system. Our white blood cells are critical in helping to fight off colds and other infections. When we work to improve our respiratory function, our blood flow also improves. The improved blood flow becomes a delivery mechanism for this important internal defense. Also, yoga can reduce mental stress which is widely known to reduce the effectiveness of our immune systems.

 

How To Sequence A Yoga Class For The Theme Ananda

By Yoga Practice, Yoga TeachersNo Comments

 

What Does Ananda Mean?

Ananda is a Sanskrit word that means ‘joy’ or ‘pure bliss’. Joy and bliss are two emotions that are our natural states of being. As children, we are born into this state; light, free, and blissfully joyful.

This yoga class theme helps us all to remember that natural state of being – of pure joy. When we align with this powerful feelings, we find more joyful things in our lives to celebrate. As we ignite ourselves with pure bliss, we are also naturally inclined to want to share that joy with others – by spreading our light and joy into the world through our interactions and choices.

As humans, we naturally experience a wide spectrum of emotions, including some that are the complete opposite of joy, like sadness. But in life, in order to truly appreciate pure joy; experiencing those contrasting emotions actually help us to appreciate the joy in our lives.

The joy that we create in our lives on a daily basis works as a guide to help bring us back to this way of being during times of darkness. And we choose to let it, that light of joy can overpower any sadness we may be feeling.

Through meditation and yoga practice, we can also choose to make joy a choice in our lives. As we experience different emotions, we can learn to become observers of our emotions and learn to be aware of them.

As our emotional awareness increases, we can find that we have the power within us to always choose our emotions, no matter the situation. All it takes is just a little bit of awareness of our choice and a shift in perception.

 
Class Theme Intro – Mantra Meditation

Begin the class by introducing the theme with a quote, related reading passage, or simply speaking a few sentences on the topic. Ask students to sit in Easy Pose and close their eyes. Instruct them to take a big inhale in, and imagine they are breathing in the word ‘Joy’. As they inhale, also ask them to bring a gentle smile to their faces. As they take a long exhale out, ask them to imagine that they are breathing out the word ‘Bliss’. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.

You could also choose to end the class with this mantra meditation practice or choose a related reading, or quote, to help seal your student’s practice in joy. You could also ask students to bring to mind 5-10 things that they feel joyful for in their lives. This could be experiences, loved ones, goals, past accomplishments, etc.

How To Sequence Poses For This Theme

When sequencing a class for this theme think of poses that inspire joy, bliss, and lightness. Playful poses, and power poses are great to sequence for this weekly theme. Poses such as the Warrior poses, Bow, or Dolphin are good examples of poses that help students to reignite their inner joy and playfulness.

Heart opening poses such as Camel, Cobra, or Upward Facing Dog are also good to include in this sequence. Heart opening poses help us to activate our heart centers so that we can reconnect with our joy.

 

19 Books Every Yoga Teacher Should Read

By Yoga Lifestyle, Yoga TeachersNo Comments

 

25 Books Every Yoga Teacher Should Read - Online Yoga Teacher Training Certification

1. The Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita is a classic ancient Indian story about a dialogue between Warrior Arjuna and his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna. As Arjuna sets off into battle, he begins to seek answers about important questions about life from Sri Krishna.

19 Books Every Yoga Teacher Should Read Bhagavad Gita

 

2. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Patanjali

This classic book, written over 4,000 thousand years ago, is one of the most important texts on yoga philosophy today. The Sutras detail ancient yogic philosophy on every day life, ethics, meditation, and spirituality.

 



3. The Upanishads

The Upanishads is another important and revered ancient text about yogic wisdom and philosophy. Enlightened sages share wisdom about consciousness, spirituality, and a deeper look into the relationship between the Self and the Divine.

 

4. Perfectly Imperfect: The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice by Baron Baptiste


This book by Baron Baptiste, helps yoga practitioners learn important fundamental lessons about yoga. It helps readers understand the true trans-formative aspect of yoga and go beyond what their imagined idea of a “perfect yogi” is. It also hits on points about flowing, dealing with life’s challenges, intuition, and being open to the spiritual and emotional growth that yoga can create for us.

 

5. Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews

Written by internally recognized experts on Yoga Anatomy, this book is a great reference for yoga practitioners and teachers. It gives readers an understanding of the structures and anatomy of the body. It also explains how anatomy relates to different key yoga poses.

 

6. The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga by Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith

An excellent guide for yoga teachers that details all the different aspects of running a yoga business today. It includes, business basics, marketing, social media marketing, communication, finding new opportunities, and how to run a successful yoga business.

 

 

7. Teaching Yoga: Essential Techniques and Foundations by Mark Stephens

This book is filled with vital topics including yoga philosophy and history, styles of yoga, tools and techniques for teaching, 108 poses, breathing techniques, and class sequencing basics. It’s a great book for new and old teachers, or just practitioners looking to deepen their knowledge.

 

 

8. Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar

B.K.S. Iyengar’s book touches on the emotional and spiritual development of yoga. This book is filled with wisdom and stories from his own personal life to reveal the important treasures that yoga helps us to develop internally. It also touches on how yoga helps us to overcome our challenges in life and also leads us on a journey to a deeper sense of wholeness.

9. 21,000 Asanas by Daniel Larceda
One of the most complete books on yoga poses, this book illustrates beautiful photographs and probably every single yoga pose that exists. The book is organized into sections of types of poses including seated, standing, backbends, inversions, and more. It also details modifications, a brief description for each pose, and spiritual associations for the poses.

 

 

10. Meditations From The Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison

This book includes 365 daily reflections as a way to take yoga practice off the mat and into the world. This book really helps to support every yogi in their personal yoga journey through its daily teachings.

 

 

11. The Mindful Brain by Daniel Siegel

Written by internationally acclaimed best seller, Daniel Siegel, this book helps to connect science with mindfulness. It details how mindfulness helps our physical bodies, our overall health, emotional health, and also mental health. It teaches how we can use a more focused mind to improve all areas of our lives.

12. Yoga Therapy Mark Stephens

 

This book explains how yoga practices can be used to heal a number of common ailments and injuries. Using ancient yoga, Ayurveda and modern medical research, Mark Stephens offers a lot of practical tips that any yoga teacher can use to further their
yoga teaching.


13. The Complete Guide To Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark

The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical PracticeThis book offers a detailed look at the practice and philosophy of Yin Yoga. It includes practical techniques, 30 Yin Yoga poses, anatomy, and more. Another must have for yoga teachers looking to deepen their yoga knowledge.

 

14. The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele

A great resource for yoga teachers, this book is a modern look at the ancient Yamas and Niymas of the eight-fold path of the Yoga Sutras. It even offers a self-study section after each chapter that teachers can use for philosophy discussions in their classes.

 


15.
The Key Muscles of Yoga by Ray Long

This colorful book offers three-dimensional images of yoga poses to detail the different muscles, tendons, bones, and tissues used in each pose. Each illustration also includes detailed descriptions of the anatomy behind each pose. A great visual and educational guide for teachers looking to deepen their anatomy knowledge.

 

16. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal PracticeIn this book, yogi Desikachar offers his own practical outlooks on yoga poses, breathing, meditation, and philosophy. His book gives us a way to view ancient yoga practices in a way that we can relate to in modern day. It’s a great book that truly gets to the heart of what yoga is all about.

 

17. Ayurveda by Sahara Rose Ketabi

A great book that goes over all the different aspects of Ayurveda including the history, philosophy, and Doshas. The author explains what the ancient practice is, how to use it today, food choices, diet, and lifestyle choices. It also includes healthy recipes and yoga poses for Ayurveda healing.

 

18. The Path Of The Urban Yogi By Darren Main

This wonderfully modern book details how we can use yoga to change the way we perceive our experiences and relationships. It helps us all be able to find ways to integrate yoga into a busy Western world. It is filled with humor and wise teachings that any yogi can apply to their daily life.

 

19. The Heart of Meditation by the Dalai Lama

In this book written by His Holiness, we learn about what is truly at the heart of meditation – Compassion. A great edition to a spiritual practice, this book helps to outline how to cultivate and practice more love, kindness, and respect for others.

 

11 Qualities Of A Great Yoga Teacher

By Yoga TeachersNo Comments

11 Qualities Of A Great Yoga Teacher

“Great” can be a subjective term to many people, but in the world of yoga, there are certainly common qualities that make some teachers stand out from others. Every yoga teacher is going to be different with their own qualities that make them unique. In this blog post, we will be going over 11 qualities that make yoga teachers unforgettable in a positive way.

1. Authentic
Great yoga teachers are always authentic in their teaching. This means not striving for perfection or trying to be someone that you are not. We’re not perfect human beings as yoga teachers, so it’s okay to make mistakes from time to time. The more you show up as your authentic self, the more you’ll be able to connect better with your students and create a following with them.

2. Be Present
Great yoga teachers always teach to who is in front of them and stay present when offering guidance and cues. This means sometimes having to stray away from a lesson plan that you might have created, if you see that it’s not working for who is currently in your class. Leading classes requires a degree of flexibility and sometimes you may need to change up your sequence or offer more guidance on a certain pose if you see that your students need more help with something. By staying present, you can be aware of these things and be able to adapt more quickly in your teachings.

3. Communication
Communicating with your students is one of the most important skills you will need as a yoga teacher. Communication will be your key to connecting with your students. As teachers, we are often guiding students in our classes through our verbal teachings cues. It’s important to be fully educated on teaching cues and how to communicate these to your students in a way that is clear and that they understand.

4. Flexible
A good yoga teacher is prepared but is always flexible in their teaching style and sequences to cater to students of different levels. Thinking outside of the box in your classes can help to bring flexibility and creativity to your sequences. If you find that your students are not responding well to the way you sequenced Dancer pose for example, you could take the time to break this pose down and demonstrate how to do this with some prop variations. It might throw off your pre-planned class sequence but your students will definitely appreciate you being flexible in order to cater to their needs.

5. Personable
Being personable, warm, open, and inviting will help your students to connect with you. From a business perspective, it will also help you build your class audiences. Teachers who are warm and always smiling make their students feel welcome and safe in class. Stay later after your classes are over to be there for your students if they have any questions for you. Another great tip is to remember your student’s names. This will make a big impression on your students and will keep them coming back to your classes.

6. Prepared
A great teacher is always prepared for class by creating lesson plans in advance and rehearsing teaching cues before classes. It’s also a good idea to prepare what your class themes will be, peak poses, how you’ll be ending your classes, etc. Being prepared will lead to your success as a yoga teacher. Your students will also appreciate you being prepared as it will create a better class experience for them. Also to be prepared, you should always arrive early to class to help set up the room if needed.

7. Honesty
Honesty is vital to being an excellent yoga teacher. Honesty means being true to yourself and to your students. If there is ever anything you don’t know, be honest with your students and let them know that you don’t know the answer to their question. It’s okay to admit that we don’t know everything as yoga teachers.

8. No Ego
Checking your ego at the door is important as a yoga teacher. Even if you might know more than your students, always be humble and kind when offering adjustments or yoga tips. Also, keep in mind even as a teacher, you’ll always be a student first and have something to learn. Sometimes our best teachers can be our own students. The more we can remove ourselves from our own egos, the better we can be open to learning new ideas that can help us to grow.

9. Inspiring
A great teacher knows how to inspire and empower their students to evolve and grow in their practice. This could be from offering inspiring stories, quotes, or inspiring sequences. Always be on the lookout for inspiring ideas or quotes that you could weave into your classes. Help your students grow in their own personal practice by encouraging them to explore how poses feel in their own bodies versus how the pose looks on everyone else. Going above and beyond in class preparation to make your classes inspiring will help you be a successful teacher.

10. Passionate
Having a love of yoga and being truly passionate about it will show in your classes and to your students. Always be learning as a teacher whether it’s from reading books, attending classes with other teachers, or workshops. Your passion and knowledge will show in your teachings and will draw students to your classes.

11. Share Knowledge
Sharing knowledge is such an important role for yoga teachers. Sometimes it could be when you’re explaining the importance of a pose and its benefits. Other times it could be answering questions for your students after class. Remember that your gift is sharing the beautiful practice of yoga with your students. Share your knowledge with others and inspire them in their own practice.

How To Do Chaturanga: 3 Tips To Mastering The Pose

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Chaturanga is an integral pose in any yoga sequence – often done several times in a class. It can also be one of the most challenging yoga poses to master. It is important to learn how to properly do this pose because doing this pose incorrectly over and over again can create serious shoulder and wrist issues. Chaturanga is a combination of arm, core, upper back, and wrist strength so building strength in these body parts are key. Building strength in these areas will help to create optimal alignment for the pose.

The best way to practice is by starting off with a modified half Chaturanga on the knees. This pose is done with the exact same alignment principles as Chaturanga – the only difference is that it is done with the knees on the ground. Everything else; the core, shoulders, arms, upper back, and hands should be fully engaged as in the full expression of the pose.


How To Do Chaturanga

1. Start in plank pose with your wrists directly under your shoulders. If this is too much for you, you can come down to the knees and do a modified half Chaturanga.
2. Engage the leg muscles and core muscles.
3. Begin to roll forward slightly on the toes – this will help to bring the arms down to a 90-degree angle.
4. Keep the elbows hugged into the body and ribs. Begin to lower the body down slowly.
5. Keep the upper shoulder and back muscles engaged to keep the chest from collapsing down towards the mat.
6. Bring the arms perpendicular to a 90-degree angle so that the elbows are pointed back towards the feet.
7. Pause and slowly come down to the mat with control.

3 Tips To Mastering Chaturanga

1. Engage The Upper Back Muscles

Chaturanga requires that our upper back muscles are engaged to help support the upper body from collapsing down. To work on strengthening your upper back muscles, you can do push ups or practice Dolphin pose. Dolphin pose helps to target and strengthen muscles in our shoulders and upper back.

2. Squeeze The Elbows In

Squeeze in or hug your elbows into your ribs. This will support your arms and activate different muscles in your arms, for example your triceps and biceps, for more precision and control.

3. Use The Core

Your core will help to support your spine and protect your upper body from collapsing down. Keep the core tight and engaged when doing Chaturanga. To practice strengthening your core muscles, you can hold plank for 30 seconds to a 1 minute or practice Boat pose several times.

5 Yoga Poses For Core Strength

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Core focused sequences are often a favorite among yoga students because of the universal desire to have a flat and toned tummy. But strengthening the core has many health benefits too. The core is a central part in our body that helps to stabilize us and keep us balanced in our yoga practice. The teaching cue, ‘activate the core’ is used in virtually every balance pose. Keeping the core strong is also a good way to improve your yoga practice because it will help with your alignment and prevent injuries to your lower back. Strengthening the core also helps us in poses such as Chatarunga because it takes pressure off our shoulders and wrists.

Read on to learn 5 core focused yoga poses you can incorporate into your practice today!

1. Balancing Table

Balancing Table is a great core and balancing pose. Repeat up to 20 times for each side to activate your core.

To begin, start in a table top position. Engage the core to keep you balanced. Extend your left leg back, flexing the toes down. At the same time, extend the right arm forward. Keep a straight line through the arm, spine, and back extended leg. Hold for a breath before switching to the opposite leg and arm.

2. Boat

Boat is another good core focused pose that also helps us to improve our balance. Try to challenge yourself by holding this pose for longer periods of time – anywhere between 20 to 40 seconds or longer depending on your strength level.

Begin in a seated position with your knees bent in front of you. Engage your core muscles and begin to tilt back slightly. Grab on to the backs of your thighs and begin to lift the legs up so that the shins become close to being parallel to the mat. For beginners, keep your hands on the back of your thighs or on the mat behind you. To advance the pose, you can try to bring your arms directly in front of you so that they are parallel to the mat.


3. Side Plank

Side Plank helps us to strengthen our side obliques, another important part of our core. Try to stay in Side Plank for 20 seconds on each side or longer.

Begin in plank pose. Lift your left arm up towards the sky. Stack the feet or place the left foot directly in front of the right foot. If this is too much for you, come down on the right knee. Stack the shoulders and keep the neck in line with your head. Engage the core muscles and pull your obliques up towards the sky. Hold and switch sides.

4. Dolphin

Dolphin helps to strengthen our core and also our upper backs. Aim to hold this pose for 30 seconds or longer. Repeat several times.

Begin in a table top position. Lower your forearms to the mat so that they become flat and parallel to each other. Option to bring palms face down on the mat or clasp them together. Engage the core and the quads. Tuck the toes and begin to peel the hips up towards the ceiling, reaching up through the tailbone. Straighten the legs and press the heels towards the ground. Keep the spine long and broaden across the shoulder blades.

5. Plank

Plank isn’t known as a yoga pose but it is the beginning of the common Chaturanga pose. It is a great way to strengthen not only the core, but also our legs, upper back, and shoulders. Challenge yourself to stay in Plank for 30 seconds to a full minute at a time.

Start in a table top position with shoulders directly over the wrists. Extend your legs out straight so that you come up on the balls of your feet. Engage the quads and core muscles. Option to come down onto your forearms, if this is too much for your wrists. Keep the neck soft and the spine elongated.


7 Yoga Poses For Stress Relief

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Stress is something we all deal with on a daily basis especially in today’s fast paced world. Fortunately, there are a number of tools we can use to combat stress including yoga. Yoga relieves stress by improving the quality of our breath, calming our central nervous system, improving our mood, and also releasing tension in our muscles.

All yoga poses overall can reduce stress but certain specific poses have an amazing ability to significantly relieve stress almost instantly. Stress causes low energy in the body so it’s important to take it easy. Avoid high energy poses and focus more on grounding and restorative poses.

For even added stress relief, you can hold yoga poses for longer periods of time.

Here are 7 poses to help reduce your stress levels – please feel free to incorporate these poses into your lesson plans where it may help others.

1. Child


This restorative pose relieves sore and achy back muscles. It also helps to stretch the lower and upper back muscles.

Begin in a table top position, with your arms reaching out straight in front of you or by your sides. Sink your hips back towards your heels. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, and repeat as many times as needed to fully relax and stretch the lower back.

 

2. Easy


Easy pose helps to ground us and relax the body. Adding meditation or mantras are another great way to enhance this pose for relaxation. Breathing exercises or pranayama can also be practiced in Easy for stress relief.

To begin, sit upright and cross the legs comfortably. Root down into the sit bones evenly and lengthen up through the crown of the head. Keep the eyes open or closed and simply focus on your breathing. Stay in Easy for several breaths or for a few minutes.

3. Supine Twist



Twists are a great way to detox the body and relieve tension in our muscles. Because we are lying down on our backs in this particular twists, it creates an even deeper sense of relaxation in the body.

 


To begin, lie down on your back. Draw the knees into your chest and allow them to gently fall over the right side. Keep your shoulders pressed to the mat as you allow your head to gaze in the opposite direction as your knees. Stay here for several breaths before releasing. Switch sides.

4. Standing Forward Fold


Fold poses in yoga naturally help us to relax because it creates a sense of surrendering and peace in the body. Standing Forward Fold allows helps us relax by bringing more blood flow to our brains and stretching out tight muscles in the legs.

To begin, stand in Mountain. Begin to hinge forward at the hips and allow the fingers to reach towards the ground. Keep the knees slightly bent or straighten them. Let the head and neck be soft and keep length in the spine. Hold for several breaths before slowly releasing back up.

5. Wide Legged Forward Fold


Wide Legged Forward Fold is another great fold that helps to create a sense of peace and surrender in the body. It also helps to stretch the hips and legs, releasing tension in those muscles.

To begin, step the feet out wide about 3 to 5 feet apart. Bring your hands to your hips and begin to hinge forward at the hips. Allow the hands to reach for the ground, a block, your shins, ankles, or toes. Stay here for several breaths before slowly releasing back up.

6. Pigeon

Pigeon is an amazing pose for stress relief because it helps to ground ourselves and also deeply stretches tight hips.

To begin, start in Downward Facing Dog or a table-top position. Bring the right foot in and place it down on the mat behind the right wrist. Extend the left leg back on the mat with the top of the left foot resting on the mat. Stay here or to deepen the pose, begin to fold towards the mat keeping the spine lengthened. Hold for several deep breaths before slowly releasing back up. Switch sides.

7. Savasana


Savasana is the ultimate relaxation pose. Adding pillows, blankets, and aromatherapy are some great ways you can enhance Savasana for added stress relief benefits. You can also do Savasana for longer periods of time, for example up to 20-30 minutes to really relax your mind and body.

To begin, lie down on your back with your arms comfortably by your sides. Let the feet relax comfortably and close the eyes. Focus on your breathing and enjoy the stillness.