• Posted on December 12th, 2012 YogaGlo No comments

    Ask a Yogi

    You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list.

    Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    One piece of advice for aspiring yoga teachers?

    • Elena Brower: Get coached. Write down your aim/vision for your work, where and how you’ll share it, and be specific. Live into it by teaching as much as you can, so you can refine how you offer your voice, your listening and your presence.
    • Kathryn Budig: Remember it takes time to find your voice as a teacher and the best way to get better is to keep teaching! Everything is lined up and be patient.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: If you want to be really good at what you do forget about how well you do or what other people think or how it will be interpreted and share what you love. Everything else will come. When you love something you will continue to study and practice and with that you will learn and grow far beyond what you thought you could.
    • Steven Espinosa: There are so many. But if I have to choose one I would say this: Do It Because You Love It! I read a quote from someone once who said “Teaching yoga is the hardest work you will ever love.” And it is true. Okay, I’m going to sneak one more in here because I think it’s important. Teach the same way for 2 people as you would for 52. Meaning, don’t worry about the numbers. Teach from your heart and the rest will follow (students, money, etc.). And when in doubt, refer back to answer #1.
    • Marc Holzman: Stay humble. You are there to serve the students and the Yoga. If you remember you are always there to serve, you can never fundamentally mess up. Ever.
    • Amy Ippoliti: Remember that as a yoga teacher in the 21st Century, you are not just sharing your hobby with your students, you are a yoga professional. Remember to treat your yoga teaching as such. Own that and both your teaching and learning as a student will excel!
    • Tara Judelle: Never stop being a student of life. Know why you are teaching. At the beginning teach as much as possible in as many different arenas as possible (like a doctor’s residency). Allow time off for you. Nourish yourself. Don’t take it personally.  They are not “your students”, just students of yoga. It’s not about you.
    • Noah Mazé: If you are called to teach yoga, that is a wonderful thing! Nurture that excitement, and turn it into the dedication and commitment necessary to maintain your practices and pursue and a thorough education and training path. There are only more and more opportunities for trainings, both in person and online. The yoga tradition is like a river, vast and wide, and there is much to consider and study as you navigate your way forward with your preferences, interests and voice.
    • Christina Sell: When I first started teaching my teacher at the time gave me two pieces of advice that I pass on to new teachers: 1) Do not teach poses that you can not do and 2) Make sure you have a relationship with a senior teacher who can answer your questions.  The longer you teach and the more experienced you become the first guideline changes a bit and you will  teach poses you cannot do, but I think the second one never changes. I think it is very important to establish ourselves as students first and teachers second. In this way we stay close to the seat of the student and the humility and hard work required to learn a subject well and we maintain a connection to the passion for excellence that lives in the heart of all good teachers.
    • Stephanie Snyder: Have a secondary source of income in the beginning so you can enjoy the service of teaching wether there are 2 or 200 people on your class. This will give you space to grow the roots of the pleasure of teaching and those roots will sustain you for a very long time once established. Also be sure to continually educate and re-educate yourself by staying closely connected to a teacher. Most of all, enjoy the process of teaching as part of your practice.
    • Jo Tastula: When you first start teaching your own practice can fall by the wayside. Even though it feels like you are practicing while you’re teaching, you’re really not! So my advice is put aside time for your practice that is non negotiable. Then your teaching will be grounded with a strong foundation of fundamentals.
    • Harshada Wagner: I have 2 pieces: It’s very important to see what you’re doing in the wider context of history. These days, people become yoga teachers by signing up for a 200 hour training and getting certified by an agency. Traditionally, to teach yoga, one would have to have mastered yoga, which was something much greater than a skill or fitness system. It took decades and lots of trials. These days you have to seek out the trials. You have to weave in that deeper part, the deeper inner seasoning. Few TT’s  include any of that. They may have you study the sutras but they cannot require ten years of wandering. Hone yourself deeply. See your training process as a long road. Maybe you’ve already walked one. But whatever you do, try to honor the vocation of teaching yoga. Traditionally, the yoga teacher was not a fitness coach, or a dance instructor. The yoga teacher was the local shaman, the mystic, the traditional healer. Try to carry some of that into your process of teaching and training.

    Ask a Yogi

     


  • Posted on December 5th, 2012 YogaGlo 2 comments

    Ask a Yogi

    You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list.

    Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    Besides yoga, what other forms of exercise do you enjoy participating in regularly? How does that inform your yoga & vice versa?

    • Elena Brower: As a New Yorker I walk a lot and love it. I jump on a mini-trampoline a few times a week, and I love practicing Kundalini meditations and Kriyas.
    • Kathryn Budig: I enjoy running a few times a week, hiking, bike rides with my dogs and skydiving. I love to be outside and breathe. It’s all a reminder to be in the present moment and soak in the beauty that we often miss right in front of us.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: I grew up running & playing tennis competitively and doing ballet for about 10 years so I have those in my blood and the athleticism inspires a lot of my teaching and is why I specialize a lot in athletes. Nowadays yoga is my life so I don’t do anything regularly but I still like to play tennis from time to time and every once in a while can be caught running in central park now that I’m back in NYC.
    • Steven Espinosa: I like playing basketball. I used to play a lot as a teenager. So for me it’s fun to just run and jump and shoot and bounce a ball around without a care in the world. Which also helps me to remember not to take life so seriously all the time. Which, in turn, helps me to remember not to take the yoga so seriously and forget that it is meant to be fun, too!
    • Marc Holzman: Hiking, light weights at the gym, fast walking on the treadmill (on an incline) … and I ride my bike everywhere in Paris twelve months out of the year (brrrrr!) My yoga practice has become so much stronger as a result. Even with hot power yoga classes, I wasn’t hitting the cardio in a way that I really needed. It was my acupuncturist who advised me to get my ass off the mat every so often and go outside in the fresh air and run around. She was absolutely right. So the downside is that my hamstrings are tighter …  this just means it takes me a little longer to meet Mr. Hanuman. But he’s worth the extra effort! And vice-versa: there is no doubt that my disciplined meditation practice is what keeps me on the treadmill a little longer without wanting to pull my hair out. Say YES to mixin’ it up.
    • Amy Ippoliti: Other forms of exercise – YES!  I love to ride my road bike up mountains and into the canyons around my house. I love swimming, functional fitness, hiking, boogie boarding, skate skiing, and stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Doing other exercise has totally helped my practice and made me stronger increased my flexibility. I will admit that road biking makes me stronger but does limit my flexibility in back bends. But it is worth it to be outdoors and on the bike as much as I am!
    • Tara Judelle: As much as possible these days I am looking for other forms of movement to inform my body and my practice.  Lately I have been obsessed with African Dance and Nia dance. Walking in nature and swimming in the ocean keep it real for me. I am adding Tai Chi and Chi Gong to the routine because I am interested in sourcing energy more authentically and finding the overlaps between systems and asana practice. The greatest way to keep the brain supple is to keep switching up movement, so the body plan doesn’t get stuck in a singular vocabulary.
    • Noah-Mazé: Yoga is it for me. Although I go through waves with this. The past few years I have pursued road cycling. This year, I have hardly been on the bike, and have spent a lot more time on the mat.  Additionally I am an avid outdoor recreationalist.  Hiking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, skiing whitewater rafting and kayaking etc. Yoga is about the only form of ‘exercise’ that I do inside. Does playing with the kids count as exercise?–cause I do a lot of that!
    • Christina Sell: Yoga asana is my primary form or exercise. I also love to swim, to ride a bike, to whitewater kayak, to hike and to take long walks. In general, yoga helps with sports more than sports help with yoga. I am stronger by nature than I am flexible  so when I go swimming or boating a lot my shoulders get tighter, when I go biking a lot my thighs and psoas get restricted and when I go hiking and walking a lot, I notice my hips are less open. So when I am doing those activities I have to spend a lot of time “undoing” them in order to make progress in yoga. The more sports I do, the more I need to add in time for flexibility work (and for bodywork). I also remember that most of life happens off the yoga mat and I don’t want to live without having fun times in nature and enjoying myself in these ways and so I keep in mind that  a little muscle tightness is not the end of the world.
    • Stephanie Snyder: I loathe exercise! I do go for a run once a year just to make sure I still hate it. How does that inform your yoga & vice versa? This means that my yoga is restorative some days and rigorous other days so that I can get what I need on all levels.
    • Jo Tastula: I go through phases, but at the moment my main form of exercise besides yoga is walking. Lots of hiking in the Santa Monica mountains and the challenging but effective soft sand shuffle down at Venice beach. I like to get in at least an hour or two a day. Mostly, I enjoy getting outdoors and plugging back into nature. It’s through observing the natural world that we are able to better understand our own wild nature.
    • Harshada Wagner: I like to ride my motorcycle. It is not exercise. Not much. But it’s a perfect compliment to my meditation practice and after hours on the motorcycle, you really need a good asana practice.

    Ask a Yogi


  • Posted on November 28th, 2012 YogaGlo 3 comments

    Ask a Yogi

    You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list.

    Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    Many yoga students (beginners & long-time yoga practitioners) are intimidated by “difficult” poses and feel inferior about not being able to do them – what insight/advice do you have for students who feel this way?

    • Elena Brower: Do what you can, go where you can go, and breathe THERE. That’s advanced practice.
    • Kathryn Budig: That there is a support group for that:) Everything is as difficult as you think it is. Drop your ego because it will just get you into trouble and/or depress you. All difficult poses take work and time so be willing to dedicate yourself to both. Just recognize that balancing handstand in the middle of the room won’t make you a better person.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: If you’re interested in doing more advanced poses you have to first understand whats happening in the post/how to do it then you have to follow the steps to get there. Each pose has a series of steps to get there and you have to be patient enough to just stay with it where ever you’re at. When you’re able to be patent enough with yourself to just surrender to the process then when you’re ready the pose will come and the understanding and patience it required along the way will help you get past the mental roadblocks like fear and doubt as well. When we allow ourselves to be immersed in the process we find the patience we need to get stronger so that the effortlessness follows. It’s the same in our lives. When we patiently stand for what we believe, the journey unveils itself and the freedom comes.
    • Steven Espinosa: It all depends on the individual. I think the most basic poses can be incredibly challenging sometimes. But if “difficult” means advanced asanas then my advise would be this: Put Safety First. I know that may sound like a wimpy answer. But I cannot tell you how many times I have injured myself trying an advanced posture just because everyone else was doing it. We are all at different stages in our yoga practice. Enjoy where you are at and let your body and your heart guide you and tell you when the time is right to try a more difficult pose.
    • Marc Holzman: A pose is just that …  a pose. It’s rather innocent, but we imbue it with so much power. Poor little pose!!  What we project onto it, however, is what needs to be investigated. A one-arm handstand is no different than any other situation out of the yoga studio that gives us an inferiority complex. Don’t blame the pose ~ meet it with gentleness and play. It’s not the enemy. Dance with it. Laugh at it. Let it go.
    • Amy Ippoliti: Advanced poses require ALL of YOU. You must have stamina (be “in shape” enough to hold the pose), the proper flexibility and even emotional and mental state to achieve difficult poses. I’ve learned, through tears and melancholy that feeling inferior when I could not get a pose is essentially a waste of time!  Instead of being hard on yourself, if you want the pose that badly, be patient as you systematically strengthen the areas needed to reach the pose over time. Perhaps simply attempting the pose regularly in your practice gets you there. It could be that changing your belief about yourself or telling a different story about your physical ability is what gets you there. Perhaps lifting weights or doing squats (gasp!) helps you get there! Perhaps you’ll never get there, but the process of trying teaches you about yourself – how cool is that?  And hey – you can always do difficult poses in your dream world. Have you every tried it?  It’s like the real thing! If all else fails have a sense of humor and laugh at it all.
    • Tara Judelle: You will hear yoga teachers say this so often that it may cease to make an impact. The poses are just metaphors that exist to sustain your body and to teach cultivate discipline. The real yoga, is not about difficult asanas. Asana evolved out of a desire for a deeper experience of the Self. In a previous career, I wrote and directed an independent feature film. It took 5 years. During filming the set burned down, I lost a lot of people’s money. That was a hard pose. The poses, and how we respond to them are great teachers for enduring life’s hardships. So it’s not about the pose, the pose is just a destination point. I feel intimidated by Felix Baumgarten’s jump from 27 miles above earth. I don’t know if I will ever do that- but I can see it is a matter of wanting it.  And in some ways, who cares about the difficult poses. The biggest practice is deciding either, A) I want this and I will do everything possible to achieve it or B) I admire that someone can do that, and I choose to practice breathing through where I am at. Both are high yoga.
    • Noah-Mazé: ”Difficult” is relative to the context of who is doing the pose. There are difficult poses for ALL of us. There are poses for ALL of us that we struggle with, fall out of and cannot do. So the first thing I would say, if you feel this way, is that you are not alone.  –You are in very good company. Yoga is progressive, and the more you can do and experience, the more the path stretches out in front of you. You are never finished. Cultivate a state of learning, growth and evolution, and that will carry you through the times of discouragement.
    • Christina Sell: Well, first of all, we have to have the right attitude to deal with this phenomenon. Yoga has an amazing capacity to teach us through  the energy of opposition and the path of direct experience. For instance, how will we learn patience if we never get stuck in a traffic jam? How will we learn confidence if we never overcome insecurity? How will we learn courage if we are never afraid?  And in the case of feeling inferior about our abilities in asana, how will we ever learn how to accept ourselves unconditionally if we never work through our own self-criticisms, self-judgements and feelings of inferiority? If you find this kind of negative self-talk surfacing while you practice, the first thing to tell yourself is that it is a self-love learning opportunity, not a mistake or a shortcoming that you feel this way.  Negative comparison is very normal  so you do not need to beat yourself up when you notice you are in that pattern. That is first. Accept the fact you are in a negative pattern AND be nice to yourself about it. However, just because something is normal does not mean it is comfortable or enjoyable so shifting the pattern can happen when we befriend ourselves in the moment rather than add fuel to the negative fire. And the truth is that while teachers and friends can help us turn this negativity around, no one can actually do it for us. Just like we have to do the asana ourselves to get stronger and more flexible, we have to assert our deeper understandings in the face of our negative patterns and challenges. Intellectually, we all know that we can only do what we can do and that yoga is about more than being flexible or strong. I think most intelligent adults also know that physical prowess is not the same thing as spiritual depth. I say this because even though most of us know these things intellectually, it is easy to get “hooked” into negative thinking and feeling even when we know better. For me, the whole practice is about seeing those negative thoughts and feelings for what they are and intervening on my own behalf. It sounds a little corny but I have a lot of imaginary conversations and pep talks with myself that go like this: “You are doing great” and “All yoga asks you to do is your best” or “Yoga is an inside job” and so on. It is not a magic pill and I suppose that is my point, there is no easy way through the things that are hard. Self-love and self-acceptance takes practice just like all those advanced yoga postures and all we can do is our best.
    • Stephanie Snyder: The only beginner or advanced aspect of the practice that matters is attitude. Attitudes of competition, aggression, grasping, etc are all considered beginner (immature) attitudes. So the shape of the pose, the level of the variation of the pose is totally irrelevant. You will know when you are advancing in your practice when you can offer a good honest effort and accept with gratitude whatever comes from that. Its a relief to practice this way and it is when real progress begins to occur.
    • Jo Tastula: I think it’s completely natural for beginners to be intimidated by difficult postures. Difficult postures are not for everyone, and take a lot of dedicated practice hours to develop the skill set to do them safely. In actuality, all postures need to be approached with reverence, and there is a responsibility of the practitioner that the pose serve the yogi and not the other way around.
    • Harshada Wagner: Remember Patanjali’s yama ASTEYA: non-stealing. Some asanas are not yours to take. Some will be one day, some others will never be. Also, ask any advanced practitioner or teacher who is older than 50 about it.
    Ask a Yogi

     


  • Posted on November 21st, 2012 YogaGlo 1 comment

    Ask a Yogi

    You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list.

    Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    What books do you recommend if a student wants to learn more about the philosophy of yoga?

    • Elena Brower: The Spiritual Roots of Yoga by Ravi Ravindra. Poised for Grace by Dr Douglas Brooks.
    • Kathryn Budig: Light On Yoga is amazing and a classic.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: There are so many but some of my favorites are: Jivamukti Yoga by David Life & Sharon Gannon, The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar and The Yoga Tradition by Georg Feuerstein.
    • Steven Espinosa: When I first began diving into yoga philosophy I found Georg Feuerstein’s The Yoga Tradition very helpful and insightful. Mainly because it gave a broader, overall perspective of the many philosophies and traditions not just one. It gave me a better understanding of the history of yoga as a whole so that I could begin to discover which tradition spoke to me personally.
    • Marc Holzman:  1) The Yoga Tradition by Georg Feurstein: For Westerners this is the most comprehensive, accessible, reference work available. Surveying 5,000 years of various traditions, I turn to it time and time again. A Yoga encyclopedia! 2) Yoga and the Quest for the True Self  by Stephen Cope: For new students (all students, actually), this was one of the first spiritual autobiographies I ever read. The author’s lack of pretense coupled with his talent for weaving real life analogies through his navigation of Yoga Philosophy is awesome. 3)Meditation for the Love of It by Sally Kempton: A must-read for meditators of every level. And she is a ‘glo teacher! 4) The Presence of Shiva by Stella Kramrisch: We’re getting a little more advanced here, but for those who are enthralled by Lord Shiva, this book is monumental. By interweaving the many myths that keep Siva alive in India today, Kramrisch reveals the paradoxes in Siva’s nature and thus the nature of Consciousness itself. A little esoterica never hurt anyone.
    • Amy Ippoliti: Having a several translations of classic texts like The Bhagavadgita, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and an introductory book like The Shambala Guide to Yoga, by Georg Feurstein will give students a good start. That said, having a teacher and a community with whom to read and discuss the texts is a must!
    • Tara Judelle: Shiva Sutras by Lakshmanjoo, Georg Feurstien The Yoga Tradition, The Tree of Yoga by Iyengar are some good starters.
    • Noah Mazé: Wow, this is a huge question, and a huge category (making it somewhat challenging to pick up a book and dive right in). The books generally fall into two categories: Academic and Interpretive. Academic material can be dry and hard to penetrate. Interpretive can be overly ‘new age’ and general. Academically, you would start with a history of religions, then a history of the yoga tradition, then more lineage/movement based material from there.–Big picture to details. I am academically inclined, and would not hesitate, if I had the time, to take classes at a university on this. Attend the philosophy workshops and classes at your local studios. Seek out study groups. There are great online classes, on YogaGlo and beyond. My teacher, Dr Douglas Brooks, offers online courses at www.srividyalaya.com, and we also teach a course together, which is available on YogaGlo. Here are a few books on my reading list for an upcoming trip I am taking to India: Fuller, C.J, The Camphor Flame popular Hinduism and society in India, Basham, A.L., The Wonder that Was India, Zaehner, R.C., Hinduism, Doniger, Wendy, The Hindus: an alternative history, Younger, Paul, The Home of Dancing Sivan: The Traditions of the Hindu Temple in Citamparam.
    • Christina Sell: Well, Christina Sell wrote two great books that make yoga philosophy personal and accessible! Yoga From the Inside Out: Making Peace with Your Body Through Yoga and My Body is a Temple: Yoga as a Path to Wholeness both have lots of practical and down-to-earth information about how asana relates to yoga philosophy and personal growth. Other than my own shameless promotions, I recommend How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roache as a great introduction to yoga principles and practice. It is easy-to-read, has a great story and is very inspiring. I also think that the Introduction to Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar is brilliant. Carlos Pomeda has an excellent DVD set  about the history of yoga which is a great way to get some expert guidance on a full range of classic yogic texts such as The Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and much more.
    • Stephanie Snyder: The Tree of Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar
    • Harshada Wagner:Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa. I am assuming that everyone else will cover the other basics. I am not a Buddhist but I find this book essential. Also Paths to God by Ram Dass. It’s his spoken lectures on the Bhagavad Gita.

    Ask a Yogi


  • Posted on November 14th, 2012 YogaGlo 1 comment

     

    Ask a YogiYou’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list. Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    What are your tips for establishing a home yoga practice?

    • Elena Brower: Make a promise to yourself to do a few minutes each day, and KEEP IT. Must. Stay. Connected.
    • Kathryn Budig: Find a space (if possible) that is ONLY dedicated to yoga. It’s difficult to focus, so if you have a room or space that is dedicated it’s easier to focus your energy. Remember that even 5 minutes is better than none and to not judge yourself. Somedays you’ll be on fire and others unable to move. It’s all good.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: Set realistic goals and stick to them then build slowly over time. I love the new features to schedule & track practices on YogaGlo, its a great way to stick to your goals and the great thing about YogaGlo is that you can pick any length that works for your schedule. The hard part with a home practice is not getting distracted by the things around you. I like to just pretend I’m in a class and its not an option to get up and do something, its my own little sacred space.
    • Steven Espinosa: Start in increments. Often we think “I have to do a full practice everyday or else I’m not being dedicated!” I say, build it up slowly. Start by doing 10 or 15 minutes, once or twice a week. Then 15-30, two or three times a week. Soon your body will begin to respond naturally and want to do it more and more. Why? Because yoga feels good!
    • Marc Holzman: 1) Your yoga space at home should be clear/clean/energetically light/sacred. If not, you’ll always avoid practicing there. Would you want to practice in a dirty studio with dust bunnies sliding up your nose? Home practice already requires discipline. 2) Don’t fight the space. Practice in the same spot regularly. The area that you carve out will start building a certain Shakti (energy) that will support you. 3) Make yourself work on poses you don’t like or find challenging. Know what you want to do before hand and write it down. Otherwise you will waste too much precious time in a place of indecision. With a set plan, there is always room to improvise and play. 4) Don’t skip savasana just because you are home! 5) Log on to YogaGlo.
    • Amy Ippoliti: Create a warm spot in your home where you can practice. Keep a mat out if possible to entice you to practice. Use music to help motivate and keep you on the mat longer. Put your cell phone in airplane mode and leave it in another room. Commit to “the 10 Minute Gift”. By starting with a small, measurable goal, you’ll more easily attain it and likely practice longer. If you are not sure what order to do the poses, seek out workshops that focus on sequencing
    • Tara Judelle: Schedule a time to practice, and stick to it like anything else in your routine. Listen to your body. Come up with a strategy for practice before laying down the mat, (IE, today I will focus on backbends, today I will see where the flow takes me. Stay on the mat for the length of time you scheduled). Give yourself a monthly focus (ie – this month I will work on Handstand). Invite people to practice with you.
    • Noah Mazé: Plan it into your weekly schedule. Plan the days that you take classes at a studio. Plan the days that you take a Yogaglo class. Plan the days that you will do a self practice. Start simple; get the kids to school and do 15 minutes of sun salutations before you sit down at your desk. Do another 15 minutes of forward bends and inversions at the end of the day. Use your practice to help you transition; into a focused state of mind for work, into an open and receptive state of mind to be with your family after the work day. Plan the day that you have more time to practice, for an hour or more, and you will learn much about yourself as you generate the motivation to sustain a longer practice. On the days you need motivation, use a short YogaGlo class as a springboard to get you started and into your self-practice.
    • Christina Sell: 1) Be very clear about your motives. So many people struggle to establish a home practice because while they think they “should” practice at home, they actually prefer going to class or taking classes online. Doing yoga alone at home because you feel you “should” do it is not as motivating as establishing a personal practice for reasons you really care about. 2) Define for yourself what your home practice will be for 30 days. Be specific so you know you did your practice and/or know you did not do your practice. For instance, a specific statement of intention might be:  “For the month of December I will take one 60-minute class on YogaGlo, one 90-minute class and one 30-minute class each week. Two times a week I will practice on my own for 15 minutes.” You can even make a chart to check off your progress each week. And remember to reward yourself when you meet your goal! 3) Do something, no matter how small AND give yourself credit for it. I always say that the 10 minutes of asana you do is better than the 2 hours you do not do. Yogis often suffer from minimizing their efforts and from “not-good-enough” syndrome. Remember: Any practice you do is better than none. 4) Invest in a timer. I use the Yogatimer app on my iphone.  You can set a goal to practice for 15 minutes, set the timer and do poses until the time goes off. Or, use the repeat function to time your postures so you know how long to hold them. Start with 30-second timings and work up to 1-minute timings. 5) Make it fun. Personal practice is just that- personal. There is no yoga police and there is no wrong way to practice. If you like to play music, play music. If you love silence, stay quiet. If you like being upside down, work on inversions.  The practice you will do the most is the one you enjoy the most so make sure you get yourself started with things you actually like doing.
    • Stephanie Snyder: This is a question that comes up in teacher training often.The most complicated thing about a home practice is just getting on the mat. Roll out your mat and sit on it- the rest will come, you need no plan, no special outfit, no particular circumstance- you just need a mat and your butt sitting on it. In addition to the elegant get-your-butt-on-the-mat approach, it is helpful to have a “go-to” pose. This is one pose that you really like and is easy to flop into. For me its pigeon or straddle forward fold. Choose a pose that seems easy and feels good. Usually if you can get into that pose and hang out in it for awhile then the chances are really good that you may decide to do one more pose and then one more after that, etc.
    • Jo Tastula: Create a sacred space for yourself. Perhaps a spare room, or even a quite corner within a room. Make the space clear of clutter and anoint it with things that bring you into a peaceful state such as a candle, special rug or an inspirational picture. I find if my space feels tranquil and inviting I want to practice.
    • Harshada Wagner: Invest in “real estate”. Invest money. Invest space. Invest beauty. Buy a candle. Rearrange your room to make a really honorable, beautiful spot for your practice. Give it some permanent foot print- even just a framed quote on your wall or a little statue. Examine it’s importance to you, then invest accordingly.
    Ask a Yogi What are your tips for establishing a home yoga practice

     


  • Posted on November 7th, 2012 YogaGlo 2 comments

    Ask a Yogi: What are some suggested postures one can practice to improve flexibility?

    You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list. Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    What are some suggested postures one can practice to improve flexibility?

    • Elena Brower: Downdog with slightly bent knees, either at the wall or with hands on a table or chair back, then slowly moving thigh bones back, is a great way to open up our hamstrings and start a process of opening up our spines, our breathing and our ways of seeing.
    • Kathryn Budig: I think Sun Salutes are the best because they get your body moving in all different directions.
    • Jason Crandell: Since the vast majority of poses will help improve your flexibility, learning to relax your nervous system while experiencing physical resistance may be a more helpful suggestion. Relax your eyes, ears, and tongue when you sustain a stretch. Also, practice lengthening your exhalation and letting go of any frustration and expectation that arises when you feel resistance in your body. Don’t allow yourself to get in a tug-of-war with your body—this will turn you against yourself.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: Practice, practice, practice and then let go of your attachment to the outcome and practice some more.  When we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to progress we actually tend to clench up and pull back, actually hindering our progress. So let go and enjoy and trust that you will get just what you need.
    • Steven Espinosa: First I would determine where are your major areas of tightness? For most people it’s the lower body (i.e., hips, hamstrings, thighs, lower back) and/or upper body (thoracic spine, shoulders). Then proceed gradually from there by suggesting certain poses to target those specific areas. I also believe proper alignment helps greatly by allowing the body to open up naturally from a bio-mechanical level. Many people just think about stretching muscles. But when muscle and bone are aligned together flexibility occurs organically and exponentially faster.
    • Marc Holzman: I’d like to go outside the box and address flexibility of the mind and heart as they can become as stiff, creaky, and dry as our hamstrings): Spend more time in nature, do seva (volunteer work) for those less fortunate, do something that scares the crap out of you. Journal.
    • Amy Ippoliti: All of them! And the postures in which you feel the most stiff and tight – do those poses three times as much as the ones that are easier for you and you will quickly see improvement in your flexibility overall.
    • Tara Judelle: I think the most important thing to improve flexibility is consistency. The body needs repetition and immersion in order to learn. If I were to give 2 basic poses to do everyday I would suggest standing forward bend with hands clasped behind the back (Uttansasana variation) and Pigeon prep with a thigh stretch (Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana prep, thigh stretch variation). If I were to do my own advanced flexibility sequence I would work Hanumanasana (Splits), Urdhva Danurasana (Upward facing bow), Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (Full One Legged King Pigeon), Agnistambasana (Firelog Pose), Upavista Konasana (Extended angle seated forward bend).
    • Noah Mazé: Umm, all of them?  No really, every posture is stretching and opening particular things. Go after the poses that are hard for you, cause those are the ones you need the most. Don’t just play to your strengths and preferences, work on your deficiencies.
    • Kia Miller: This is a huge question as it depends on where you need the flexibility. Yoga is a balance between flexibility and strength,  we may be strong in some area and flexible in others. The key is to lean to stabilize the more flexible area whilst opening and stretching where you are tight. Sun salutations are my favorite all round postures as they work all the major muscle groups and create heat in the body, which is key when we are looking to improve flexibility. Do at least 5 sun salutes, then hone in on the poses that help your area of tightness (ham string stretches, shoulder openers etc). Do this as a daily practice to receive optimum results. Be patient and create a positive affirming relationship with your body – this is where maximum results are gained.
    • Christina Sell: My favorite poses for hamstring and hip flexibility is the Supta Padangusthasana series as outlined in Light on Yoga. My favorite to stretch the piriformis muscel is Succirandrasana or Figure-four pose. My favorite pose for stretching the quadriceps is supta Virasana. My favorite pose to stretch the shoulders is Gomukhasana. My favorite  pose to open the chest is Viparita Dandasana over a chair. In general, when I want to improve flexibility in myself or in my students I take the strength requirement out of the pose as much as possible and work in supported positions with integrated strength, long holds,  repetition and regularity.
    • Stephanie Snyder: Supta Padanghustasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Shalabasana, and Pigeon Pose.
    • Jo Tastula: Lunge with hands interlaced behind the back is my go-to counter pose if I’ve been sitting at the computer for too long. However, over particular postures, I’d suggest what ever you do, practice with regularity. Regularity is the key to flexibility.
    • Felicia Tomasko: I am admittedly biased, as I focus a great deal on a Yin style of practice. Of course, this is not the only thing I teach—or practice myself—as Yin is meant to be an adjunct practice, a cross-training as it were. I find that patience and persistence, slow and steady, is vitally important for melting the resistance in the body and allowing ourselves to become more flexible. It is also necessary for us to recognize what can and cannot be changed regarding our physiology. For example, bone structure determines some measure of flexibility. (I’m not about to audition to be a contortionist for Cirque de Soleil), but there is much that can be changed. (My regular practice allows my spine to be supple and allows me to easily tie my shoes). Without my regular practice, I find myself stiff and cranky, with shoulders up to my ears and a tight back. Flexibility definitely changes, but I find that what is more important than a specific pose is the compassion with which I greet myself in any pose, the way in which I can soften and surrender, and the use of the breath to assist in this process.
    • Harshada Wagner: A posture of humility and innocence is a good place to start, a posture of not-knowing.

    Ask a Yogi: What are some suggested postures one can practice to improve flexibility?


  • Posted on October 31st, 2012 YogaGlo 1 comment

    Ask a Yogi

    You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list. Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    Do you have any advice for aspiring yoga teachers?

    • Elena Brower: Don’t quit your day job. I waited until I was well-established and teaching at least 6-7 classes per week before I did. And I still teach 4 per week at my studio, and a few privates, and I coach as well. Making a living exclusively as a yoga teacher right out of the gate may be an unrealistic expectation, but it certainly feels incredible to be of service in this way.
    • Kathryn Budig: Be patient. Try all types of yoga and teachers and take what you love from them all into your own teachings. There is no need to conquer, just learn and teach what you love. The key to success isn’t following the blueprint of someone else’s career, it’s being yourself. People will love you for that and an honest connection will be created.
    • Jason Crandell: Be mindful and relentlessly honest with yourself about what you’re aspiring toward.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: Teach from you heart and forget about the rest!  Now days there’s a big push amongst yoga teachers to do something big or be something big so much so that we forget that the best thing in the world that you can do is to inspire someone right next to you and build a community within your classes as a support for the community. And if it’s still something else that you desire, if you teach from your heart all will come.
    • Steven Espinosa: Take your time. There is no hurry. Enjoy being a student. Once you have completed your training it’s easy to jump in and start teaching right away. It’s not like when you graduate from college and immediately start sending out resumes. This is a life long endeavor. So enjoy the process. I would also suggest not overly concerning yourself about the money too much. Or trying to making a living from teaching yoga at first. Learn your craft. Love what you do. Teaching yoga is an honor. The money will follow. The money will flow.
    • Marc Holzman: Stay humble. You are there to serve the student and the Yoga.
    • Amy Ippoliti: 1. Remember that as unconfident as you might feel about teaching yoga, if you have been practicing for a while now and you have been through a teacher training, you will likely know more than the students in the room, and therefore have something valuable to share! 2. Never stop learning and being a student! 3. Stay connected to the real world, ie. be careful not to get so into yoga that you get lost in “yoga land” and can no longer relate to “other people”. Those “other people” are often your students!
    • Tara Judelle: Authenticity, curiosity, and compassion are my top three qualities for an aspiring yoga teacher.  That and know why you teach yoga.  I ask myself every day if this is what I am supposed to be doing, and if what I am doing is working for the “why” of my teaching.
    • Noah Mazé: Get a good education. Study the poses. Increase your pose knowledge. Study with a variety of teachers and methods. Become a student of the poses, of your practice, of good teaching. Peek behind the curtain of an effective class, and ask yourself “what made this a good class?”
    • Kia Miller: Teach from your heart what is authentic to you. Never let your own practice take second place: your personal sadhana (spiritual practice) is the cornerstone of your teaching, it is where you fill yourself so you can give from the overflow, this way you never get depleted. Consider an apprenticeship with a teacher you really admire, not only will you learn a lot, but the student/teacher relationship is key for any aspiring teacher – someone who knows you and can help guide your choices.
    • Christina Sell: The advice I  have is to make sure that you have time to keep practicing, to keep going to class and to add teaching to your schedule. I watch too many new teachers replace their practice and class time with teaching engagements and lose a vital connection to their own education and in the long run this really costs them as teachers. Also, find a good teacher training program that has ongoing support  and continuing education options so that you can continue to learn over the long haul.
    • Stephanie Snyder: Go for it, vet your teacher training faculty to be sure each member has been teaching minimum 10 years, ideally more. If it is your dharma to do, nothing will get in your way!
    • Jo Tastula: Practice, practice, practice is my advice. You can only teach from experience. Nurture your practice and tend to it as you would something very rare and precious. Both you and your students benefit when you are inspired and growing.
    • Felicia Tomasko: Teaching is not the same as practicing. A love of practice does not necessarily translate to a love of teaching. And, while embarking on the path of teaching, make sure to keep up a relationship with your personal practice outside of the time that you are facilitating the practice space for others. Make sure to recharge your own batteries by going to class, meditating, engaging in personal practice, participating in an online practice or DVD, finding a practice partner, or any other personal sadhana. One of the things that has been invaluable for me is to have practice partners, people who keep me accountable for my own time on the mat, the cushion, or in any other part of my life as a yogini. Yoga is not just something you simply know, it is something you practice. And practice doesn’t have to mean party tricks—it is simply being attentive to the relationship you have with yourself in sadhana. (The word sadhana refers to one’s own personal spiritual practice.)
    • Harshada Wagner: Take time to really learn the craft of teaching well. Learn how to take care of people. Learn the breadth of the craft of yoga- go far beyond what is taught in your teacher trainings. Be a geek about it. Learn everything you can about yoga and about teaching yoga. Watch videos of master teachers teaching- even ones you don’t like. Aim to be a master, an expert, not just “good enough”. Also remember to include your whole life in your yoga. You can be so much more than a fitness instructor. You can be the wise man or wise woman in your community. You can be a healer.

    Ask a Yogi: Do you have any advice for aspiring yoga teachers?


  • Posted on October 24th, 2012 YogaGlo 2 comments

    Ask a Yogi

    You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list. Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    What to eat before yoga class?

     

    • Elena Brower: Green juice. Dark chocolate. Either, preferably both.
    • Kathryn Budig: I try to give myself at least an hour of not eating before practicing, but if it’s early in the AM I’ll have a Purebar or a bit of almond/peanut butter to keep me going until I can have a full meal.
    • Jason Crandell: Chocolate and almonds.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: Depends on when I’m practicing, being on the road a lot I’ve learned to let go of my rigid attachment to practicing at a certain time and just make sure I get it in, like a dose of a much needed medicine. Like many women my blood sugar is sensitive so it’s a perfect balance before class of having some fuel and not feeling weighted down. My digestion is pretty strong now after many years in holistic health so my body process things pretty quickly.  If I’m practicing in the early morning I will just have some greens powder & water, if it’s late morning I will add a little protein powder and make a smoothie. If I’m practicing later in the day I just make sure to keep full meals an hour or two away from my practice (but I don’t usually eat really big meals) and then take a small snack 30mins or so before practice to keep my blood sugar up (usually a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts). That works well for me but everyone’s digestion & blood sugar are a little different so its important you find the right balance for you.
    • Steven Espinosa: I definitely need to put a little something in my stomach before yoga class. Otherwise, I can get light headed sometimes. So for me, I found eating something soft like a small piece of toast (I’m gluten free so not wheat based) or a few bites of a protein bar gives me just enough but not too much so that I feel too full and get all “burpy” in class.
    • Marc Holzman: I try to leave at least 2 hours before practicing (and I am a morning practitioner). Here is a little mixture I whip together – it makes a small portion but it’s nutritious, satisfying, and light enough even an hour before: ½ banana mashed up, 1 TBSP goat yogurt (or soy if you are vegan/dairy-free), little lemon juice, 1 TSP flax or hemp oil, 1 TSP of ground seeds/nuts mixture I put in grinder (pumpkin/flax/sesame/sunflower… whatever you want in the mélange) mix it all together and enjoy.
    • Amy Ippoliti: I have two strategies, depending on how hungry I am! If I am ravenous and I know I will pass out if I try to practice for 90 minutes, I’ll nosh on a handful of soaked almonds, macadamias or brazil nuts. A small cup of a protein smoothie is even better if I have time to make it. If I just want to stave off hunger that might occur while in practice, I’ll eat a piece of fruit like half a grapefruit or some plain veggies – something that will digest easily and make sure there is a plan for food right after practice!
    • Tara Judelle: I like to not eat at least an hour before a yoga class. If I had my choice of what to eat it before that, it would involve quinoa, kale and tempeh. If I’m in a pinch I usually reach for a handful of almonds.
    • Noah Mazé: I drink a green drink/smoothie. It is a combination of fruit, vegetables, nuts, needs, coconut water, green powder and superfood powder.  It is nourishing and hydrating without weighing me down and filling my belly like something solid would.
    • Kia Miller: I try not to eat at all before yoga class, and mostly practice in the morning when my stomach is empty. I will drink a cup of my favorite Oolong tea beforehand or sip a herbal tea. My favorite go-to snack before teaching class is a smoothie, preferably with home-made almond milk, Spirulina and any other brain food like E3 LIVE, Maca, sometimes Cacao and often a raw protein powder. Failing that, if I am on the road I will reach for a banana or a treat like the coconut KEEN-WAH bar!
    • Christina Sell: It depends on the kind of yoga I am doing. If it is a hot yoga class, I drink some juice and make sure that I have a Gatorade nearby throughout the practice. I find that bananas are also great before a practice. Also I like a Larabars or dates. I also like a piece or two of dark choocolate! But the real thing is that each person needs to find what works best for them because everyone has a different digestion process.
    • Stephanie Snyder: I dont really think about that very much, I make sure Im well nourished in general so I stay pretty even. If I find Im hungry just before teaching then I will make a shake/smoothie and that usually does the trick without weighing me down.
    • Jo Tastula: I mostly practice and teach early in the morning, so I don’t eat anything before class. But I will have a cup of tea.  Right now it’s a green tea chai made with fresh almond coconut milk. If I’m really hungry I’ll have half a banana.
    • Felicia Tomasko: I find that the question of what to eat before yoga varies dramatically with each individual. And from the perspective of Ayurveda, can vary dramatically among people with different body types. For example, as I am a person with a generous proportion of the earthy kapha dosha, I actually find I need to fast for at least two hours before practicing, and an hour before teaching (aside from easy-to-digest liquids). If I eat too close to my time on the mat, I feel heavy, weighed down, sometimes even off. Other people I know will experience the sensation of an energy crash if they don’t eat before they practice. Therefore, my first piece of advice is to pay attention to yourself and observe what works for you: what allows you to experience just the right amount of sustained energy and stamina without feeling full and weighed down? If you don’t eat, does it have disastrous results? And if you do it, does it work for you, or does it backfire. There’s no hard and fast rule. If you’re going to eat, I’d say keep it easy to digest. I like some protein drinks and often make my own with a vegan protein powder and some essential fatty acid oil blends. I love veggie/avocado/cucumber rolls because they’re light and satisfying without being oily or hard to digest. For a quick fix, I’ll have a piece of fruit, something like watermelon, melon, or berries. And I do keep bars on hand, but I read ingredients carefully as I don’t want to eat a lot of processed soy as I find it can just sit in the stomach. I love coconut water and aloe vera juice blends, and I especially love chia seed drinks for a quick source of energy that doesn’t weigh down the body. (Native Americans would use chia seeds for energy on long runs or treks through the mountains.)
    • Harshada Wagner: Strong Black Tea with Oat Milk – or otherwise Chai from the little Pakistani place next door to the studio.

    Ask a Yogi


  • Posted on October 17th, 2012 YogaGlo 2 comments

    Ask a Yogi

    You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list. Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

     

    What new insight have you gained teaching yoga?

     

    • Elena Brower: That the subtleties are where it’s at.
    • Kathryn Budig: That I can never be mastered or owned. Yoga is for everyone—all levels, all ages and backgrounds. There is no ‘right’ way of doing yoga, it’s about finding what works for the individual best.
    • Jason Crandell: There is nothing to prove and there is no timeline.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: I don’t think there’s a time that I teach that I don’t learn something. Even teaching something like anatomy at my teacher trainings, I always make new connections when I teach because a big part of yoga is the practice, showing up and putting in the work.When we infuse that with mindfullness we have something extraordinary.
    • Steven Espinosa: It’s taken me a long time to finally understand it’s not all about asana. Don’t get me wrong, I love asana. It’s why I initially fell in love with yoga. But now it’s more for fun. Rather than constantly trying to challenge or push myself in a physical manner. Now it has become more about embodying the yoga off the mat and into my daily life. Meaning, “how does one walk with the yoga in their heart while still living in the modern day world?” To me, that’s the real question.
    • Marc Holzman: How much I learn from the students. It’s not a one way street-I receive beneficial feedback from them on how to be more articulate, sensitive, present, compassionate.  And since I theme my classes, I contemplate even mundane, daily experiences more deeply. That’s a gift.
    • Amy Ippoliti: This may seem obvious, but this is an insight I have recently been able to put this into words in a way I never have until recently: Students in the room are not only operating at differing levels in their physical practice, but they are also operating at different levels of emotional relationship to their practice. For example, students will do one of four things when the going gets tough: 1) Proclaim the class too hard and never come back (gets defeated, gives up) 2) Wait to hear the modification or modify on their own (knows limits) 3) Seek me out for help modifying around a limitation (takes responsibility for their body & trusts me to help them modify) 4) Push themselves through the challenging pose with consequences later. (Lot’s to say here…) My insight is that it’s healthy as a teacher and fellow practicioner to speak to the different reactions that can arise when we are challenged by poses in the sequence that go beyond our physical edge.
    • Tara Judelle: That it is about quality rather than quantity. To move with ease is a thing of grace and beauty that blurs the seams of otherness.
    • Noah Mazé: I am constantly becoming more aware of everything that I say and do in a yoga class. I want every aspect of class to be conscious and intentional. I become aware of my default language patterns, when I lose focus etc, and have the opportunity to step up my game. I am always looking to give more clear instructions that can effectively translate into action in the students’ bodies in the pose.
    • Kia Miller: The more we speak, act and live from a place of love, the more that love is reflected from others. In the busyness of life I sometimes show up to a class un-prepared and have to remind myself that as long as I call on the light, center myself and hold a space of love, that the work will be done through me. The subtle dimensions of the practice are what fascinate me, how certain poses and breath encourage energy to flow and shift, how key our intention and attitude are to the process of transformation. I love the saying “how I do anything is how I do everything.” This is certainly true of the work we do on our mat – when we bring the fullness of our attention coupled with the will to change and a compassionate approach, anything is possible!
    • Christina Sell: My latest insight is that yoga postures are like little goals. Knowing what the full form of the pose is is like setting a big goal for ourselves that we might not reach 100% but that still gives us something to work for. It may be that our 100% best effort only takes us 50% of the way to that goal and that disparity between our abilities and capacities and the goal of the pose is the place where we learn the yoga of both self-acceptance and dedicated effort. Too often I watch teachers and students avoid educating their students about the “full form” for fear of people feeling bad if they can’t do it but I think there is another option. What if we knew that we were aiming high from the beginning of the endeavor and we fully knew we might not be able to do 100% of the pose and yet we felt great about what it is that we can do rather than bad about what we can’t do! This inner yoga is more important than a perfectly straight leg or a super deep back bend so it is important that we practice this kind of mindset in addition to yoga postures.
    • Stephanie Snyder: I’m continually amazed at how perfectly relevant the practice is no matter who you are or what you’re going through, the practice can serve anyone in any moment.
    • Jo Tastula: That not saying anything is often the best thing to say. Giving pause and space is a great teacher.
    • Felicia Tomasko: One of the things I’m continually reminded about yoga every single time I teach is how yoga is not a game of Simon Says, nor is it a cookie-cutter approach to the practice. Even in a group situation, each person has their own experience. Each person’s body responds differently.
    • Harshada Wagner: Just today I was teaching a workshop where people were having big openings and tears and deep insights and it occurred to me that great generational healing was taking place. This generation- the generation doing all this yoga and inner work- is healing generations of contraction. For most of us western seekers, we are the first generation in our lineage to do this work. Even in the East, the deep work that is going on is new and special. The deep layers that get touched by our yoga practice effect so much more than just us.
    Ask a Yogi

     


  • Posted on October 10th, 2012 YogaGlo 2 comments

    Ask a Yogi You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

    From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at hello@yogaglo.com and we’ll add your question to the list. Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

    Why are students often overcome with emotion after yoga practice?

     

    • Elena Brower: For myself, almost every time I practice in a class setting, you’ll find me with tears streaming down my face. I love learning, I love being present in my body, I love being led, and I love how the practice always yields a feeling of strength and connection to myself and to my family. I hear folks commenting on a range of emotional experiences, from joyous to melancholy, but they always come away from practice sensing some sort of healing.
    • Kathryn Budig: The yoga mat is our own personal island where any emotions we feel—joy, dread, exhilaration or despair—can all surface safely here without judgement. A good yoga practice taps directly into our core and reality of what’s happening in our lives, so it can be an emotional release depending on what we’ve been denying or holding in. It’s a fabulous place for sweet release and surrender which leads to healing.
    • Jason Crandell: Practicing yoga reveals what is happening inside us. And, sometimes we have more turbulence inside us than we realize. The practice simply uncovers what we are already feeling. Sometimes it’s pleasant and sometimes its painful. Sometimes both. It’s normal to feel whatever you feel—and, it’s also normal to not feel overcome with emotions after your practice.
    • Tiffany Cruikshank: So many reasons but the biggest is that yoga asks us to look at the parts of ourselves that we would rather ignore or forget about.Whether its the chronic pain from our daily lives or the emotional pain from many years of living.  Yoga asks us to show up and bravely look it all in the eye and sometimes its brutal but the practice is about showing up courageously regardless.  Sometimes that means we leave practice on a cloud and sometimes we leave feeling a bit vulnerable, neither one is good or bad, they all teach us more about ourselves so that we can choose to live the life we were designed to, to be our brightest selves.
    • Steven Espinosa: During my first year of practicing yoga, every time I was in Savasana tears would be literally streaming down my face! I would be laying on my back and my body would be convulsing trying to not cry out loud! It was crazy! Looking back on it now, I believe it was this huge release of pent up, stored up, bottled up energy and emotion. I had been struggling for so many years and trying to hold it all together physically, emotionally and mentally that it all just came flooding out! It was a mixture of tears of sadness but also tears of joy. Joy that I had somehow finally found my way back home. The Home Of The Heart.
    • Marc Holzman: I believe there are two possibilities for this emotional response; both signal a colossal breakthrough and indicate that the student has gone deep. I remember being on a yoga retreat very early in my practice, doing 3 hours of slow, intense hip openers, and subsequently sobbing for hours afterward. I mean SOBBING!  There was no specific memory attached to the moment, nor did the tears feel like they were springing from a well of sadness or joy. It was a non-specific emotional release. 1) An emotional response could simply mean that the student is going through an intense moment in his or her life (or just having a crappy day), and the very nature of the practice (moving, breathing, stillness, focused awareness, contemplation), allows the student to feel more of what they are already feeling. When you churn the Ocean of Consciousness in this way, by the time Savasana comes along, there is a sweet release. 2) We wear thick, protective, armor. Our survival tactics are well in place and have accumulated over a lifetime. After a deep practice, when you least expect it …  even when you’ve had an ordinary day …  some of that armor melts. The thick outer shield softens and gives way to a softer more vulnerable layer. We surrender just a little bit. We give up the fight. Emotions can easily make their way to the surface. Here is something I noticed: Ironically, sometimes after a deep meditation or asana practice, my anger and irritation is triggered more easily. How could this possibly be? What I think is happening is that diving deeply brings me to a very tender, vulnerable, and deeply personal place; my sensitivity is heightened. When I then transition into the ‘real world’ I feel easily assaulted by the harshness and protective of that quiet, personal space I’m still dwelling in. Thus, Marc gets a little prickly. There is window during the transition from class to street in which we’re a bit more hypersensitive.
    • Amy Ippoliti: Tears at the end of practice are so natural. For most people, touching into the miraculous nature of your own embodiment is not always a frequent occurrence, so when it happens we can get overcome with the torrent of, well…”being-ness”. The universe does its best to get us to notice how precious life is and how cherished we are, yet our human tendency is to tune out and forget our nature. So again, when we pause long enough to smell the proverbial roses of our essence, it’s mind blowing, and even astonishing at times. The key is to be in the world, fully awake, present to the details, to the people around us, and to our responsibilities, all from a place of this post – Savasana universal understanding. Imagine living your life blown wide open in the world. That is a conscious life.
    • Tara Judelle: In yoga we are working intentionally to transmute stored energy in the complex of the body/mind to a state of harmony or balance. In the journey toward that natural state there is the release of many stores feelings or emotions that can have been stored or stuffed inside. Some may be recent emotions, some may be very old. As we open up the muscles and the muscle casing (fascia) which stores memory and energy – we may experience that release as a raw emotional state. This is a natural process to restore balance and order into the body as we catch move into a place or clarity and resolution.
    • Noah Mazé: We store all sorts of things in our bodies in the form of deeply embedded memory. Much of this is subconscious. Yoga, meditation, visualization, pranayama, mantra, etc all have the power to reach deeply inside of us and excavate these memories.  Also, an effective class can move us very deeply on the emotional level, just as we are moved very deeply on the physical level. The teacher may say something that deeply resonates, or the student makes a connection with something in their life, overcomes fear and/or shame. Yoga is a powerful path of transformation.
    • Kia Miller: When we practice yoga we start to penetrate into the deeper dimensions of who we are. What is unconscious is slowly brought into the light, and in the process often strong emotions are released. Past traumas, unprocessed feelings and thoughts get stored in our bodies. Holding postures and breathing with awareness helps us to move what is dark into the light. We cannot stay the same when we are engaging with our Self in this way. The practice of yoga is like peeling an onion layer by layer, eventually revealing our inner light. Welcome these emotions as they show that you are doing the work necessary to move beyond that which binds and constricts you enabling you to stand more firmly in the truth of who you are.
    • Christina Sell: I think emotional release can happen for all kinds of reasons. Most of us modern-day, householder yogis are pretty busy people. Given the amount of stress we are under and the amount of obligations that we are managing it is very easy for us to ignore our emotions in the name of “getting things done”, etc. Sometimes our sadness, grief and even anger is underneath the surface of our awareness and yoga is that time when we slow down enough to tune into what is inside, but not always on the top of the pile, so to speak. This happens a lot with meditation and pranayama where people will say, “That practice made me feel ________” when many times it is just that the contemplative, quiet practice cleared away the distractions blocking that feeling from their awareness and revealed the feelings that were already there. Another reason has to do with the body-mind-emotion connection where our posture and breath is very linked to our feelings. For instance, when we feel sad, we will tend to droop in our shoulders, cast our eyes downward and drop the top of our chest. This is a posture of sadness, so to speak, and while the posture expresses the feeling of sadness on one level, it does not express the sadness in a way that releases the feeling. When we move our body in the other direction, for instance by bringing the shoulders back, opening the eyes wide and lifting the chest, the opposite postural stance many times creates a release of the feeling. I had a teacher who called asanas “the postures of happiness” but there is a little fine print with that, in my experience, because when we adopt a “posture of happiness” many times we will have to face the sadness that lived in the habitual posture. Anxiety is like this also. When we feel afraid, we tend to hold our breath and breathe largely from the top of the chest, failing to take in a full breath. We might say that is a “Breath of Fear.” When we deepen the breath, the fear that was holding our breath more shallowly comes to the surface for us to release. A full-hearted breath or a “Courageous Breath” then, might ask us to face our anxiety directly before we feel its more positive nature. Or to state this in a more simple way, asana helps us move stuck energy. Emotions are energy at their most basic level and so as we move, breathe, stretch and strengthen our bodies, our energy channels open and as they open anything that is stuck inside gets liberated and released. I think the best strategy for dealing with this phenomenon is to be very loving and accepting with ourselves and be really spacious with ourselves as the emotions arise and yet, we do not need to make a huge deal of it either. Emotional release is so natural and it is a very normal part of practice and transformation. I always tell my students and myself “better out than in!”
    • Jo Tastula: Yoga is a practice that works on many different levels. Although it is grounded in the physical, it is also affects your emotional and mental bodies too. So, just as you can hold tension in your muscles from a stressful day at work, you can also hold onto emotional stress in your body. When you consciously work on releasing that stress and pent up tension, as we do in our yoga practice, you are letting go on all levels, not just the physical. Typically, it’s not until the end of the class when you’ve really allowed yourself to fully surrender, and that’s when the tears come. If and when they come, don’t stop the river… let the tears flow.
    • Felicia Tomasko: When I think about the phenomenon of being overcome with emotions and tears during class, a few things come up for me. First—how often in our lives, in a 24-hour day, do we pause to even pay attention to how we feel or notice the thoughts running through our mind? When we do take the time to stop and pause, then something beneath the surface has the opportunity to expose itself. It’s also important to remember that not all tears are necessarily sad; they can also be an indication just of emotion rolling through us. On a deeper note, emotions are not something that occurs between our ears, but our entire body, so there are times when our embedded feelings, stored within the body, start to emerge when we move. Yoga postures and connecting to the breath and body have a particularly powerful effect on us in this way, of unlocking what may be swept under the rug of our bodies. Sometimes we become fearful of our emotional state, but simply breathing and allowing emotion to move through you can be one of the greatest benefits of practice.
    • Harshada Wagner: There are lots of tears in my sessions. I hear this from many YogaGlo people too. There are many many reasons for this. But one of the simple things that is happening is that people experience some release. Maybe they were a little pent up or emotionally frozen. The practice unfreezes or unleashes their feelings. Sometimes there is a deeper release, a spiritual movement that unleashes a deeper energy that expresses itself in tears. But really, there are so many answers to this.

    Ask a Yogi