This is for all you new teachers out there or for someone who would like to switch things up a bit for their Savasana scripts. Yoga International is a wonderful source for many things and Savasana cannot be forgotten or skipped. It's important.
People will remember your Savasana. It's the last pose and typically people remember the first and the last parts of any experience a bit more than the middle. So, make it good peeps!
Many people appreciate a bolster under the thighs for added comfort. There are little things you can do to make the ending of their yoga practice a bit more special. Scented eye pillows, a blanket under the head. An essential oil massage (remember to always ask first), these are special treats. Your students love to feel special.
Remember that not everyone has a large group of loving friends/family and this may be the only attention they receive in a day. Why not make them feel peaceful? We are all in search of peace. Even those who appear to already have it. Give it to them and they will remember how you made them feel.
Click on the link below for some fresh ideas and new scripts for Savasana.
Have any of you heard of something called the Thomas test? I had forgotten all about it until I had a conversation with someone about their tight psoas. You know, the usual coffee house conversations normal people have. We spoke about rehab, pain and flexibility. About sitting too much and all the usual stuff we health conscious yogis like to talk about.
Anyway, it got me thinking; "How flexible does a human really need to be?" Who can really answer that question? I guess it's a rather personal thing. Lifestyle choices and all that play into it. What may not be flexible for one person would be a dream come true for another. Age and many things are factors but a basic ability to extend the leg behind you is necessary for a healthy pain-free gate while walking. And lets face it we all like to walk without pain.
One way to see how you are doing is to conduct a simple test on yourself called the Thomas Test. You can research it yourself but the basics are just do what the picture below demonstrates and see if your exteneded leg tries to lift up or if it can stay flat with ease. Or maybe even your expetended leg can extend a bit further. All of this is without pain of course. This isn't something you push your body into. It's just a basic measurement of how tight your hip flexors are. It's simple, quick and easy. A lot like my X. The key is to have free/open space behind the extended leg. So do it over the edge of a coffee table or open stairs. Possibly even on the side of the bed.
If your extended leg feels the need to lift up a bit you may consider doing more yoga or stretches that entail extending one leg back at a time. Like for example a lunge. Working on holding the lunge (high or low) for a minute or so each side. Do this several times a day, especially during your work day if you sit a lot at work. It doesn't have to be crazy deep. No splits att eh water cooler are necessary. Just a little opening of the psoas and the other flexors of the upper leg. It mayeven help with lower back pain.
Give some stretching a chance. It's proven to be good for you. Tight hip flexors can cause all sorts of pain/problems so nip it in the bud (or help yoru students for you teachers out there) after you test yourself with the Thomas Test.
Yes, I suffer from knee pain, as do many other yogis and non yogis alike. It’s not fun and can vary in pain level from day to day. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, straight to the point. After logging many hours of research and rehab I feel pretty good about sharing some of what works (and what doesn’t) for knee pain. Of course I’m no doctor and you should consult one for your own pain issues. BUT here’s some great yoga poses that have strengthen my troubled left knee and also alleviated pain. Fingers crossed they could even work for you, so run it by your doctor!
"If you listen to your body when it whispers, you may never have to hear it scream"
Less is more, so pace yourself and never push through the pain. Pain is your body's way of giving you a warning sign. Pay attention to it or you just may pay a big price. Also; consistency of practice is the key to practically everything. Keep at it. 5-6 days a week of a few minutes to half an hour a day will pay off way more than two hours twice a week. Repetition is the key.
Start with some warm-ups of the knee. Bending gently and smoothly without a lot of impact. Maybe this is a short walk and or some (small) circles of the knees. Rub and warm them gently with warm hands and maybe even massage in some castor or sesame oil daily to help lubricate the joint. Use extra padding when necessary for comfort if on the knees.
Of course you do not have to do all of these. Pick and chose what works for you. I used the camel pose as the picture becasue I really dislike camel pose. So it's a reminder to me. Do camel pose more often. LOL. We tend to avoid what we don't like. So be creative and ask yourself if you are consistently avoiding a pose because you don't like it. And if you practiced this specific "disliked" pose more often would your body and muscles change? Would you get better at it? Would you become stronger in an area that you REALLY needed to become stronger?
Yoga is a personal practice. You figure it out for yourself and do what you need to do for YOUR optimal health. This is yet another reason why I highly recommend a home personal practice of at least 3 days a week.
Each asana can be held for one minute, except the first. If this is initially too much, try for 30 seconds. Use any and all props necessary to prevent pain and be safe.
We will work on some hip poses as they are highly related to knee issues. Many people tend to have an issue in one joint, the next thing you know there's a problem in the joint above or below the initial joint with the issue. It's all connected so get on this ASAP so you can feel better! And be stronger!
So, I’ve been doing some research on pain. In my love of all things yoga I know that many People come to yoga to “nurse” or “heal” an injury. Their doctor or PT probably said “go take some yoga classes” and there they are….no clue what to do or what type of yoga class to take and show up expecting healed. Well, it certainly could happen, the healing part, but pain, chronic pain is a twisted ugly bitch. So be prepared for some challenges on this journey towards health.
Take a look at the pic. It shows what goes on so simply when humans experience pain that doesn’t go away. It’s a game changer and not in a good way. It can and does result in changes in a person. Even in their behavior. It’s completely normal and is a difficult thing to deal with. Pain can make you mean. It can lead to addiction to drugs and that has a whole different set of problems. Pain = Problems. Plain and simple. I just read a study that discussed these components to chronic pain.
Chronic pain behavior seems to be composed of at least 9 components:
verbal pain complaints,
general verbal complaints,
distorted posture and mobility,
and depressive mood
Doesn’t that sound like a shit storm? How does one deal with all or even part of that? Well….I’m no expert but I’d say see a therapist and also deal with it this yogic way:
meditation in the am and the pm (pm meaning before bed)
gentle yoga with lots of gentle stretching + some strength building asanas
go to a yoga class (for the community/support aspect of it)
don’t judge yourself
enjoy the present moment
read some yoga and/or meditation books
Anyone have any other suggestions? I’d love to hear what you’ve tried or think may be helpful.
Sometimes the holidays can be a little rough. The relatives, family issues, the whole thing can get to you. I figured I'd see what I could write about it and immediately thought about the chakras. Especially the 4th chakra. The heart. Love. It can get you right in the feels sometimes. And this time of year tends to get you right freakin' there. I used to see it as a paramedic. Lots of suicides and heart attacks around this time of year. I never really knew why. Enter the chakras!
The fourth chakra is at the center of the 7 chakras with 3 below and 3 above. This is the area where the physical and the spiritual actually meet in the body. How's that for straight up "get you in the feels" stuff? The 4th chakra, the heart chakra is located at the center of the chest and includes the heart, cardiac plexus, thymus gland, lungs, and breasts. It also rules the lymphatic system. The Sanskrit word for the fourth chakra is Anahata, which means “unstruck” or “unhurt.” The name implies that beneath the hurts and grievances of past experiences lies a pure and spiritual place where no hurt exists. Could this be true? When your heart chakra is open, you are flowing with love and compassion, you are quick to forgive, and you accept others and yourself. A closed heart chakra can create grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others.
Some people choose to live in the place of grievances. Some even carry it in their bodies. In their chests. They cave their chests inward to protect their hearts. They hide, they crouch. You know what I mean. Kyphosis. They’ve been hurt in the past by parents, siblings, friends, or loves. It’s basically impossible to avoid situations where someone may try to hurt you but you do get to choose what to do with that pain. Some people might try to hurt the other person back. That is not living from a place of Anahata. The person who inflicts pain on others is coming from a place of fear, ignorance or hatred, all of which represent a closed heart chakra. Ouch! When you encounter hurt feelings from your past or present, you can choose to feel them fully and let them go or hold onto them. By letting them go, you’re able to open your heart to new people and new experiences with compassion, love, and understanding. Holding onto hurt harbors negative feelings and cuts you off from opportunities to love and serve. Letting go is as easy as making a choice. Your mind and your ego may tell you otherwise but it’s as simple as choosing to let go and move on.
Empathy and Compassion Create Openness
Walking in another person’s shoes is not easy to do, but can be helpful in fostering a sense of empathy. To help create empathy and compassion, I like to play a game called, “the what if scenarios.” When encountering a person who is being unpleasant or who has treated me poorly in the past, I quickly take my mind through a host of what ifs. For example, ask yourself, “What if that person is just having a bad day?” or “What if that person just lost his job?” “What if she just learned her husband was having an affair?” “What if he was just diagnosed with an illness?” As you create these stories, of which the possibilities are endless, you begin to empathize with the other person and his or her situation. This method takes you away from yourself and self-pity and places compassion onto the other person. This little exercise creates a place in you where you can understand. And TBH we never really know what others are going through. So, be kind, ALWAYS!
Now, let’s suppose that there’s a family member or close friend who just repeats a pattern of inflicting hurt on a constant basis. You can still offer love and compassion either from a distance or by setting boundaries. In any case, know that when someone chooses to hurt you, it’s almost never about YOU. It’s about THEM. We've all heard this before but believe me, it's the TRUTH. So let them live their lives and you live yours.
Give Love to Receive Love
The best way to receive love is to give it. Author and motivational speaker, Leo Buscaglia, used to teach that we should give and receive 12 hugs a day for optimal health. So give hugs and kisses. Good God this one is tough for me. I'm not a hugger. It's a bit intimate for me. I was never hugged as a child. Like seriously, never. Other ways you can give love:
Love is a currency and whatever you give will come back to you.
Asanas, Sounds, Colors, and Gems to Balance the Fourth Chakra
Any yoga pose that opens the area of the chest will help to balance the heart chakra. Some poses include camel, dancer, and locust pose.
The mantra sound corresponding to the fourth chakra is the sound YUM. A special mantra to help expand love and compassion is OM MANI PADME HUM. You can repeat this mantra in meditation to gain greater access to these qualities.
The color is emerald green and the gemstones associated with the heart are emerald, malachite, jade, and rose quartz.
Enjoy the holidays a bit more with these thoughts of love and openness. Be kind. Especially to your family. They hurt just like everyone else. Empathy. It's a cool thing.
Here’s the thing with marketing, google, SEO and all that: It’s always changing. Their perimeters for what is “working” now may be very different from what was working even just a few months ago.
I am no expert in Blogging, Marketing, nor SEO but I know what I know and this article makes complete sense to me.
Therefore, word to the wise; keep up on it and adjust accordingly.
My blogs are usually about useful information. I’m a dorky kinda girl. I love, love, love the whole SEO thing and find it interesting. I follow a few experts who email me practically daily and I learn from them. It usually sparks a few other searches and an occasional online course in SEO and I learn. I make the time for this as it’s important to me to help keep my website climbing that ranking.
Well to be honest I’m a tad lazy. I want clients to come to me. It’s hard to run around finding clients all the time. It’s a lot of wasted time. Time I believe is better spent on the beach collecting shells and watching hunky surfer boys ride some waves. Priorities people.
Shouldn’t we all be doing what we want with our time here on Earth? So…I enjoy learning a complex and ever changing system (I have no idea why, I just do) and I enjoy screwing off at the beach. Oh, and eating tacos, playing with animals and literally smelling flowers. So I do what I do to make all of these things possible each and every day. There are worse things.
Pay particular attention in the website about blog length nowadays. It has changed.
It’s a bit longer than it used to be and this is news to me. So your word count on the blog will be longer. I always put a pic in. Because I’m a very visual person and many others are too. So put a pic or two in your blog. In the recent past it was acceptable and even desirable to have a blog that was between 300-500 words in length. Now it’s more like 800. Ouch, that’s a lot if you ask me but then again I have the attention span of a toddler. Remember you dont need to understand the "why's" about all these little changes, just do them and call it a day. We aren't writing code we don't need to know nor understand everything. We only need to make some small changes to our blogging to keep it relevant to google, bing, and yahoo. Remember, Google is the big dog. So change in accordance to Google.
Also key to this SEO game is relevant and original content and information in your blog. Plus it’s all got to look sorta pretty. Put together well, visually. And a little minimal in my opinion. If your site, including your blog, is all over the place and has more than three colors it can be hard to follow for many people. A page not visually pleasing which makes people think you are not organized. It’s distracting. People have a hard enough time trying to remain focused in 2018, so make it easy and enjoyable for them.
~Font should be easily read.
~Background and color of font should be easily read. No strain for the eyes.
Remember som people get in excess of 10-12 hours screen time in a day. Their eyes may actually hurt from a green front on a purple background. These people will click off your blog in 10 seconds due to a simple error in color. So, keep it simple. Keep it easy to read.
It’s not rocket science but I am always amazed at how unorganized people’s websites can sometimes look. This screams “I’m not successful”.
Put a little effort into a clean minimal website and people will stay on your site longer. They will click onto a second and maybe even a third page. Is this important? You bet your yoga mat it is. Honestly, I could go on and on but the basics of what I am saying have been said a million times over. KISS. Not everyone is a scholar, people’s attention spans are short, and organization always presents itself as professionalism. And you want to look like a professional. Or you will lose a client to someone else who DOES look professional.
Another thing: get back to people in a timely manner.
This is paramount. If someone actually took the time out of their busy day to find you online. They proceeded to read a page or two of your website and decided that you were competent enough in your field to send an email to you so that they could inquire about your services….GET BACK TO THEM! For the love of God, send them an email. I do and it’s gotten me students. How do I know this? Because I ask. And many times their response is “You got back to me right away and I found that very professional”.
Be a professional. Even if I cannot email them with everything they wanted to know at that immediate moment. I tell them that I am “out and about right now but will send them more information when I am back at my desk”. and that’s the truth. I don’t lie. This tiny yet sincere response lets them know they are important to me and I will get back to them. If that second response is going to be over 12-24 hours I tell them that. I feel in business if you cannot get back to someone within 120124 hours, you are not a viable person I really want to do business with. I figure others are as anal as me. For those that don’t care about those things. great, more power to you, and I won’t offend them with my good business ethic at all. But I fugue half the world is as impatient and anal as I am and I certainly could lose their business. I don’t want that. So I do what I do and it works.
Grand plan to take over the world is as follows:
Soon, very soon, I will be doing more videos. That definitely one aspect of social media I need to do better at. My video presence is nonexistent and i’m sure that’s bad. It’s been on the “to do” list for a few years and it’s gonna happen! Stay tunes.
Check out the stats on blogs on the website lsited below. I found it very helpful and informative.
First things first:
Shameless Shout out: Yoga Teacher Training Retreat in Costa Rica this January. Start the year off right. Yoga Maya is a Yoga Alliance 200/300/500 hour school.
January 4-18, 2019. All Inclusive beachfront yoga retreat center. Let's do this! Email me @firstname.lastname@example.org
OK, now down to the busines of yoga and stress reduction. Many people "come" to yoga for more than just a good stretch. They come for the stress reduction. Someone somewhere told somebody that "Yoga makes me feel so good" and it's bringing more nad more people to yoga over the last decade or so. This is not without merit and it's worth noting that studies are concluding that there is proof behind the "feel good" of yoga actually redicing stress.
FYI stress is a killer incase you hadn't heard. We all have it. Of course there is good stress but that's not what we are talking about here. I'm talking about the bad stress. The stress and anxiety that interfere with your sleep, that cause you to wake with several grey hairs. The stresses that squeeze yoru chest and make you feel as if you cannot breathe comfortably. That sort of stress. Many studies have found that anxiety, depression and stress reak havoc on the body as well as the mind. Not that we needed science to back that up. We all know it. We feel it from time to time. So why not try a little yoga. It's been around like for-EVER...
How yoga can help?
Published in the Journal Of Alternative Medicine is a study from (Ref.No:7) 2010.
The studies comparing the effects of yoga and exercise seem to indicate that, in both healthy and diseased populations, yoga may be as effective as or better than exercise at improving a variety of health-related outcome measures. A little weird because I've always considered yoga exercise. But I'll take it.
A study by Hartfiel N, Havenhand J, Khalsa SB, Clarke G, Krayer A ( Ref.No:9) concludes that even a short program of yoga is effective for enhancing emotional well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace.
And yet another study published on 08.04.12 by D. Vancampfort, University Psychiatric Centre University Leuven, Campus Kortenberg, Belgium (Ref.No:8) concludes that although limited, results indicated that yoga therapy can be a useful addition to reduce general psychopathology and positive and negative symptoms. In the same way, HRQL (health related quality of life) improved in those antipsychotic‐stabilized patients with schizophrenia following yoga.
Wait for it....I got another one. A study by Amy C.Bilderbecka shows some positives in a prison setting. It would appear (just my opinion) that yoga MIGHT BE GOOD FOR YOU....
Who knew? HAHAHAAAAAAAAA :)
This morning I found a few articles on proteolytic enzymes and totally dorked out for about three hours with 10 tabs open, popping back and forth between one then the other then the next. What a vast amount of information the internet can provide. I'm sure there's a lot of BS out there but this stuff: "proteolytic enzymes" are pretty amazing yet so simple. Eat good foods and leave all that gluten and processed garbage on the store shelves and feel better with less pain and quicker healing!
Do some research yourself. I did and am convinced that I won't need to take a supplement for this if I simply add a few yummy foods to my diet. It's all about the food and according to Ayurveda, the digestive system is a pretty big deal too. I always compare my research to what Ayurveda says about this or that enzyme, supplement, new super-whatever that's someone is peddling out there to guarantee your health and well being. Then I check the side effect. I suggest you do the same and make up your own mind about it and the changes you can make that will actually work for YOU!
NOTE: Some nighshades are inflamation provoking in the body. I do love my nightshades but am trying to lessen it in my diet. Potatoes are a nightshade. So I'm guessing french fries are too. Possibly even curly fries but I'm not sure about that one :) HAHA. Ugh. Oh well at least chocolate isn't a nightshade! Winning!
What foods are high in proteolytic enzymes? Check out the picture below and don't forget that ginger is the bomb too! It's a great source of proteolytic enzymes. So why not add a little to your warm water in the am. You know...after you've scraped your tongue.
Want to change your diet a bit? Try some new foods and work on your health in the worlds most beautiful jungle beach retreat center? Learn and apply Ayurvedic principles to your life? Join us for a retreat in the Osa Peninsula this 2019. Surf, Yoga, Massage, Ayurveda, Detox, Pilates, Jungle hikes and mas!!!!.....Let's even visit a cacao farm that has ancient medicinal plants for so many ailments its mind blowing!
We do teach Yin Yoga at our Yoga Teacher Trainins in Costa Rica and Mexico. It's a great counterbalance to our daily Vinyasa. You will be able to teach Vinyasa and Yin once you've completed our Yoga Alliance Approved Course. Next training is set for January 2019. Two short and sweet weeks of fun in the sun at our glorious beachfront shala. All inclusive.
In case I haven't mentioned it lately, Elephant Journal is a great resource and they also have many interesting articles all yoga encompasing. I get on once in a while and OD on it!
Here's a great example:
Yin for the Hips/Knees!
Though this posting is suggesting these sequences are great for Lotus Pose. You don't ever have to do Lotus. I actually don't recommend it but hey, do what you want if your knees allow it, have at it! Just remember to be careful and stop if you have any pain/discomfort in the knee while pullling that left knee up and over for your final "bam-pow" of finishing that Lotus pose.
So, check out this Yin Yoga Sequence that will open the hips, calm the mind and generally make you feel all "the feels" of a yummy yin-hip class. In the comforts of your own home.
Too lazy to click the link below?
Here it is:
(use your meditation timer app)
1. Sukasana with alternate nostril breathing 5 minutes
2. Firelog each side 3 minutes
3. Butterfly with a forward fold 5 minutes
4. Extended Butterfly (make heels farther from groin) 5 minutes (could skip to reduce time)
5. Squat (malasana) to rag doll (2 minutes each) x 2 if time permits
6. Half Saddle 5 mintues each side
7. Pigeon 5 min
8. Shoelace 5 min each side
9. Supported Butterflly 5 minutes
10. Savasana 7-10 minutes
You can do for less time (say 3 minutes each for ease of use w one setting at 3 minutes on repeat with your timer and to reduce the lengthy class. Just enjoy. Keep the malasana rag doll to one set to reduce time.
I skipped full Saddle (why? cuz it's not for the average bear) but if it's your bag, have at it kiddo!
I wanted to share some thougths I have on a personal practice and it's importance as a yogi and as a teacher.
First off, go to other teachers classes. This is paramount as you will learn even from a rookie teacher, you will learn. You will learn how it feels to be a student in case you've forgotten. As a student you are expected to do what the teacher asks (within reason) and follow along. Even if it's in a class that isn't exactly your cup of tea. This is discipline and we all need to be reminded of this from time to time. This also helps you break out of your comfort zone.
Example: You are doing a sequence along with the class and they are holding poses a lot longer than you are use to. It's hard and somewhat annoying to you. This is a perfect oportunity for growth. For tolerance and acceptance. For breath work (pranayama). For muscular development. Need I go on?
Or perhaps: A pose you never do because you really don't like it. Oh man, this one gets me. If I am asked to do camel pose I groan audibly. I truly cannot stand it. I have learned to stop that attitude immediately and just do it! I know it works me in areas I need it and I know I avoid it because I am lazy. We all like to do what we are good at and avoid what we are not. It's human nature. Once I get over my dislike I am actually excited about the possibilites of working parts of my body that really need it. Think of a pose you don't like and work it into your person practice. see what arises from this little experiment and write me about it. I love hearing from students!
Ok. Back to some real hadns on personal practice, I'm talking about one on your mat in your home all by yourself with a dedicated twenty minutes to one hour or more to it. No phone, no kids, no putting clothes in the dryer. Just you and your mat.
Give this a go:
Put on a new playlist. Get warmed up and begin to have a little fun. No agenda except move your body in an organic and natural way via your yoga asanas. See what happens. If you really want to challenge yourself after you've had time to play, get out the timer. Work through 5-8 asanas while you time your holds of one minute each. If you are a vinyasa flow kinda person (like me) you may be shocked how long that is. It's very different to do a full one minute hold all along. You have no one else there to look at, no teacher talking about God knows what, nothing to keep you entertained. Just you and the asana. Dang. Is this hard? Yup, it is. Deal with it. Count your breaths. Settle in to the pose. Enjoy the challenge. This is where growth takes place, outside of your comfort zone challenging your mind, body and breath.
I had a million things on my to do list today and this "holding asana for one minute each" wasn't on it but I'm glad I did it. It was my own little experiment and I enjoyed it. My hamstrings enjoyed it. My shoulders and hips did too. My body knew what poses to do and my mind accepted the one minute challenge. Pranayama got me through it and I got sweaty and am now eager for the days events. I really enjoyed my little class and felt like an accomplished badass who help oses for a full minute. I have proof. LOL! As I organize for my next YTT-200 in Costa Rica I have a million things to do. I get less jacked outta shape about my "to do list" when I have had a good yoga class.
Debbie Krejci E-RYT 500
Yoga Teacher Training Mexico, Costa Rica, 2019
?Yoga Maya Uvita