You’ve likely heard that yoga can help you burn calories, build strength, sculpt your body, and relieve stress. If so, chances are you’ve also heard about the discipline within it called vinyasa yoga.
The terms “yoga vinyasa,” “vinyasa yoga,” “vinyasa flow,” or “flow yoga” are all essentially synonyms for one method that can help you achieve your fitness goals among many other mindfulness benefits. Let’s dive into the definition of the practice, its pillars, traditional poses and sequences, as well as benefits and precautions.
What Is Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa yoga is a form of yoga that sequences poses in a fluid, continuous way, assigning an inhale or exhale to each movement of the body. Traditionally, vinyasa means “linking breath to movement.”
The priority placed on continuous movement in vinyasa yoga distinguishes it from other styles like the more restorative yin yoga, which emphasizes long, static holds in a single posture. The steady and easeful breath characteristic of vinyasa yoga is intended to create a state of effortlessness, or flow, which is meant to slow fluctuations of the mind in what is designed as a moving meditation.
Vinyasa is used to describe an array of methods and modalities. Some argue that “set sequence” methods of yoga like Mysore ashtanga, Bikram, or power yoga aren’t vinyasa. Others disagree, noting that these are step-by-step sequences that emphasize the breath, which is characteristic of vinyasa yoga.
Spiritual principles of vinyasa yoga
In vinyasa yoga, you flow from one posture to the next as a way of focusing your energy on your breath, ideally abandoning your conscious mind and tapping into subconscious patterns, emotions, and habits. This has resulted in, for many, a transformation of the mind to match that of the body.
The practice isn’t about getting a particular pose “right” — as it is in, say, hatha yoga — so much as it is about the flow between poses. Subsequently, vinyasa yoga is also about learning how to surrender, to find steadiness, ease, and pleasure in your body and mind through the breath.
Common Vinyasa Yoga Poses and Sequences
When you link breath and movement, you have the foundation for a vinyasa sequence. While that leaves plenty of room for creativity, there are a few vinyasa yoga poses that are sacred and unchanging.
Sun salutation (surya namaskara)
Vinyasa can refer to a small subset of postures, like a mini sequence, or it can describe a whole class. For example, among the various vinyasa yoga poses is the sun salutation, or surya namaskara sequence. Surya namaskara A and surya namaskara B are two hallmark vinyasa sequence subsets found in almost all vinyasa classes.
The surya namaskara A and B sequences are said to date back to the Vedic period as a means of worshipping the sun. These were practiced as a ritual to honor the life-giving energy, known as prana, that made crops and food grow. Surya means “sun” and namaskara means “to bow” or “honor.”
These sun salutations are considered moving prayers, using breath to direct the practitioner’s energy in specific ways. With each inhale, you create an upward movement while expanding your energy. With each exhale, you create a downward movement and surrender that energy. Surya namaskaras are considered a full practice because they contain backbends, forward bends, core work, and inversions.
There’s actually a common subset sequence that is itself referred to as a “vinyasa,” which involves the linking of three specific postures found in a sun salutation: chaturanga (chaturanga dandasana), upward facing dog (urdhva mukha svanasana), and downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana). Combined, the three can stand on their own, or serve as a transitional sequence, often inserted between postures as a means to reset the spine, or clear the slate for the next set of sequences.
Other linked postures
You might encounter some of the same poses in a vinyasa class that you’ve seen in others. But instead of standing on their own, these postures may be linked together based on foot position, orientation of the leg in the hip joint, shoulder rotation, or simply how well they flow together.
For example, you will typically find warrior II (virabhadrasana II) and triangle pose (uttitha trikonasana) linked together. The instruction will go something like this: After you take your “vinyasa,” step your right foot between your hands out of downward facing dog, and turn your back heel down; align your front heel with your back arch; and, keeping your right knee bent, rise on an inhale to warrior II.
You’ll notice that the front leg in warrior II is positioned externally in the hip joint. To move from this pose into triangle, you simply straighten your right leg, and hinge your pelvis and torso forward at the hip joint. There’s no need to move your feet, and the position of the leg is already externally rotated. This is easy on the hip joint, and explains why the two poses are linked.
Another set of poses that are commonly linked is the bridge (setu bhanda) into full backbend (urdhva dhanurasana). In this example, bridge is a preparatory pose, warming up the appropriate muscle groups for the deeper backbend. Again, the rotation of the leg in the hip joint is the same. You’re already stretching the muscles on the front of the body, like the hip flexors, to prepare for the deeper needs of the full backbend.
6 Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa yoga offers most of the advantages of other forms of yoga, emphasizing some more than others.
1. Increased flexibility
Foremost among the physical benefits of any yoga practice is improved flexibility through the gentle lengthening of muscles. But in vinyasa yoga, practitioners engage more in “dynamic stretching” versus “static stretching,” the latter of which is more common in hatha yoga. Dynamic stretching utilizes a broader, more active range of motion to lengthen muscles rather than the gradual elongate-and-hold movement that’s characteristic of static stretching.
2. Greater strength
Through the use of bodyweight resistance, vinyasa yoga also provides a form of functional strength training. Demanding poses like arm balances and inversions help build relative strength, which enhances overall fitness and the performance of daily activities.
3. Improved mobility
Vinyasa yoga can increase range of motion by combining better strength and flexibility with dynamic movement of the joints. For example, a yoga practitioner may not enjoy the full range of motion in a joint because of restrictions to movement in connective tissue and/or a lack of muscular strength to support it. But through a healthy yoga practice, they can learn body awareness, build strength, and limber up not only the muscle, but also tendons and ligaments that may be inhibiting movement.
4. Muscular development
Just about any form of strength training is going to be accompanied by enhanced musculature. During vinyasa yoga, practitioners perform advanced movements, building and shaping muscle with resistance provided by their own bodyweight.
5. Fat burning
When you build muscle you’re building more metabolically-active tissue, which inherently burns fat (among other energy sources) for maintenance, even at rest. Provided, of course, that you’re not offsetting the calories burned with an excess of calories consumed.
6. Cardiovascular health
Yoga’s gentler forms may not propel your heart rate into the zones necessary to qualify as cardio, but more vigorous disciplines like vinyasa yoga can. A review of studies in 2014 found that asana- (pose-) based yoga can improve resting heart rate, along with a host of other cardiovascular data points. The faster and more intense your vinyasa practice, the more of a cardio workout it can be.
How many calories do you burn in vinyasa yoga?
While the amount of energy spent depends on a number of factors and can swing wildly from one person to the next, you can burn serious calories during a more vigorous, fast-paced vinyasa practice. A 165-pound woman can burn up to 653 calories during an hour of vinyasa yoga.
Precautions When Practicing Vinyasa Yoga
When working in these repetitive sequences, it’s important to practice with care, as with any physically demanding activity. Plenty of beginners get their starts in vinyasa-style classes, but it’s important when you’re first learning yoga to seek beginner instruction. The pace of a vinyasa class can be quite fast, and if you don’t know the names or basics of the poses, you could expose yourself to injury.
Beachbody’s 3 Week Yoga Retreat is a rounded introduction to yoga, providing a solid foundation in the practice. This series of videos is designed to teach beginners the essentials, while challenging veterans to deepen their practice.
“People can find walking into a yoga studio intimidating, especially when it never stops moving,” Beachbody Executive Director of Fitness and certified yoga instructor Stephanie Saunders explains. “Completing a program like 3 Week Yoga Retreat will empower you with all the tools you need, so that you begin receiving the benefits of a vinyasa class from day one.”
If you’re looking to try yoga for the first time, it might be less intimidating to try a few yoga videos at home before going to a yoga studio. In fact, Beachbody created its at-home yoga program, 3 Week Yoga Retreat, just for that reason! But before you dive into doing a full yoga video, it may also be helpful to get familiar with the most common yoga poses to learn proper form before starting your first yoga class. This way, you’re more likely to prevent injury and you won’t feel completely lost during a yoga session. Take a look at the yoga videos below to master 15 common yoga poses and begin to build the foundation of your yoga practice.
Why Is Form Important in Yoga?
Like any sport, yoga requires a specific understanding of technique. It takes focus and attention to set up a yoga pose correctly, work within the pose, and then safely move out of it. Yoga instructors typically use the term “alignment” when referring to form. Correct alignment is when your bones are stacked and stable. This prevents injury because the muscles are working with the bone structure, rather than being pulled too much in one direction or another. When the muscles and bones are in correct alignment, you can typically go deeper into the pose without fear of injury, breathe more deeply, and receive more benefits from the posture. The 15 yoga videos for beginners below will help you achieve proper alignment in each pose so you can start feeling like a yoga pro in no time.
16 Free Yoga Videos for Beginners
We’ve selected yoga videos for some of the most common poses you’ll encounter in a yoga class. Each pose has an English name and a Sanskrit name—in these videos you may hear just one name, or both. The first nine poses collectively comprise the yoga sequence Sun Salutation A, which is a set sequence of postures often found at the beginning of a yoga class intended to warm up the body.
Yoga Poses of Sun Salutation A:
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
2. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
3. Half Lift (Ardha Uttanasansa)
4. Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
5. Low Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
6a. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) or 6b. Upward Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
7. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
8. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
9. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
7 Standing Yoga Poses:
The second set of yoga videos are all standing poses. Some of them are slightly more difficult than those found in Sun Salutation A, but even a beginner can master these poses with practice. The standing yoga poses include:
1. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
2. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
3. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
4. Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
5. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)
6. Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
7. Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Sun Salutation A Yoga Videos:
1. How to do Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart. Let your arms hang down along the side your torso, palms facing forward. Feel your weight balanced evenly on your feet. Engage your core muscles.
Relax your shoulders and press your shoulder blades back and down. Lift your chest up. Look straight ahead so that your chin is parallel to the mat. Align your ears over your shoulders so your neck is in a neutral position – it should not jut out forward or be pulled back.
2. How to Do Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttansana)
Stand in mountain pose, with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
Getting into the pose
On an inhale, raise your arms straight up above your head and bring your palms together. Bend your knees slightly, and on the exhale, hinge at your hips to fold forward, lengthening your spine the whole way down as you reach your hands for the floor. Bring either your fingertips or palms to the floor, fingers in line with your toes. Slowly straighten your legs as much as you can without straining them.
Reach your tailbone up toward the ceiling. Engage your abdominals. Shift your weight slightly forward on your feet so your hips align over your heels.
3. How to Do Standing Half Lift Pose (Ardha Uttanasansa)
Stand in mountain pose, with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
Getting into the pose
On an inhale, raise your arms straight up above your head and bring your palms together. Bend your knees slightly, and on the exhale, hinge at your hips to fold forward, lengthening your spine the whole way down as you reach for the floor. Bring either your fingertips or palms to the floor, fingers in line with your toes. Slowly straighten your legs as much as you can without straining. Shift the weight toward your toes. Straighten your arms and lift your chest away from your thighs to make a flat back.
Lengthen your spine. Engage your abdominals. Press your shoulder blades together and down.
4. How to Do Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
Start in table top position – hands and knees on the ground, back flat, wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Engage your abdominals. Press your shoulders down away from the ears.
Getting Into The Pose
Curl the toes so that the ball of your feet are pressed into the mat. Look toward the front edge of the mat. Step your feet back and straighten both legs behind you as you straighten your arms (this should be like the top of a push-up). Feet are hip distance apart.
Bring your shoulders, hips, and heels into a straight line (imagine that there is a straight line from your head to heels). Keep your shoulders over your wrists. Engage your abdominals. Press your palms into the ground to engage your triceps and biceps. Press your shoulder blades down the back, and lengthen your sternum forward to keep your chest open. Look toward the front of the mat.
5. How to do Low Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Begin in plank pose: shoulders over your wrists, hips in line with your shoulders, and legs straight behind you. Look at the floor, a few inches past the mat to keep your neck long.
Getting into the pose
On an inhale, shift your body forward slightly until your shoulders are a few inches in front of the wrists. Engage your core, and on an exhale, slowly bend your elbows keeping them close to your sides. Come half way down, bringing the elbows to 90 degrees above the wrists, and hold.
Shoulders, elbows, and hips are at the same height. Press your shoulders down and away from the ears. Engage your core. Look slightly forward.
6a. How to do Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Starting in plank, slowly lower down through chaturanga to the floor. Untuck your toes so the tops of the feet are on the mat.
Getting into the pose
Place your hands on the mat under your shoulders. Keep your legs straight, and press the tops of your feet into the mat. On an inhale, press into your palms and lift your chest off the floor using your arm and back muscles. (Only lift your chest to a height that avoids pinching your lower back.) Keep your elbows tucked in to your sides.
Keep a slight bend in your elbows. Open your chest and press your shoulder blades down the back away from your ears. Don’t crunch your lower back – it should feel lengthened. Engage your leg muscles by keeping them straight and pressed into the floor.
6b. How to do Upward Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Starting in plank, slowly lower down through chaturanga to the floor. Untuck your toes so the tops of the feet are on the mat.
Getting into the pose
Place your hands under you shoulders. Keep your legs straight, and press the tops of your feet into the mat. On an inhale, press into your palms, straighten your arms, and lift your chest up. Keep your legs straight and press into the tops of your feet, lifting the kneecaps and thighs up from the floor.
Shoulders are directly over your wrists. Open your chest and press your shoulder blades down the back to lift the chest higher. Look straight ahead.
7. How to do Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Start with your hands and knees on the mat. Place your knees directly below your hips, and your wrists a couple inches forward of your shoulders. Have your finger tips pointed toward the front of the mat and spread your fingers wide apart.
Getting into the pose
On an inhale, tuck your toes so the balls of your feet are on the mat. On an exhale, lift your hips up to the ceiling so that you’re in an upside down “V” position. Keep your arms straight, but avoid locking your elbows. Press your shoulder blades together and down the back.
Hands are shoulder-width distance apart and feet are hip-width distance. Look back at your toes and keep your ears in line with your arms. Press your palms into the mat and create a straight line from your wrists, to your shoulders, to your hips. Engage your core muscles. Press your heels down toward the mat (even if they don’t touch the floor) and attempt to straighten the legs without locking them.
Yoga Videos of Standing Poses
9. How to do Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Begin in mountain pose with your hands on your hips. Shift your weight onto your left foot. Turn your right leg out so that your knee is pointed to the right.
Getting into the pose
Lift your right knee up to about hip height and use your right hand to grab your right ankle and place the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh. (If this is too difficult, place your foot below your knee, but never place it directly on your knee. Bring the palms of your hands together in a prayer position and place them in the center of your chest. Look at a non-moving spot on the ground in front of you to help keep your balance. If you feel steady, extend your arms overhead on an inhale.
While in the pose, find balance by maintaining mountain pose alignment. Squeeze your glutes and engage your left quad muscle. Engage your abs and lengthen your spine. Keep your shoulders pressed down away from the ears. To help with balance, press your right foot into the left inner thigh with the same effort as the inner thigh presses into the foot.
10. How to Do Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Begin in mountain pose with your hands on your hips. Step your left foot back about three feet and place it down at a 45-degree angle, so that your left arch is in line with your right heel. Your right toes should be pointing to the front of the mat. Both legs are straight. Turn your chest to face the left side. Reach your right out in front of your body and your left arm out behind you, so that they are parallel to the mat in a “T” position with your palms facing down.
Getting into the pose
On an inhale, reach your front hand as far forward toward as you can, bringing the rib cage forward. On an exhale, hinge forward from the hip joint, reaching your right arm down and your left arm up, creating straight line up and down. Place your right fingertips either on top of your right ankle, on the floor, or on a block just outside the ankle. Extend the arms and open the chest.
Press your back foot into the mat. Engage your thighs and your abdominals. Lengthen both sides of the body, keeping your neck in line with your spine. Press your shoulders away from the ears. Look at the floor, straight ahead, or up at your left hand.
11. How to Do Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Start in mountain pose with the choice of having your feet together or hip-distance apart.
Getting Into The Pose
On an inhale, raise your arms straight up above your head and bring your palms together. Shift your weight into your heels, and bend your knees to a 90-degree angle so that your thighs are parallel to the mat, as if you’re sitting in a chair. (If this is too challenging, you can do the move with a lesser bend in your knees)
Avoid overarching the low back: tuck your tailbone and engage your abdominals. Press your shoulders blades down away from the ears and lift your chest. Reach up your arms up and keep them in line with your ears. Look at a non-moving point in front of you.
12. How to Do Warrior 1 Pose (Virabhadrasana 1)
Start in mountain pose. Step your left foot back three to four feet and place it down at a 45-degree angle, so that your back left arch is in line with your right heel. Keep your chest and hips facing forward to the front of the mat. Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle directly over the ankle, with your toes pointing forward. Don’t bend the knee past the ankle.
Getting into the pose
Press your back foot into the ground. Lengthen your spine and engage your core. On an inhale, sweep the arms forward and up alongside the ears, palms facing each other.
Stabilize the legs by pressing the left thigh back and pressing the left heel firmly into the mat. Square the chest and hip to the front of the mat. Keep your arms in line with your ears, engage your triceps, and press your shoulders down and away from the ears. Look forward or up toward the hands.
13. How to Do Warrior 2 Pose (Virabhadrasana 2)
Start in mountain pose. Step your left foot back three to four feet and place it down at a 45-degree angle, so that your left arch is in line with your right heel. Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle directly over the ankle, with your toes pointing forward. Don’t bend the knee past the ankle. Square your chest and hips to the left side.
Getting into the pose
Press your left heel down firmly and engage your left thigh. Stand tall and engage your abs. On an inhale, reach your left arm back and your right arm forward, so that they are parallel to the mat in a “T” position with palms facing down.
Look over your right fingertips. Keep your front knee in line with your second toe. Stack your shoulders directly over your hips (so your ribs are centered — not shifted forward or back). Press your shoulder blades down.
14. How to Do Reverse Warrior Pose (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
Start in warrior 2 pose: left foot is back and left leg is straight. Right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle directly over the ankle, and right toes are pointing forward. Chest and hips are squared to the left side. Your left arm is reaching back and your right arm is reaching forward, so that they are parallel to the mat in a “T” position with palms facing down.
Getting into the pose
With arms out in a “T,” flip the front palm up toward the ceiling and lift the front arm straight up to the ceiling while lowering the back hand onto the back leg (avoid pressing on your knee). As you reach your right fingertips over your head, slightly bend the elbow and reach toward the back wall.
With your knee bent at 90 degrees, keep it stacked over your ankle and in line with the second toe. Engage your core. Press your shoulder blades down. Look to the side or toward the top palm.
15. How to Do Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Start in warrior 2 pose: left foot is back and left leg is straight. Right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle directly over the ankle, and right toes are pointing forward. Chest and hips are squared to the left side. Left arm is reaching back and right arm is reaching forward, so that they are parallel to the mat in a “T” position with palms facing down. Engage your abs.
Getting into the pose
Press your left foot down firmly into the mat. Stand tall and engage your abs. Reach your front hand as far forward toward as you can, bringing your rib cage forward. Bend your right elbow and place your right forearm onto your right thigh. Extend your left arm overhead so it reaches forward with your palm facing the floor.
Keep a straight line from your back heel, up your leg, up your torso, up to the fingertips of your top hand. Keep your chest open to the side. Press your shoulder blades down. Look to the side or toward the top palm.
One question I get a lot is, “Why do you always add gelatin to your stocks?”
I decided to do a post on this because the answer is actually more complicated than you might think.
It’s complicated because there are so many good reasons — both from a health and a culinary point of view — to make this magic ingredient a pantry staple.
What IS Gelatin?
First, let’s talk about what it is: Gelatin is what collagen turns into after extended periods of low and slow heating.
It’s a protein loaded with many amino acids that are normally only found in the parts of animals we don’t eat (think bones and tough connective tissue).
Traditionally, those less edible parts would go into a stock pot with water and vegetables and simmer for six to 12 hours, until all of their healthy goodness is extracted.
Most store-bought stocks today aren’t made in this traditional manner because it’s too time-consuming and expensive.
So, if you want the benefits of a bone broth, or “stock” as we refer to it in the culinary world, but you don’t have time to make your own, you can enrich the store-bought stuff with a little bit of all-natural, unflavored gelatin.
You can find gelatin in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. Just make sure you don’t get the sweetened, colored, flavored stuff you use to make dessert; we’re looking for pure gelatin.
It comes as a powder, but it also comes in sheet form, but gelatin sheets are a specialty product used mostly by pastry chefs. I like to add one teaspoon per cup of broth, hydrating it for five minutes in the cold or room temperature broth before heating to avoid clumps.
Every good bone broth will set like Jell-O once cooled to refrigerator temperatures, but we’ll, of course, be consuming it warm, where it will yield a protein-rich, full-bodied stock that’s hearty and satisfying, keeping you full for hours without leaving you feeling deprived.
First, of course, is that protein we just talked about, which is an important part of a healthy diet — there are six grams of protein in a tablespoon of gelatin powder, so you’re getting quite a bang for your buck.
Gelatin also contains the amino acid lysine, which can help the body absorb calcium, which in turn, is essential for healthy bones. More research is needed, but some studies show that collagen consumption may help with issues like joint pain and osteoarthritis.
All in all, that’s a pretty nice package of benefits you can get from consuming gelatin!
Cooking With Gelatin
Now, let’s talk about gelatin’s culinary functions.
Stocks made with gelatin are rich, both in flavor and mouth-feel. They have a silky, satisfying texture that you normally only get from fatty foods like butter and cream.
But gelatin achieves this by way of lean protein, so it’s a win for people trying to add richness to meals without the addition of excess fat.
A proper gelatin-rich stock can even be reduced by simmering until it forms what we call a demi-glace — a thick, rich glaze that’s amazing on everything from chicken to roast vegetables.
Demi-glace is one of those rare culinary miracles that will make you feel like you’re eating the most decadent, butter-laced sauce imaginable, but is, in fact, high in protein and virtually fat-free!
Gelatin also acts as a binder. It’s a kind of chemical magnet that links other compounds that would normally separate into a more stable emulsion.
That magnetic character also makes gelatin a fantastic flavor conduit. What I mean by conduit is that it binds the various flavor elements of a dish together, forming a harmonious whole that is then transferred to the taste buds in a burst of flavor that coats the palate and lingers in a long, savory finish that leaves you smacking your lips and wondering what it is that tastes so good that you just can’t put your finger on.
It’s the chef’s secret behind so many of those amazing, high-end restaurant sauces that the average home cook puzzles over, wondering what strange alchemy they teach in culinary school.
The Bottom Line
There is a myriad of wonderful reasons to add gelatin to your stocks. This inexpensive, shelf-stable ingredient is a pantry staple in my kitchen, and once you’ve given it a try, I think it will become just as indispensable in your home.
It enhances flavor without the salt and sugar; it adds richness and body without the fat; and it leaves you feeling full and sated, making this ingredient a healthy chef’s favorite secret weapon.
Celebrate your inner child with these Baked Buffalo Chicken Fingers. Made with almond meal, egg and hot sauce, this is a simple recipe that you can serve for weeknight dinners or for a healthy kids meal.
This is the last post on the blog before I GET MARRIED.
Okay let’s all just take a second to let that soak in.
Somehow it felt fitting to post a recipe for baked buffalo chicken fingers before my wedding. 1) because we are most definitely serving them at our wedding (to be fair it’s the kids menu, but still…) and 2) because I feel like a child bride who eats still eats chicken fingers at least once a week and is deeply confused about who gave me permission to get married.
Late 20s are such a weird time. Some people are married and have babies and others are still trying to commit to a relationship with their hairdresser. Your age doesn’t seem to match your maturity…in either direction.
I digress…Is marriage brain a thing?
To be honest, the last year of my life (since getting engaged) has been one hell of a season! Some incredible ups and some deeply deep downs. We celebrated our engagement in the most perfect way possible and I’m still so grateful to have had both sets of our parents there. But we also experienced overwhelming loss and some stressful health problems. Note to all brides: try NOT to get shingles, okay?
We celebrated birthdays and travelled to destinations near and far. I become a yoga teacher, C deepened his roots with The Sierra Club and Bodhi perfected the art of the snuggle. I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to this time next week when we’ll officially be married and moving onto the next chapter of our lives but even though this year has been a challenge, I wouldn’t have changed any of it.
I get to marry my best friend, surrounded by our closest family and friends. I’ve had many moments where I just wanted to give up or shed wayyyy too many tears over invites/flowers/welcome bags/caterers, but it’s this piece I’m holding on to. I can only imagine how incredible it will feel to look around and see my family interacting with my high school friends, talking with Curt’s camp friends, sitting next to my blogging friends. There are few opportunities in life to bring together all the people you love in one room. I can’t believe this opportunity will be my life in a few short days!
So what’s going to be happening around here? As of Wednesday I will be off for 10 days, prepping, getting married and then mooning so hard (#moonsohard <– let’s get this trending!). THM will not be shutting down though. I’m taking this little break as an opportunity to introduce you to Team Maven and the incredible women who keep THM afloat. Tanya and Georgia will be introducing themselves next week and then sharing some amazing pieces of wisdom and yummy recipes with you. I will be very sporadic on social media as well. My #1 priority is to be present in this huge life milestone, not worry about whether or not I’ve posted on Instagram.
I will of course be sharing the details with you after the fact, but I’d like to believe I’m only going through this experience once and I’d like to cherish every minute of it.
So with that, I leave you with this delicious recipe for Baked Buffalo Chicken Fingers and bid you adieu until I return as DAVIDA LEDERLE. WOAH. See you soon!Print
Baked Buffalo Chicken Fingers
Any words of wisdom for our upcoming nuptials? What did you serve at your wedding?
The post Baked Buffalo Chicken Fingers + I’M GETTING MARRIED! appeared first on The Healthy Maven.
Yoga has come a long way in the past few years. Take a look at any studio’s schedule and you’ll see so many different types of yoga, from ashtanga yoga and kundalini yoga to aerial yoga and acro yoga. You might have even heard about — or tried — some of the more modern and unusual iterations of the ancient practice: hip-hop yoga, HIIT yoga, and naked yoga…just to name a few.
Though the practice is thousands of years old, it only arrived in the US in the late 1800s and didn’t firmly take root until the last few decades. Since then, yoga has gone from a practice associated with hippies, to one that’s practiced by nearly 37 million people.
And not all of these millions of people go to a yoga studio to do their downward dogs. If you like to unroll your mat at home (like with Beachbody Yoga Studio) you’re not alone: That’s the number one place people practice.
What Is Yoga?
“Plain and simple, yoga is the union between the body, mind, and spirit — that’s the origins of yoga and that’s how it is practiced in the East,” says Miriam Amselem, yoga of nearly 30 years. “It is a place of discovery and connection with your own body that encompasses balance, proper stretching techniques, breathing, meditation, centering the mind and spirit — that’s yoga in its real form.”
However, you’ll find that every type of yoga has a slightly different definition or interpretation. That is why we see things like goat yoga (a.k.a. doing yoga with goats running and jumping around) popping up alongside traditional forms like Iyengar and ashtanga.
But above all, yoga ignores the “no pain, no gain” philosophy that’s often touted in fitness communities — yoga not a place to push through, go beyond your edge, or ignore your body. The primary tenet is ahimsa, or non-harming, and that starts with choosing the right type of yoga for you.
13 Types of Yoga: How to Choose the Right Kind for You
When you’re trying to determine which of the different types of yoga is best for you, remember that there is no right or wrong one— just one that might not be right for you at this moment.
“Like any form of exercise, choose something you want to do,” says Stephanie Saunders, executive director of fitness at Beachbody and a certified yoga instructor. “If you are a very detailed person, Bikram or Iyengar might appeal to you. If you are more of a free spirit, vinyasa or aerial yoga might be fun. Find a class that makes you excited to go.”
So which one will get you excited? Our guide to the common types of yoga can help you decide whether you’re in more of a restorative yoga or a power yoga kind of mood, or anything in between.
Kundalini yoga was brought to the West by teacher and spiritual leader Yogi Bhajan in the late 1960s. “Kundalini” in Sanskrit translates to “life force energy” (known as prana or chi in the yoga community), which is thought to be tightly coiled at the base of the spine. Kundalini yoga sequences are carefully designed to stimulate or unlock this energy and to reduce stress and negative thinking. “You get to elevate your consciousness and feel great,” says Veronica Parker, an E-RYT 200, and a certified kundalini yoga teacher.
This is accomplished by challenging both mind and body with chanting, singing, meditation, and kriyas (specific series of poses paired with breath work and chanting). You might notice everyone is wearing white, as it’s believed to deflect negativity and increase your aura. Typically, a kundalini class starts with a mantra (a focus for the class), then includes breathing exercises, warmups to get the body moving, increasingly more challenging poses, and a final relaxation and meditation, says Parker.
Who Might Like It: Anyone in search of a physical, yet also spiritual practice, or those who like singing or chanting.
Vinyasa yoga is also called “flow yoga” or “vinyasa flow,” and it’s one you’ll commonly encounter — 3 Week Yoga Retreat offers flow yoga for beginners, for example. It was adapted from the more regimented ashtanga practice a couple of decades ago. The word “vinyasa” translates to “place in a special way,” which is often interpreted as linking breath and movement. You’ll often see words like slow, dynamic, or mindful paired with vinyasa or flow to indicate the intensity of a practice.
“Vinyasa flow is a style of yoga where the poses are synchronized with the breath in a continuous rhythmic flow,” says Sherrell Moore-Tucker, RYT 200. “The flow can be meditative in nature, calming the mind and nervous system, even though you’re moving.”
Vinyasa yoga is suitable for those who’ve never tried yoga as well as those who’ve been practicing for years.
Who Might Like It: Anyone who wants more movement and less stillness from their yoga practice.
Hatha yoga derives its name from the Sanskrit words for sun and moon, and it’s designed to balance opposing forces. The balance in hatha yoga might come from strength and flexibility, physical and mental energy, or breath and the body. “Hatha is a blanket term for many different ‘styles’ and schools that use the body as a means for self-inquiry,” says Jennifer Campbell-Overbeeke, E-RYT 500.
It’s often used as a catch-all term for the physical side of yoga, is more traditional in nature, or is billed as yoga for beginners. “Hatha translates to ‘forceful,’ but this relates more to the aspect of concentration and regularity of practice rather than applying unnecessary force to the body,” says Campbell-Overbeeke.
To be considered hatha, classes must include a mix of asana (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation, so other types of yoga — like Iyengar, ashtanga, or Bikram — are technically considered to be hatha yoga as well.
Who Might Like It: Anyone looking for a balanced practice, or those in search of a gentler type of yoga.
Ashtanga yoga consists of six series of specific poses taught in order. Each pose and each series is “given” to a student when their teacher decides they have mastered the previous one. This is a very physical, flow-style yoga with spiritual components — you might remember it as the type Madonna did in the late ’90s. Ashtanga teachers give hands-on adjustments, and in Mysore-style studios (named after the city where the practice’s guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, lived and taught), each student has a unique practice.
“The practitioner moves at the pace of her own breath and to her personal edge, or growth point,” says Lara Land, a level two authorized ashtanga teacher. “Each person memorizes the practice and moves at her own pace through the poses.”
Meaning eight-limbed path, ashtanga vinyasa yoga is often taught as “led” classes in the West, where the first or second series is taught from start to finish over the course of 90 minutes to two hours. There is no music played in ashtanga classes.
Who Might Like It: Anyone who likes routine or a more physical yet spiritual practice.
Yin yoga is a slower style of yoga in which poses are held for a minute and eventually up to five minutes or more. Yin is a type of yoga with roots in martial arts as well as yoga, and it’s designed to increase circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. The practice focuses on the hips, lower back, and thighs and uses props like bolsters, blankets, and blocks to let gravity do the work, helping to relax. While other forms of yoga focus on the major muscle groups, yin yoga targets the body’s connective tissues.
Yin also aids recovery from hard workouts. “Adding a deep stretch and holding class like yin can be extremely beneficial to a strong body,” says Megan Kearney, a Yoga Medicine instructor. Holding poses longer benefits the mind as well as the body, providing a chance to practice being still. “This is a beautiful practice that honors stillness,” says Moore-Tucker. “This style of practice is a great balance for vinyasa flow.”
Who Might Like It: Those who need to stretch out after a tough workout, or anyone interested in a slower-paced practice.
Iyengar yoga is named for its founder, B.K.S. Iyengar, who developed his classical, alignment-based practice in India. This type of yoga became popular in the US in the 1970s. Iyengar yoga is known for the high level of training required of its teachers and for its resourceful use of props. While considered optional in many practices, multiple props are used in Iyengar classes — including chairs, walls, and benches, in addition to more common ones like straps, blocks, and bolsters.
Paul Keoni Chun, an E-RYT 200, likes this more static form of yoga for older adults, since it “emphasizes detailed alignment and longer holds of positions.” Iyengar yoga is usually less intense than other types of yoga, although that can vary based on the instructor or class. But generally, it’s suitable for people of all ages and skill levels.
Who Might Like It: Someone who likes detailed instruction, anyone with physical limitations, or those in search of a more classical form of yoga.
Bikram yoga is a form of hot yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury. Bikram classes, like ashtanga classes, consist of a set series of poses performed in the same order, and the practice has strict rules. Each class is 90 minutes, with 26 postures and two breathing exercises, and the room must be 105° Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. Additionally, instructors do not adjust students.
Since Bikram yoga has so many rules, many studios simply call their classes “hot yoga” so they can customize their offerings. Devotees of hot yoga tout the massive amount of sweat and the added flexibility the practice gives them.
“Practicing yoga in a heated environment allows students to get deeper into postures, improves circulation, and aids in detoxifying the body,” says Natalie Sleik, RYT 200, who teaches hot power yoga.
Who Might Like It: Anyone who likes to sweat, someone who wants a more physical practice, or those who like routine.
Like vinyasa yoga, power yoga traces its roots to ashtanga but is less regimented and is more open to interpretation by individual teachers. “Power yoga is generally more active and is done at a quicker pace than other styles of yoga,” says Chun.
Sleik adds that “power yoga strengthens the muscles while also increasing flexibility. The variation of sequences keeps the brain engaged while you work all muscle groups in the body.”
Power yoga can be hot yoga or not, and some studios offer a mix of power and slow flow yoga to ease students into this intense practice. Fans of power yoga may also like buti yoga, which is just as physical but also includes tribal dance, primal movements, and plenty of core work.
Who Might Like It: Those who like ashtanga but want less rigidity, anyone who wants a good workout, and anyone who wants a less spiritual yoga practice.
Sivananda yoga is a form of hatha yoga based on the teachings of Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Sivananda. Classes are generally relaxing: while most yoga classes end with savasana (a final relaxation/corpse pose), Sivananda starts with this pose, then moves into breathing exercises, sun salutations, and then 12 basic asanas.
Kearney likes this practice for “someone looking for more spiritual or energetic work,” while Saunders says such Sivananda yoga can help push yourself to the next level if you’re a beginner. Designed to support overall health and wellness, Sivananda yoga is appropriate for all levels and ages.
Who Might Like It: Those looking for a gentler form of yoga, anyone who wants a more spiritual practice.
If you walked by a restorative yoga class, you might think everyone was taking a nap on their mats. This form of yoga uses props to support the body so it can completely relax into poses, which are held for at least five minutes but often longer. This means that you might only do a handful of poses in a class, and it’s perfectly acceptable to drift into sleep during them.
Some teachers might even lead you through yoga nidra – a guided meditation that allows you to hover blissfully between sleep and wake. One hour in yoga nidra is said to equal a few hours of shuteye, and while that can be a good self-care tool, it can’t replace a healthy night’s sleep.
Though all different types of yoga can aid stress relief and brain health, restorative yoga places its focus on down-regulating the nervous system. Restorative yoga can benefit those who need to chill out and de-stress, and it can also be used as part of your rest-day self-care. “Taking time to relax in a restorative class can have a huge impact on an athlete,” says Kearney.
Who Might Like It: Anyone who needs to de-stress, those dealing with pain, and someone who struggles to relax.
Yoga can be a wonderful workout for moms-to-be. It often focuses on easing pains associated with pregnancy, such as sore hips or an aching low back. Prenatal yogaprovides stress relief, exercise, and self-care in one session, and the breathing exercises can come in handy during labor and delivery.
Since this is a practice designed specifically for moms-to-be, it excludes poses that might be too taxing or unsafe for the changing body. (But make sure you check in with your doctor before beginning a yoga practice, if you are pregnant.) Yoga for pregnancy, such as the Active Maternity series on Beachbody On Demand, also often includes plenty of exercises to prepare your body for delivery, like squats and pelvic floor work.
Who Might Like It: Moms-to-be and new moms who are easing back into exercise.
Aerial yoga — sometimes called anti-gravity yoga — is relatively new, but quickly catching on. It involves traditional yoga poses with the added support of a strong, silky hammock that hangs from the ceiling. The hammock is used as a supportive prop in poses like pigeon or downward dog, and helps you more easily perform inverted poses (like headstands and handstands) that might be beyond your abilities or comfort levels. It’s also used for a cocoon-like savasana (the final resting pose at the end of a yoga class). Classes can be either physically challenging or relaxing.
“Teaching aerial yoga has been so rewarding for me because I get to witness beginners gain body awareness and overcome fear of being inverted,” says Melissa Vance, RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) 200, an aerial yoga teacher based outside of Atlanta. “Hanging upside down reverses the blood flow in the body and decompresses the spine providing much relief and a euphoric feeling.”
Who might like it: Those who want a nontraditional yoga experience, or anyone who wants the benefits of inversions but might fear going upside down on their own.
Acro yoga takes familiar yoga poses — like downward dog or plank — and makes them double the fun (and sometimes double the work) by adding a partner. One partner serves as the “base” on the ground, while the other is the “flyer” who contorts themselves on the soles of the base’s feet. (There should always be a spotter involved for safety, too). “[Acro yoga] allows people to break from the rectangular confines of their yoga mat and find a connection with their fellow practitioners,” says Lyle Mitchell, a YogaSlackers acro yoga teacher in Asheville, NC.
This type of yoga helps you playfully explore your mind-body connection, develops effective communication skills with a partner, and aids in setting appropriate boundaries. “Exploring these skills through acro yoga can translate to strengthening these skills in all our other relationships in life,” he says.
Saunders recommends acro yoga “if you are looking for the physical benefits of yoga in a fun and interactive environment.” If you work as a base, it builds a strong lower body and core. Working as a flyer requires flexibility and strength, not to mention trust.
Who Might Like It: Those who enjoy practicing with a partner, couples looking to build trust and intimacy, or anyone with an adventurous streak who likes to go upside down.
Every style of yoga has its unique benefits, and you might encounter a mix of many types of yoga in the same class. “I teach a mix of hatha, kundalini, yin, and restorative in my sessions — this keeps my students guessing and challenged,” says Amselem.
Want to try a variety of yoga workouts in the comfort of your own home? “The Beachbody Yoga Studio has all levels of yoga classes, including those needed to challenge the veteran yogi,” says Saunders. You can also try out 3-Day Yoga Refresh, which pairs yoga with a gentle cleanse so your nutrition and fitness both get targeted.
There is such mixed messaging out there when it comes to saying no. Shonda Rhimes tells us to embrace YES and dedicate an entire year to it, while others have declared vehemently that life is truly about saying no.
I’d like to believe my philosophy sits somewhere in the middle. I think we all far too often say “no” to the things that scare us and “yes” to the things that don’t serve us. It’s also hard to differentiate between the two.
This is why I truly believe that saying no is an art. It’s not something that is mastered overnight, but with practice you definitely get better at it. It’s something I’ve been practicing for the last few years and while it still isn’t easy, I’ve certainly improved. It’s an art I’ve been working on in both my personal and professional life. Through discipline and setting boundaries, I’ve been able to find a much better work-life balance. It’s required me saying “no” to work opportunities so that I can actually have a life, and saying “yes” to hiring a team to help me in making THM the best it can be. P.S. You’ll be meeting Team Maven soon!
I’ve said “no” to more money than I ever thought imaginable because the brand was not the right fit and “yes” to brands who had zero budget but whose values aligned. I’ve said “no” to countless meetings and “yes” to spending time with loved ones. I stumbled a lot along the way, but I’m getting there.
What I’ve learned is that saying no really means saying yes. It means saying yes to you, and your values. It means saying yes to the people you love and your responsibility to be a kind, compassionate human.
It doesn’t get you out of paying your taxes or showing up to the things you hate doing (we all have those things), but instead asking yourself if you have the choice between saying yes and no, is yes really the answer?
I find there are a couple questions and tips that have helped me learn the art of saying no and knowing when it might be time to say yes. I thought I’d dedicate this post to sharing those tips with you:
1. Is Fear the Root?
This question goes both ways. Are you saying yes because you’re scared the opportunity will never come again? The answer in this case is to say no. Are you saying no because you don’t think you’ll perform well enough or do the job perfectly? Challenge yourself and say yes!
2. Will you Feel Resentful?
Oh mannnn this is a hard one! The number of times I’ve said yes to something only to feel resentful or angry in return. It was oftentimes because I agreed to do something for way less value than I felt I deserved. If you’re going to be angry, resentful or avoidant of something because you don’t feel you are being valued or compensated appropriately, WALK AWAY. Fast! It took me learning this lesson 10 times over to finally realize that my time was not worth being wasted on things that did not serve me or my business.
3. How Much Time Do You Have?
Realistically look at how much time you have. Set boundaries! Are you willing to work on weekends? Weeknights? What does your work schedule look like? How much time are you spending with your loved ones? Do they feel they are being acknowledged? If no, it’s time to reassess how you spend your time and if you are prioritizing it well. Which brings me to…
4. What Are Your Priorities?
When was the last time you sat down and looked at your priorities? We oftentimes move through life in auto-pilot without actually taking the time to see if we’re living life according to our values and passions. I suggest setting aside some time to write down your passions and then numbering them according to what you want to prioritize in your life. If an opportunity comes along that isn’t in your top 5 priorities, say no. It can oftentimes be a map to navigating those challenging situations where you’re not sure if it’s the right opportunity or not.
5. Can You Provide An Alternative Offering?
This is probably the easiest way to say no and a good practice if you’re just getting started. Maybe you can’t offer what is being asked of you, but you can bring some kind of alternative solution? I do this a lot for work where I turn down an opportunity but suggest people who might be a better fit. I also do this frequently for blog consulting. While I’d love to sit down and talk with every person who wants to start a blog, it’s not realistic for me. Instead I send them over to The Blogger Project which offers tons of resources on starting a blog. My suggestion is to create a couple canned responses for those situations that may frequently pop up that don’t align with your time or priorities but perhaps you can offer help in another way.
6. Practice Practice Practice
Saying “no” is uncomfortable (as is saying “yes”) occasionally. But it gets easier with practice! I’m a lot more comfortable saying no now that I’ve done it many many times. It also helps to know how. Providing an alternative offering is always a good idea, but if you don’t have time for that, know that’s it’s okay to just say no. If you say it with compassion and understanding, people will respect you. If they don’t, that’s on them, not you. It’s probably a practice that they still aren’t comfortable with.
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I’m not here to tell you that you need to say no to everything. I do think there’s value in saying yes. But I also think you should be saying no far more often than you are saying yes. If you are overwhelmed with work or maybe are oversaturated with play (it happens!) consider what you’re saying yes to and what you might want to consider saying no to. I also think it helps to have people say no to you because it teaches you to get a lot more comfortable with rejection and understanding that rejection does not be you are unworthy. Rejection is bad timing or the wrong fit. It has nothing to do with you. Once you experience a lot more of that you’ll then get much more comfortable giving it in return.
But as I said, it takes a ton of practice! It’s an art, not a science.
Are you comfortable with saying no? Share an experience where you said no to something even though it made you uncomfortable!
Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of the podcast and the final episode before I get married! Fear not, there are still a few posts I have to share with you but since podcast episodes come out once a week, it just worked out that this will be the last one before we’re married. Next podcast episode I’ll officially be Davida Lederle. WOAH.
I thought since we’re rounding things out for a little while that I’d do a solo Q&A episode for you and answer some of your most pressing questions as well as share some wedding planning details, a more personal take at my experience in yoga teacher training and some insider info on what’s coming up next for The Healthy Maven.
Here are a few other things we cover in today’s episode:
Did I miss any of your questions? Happy to answer them here!
from Twitter https://twitter.com/SohNaturalAZ
from Twitter https://twitter.com/SohNaturalAZ
When people ask, I usually say I’ve been practicing yoga for 14 years. It’s true, I took my first yoga class when I was 15 and since that fateful class with Cindy, it’s been a piece of my life ever since. Yoga and I have seen our ups and downs but it’s been the backbone to my physical and mental health since I was a teenager.
But truly, I feel like my practice of yoga has only just begun.
For the last couple of years I’d been toying with the idea of doing Yoga Teacher Training. It wasn’t as though I wanted to become a yoga professional, but it was this weird, internal itch that I knew I needed to scratch. I wanted to deepen my practice, learn more about the spiritual side of yoga and the fundamentals that many of us don’t learn even if we’ve been practicing for years. I kept putting off committing to a course for various reasons, the biggest of which is time.
The first level of becoming a certified yoga teacher is a 200 hour course. 200 hours is A LOT and not surprisingly, I kept coming up with excuses why I couldn’t do it. But then one day in late fall of 2017 while laying in shavasana after a particularly lovely practice it hit me, NOW is the time. There is never a good time. There will always be something on my plate and it’s about creating space for it if it’s something my heart it calling to.
I walked out of class and immediately to my right there was a table with pamphlets for a 200-hour YTT program. I took it as a sign and by that evening I had submitted my application.
Now, most people won’t come to this decision so easily but I knew if I didn’t pull the trigger on it, another year would pass and another set of excuses would appear. In hindsight, I can come up with 1001 reasons why it was terrible timing. I could also come up with 1001 reasons why it was perfect timing. So yeah, there’s really no good time to commit 200 hours of your life to something. That shit is hard.
So I signed up for the program and eagerly awaited the start date in early February. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect, especially because I had never met our main teacher or taken any of her classes. I just knew I loved The Pad Studios (where I normally practiced) and it was time to scratch the itch. So I leapt head first into the unexpected.
That’s also part of the reason I didn’t talk about it on here. Though I mentioned on Instagram and the podcast that I was doing teacher training, I opted not to chronicle the experience leading up to and during the course. I just didn’t know what to expect and felt better not having any expectations at all. I also wanted to respect the privacy of my fellow student teachers and honestly, my own privacy. Training is such an intimate experience and I wanted to feel safe in the container we had created. I could not be more obsessed with the incredible tribe we built throughout the program. But more on these beautiful ladies later…
The program I did was 7 weekends over the course of 3 months. On top of that there was homework, in-studio practice 2x a week, teacher shadowing and assignments. There is also a teaching component which I’ll talk about soon.
Over the past 3 months, I’ve learned more about yoga than I thought possible, but perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned so much about life. What I meant by saying earlier that “my yoga practice has just begun” is that the practice of yoga is so much more than the physical asanas. Yoga is a way of life and until this course I didn’t understand that. I now find myself implementing these practices in my relationships, as I plan a wedding, in my business and basically every single hour of everyday. On the first day our teacher told us that while we thought we had signed up for yoga teacher training, we actually signed up for life training. I couldn’t agree more.
Though I don’t want to set any kind of expectations in your mind about yoga teacher training, I did learn a lot and in true Maven form I wanted to share these experiences with you. Hopefully they can help you finally scratch that yoga itch or consider going through your own teacher training. Or maybe it will do the opposite! Either way I hope what I learned from yoga teacher training can be helpful for you.
Pick Your Program
There are so many different programs out there! I’m a total vibes person and because I liked the vibes of the studio and the timeline to completion I picked my program but everyone will have a different experience. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing it my way, but if there’s a studio you practice at and already feel comfortable at, it might be a nice option to take a course there if they offer it. That being said, you want to look into things like timeline, location, instructors and certifications before jumping into a training. If you want to get it over with quickly, some places do offer weeks-month long intensives. If you’d prefer to go to a destination, that’s an option too.
Because my intention word for 2018 was “rooted”, I knew I wanted to do mine in San Francisco and well, taking a month off work isn’t an option for me at the moment. So consider all these things, attend info sessions and gather information before signing up for a program.
Set Aside Time
As soon as I decided I wanted to do this program, I immediately blocked off those weekends in my calendar. Yoga Teacher Training became a priority and while I missed out on events, trips and other special occasions, I committed myself to this journey and knew I needed to take a “yoga-first” attitude if I was going to see it through.
Same went for the 2x a week I was in studio. I blocked off those hours in my calendar to ensure they didn’t get booked up with something else.
You Do Not Need To Be An Expert Yogi
This was one of my biggest fears going in. I’m practicing inversions but truthfully, balancing upside down terrifies me. While I wouldn’t suggest doing yoga teacher training if you’ve never done yoga before, don’t feel like you need to be an expert to take a course. People were at all levels in mine and honestly, it’s nice to see everyone be at different points in their practice. Also, some people will just be bendier or stronger than others. That’s not a good thing or a bad thing!
Yoga is more than just physical activity
Oh man, this was by far my biggest learning lesson. Like I said, I didn’t start truly practicing yoga until I learned this piece. Did you know there’s actually 8 limbs of yoga? The physical practice (asanas) are one of the 8 so what we all know as “yoga” is actually so much more. Learning the spiritual side, breath work, ethical codes, meditation and all other limbs of yoga seriously blew my mind. I can’t wait to share more of this info with you!
Basically my new life motto. I feel like one of the reasons I got so much out of the experience is because I went in without any expectations. What I got in return was so much more than I could have expected anyway. One of the things myself and my fellow classmates talked about on the last week was how open everyone was to the experience. It’s easy to “poo-poo” certain concepts or just not engage with something because it doesn’t resonate with you, but what we all valued about our group was that despite the breadth and depth of everything we covered, everyone stayed open. You’re going to learn about things that don’t interest you or that you don’t relate to, and that’s okay. I most definitely had some resistance to certain things, but it’s usually in those points of resistance that you discover your greatest power. So try them anyway.
I wrote this more as a general guide to anyone looking to try out or learn more about yoga teacher training. If you have any specific questions about my program (Embody Truth with Dana Damara), feel free to email or message me and I’m happy to give my feedback!
Next, to the incredible women who shared this experience with me: I am forever grateful to all of you. You all made this experience for me and I could not have asked for a better group of women to support me into this next journey. So much love for all of you!
And lastly, what will I do with my certification? Start teaching of course! While I won’t be teaching regular classes in a studio, keep your eye out for more yoga posts and videos on The Healthy Maven as well as events around San Francisco and beyond. If you aren’t subscribed to my events list, I recommend you do so you can stay up to date on events and specifically yoga events that are coming up soon. Can’t wait to share this new knowledge with you!
Have you done yoga teacher training? Any additional words of wisdom to share?
Hi I am Lena Litle 27 years old living in North Charleston. I have studied pharmacy and I like to share news related to health and medicines.