There will always be peaks and valleys in life. Practicing yoga helps me remain calm during these highs and lows in life. Having a broader perspective and accepting that regardless of the circumstance, each moment will pass, gives me inner peace. I look forward to the upcoming holidays knowing that the anticipated chaos and drama that often come with holidays will soon (like the holiday season) pass.
During yoga teacher training, we learned that it is important to reach the edge (physically and mentally) so that we can experience growth. If we do not push ourselves to our personal edge and remain in our comfort zone, we will not experience growth. If we go beyond the edge, we will experience pain and possibly injury. Once we reach the edge, we need to observe what we feel and how we are reacting. How we react on the mat helps us cope with life challenges off the mat.
Congrats to John H. for winning the random LifeStaw Water Bottle filter product giveaway. Please confirm your mailing address (and respond to the winning email announcement sent to you). You will receive the product giveaway within 3-5 business days.
Additional free product giveaways will be posted next week! Feel free to visit this blog again soon!
Congratulations! You are interested in completing a yoga teacher training program because you would like to teach yoga and/or deepen your yoga practice. Before you select and enroll in a program read the following tips/advice.
1) Know if the program is Certified: First, visit the following website https://www.yogaalliance.org and determine the location of the program in which you would like to enroll. Although not required, you would want to attend a Yoga Alliance certified program because most health/fitness facilities would want you to have participated in a Yoga Alliance certified program. In most cases, you will have a large number of programs to choose from.
2) Know the Reputation: Read the previous yoga participants review regarding the program listed on https://www.yogaalliance.org
3) Know the Location: Visit the program location and ask to speaker with the yoga instructor. Confirm that the program is taught in the facility in which you are visiting (make sure that the program location is in writing and in the training program contract that you sign). This is very important because some programs may change their teaching locations and you might wind up driving any extra hour to participate in a remote location.
4) Know the Instructor(s): Take at least three or four classes that the yoga instructor currently teaches (this will help you determine if you like his/her style). If you are not impressed with his/her teaching style, you will be disappointed in taking his/her training program. Also, find out all of the instructors who will be teaching the program so that you understand whether you are under the tutelage of 1 or more instructors. Ask to meet all of them.
5) Know the Customers' Perception: After you take the class, make sure you stick around and speak with some regular participants and learn the teacher's reputation. If the feedback is overall positive, then you are on the right track.
6) Know the Teaching Philosophy: Ask to review the course syllabus or curriculum and ask the potential instructor how much time will be dedicated for you to teach "mock" classes during training. There are some programs that only cover yoga philosophy and do not provide any time for you to teach classes. Ask them for their yoga teaching philosophy and ask them to contrast their philosophy to their competitors.
7) Know the Alumni: Ask for a list of previous graduates from the program so that you can reach out to them and find out what their experience has been to date and whether they have been able to secure teaching opportunities.
8) Know the non-Yoga Obligations: Ask what amount of time is based on instruction and how much volunteer or "karma" work is expected or required. There are some facilities/programs that may take advantage of their yoga teachers in training and require that they volunteer and work in the yoga studio doing administrative work or other non-yoga teaching activities. Most reputable programs do NOT required such non-yoga activities and if there is a karma project, these reputable programs let you decided which not for profit organization you would want to volunteer to work with. Make sure you have them include this in the program contract/agreement so that you are not blindsided by this requirement.
9) Know who else is participating: Ask to find out if you can speak with the list of anticipated yoga participants before you sign up so that you can determine if this is the right group of colleagues you would like to spend time with. You will spend more than the minimum 200 hours with these colleagues and hopefully become lifelong friends. It is important to get to know at least some of them in advance before you commit to the program.
10) Know the graduation/completion rate: Find out if anyone ever "fails" or are denied the program completion certificate and if so, find out why. I have a friend that spent thousands of dollars and time enrolled in a program just to have the instructor tell her at the end that "she is not the right fit for teaching yoga." She has since complained to the Yoga Alliance organization (which does not have any jurisdiction over any yoga programs) and have filed a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau (however, the yoga program has since been rebranded to another name so her claims remain outstanding).
11) Get as much as you can in writing: Most of us enter a yoga program because we are attracted by the practice of yoga and want to leave worldly paranoias and nuisances behind. However, it is just being a smart shopper to get everything you expect in writing. If the instructor or potential school is hesitate in providing this in writing, then walk away.
12) Know the refund policy: Enroll in a program that provides a refund policy so that for whatever reason within the first 1-3 classes you do not feel it is the right program for you, you are given an opportunity to back out and receive your money back. Again, most reputable program offers a refund policy (and might just charge a cancellation fee) so that you are protected if you decide it is just not the right environment or program for you.
Once you have completed the above, you will have peace of mind as you start down the exciting road of becoming a yoga teacher. If you have any additional experience/feedback you would like to share with other prospective yoga teachers, please feel free to post your comment in the comment below. Thank you!
I brought my LifeStraw water bottle filter with me on a recent hike. The weather was cool with a slight overcast. The LifeStraw water bottle was convenient and easy to use. It comes with a built-in replaceable water filter. To use, you just need to add water and place the filter (attached to the cap) into the bottle. To drink, you sip the water (like a straw) from the top and the water is filtered. Simple! There is also a hook to the top of the cap so you can easily hook it to a hiking backpack. For each LifeStraw® product you purchase, one school child in a developing community is provided wih safe drinking water for an entire school year. Drinking filtered water and helping others with access to safe drinking water! For more information about this product, please visit http://www.buylifestraw.com/products/lifestraw-go.
A free LifeStraw water bottle filter will be randomly given away to any reader of this blog who submits a comment below before November 12th, noon EST (giveaway opened to U.S. residents only). An email message will be sent to the winner requesting your mailing address so be sure to submit your email address (which will not be published on the blog). Best of luck! Keep hiking!
(Lifestraw Go, information, and additional product have all been provided by Vestergaard).
Congratulations to Becky for winning the Onzie $25 online gift certificate! I have emailed you the unique online gift certificate code. If you have not received my email, please check your spam inbox and email me. I will resend the code if needed.
Please visit www.onzie.com to redeem your online gift certificate.
Another great product giveaway will be posted before the end of this week so visit this blog again!
As I continue to deepen my yoga practice, I really enjoy practicing in my Onzie elastic tank top. This one size fits all elastic tank top flows nicely. The beautiful multicolor pattern grabbed plenty of attention and compliments. Given its free flowing design, it needs to be tucked into your bottom pants for inverted poses. Otherwise, it is a gorgeous top that can be worn before, during and after your yoga practice. More information about the Onzie @onzie #onziegear products can be found at www.onzie.com.
I'm excited to share that I have partnered with Onzie to offer a random $25 gift certificate Onzie giveaway (redeemable at their online store www.onzie.com). To enter, just comment below on why you would be excited to try one of the many Onzie yoga apparel by Monday, October 27th 12pm (noon) EST and an individual winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be announced and I will ask the winner to send me his/her email address so that I can send him/her the online $25 gift certificate code. Good luck! Namaste!
1) Importance of Moving towards Stillness
I enjoy practicing challenging asanas (yoga poses) and love seeing progress. However, the true overall goal for performing asanas is to connect our mind/body/spirit so that our bodies will be ready for stillness and meditation.
2) Each asana can be a challenging pose
I used to believe the general yoga labels (beginner, intermediate and advanced poses) that some have used to describe asanas. The truth is, each pose can be a challenging pose. One can hold the pose longer (in a yin pose) and deeper. One can slightly modify the pose (e.g. balance with one leg instead of two, lift your heels and balance on your forefeet).
3) How you live your life off the mat affects your practice on the mat and vice versa
Yoga is not meant to be an escape. It is a practice that enables us to face life's challenges with calmness and kindness.
4) Each day is different
Accepting that each day on the mat is different is a powerful self acceptance and self love that is often overlooked. Once we accept that each day is different, then, we are able to appreciate what we can do today and look forward to what tomorrow can bring.
5) You are your own worst critic
No one really cares if you are able to do a headstand or peacock pose. No one really cares if you fall out of your pose. Once you accept that you are your own worst critic, you can try new poses and not worry about it.
6) The physical environment affects us more than we think
It is important to surround ourselves with a strong supportive network of family and friends. It is even more important to stay in a physically healthy and natural environment. Pollution (air, noise, visual, etc.) adversely affects us.
7) It is not a cure-all
Yes, I love practicing yoga, but it is not the only passion I have in life. Yoga enables us to seek many passions in life and take action towards these goals.
8) Karma, acts of kindness, demonstrates a yogi at heart more than anyone who can perform a pose
Individuals may label themselves as "yogis," just because they practice physical asanas. Karma (acts of kindness) and love are true qualities of a yogi.
9) We are seeking progress not perfection
Once we realize that we are able to seek incremental progress in our lives without attaining perfection, we are able to loosen up, have fun and enjoy life.
10) Wonderful foods, scents, visual relaxing cues, encouraging touch and positive thoughts are uplifting
and helps us achieve balance in our bodies and lives.
11) Choose where you spend your positive energy
We have a limited supply of energy. We need to choose where we spend it wisely.
12) The amount of positive love and kindness in the universe is limitless. Share both generously and more will be returned.
I tried aerial yoga for the first time with a group of yogini friends and loved it! Doing something new is often scary and exciting. It challenges our minds and bodies while strengthening our souls. My favorite aerial yoga pose is a shoulder stand (your body is fully inverted with the weight supported by the silk cloths. The class was fast paced! We started doing simple poses (e.g. planks, pushups, Warrior 1 and Warrior II) with the silk cloths as support. Then, we progressed to inverted poses (handstands, standing splits, bow, shoulder stand, etc.). We ended the practice is a corpse pose cocooned within the silk hammock. It was a great moving meditative experience. I am looking forward to practicing aerial yoga again real soon!
In the past, I used to reward myself for doing a good job at work or at home by purchasing "more stuff." The stuff included clothing, jewelry, impromptu random purchases and overpriced kitchenware. While the stuff accumulated at my home, I felt "weighed down" as opposed to being happy. I realized I needed to focus on my priorities in life and that meant the "stuff" was less important. Yoga and meditation has taught me that happiness is a state of mind and can be reached by focusing on being in the present moment. By releasing myself from the "stuff accumulating mood" I am able to appreciate what I am already blessed with: clean air, good food, family, friends, parks and nature. There will always be obstacles and struggles but I have given myself permission to appreciate and enjoy the many blessings I have today.