Yeah I know I teach vinyasa classes, but the truth is, I'm pretty lazy. So when I do my own yoga it mostly looks like this. Here's a video of a little pose I like to call pizza slice. Great for stretching out side body and low back!
I'm trying something new this week. I had the included images printed onto square cards at moo.com. A while back I saw these content cards on It's All Yoga Baby, and they've stuck in the back of my mind, until recently. Historically, I have not used very much hands-on assists in my classes. My primary goal as a teacher is to empower people to find freedom through doing their yoga practice. Doing asanas (postures) and going through flows are tools to get into the experience of being and breathing in your body and connecting with the flow of universal, divine energy. In my experience as a practitioner, having some one touch me, especially to "correct" something that looks wonky on the outside can totally disrupt a magical internal movement. I want to people to feel it out on their own and become more confident in their inner teacher.
That being said, the feedback I got from my last round of yoga teacher trainees is that I should do hands-on assists more! They found it relaxing, enhanced their experience, and told me I had a gentle, healing touch. So what to do? I started doing more assists in my classes but I still don't feel 100% comfortable about it.
There's simply no way to tell for sure how people will respond. I find it problematic that the current culture is that by simply walking in the for of a yoga student, it is assumed that you are OK with being touched. (More great discussion on yoga and consent at Decolonizing Yoga) People come to yoga for all sorts of reasons. People may be healing from trauma or abuse, and may not feel like they're able to say, "please don't touch me" in a class. Even if there's nothing else going on, some people, like me, might just rather have the space to do their own thing. In a perfect world, I ask every time before I touch someone, do the assist, then have a conversation about it. "How does that feel?" But in a vinyasa class, where I'm trying to keep a pretty vigorous pace going, there isn't time to stop the action. So, still, I generally err on the side of less touching.
But there is of course benefit to hands-on assists! It's nice to connect with fellow human beings and to feel loved though touch. Some people like some extra help squeezing the last bit of juice out of a twist or getting a little back massage in child's pose. Some people are kinesthetic learners and need to feel in their own body what "rotate your chest more towards the sky" means.
A little card on the mat means you can choose when you'd like to be touched and when you'd rather be left alone to do your own thing. You're not going to be singled out. No questions. No right or wrong choice. You can change your mind as many times as you like in one class. As always, in my class you have the freedom to do what feels good to you.
If you're a teacher feel free to download the images and use in your classes, too.
Here's what some of our grads are saying about Life Power Yoga Teacher Training with Jessie & me:
[Yoga Teacher Training] changed my expectation that the yoga immersion would mainly have an impact on my outer practice, to the extent that the practice would become more important to my inner self. I came to see I could lighten up on the achievement and excelling thing, and accept that the change in my yoga practice would come, with practice. It came to matter less when and if I could balance in a handstand, to whether I could fully occupy my body and breath. That was the gift of LifePower YTT - that yoga was no longer about achieving and expecting but about being. The next gift of it, beyond growing some wonderful new friends, came in that I could share the practice by teaching. That I can share that is now a distinct pleasure and honor!
— Adrian C.
LifePower yoga is extraordinarily powerful at empowering yogis. It teaches the heart of yoga. Everyone on the planet could benefit from 12 weeks of getting to know themselves more, learning to breath, teaching others to breath, and practicing daily yoga and meditation. YTT will change the community of the club and the region as it continues to educate more people.
— Jen G.
On the first day of training, I learned that I was indeed exactly where I was supposed to be. My heart was so happy. Then 200 hours later, week nights filled 4 hours of sleep or so due to my crazy fall schedule, lots of reading (that's pretty awesome and eye opening), and the best yoga mentors and sisters I could ask for… I not only got a lot of learning out of it, but every domain of my life was transformed.
Just thinking of YTT brings so many different emotions to the surface, and I am beyond grateful and appreciative to Flissy, Jessie, and Anne for the wonderful memories and amazing experience. Even if you do not want to be a teacher of Yoga, or even if you are like me and never even took it on a regular basis and just have an innate inkling to learn more because you are drawn to its practice and teachings, take the leap and do it. I promise 100% that on that final day of training, and many days in-between… you can't imagine your life now without yoga.
— Katie V.
My Life Power Yoga YTT training was an incredible experience. Learning and practicing the yoga philosophy was a challenge but also an incredible experience. Each teacher brought their own flavor to the experience which gave us wider view of yoga philosophy. It really changed the way I view myself, the world, and how I interact with others around me. I can think of very few experiences that can match the 12 week journey me and my fellow trainees made together.
My opportunity to spend 200 plus hours with you and my YTTs was a blessing. From the true yoga aspect that yoga is all about experiencing a joining of mind, body and soul, my experience was a successful 1000%. Completing this course is one of the proudest accomplishments in my life. We all came from different positions in life, we shared them and melded to join together to complete this journey -to commitment to learn how to teach the wonderful lessons of Yoga. YTT has truly taught me to accept discomfort on the mat and I bring that off the mat to help cope with everyday business life. I have learned to meditate - everyday. Thank you to all my teachers including my evolving internal teacher.
— Sharon G.
Yoga Teacher Training has changed my life. When I first considered participating, I thought it would improve my practice and help me with stress. YTT definitely achieved that. Now when I go to yoga class, my overall experience is so much better because of my training. I am also more flexible and stronger thanks to all of that Ashtanga and Vinyassa.
What I didn't expect was the mental strength that surfaced from learning to calm my mind, my ability to have more rewarding relationships with people, and accepting myself for who I am. I am a better person in the world as a result of it. I really want to go out and share what I have learned with others so that they, too, can have that same buzz about themselves.
But the most important part of my YTT experience is having shared my experience with my new yogi sisters and teachers. I cannot imagine having shared that journey with anyone else. They are extraordinary and were the best part of training. I love them dearly!
The yoga adage, "you are exactly where you're supposed to be" could not have been more true in my case when I began Yoga Teacher Training ("YTT") with Flissy and Jessie. What a transformational experience on countless levels!!! I got to learn from two of my favorite yoga teachers and grew with and got to know them and my fellow students who are all-around funny, smart, caring and great people. I also learned more about myself and accepting who I am with my flaws, quirks, strengths, weaknesses and all. It was the best kind of very demanding and intense learning experience that I will always appreciate and never forget. If you are considering joining a YTT program, DO this one. It (the lessons, course design, teachers, students and even YOU) will exceed your own expectations! And now, I feel so proud and happy to share this empowering yoga style and way of life with others.
I'd like to invite you to give our yoga classes at Life Time Athletic in Columbia, MD a try! Just print out file attached below. Complete your name and start date and come play in our studio for a week!
February 1st through 7th is YTT Week at Life Power Yoga! Jessie & I will be available after every class to chat about our Yoga Teacher Training program. We'll have some other fun surprises all week long! Here's our schedule:
Monday 6 PM Hot Vinyasa with Flissy & Annica
Monday 7:30 PM Slow Burn with Flissy
Tuesday 6 PM Vinyasa Flow with Jessie
Wednesday 9:30 AM Yin & Med with Flissy
Wednesday 11 AM Hot Vinyasa with Jessie
Thursday 6 PM Vinyasa Flow with Flissy, Adrian & Tyree
Saturday 8:30 AM Hot Vinyasa with Jessie
Saturday 10 AM Vinyasa flow with Jessie
So I'm over a year out of ankle surgery, yet I still suffer from stiffness, pain, and fatigue that radiates up the whole right side of my body. Besides that, physical activity of any kind means an ongoing cycle of breaking down and rebuilding of tissue, and that can be painful! Here are my favorite recovery tools for when my body has taken a beating:
- Biggs & Featherbelle Muscle Soak. My massage therapist is always talking about how awesome epsom salt baths are. Last time I saw him he asked me if I took baths, and for how long. My answer is "as often as possible and as long as possible." haha! This does the trick for relaxing muscles and relieving soreness and stiffness, also it has a wonderful herbal scent.
- Mio Workout Wonder - The aforementioned massage therapist used this on my sore leg and sold me on it. It has a blend of essential oils in it, and I'm not sure what else but it's is as wonderful as the name implies. I can smell and feel the peppermint oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties. I would say it is like a yogi's version of Ben Gay. Do they even make that stuff anymore?
- Badger Sore Muscle Rub - This stuff has saved myself from many belly dance workshops when I've been a little overzealous with the level changes. It has cayenne and ginger, which stimulates circulation to aid in muscle repair. As opposed to the workout wonder, it feels warming rather than cooling. Rub on quads after too many level changes, floor work, or squats, and your legs will be able to see you up and down stairs another day.
- Cherapy pillow - My best friend in winter. It's a little pillow, sewn in three sections, filled with cherry pits. Toss it in the microwave for a minute or two and it holds warm, moist heat for hours. I use this on my ankle, which still gets stiff and achy a year after surgery, but it's shape makes it perfect to drape around neck and shoulders or pretty much anywhere.
- Therapy Ball - I have a pair of these from Yoga Tune-up, as well as The Roll Model by Jill Miller. Have I told you about how much I love fascia? These little guys bust up scar tissue and are essential for myofascial release for regular body maintenance.