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7 Tips for Avoiding Common Yoga Injuries

Many yogis love the practice because it reduces the tightness in their necks, loosens their lower backs, and releases tension in their hips. But, like any kind of sport or activity, injuries can – and do – happen in yoga.

Some injuries occur due to overuse and inaccurate alignment on repeat. Others come about from thinking you’re more flexible than you really are. And sometimes, they’re a complete slip, accident, or fluke.

Thankfully, I have seven pieces of advice to help you avoid common yoga injuries. Because the most important thing to Yoga Fever instructors is keeping you safe and your body healthy.

1. Know the difference between sensation and pain

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: leave your ego at the door. Do NOT compare your flexibility, your strength, or your body in general to that of your neighbor. Everyone’s body is different, which means that the “perfect pose” may not be possible for you – right now, or ever. That’s okay. We’re here to guide you toward your best possible expression. But if anything ever starts feeling uncomfortable, please listen to your body and back off.

2. Get the green light from your doc if you have any pre-existing injuries

If you’re new to yoga and have any pre-existing injuries, please talk to your doctor or physical therapist for guidance first. While we instructors are trained in anatomy and are skilled in helping students avoid new injuries, we don’t know what aches and pains you might be dealing with already. Discuss which postures or movements might be risky based on your current or ongoing limitations.

3. Chat with your instructor before or after class

That being said, we also want to hear from you – about existing injuries or any new pains you’re noticing. When we know what’s going on with your body, we can help cue modifications to help you avoid doing more injury to yourself. While we try our best to move around the studio and help students right during class, we can’t always make it to everyone. We warmly welcome you to chat with us before or after class, so we can help you protect your body.

4. Gently stretch tight areas

Stretching and other dynamic movements should always be done mindfully and gently. Take your time loosening tight areas – especially during the beginning of class or when you’re practicing outside of our heated studio. It’s natural to feel some resistance, but you should be able to tell the difference between that and pain. Overstretching will only ever set you back by worsening existing injuries or leading to muscle tears.

5. Regular strength training

If you know you’re weaker in certain parts of your body – say, glutes or hamstrings – try to build strength there gradually. This helps you reduce putting too much pressure on other body parts as they try to compensate. Focus on regular cardiovascular or resistance-training exercises several times per week to build up the strength you need to stay safe in the yoga studio.

6. Use props for support

You know those blocks and straps at the back of our yoga studio? Yes, we really do want you to grab one of each for every class. Blocks can easily bring your mat closer to you if you don’t reach the floor in a certain bend or twist. They relieve pressure on your precious hamstrings. A rolled-up blanket or towel placed under your knee or hip is another great way to protect vulnerable parts of your body. Props are not something to be ashamed of. In fact, some of the strongest yogis are those who rely on their props to support them when they need it.

7. Consider trying various styles of yoga

Beyond the physical injuries, you might immediately think of, certain vigorous styles are not meant for beginners. Ease your way into the yoga practice by attending some of our gentle yoga, warm (not as hot) classes or even our yin yoga classes, which move at a slower pace. Learn the foundations of yoga from our experienced teachers, and read up on how to prepare your body for the Power Vinyasa Classes. Choose the appropriate class for your skill level and work your way up.

Next week, we’ll dive deeper into some of the most common yoga injuries, teaching you practical ways to avoid falling victim to them yourself.

In the meantime, I hope you take these tips to heart. It’s easy to forget that the ancient practice is about so much more than contorting your body into unique, impressive physical shapes. But at the end of the day, no one wants to lose out on days or weeks of yoga practice because they’re nursing an injury that could have been avoidable.

Cooling Yoga Poses for Your Summer Practice

Somehow we’re already in the middle of summer – can you believe that?! While it’s wonderful to be able to spend time at the beach, swimming in the pool, or taking long bike rides, there are times where it feels too hot for words, for life, for ANYTHING. Don’t let the heat slow you down too much. Let us show you a few techniques Ayurveda style to stay cool to beat the heat without losing your glow.

The heat of summer matters in our yoga sphere, as it tends to accelerate and heat our minds and bodies. This doesn’t mean that we should stop our regular yoga practice. In fact, our studio room is cooler than it is outside!!

According to Ayurveda, which is the traditional Hindu system of medicine based on the idea of balance in bodily systems, summer inspires the pitta dosha. The doshas are the bodily humors that create our unique, individual constitution. Fiery pitta energy dominates our environment in the summer (and some regularly all year long), which means we should be especially mindful of balancing this energy with our own cooling energy. The way we eat, the way we feel, and the way we maintain the layers of our being all can change according to seasonality.

Choose Yoga Poses that Release Heat

Try to incorporate the following categories of poses into your summer yoga practice.
Spinal twists: Twisting poses release excess pitta from your mid-abdomen.  Try seated spinal twist.
Gentle backbends: While some backbends build heat, gentle ones apply slight pressure to release tension from your mid-abdomen. Try baby cobra or cat-cow.
Forward folds: These physically cool the body and calm the mind and are essential to counteracting the heating qualities of more intense backbends. Try uttanasana or child’s pose.

Try a Gentler Approach

Certain yoga poses can help release pitta heat, but you don’t need to give up your favorite poses in order to stay balanced.

Keep these three pointers in mind as you practice the rest of this summer:

  1. Pace yourself during practice. Perform the more strenuous poses, such as sun salutations, more slowly and take longer breaths per pose.
  2. Focus on long, cooling breaths, rather than the intensity of your poses. Try for long exhalations, including the occasional open-mouthed lion’s breath to refresh your body.
  3. End on a slow note. Even if you practice more actively at the beginning of your session, be sure to end with a period of slow, cooling poses before finishing in savasana.

Don’t Forget the Cooling Foods

Ayurveda also focuses on balancing your food diet with the changing seasons, which means cooling off during the summer heat.

Always trust your body’s instincts, but I’d recommend focusing on these tips:
Eat vegetables and fruits with a high water content, such as melons, cucumbers, and leafy greens.
Avoid dehydration by drinking electrolyte-enhanced water or coconut water.
Certain herbs – mint, cilantro, cumin, and coriander – can actually reduce the pitta dosha.

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda or maybe what your constitution is (we all have one!!)? We will be offering a workshop in October and it is also incorporated into our teacher training program which starts in September. Contact the studio for more info or apply for teacher training (early bird pricing ends July 31) here: APPLY NOW

3 Reasons to Become a Yoga Teacher

If you’re interested in the yogic path, yoga teacher training is the best thing you can do for yourself. I know there’s usually not an ideal time to launch into this experience. But is there ever a perfect time to do anything? Nope. Sometimes you just have to lead with your heart and trust in the process.

I’m incredibly excited to launch our fifth Yoga Teacher Training Program this in September of 2019! Upon completion of our Yoga Alliance 200 hour program, you’ll deepen your practice and understanding of yoga, learn accurate body alignment and master the art of teaching yoga with confidence and authenticity. 

Besides these lessons, you’ll also learn the incredible power of self-love, confidence and body awareness. Below we have highlighted just a few of the many reasons to take the plunge.

Reason 1. You’ll Learn Self-Love: Accepting ourselves exactly as we are can be pretty darn impossible. Many of us struggle with jealousy in our friendships, families, and work settings – partly because we live in a comparative world where we can find pictures of other people’s lives at the touch of a button. Our inner judge can be a critical and demanding taskmaster, causing us to speak to ourselves with harsher words than we would ever direct toward others.

Through our teacher training program, you’ll learn to accept yourself for who you are – all flaws, insecurities, and doubts included. You’ll discover the power of a positive mentality, which will help you narrow in on the aspects that make you uniquely you! But we won’t leave it up to you to figure this out; we’ll arm you with the tools and mental strength to fight societal pressures.

Reason 2. You’ll Build Self-Confidence: Building and maintaining self-confidence is one of the toughest tasks we’re asked to do. Without self-confidence, we stay home and avoid certain events; we fail to chase our biggest dreams; we let fear conquer us. 

Our teacher training program will play an influential role in boosting or restoring your self confidence by giving you a reality check: there are some tasks and activities we’re capable of performing and others that aren’t meant to be. For example, some of my students have incredible balance, while others have immense flexibility. In the same way, we each have a variety of talents in our lives. The meditation and breathing exercises you’ll master as a yoga teacher will help you grasp the concept that our limitations are not downfalls; there are simply some things were better at than others. As you continue to grow your teaching skills, your confidence and self-awareness will intensify.

Reason 3. You’ll Gain Awareness (and Appreciation) of Your Body: It’s incredibly difficult to love our bodies as they are. In a world of highly-edited advertisements and instant social media access, it’s understandable to have a hate-filled relationship with your bodies. So, how does becoming a yoga teacher help us move past these fixations and have an appreciation of our body? The answer: give up the notion that yoga is a get-thin-quick routine and, instead, embrace the practice of yoga on a much deeper level.

Through my experience as a yoga teacher, I’ve realized that yoga helps me appreciate my body as a whole, not in segments. It focuses on strength, flexibility, balance, and breath, rather than on appearance. For example, when I do a balance pose I rely on my entire body to support me, even the parts that I dislike. All of the repetitive practice in body mindfulness you experience in teacher training will carry over into your regular, off-the-mat life, helping you proactively care for your body.

Those of you who enroll in our Yoga Teacher Training Program will spend a lot of time with myself, Shannon Austin, Owner and Operator of Yoga Fever. I am looking forward to fully supporting each trainee on their journey toward all things yoga. After the program, TeamFever works hard to keep your teaching skills going by connecting you with possible teaching positions at the studio and within the community (if you’re ready). You also receive a free unlimited membership at the studio for the duration of the program ($400 value). I am really proud of this program and cannot wait to show you the ropes.

If you’re even slightly considering signing up for Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Fever, let’s connect. I’d love to hear from you. Please call us at 616-805-3603, email us at info@www.yogafevergr.com, or stop by the studio. The time is now yoga-teacher-wanna-be. You can do it, and I are here to guide you every step of the way. 

 

XO – S

So You Think You Can Teach?

5 Questions to Ask When Considering a Teacher Training Program

Whether you’ve decided you want to teach yoga or simply dig deeper into your own practice, it’s often daunting to sift between yoga styles and teaching methods to decide where to complete your teacher training. That’s why we’ve pulled together five questions to consider when selecting the best teacher training program for you.

1. Is the program Yoga Alliance Certified?

As the international governing body for yoga, the Yoga Alliance sets the standard for teacher training programs. If you hope to teach yoga at some point in your future, make sure you look for this certification – otherwise you won’t qualify for insurance. We know, insurance doesn’t feel very yogic, but this certification basically says you’ve got a stamp of approval to teach yoga.

2. What is the schedule like?

All teacher training programs start out with 200 hours. Some are immersion classes – meaning you’re cramming the entire program into two weeks. These make it quite difficult to retain the information or get enough practice before teaching. At Yoga Fever, our program is extended over 3.5 months to help ensure you have the depth of knowledge and experience needed before beginning to teach. As a bonus, this type of program is perfect for people leading busy lives with work or family commitments.

3. How does the program teach anatomy?

At first, this may not seem like the biggest deal when you’re trying to memorize all the Sanskrit names for postures or figuring out how to properly sequence. But anatomy is huge!! You must understand alignment and muscular engagement before you become a yoga guide. A solid understanding of human anatomy will enable you to bring a high level of consciousness to your teaching as well as prevent injury. Make sure the program you select has a strong focus on anatomy. Yoga Fever offers 11 modules in anatomy training in relation to yoga.

4. How does the program balance the subjects it teaches?

Each training course devotes a minimum number of hours to subjects like posture, anatomy and philosophy, but each course also emphasizes different areas and brings its own style. What matters most to you? Spiritual training, a focus on alignment, or ample time to practice teach? Pick a program that speaks your language. If you’re looking for emphasis on ALL of these things, you should definitely consider our program. We hit all the bases necessary to take your practice and your skills to the next level.

5. What are the instructors like?

Your studio instructors will be a large part of your training, from their knowledge to their personality to their years of experience teaching. Take some time to research the teachers at various studios, read reviews, and take public classes from them. Make sure you feel that the teachers are incredibly knowledgeable in the field of yoga and can guide beginners and seasoned practitioners through a safe and thorough experience.

Yoga Fever offers a 200 hr Yoga Teaching Training Program

You’ll learn about human anatomy, including posture, integrated movement and the prevention of common injuries. You’ll study philosophy, including the eight limbs, and the Sanskrit language. You’ll practice sequencing, incorporating meditation, classical yoga, vinyasa breath & movement, and the use of props. Additionally, you’ll receive unlimited yoga for the duration of the program.

Make sure to register before July 31, 2018 for a special early-bird discount. For more information about our course visit our Teacher Training Page. If you have questions, please call: (616) 805-3603 or email: admin@www.yogafevergr.com.