When is the best time to practice yoga?

When is the best time to practice yoga?

Should you practice yoga in the morning or evening? Great question!

As usual, the answer is more complex than you’d think and really comes down to your personal preference. From an Ayurvedic standpoint, it is recommended you wake up in between 4 and 6AM when the world is still asleep, and practice meditation and asana. From a modern world perspective, it’s recommended that you practice yoga either first thing in the morning or in the early evening.

However, many factors are involved in each of our decisions on when to practice. Your work schedule, habits, belief system, and familial responsibilities may make the decision for you.

For example, if your morning involves getting rambunctious kids dressed, fed, and on the bus, a morning practice may be unrealistic. The same is true if you’re committed to evening functions throughout the week.

Your personal constitution may also factor into the decision. Some people are raring to move at 6 AM, while others won’t even speak until they’ve had a few cups of coffee. And even if you do have a quiet morning, it may not be the right time for you if you have seasoned habits you practice in the hour before heading to work. Or if you find yourself yawning by 8 PM, you might want to try practicing earlier in the day.

Read on to explore the many benefits to both morning and evening yoga practice.

Benefits of morning yoga practice

Morning yoga practice helps you clear your mind and set an intention for your day.

Energizing poses, like backbends and sun salutations, wake up your tight body and work out the kinks after a night’s rest.

The morning is usually the coolest part of the day.

Twists and arm balances are easier to perform when you’re not competing with digestion from various meals during the day.

Practicing yoga in the morning avoids any last-minute conflicts that may derail your intentions to step on your mat.

Benefits of evening yoga practice

Evening yoga practice, on the other hand, can prepare your mind and body for sleep.

Incorporate twists and forward folds to help you wind down from a busy day.

Most people have more free time in the evening, helping you feel less rushed in your practice.

Practicing in the evening soothes tension, aches, and pains, providing a deeper, more replenishing sleep.

It can also help you break bad habits like snacking or binge-watching TV.

As you can see, there are benefits to either practice time. If you’re not quite sure what’s best for you, experiment.

Diligently try one full week of early morning practices – either at home or with us at the studio for added accountability. Then spend a second week practicing in the evening, exploring what benefits and challenges you find in each style.

After you find the right fit, stick to a similar time whenever possible to maintain that lovely sense of grounding. Try incorporating daily rituals – like meditation, chanting Om, or doing Sun Salutations – to establish further consistency.

Ultimately, take ownership of your yoga practice and design it so it best suits your body and mind!

Why do I sweat so much in hot yoga

Why do I sweat so much in hot yoga?

Have you ever thought to yourself mid-class: “Nobody could possibly sweat more than me right now”? Or, on the flip side, have you ever left your hot yoga class without a drop on your body wondering why everyone else is so much sweatier? We’ve ALL been there.

Everyone’s body works differently, so you’re not wrong if you fall in either camp – or somewhere in between.

Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling down, so never be embarrassed by the state of your shirt after an intense yoga class. And, just because you’re sweating buckets doesn’t mean you’ve worked harder than your classmates.

Each one of us has between 2-4 million sweat glands on our bodies. Women have more sweat glands than men, but men’s bodies generally are more active.

Other contributing factors include:

  • The number of sweat glands you have
  • How hot the temperature is
  • How intensely you’re exercising
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Bodyweight
  • Amount of water consumed
  • Level of anxiety at the moment

While it might seem kind of backwards, the fact that you sweat a lot during a workout actually signals that you’re in good shape! Physically fit people start sweating at lower temperatures, which allows them to perform longer since their body isn’t overheating.

How to stay safe in a hot yoga studio

Whether your body marinates in sweat or simply glistens gently, there are a handful of tactics you can employ to keep yourself safe in our hot yoga studio.

Drink cold water every 15 minutes or so to keep your core temperature out of the danger zone.

Consume an electrolyte-spiked sports drink after class to replenish the sodium and potassium you’re sweating out.

If you feel dizzy, nauseated, or develop a headache, either rest in child’s pose or leave the studio to get some cool air.

To cool down quickly after practice, avoid taking a frigid shower or splashing icy water on your face. The chilly temperature will constrict your blood vessels, causing hot blood to rush to your core. Rather, take a cool shower and stand in front of a fan to evaporate lingering sweat.

When you should talk to your doctor

If you’re truly sweating uncontrollably, you may want to ask your doctor about a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis, a condition where your sweating exceeds the amount your body needs to cool off, affects approximately 2-3% of Americans and should be treated by your doctor.

On the other hand, if you can’t sweat, you may want to look into anhidrosis (or hypohidrosis). While not sweating might seem like a blessing to some of us, this condition puts people at higher risk of heatstroke and they must be wary of exercising in high temperatures.

Remember, everyone perspires in their own way, so never be ashamed of your sweat stains. Just grab a towel before class and get to work on your mat!

5 reasons your body and mind want you to practice yoga

5 Signs Your Body and Mind Want You to Practice Yoga

Do you suffer from a tight, rigid body? Do you ever feel like you’ve been breathing shallowly all day? Can you not recall the last time you truly relaxed on a regular, routine day?

If any of these sound familiar, your body and mind are trying to tell you to step onto your yoga mat.

And if the excuse at the tip of your tongue is that you’re too busy, that’s exactly why you should make time for yoga. The practice of yoga connects you to your innermost self – a sacred space where you’re able to move trapped emotions out of your body.

Here are five not-so-silent signs you should get back in the studio.

1. Your body feels extraordinarily tight and rigid.

A tight, inflexible body often comes from sitting too much. If your days are filled with long commutes or motionless hours at a desk, you’ll benefit greatly from the dynamic movements and hip openers found in a yoga class. Check out these tips on how to incorporate yoga into your desk job.

2. You often find that your breathing is short and rapid.

Short breaths are a sign that you may be stressed. The world doesn’t often prepare us with the tools we need to stay centered in stressful situations. If you feel like you’ve been breathing shallowly and unconsciously all day, yoga’s breathing techniques – like Ujjayi – can help. They take us out of our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and move us into our parasympathetic response, which looks a lot more like rest and digest.

3. You feel mentally unbalanced or suffer from a mental illness.

If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression – whether in the short-term or a long-term condition – yoga can be your best friend. By lowering cortisol levels and releasing the tension, yoga calms the mind’s chatter and lowers your blood pressure and heart rate. Read more about how yogic breath eases symptoms of anxiety.

4. You’re not sleeping well.

For those who suffer from insomnia or who simply struggle with a lack of sleep once in a while, yoga provides a better sleep quality for practitioners. Psychology Today demonstrates the truthfulness in this using a study conducted by Harvard Medical School. And here are a couple of poses I recommend weaving into your home practice to help you sleep better.

5. You can’t remember the last time you relaxed on a regular, routine day.

I’m not talking about taking a vacation or going to the spa. When was the last time you made room for relaxing self-care in your regular routine? If this is the case for you, your body and mind are likely begging you to step on the mat, so you can learn to relax your body and clear your chaotic mind.

Whether you’re a regular member or have never stepped onto a yoga mat, chances are your body and mind are not-so-subtly telling you it’s time to practice. Trust me, you’ll see the benefits.

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

Ashtanga yoga is a traditional series of postures performed in the same order every time. It’s incredibly structured and, after just one class, you’ll know exactly what to expect. The predictability allows some studios to offer classes where students move through the Ashtanga series without guidance.

The majority of poses you work through in a traditional Vinyasa class are the same ones you’ll find in an Ashtanga class. However, in Vinyasa our teachers have the creative liberty to build unique sequences each time. They can vary their sequences to match the class composition and desire for that day. As students move through a Vinyasa class, they warm up, often work toward a peak pose, then slow down with stretching and an opportunity to recover.

Ashtanga Asana Series

There are five Ashtanga asana series, and students must master each pose of the first series before moving onto the second.

The first one—the Primary Series—begins with ten sun salutations, moves into a series of standing poses, and finishes with a set of inversions and seated poses.

The Intermediate Series focuses on backbend asanas designed to encourage and maintain the suppleness of the spine by focusing on your nervous system.

Finally, there are four Advanced Series that are only reached once a yogi has mastered the primary and intermediate sequences. There are 35 difficult asanas to learn, practice and master with Vinyasa in between, and it can only be mastered completely with the assistance of an experienced teacher.

Benefits of Ashtanga

Ashtanga brings all the benefits of Vinyasa yoga practice, including strength, flexibility, stress management, and inner peace. In traditional practice, Ashtangis are expected to practice about six days per week.

Your entire body will work hard in this practice. Yet, it’s completely open to beginners and there’s no need to research or memorize the sequence ahead of time. Ashtanga instructors guide practitioners through each and every pose, with the eventual goal being that you can move through at their own pace.

It involves syncing your breath with a progressive series of postures, resulting in improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.

As with Vinyasa styles, the essence of yoga is that through the practice of postures, breathing, and focal points, you can gain a direct experience of your inner self. While it might sound boring to perform the same postures over and over again in Ashtanga yoga, this repetition is what helps you tap into your inner being.

It brings me great joy to draw upon the incredible talent of our instructors to bring varying styles of yoga to our community. Join Elaina on August 4 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. for a short-form version of Ashtanga’s Primary Series and a portion of the Finishing Series.

Space is limited, so sign up today!

Photo: Mere Koert

Stilling the body and mind with restorative yoga

Stilling the body and mind through restorative yoga

Sitting in complete stillness and silence can be one of the hardest things to do. It might sound strange, but it’s actually much easier to run a couple of miles than it is to sit still for minutes at a time – without twitching, readjusting, or letting your mind run rampant.

But that’s exactly what restorative yoga asks of us. You learn to sit with that mental discomfort and find a way to face and move through it.

Restorative yoga is a therapeutic style of yoga that promotes healing of the body and deep relaxation through supportive poses. It uses gravity, combined with a wide array of props (including blankets, straps, pillows, and blocks), to naturally open the body. The more your body is supported in restorative yoga, the deeper the relaxation you’ll experience. And there is little to no movement or effort, allowing your mind to be silent.

Restorative yoga engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes your body and offers a variety of benefits including:

  • Improved digestion
  • Reduction of muscle tension
  • Increased mindfulness
  • Less chronic pain
  • Lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • And an amazing night’s sleep!

Think this sounds easy? Maybe a little bit like adult nap time?

While you won’t drip with sweat or have to combat your racing heart rate, restorative yoga is not as simple as it sounds. The challenge here is that most of us are very uncomfortable confronting our minds in this way for fear of the emotions and worries that might emerge. That’s why we fill our days with work, school, parenting, tv, and exercise. Anything to keep us busy enough to avoid the vulnerability of sitting with our own thoughts.

Isn’t it about time that you gave yourself a chance to truly center your breath and body?

Meditation: The Art of Focusing your Mind

Meditation: the art of focusing your mind

We spend almost every day in the fast lane of life, facing enormous challenges like juggling finances, family, career, and relationships all at once. Ever feel like you’re running on empty?

Keeping up with such a hectic pace produces high anxiety and stress, which causes us to become disconnected, mechanical, and sometimes numb. We end up living in our heads when we were created to live from our hearts.

One solution to this is to develop or strengthen a regular yoga practice. But today, we’re diving into yoga’s sister: meditation.

Meditation is often referred to as the art of doing nothing. While it certainly is an art—in the sense that you must practice it just like you do your physical asanas—there’s a lot more going on in your body and mind than what this catchy phrase suggests.

I prefer: the art of focusing your mind. And it does take work to quiet your busy mind. But the more you practice and the more you’re able to quiet your thoughts, the more you will experience a sense of true presence – creating the mind-body connection yoga is known for.

Meditation offers a wide range of amazing benefits, including:

  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Lengthened attention span
  • Reduced age-related memory loss
  • Improved sleep

There are two major styles of meditation:

  1. Focused-attention meditation: concentrates attention on a single object, thought, breathing pattern, or mantra.
  2. Open-monitoring meditation: encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, including thoughts, feelings, or impulses you might normally suppress.

The following 7 meditation styles all fall within one of these two groupings.

Transcendental: In transcendental meditation, you remain seated with your eyes closed and breathe slowly while repeating a mantra (a word or phrase) with the goal of rising above your state of being. If you choose to try this meditation style, practice twice a day for 20 minutes each session. This allows time to settle inward to a profound state of relaxation and rest.

Breath awareness: Have you ever found yourself in your driveway with no recollection of your drive home? Breath awareness meditation ensures that this does not happen while you’re practicing. The goal is to keep your mind fully focused on the present. It builds patience for your everyday life. For example, rather than reflecting on the annoyance of a traffic jam, a skilled practitioner will simply note the delay without judgment.

Zazen sit: Similar to breath awareness meditation, the zazen sit style focuses on sitting in concentration while counting each breath. When zazen is deeply integrated, you should not feel that each part of your body is separate from the others—you should feel a sense of wholeness.

Walking meditation: This style will improve your cardiovascular health, boost your energy, stabilize your mood, and help you embrace the present. Begin by walking at a normal pace, tuning into your natural breath and noticing what it’s like. Then, refine your breath so it’s nasally and free of irregularities. Coordinate your breath so that you’re inhaling for four steps, then exhaling for another four. These should be short puffs of air. Continue for five minutes, then walk and breathe normally for three before repeating.

Guided meditation: For this meditation form, you don’t need any prior experience or knowledge; you’re simply required to listen to an instructor (a real person or via headphones). The goal is to form mental pictures based on situations and experiences you find relaxing. Use as many senses as possible—smell, sound, and texture—to evoke calmness.

Devotional or mantra chant: In this meditation style, you’ll chant a mantra (a sound like “om”) to keep your mind busy while you focus on breathing. This is a powerful and effective method because of the vibratory effects of the sounds that stimulate your body.

Yoga nidra: Also known as progressive relaxation or body scan meditation, the goal is to move through your body noticing areas of tension—then releasing that tension. You’ll start at one end of your body (usually your feet) and work all the way to the other end. You might envision a wave drifting slowly over your body. Because this meditation style slowly and steadily relaxes your body, many people use this to help them fall asleep.

As you can see, there are many different styles of meditation to choose from. I encourage you to give a few of these a try, while keeping a journal or log on your reflections about each type. You can truly practice meditation anywhere – from a quiet corner of your home to a crowded grocery store! So what’s stopping you?

photo courtesy of Shannon Austin

Is Yoga Simply Stretching?

Is Yoga Simply Stretching?

What usually comes with this myth is the implied notion that “that really can’t be much of a workout…” or “why would I pay money to do what I can do on the floor of my living room?” I get it. It can be hard to understand the difference between yoga and the stretching you do before practice or after a run.

Because, often, when you think about stretching, that’s exactly what you think of: hanging over your legs after a bike ride or touching your toes while watching TV. The truth is, there’s a whole lot more that goes into yoga than just lengthening your muscles. Yoga truly is an active process. It helps you practice mindfulness, live in the present, and increase your self-confidence—among many other benefits!

But for those of you asked to defend yoga to uninformed outsiders, it can be tricky to nail down the differences between yoga and stretching.

So, here are a few key differences between stretching and yoga:

  • Stretching is solely focused on flexibility. Yoga is a complete body, soul, and mind practice.
  • Stretching usually feels like something to rush through before getting to the next activity. Yoga brings relief, connection, and a sense of peace
  • Stretching simply lets you feel productive. Congrats, you checked that box. Yoga allows you to feel connected—to your mind, to life, and to others.
  • Stretching lets you stop before you become uncomfortable. Yoga asks that you stick with the uncomfortable sensations, pushing deeper and creating growth.

That being said, there certainly is a stretching component to yoga. The difference is that, while stretching certain muscles, you simultaneously engage others to maintain joint stability.

I’d also love to share a few tips to increase your stretching experience:

Pay close attention to what your body needs, not what you want. Rather than thinking “I need to touch my toes NOW,” explore what it feels like to ease slowly into different postures.

  • Keep small bends in your knees to avoid hyperextension.
  • Focus on your breathing to help you move deeper into your muscles.

But don’t just take my word for it. Come try out a class or two and start to see the benefits yoga offers beyond “just stretching.”

photo courtesy of Shannon Austin

Is Yoga a Religion?

Is Yoga a Religion?

Walk into any gym today, and many schools, and you’ll see yoga classes on the schedule. There’s no doubt that yoga has become mainstream over the past decade.

For many people, yoga is purely physical exercise, focused on mastering breath and alignment. But because of yoga’s ancient history of deep meditative, spiritual, and mystical roots, it’s often misidentified as a form of religion. Parents and individuals of many different faith backgrounds wonder how yoga can sit alongside their belief system.

The difficulty with this debate is that yoga is such a broad term and that there are so many different types of yoga classes.

But, regardless, the truth is yoga does not follow one religion. That’s because it does not require ideology, belief systems, or compliance.

That being said, yoga absolutely does have a spiritual component.

Becoming spiritual simply means working toward becoming oneself. Just like a tadpole turns into a frog or a chrysalis into a butterfly, we are broken humans’ work toward becoming whole. Yoga is the science of the Self. Through techniques such as meditation, asanas, breathwork, and focused awareness, yoga helps us understand our inner world.

While there are components of Buddhism and Hinduism that worked into yoga practices, practicing yoga does not make you a Hindu or Buddhist. It’s simply a doorway to a more meaningful life – whatever that means to you. Yoga offers perspective and insight into who you are and how you are seen in this world. It naturally gravitates toward a healthier lifestyle as you lean toward wellness in a variety of ways.

Yoga truly is about creating harmony between your body, mind, and soul. While mantras and chants are sometimes used to awaken the dormant potential of consciousness that resides within you, these practices are not required to benefit from yoga.

As I’ve said a million times, when you walk into our studio you are welcome to take what serves you and alter as needed to make the practice yours.

By all means, do it your way. Find a style of yoga that suits you. Identify yoga instructors that teach in a way you enjoy. And remember: yoga is about inner exploration – not outer worship.

photo courtesy of Shannon Austin

Is Yoga Just for Women?

Is Yoga just for Women?

In short, no.

One of the most prevalent yoga myths is that yoga is only for women. This is honestly one of the craziest myths – especially considering that ancient yoga was a male-dominated practice. It was created for 14-year-old boys people!! Women were not even able to practice it. Now that being said, the West has changed yoga in a plethora of ways; some may say it better, some may say it has lost its way.

I digress…

Why do men believe this idea that yoga is just for women? I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with mainstream media highlighting women in fancy yoga poses. I see why men have the idea it must be for skinny young chics but come on, we know what you see in social media is not reality.

A few other reasons they may have not boarded the yoga train: yoga isn’t a good enough workout for men; it’s too touchy-feely; you have to be flexible beforehand, and men’s bodies aren’t naturally built for these poses.

Let me make this very clear: yoga offers a tremendous array of benefits for everyone. That certainly includes our dudes.

Unfortunately, this myth leads to a disappointing statistic: of the 20 million Americans who practice yoga, less than 18% of them are men. At Yoga Fever, we have plenty of men who show up on their mats day after day. But if you’ve never given it a try, I urge you to read on to discover the many benefits of overcoming this myth. Then, pop in to try your first yoga class!

3 Great Reasons to Give Yoga a Try

Yoga extends your muscles’ range of motion: Men typically target a select group of muscles at the gym, including hamstrings, glutes, abs, and shoulders. However, these muscles can only be trained so far. And, when exercised too heavily, they can become injured. However, yoga uses your natural body weight and resistance to build lean muscle mass, which improves blood flow and helps your muscles recover faster. I highly recommend complementing your gym exercises with a regular yoga practice.

Yoga provides a full spectrum of health: Unlike most male fitness regimes, yoga views health as more than visible muscle strength. And that’s because yoga strengthens more than just the physical body. It also teaches you to calm your mind and open your heart, leading to pain-free movement, increased flexibility, and decreased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and rage.

Yoga melts away your damaging competitive spirit: While this is certainly common in women too, men are often especially haunted by an intense spirit of competition. Yoga teaches you to keep your eyes – and focus – on your own mat. All that is asked of you is that you show up willing to respect the needs of your body, knowing that your worth has nothing to do with the person next to you.

Tips for Men Starting Yoga

Don’t force the movement: Many men have a gift of strength, but a tendency to work their body too hard, ignoring pain and discomfort. When you step on your mat, I encourage you to identify the difference between sensation and pain, learning when to modify to protect your body.

Focus on what’s working: You may not feel comfortable in certain poses, but powerful and masterful in others. Know that yoga is a practice where you have permission to take what you need. There will be no drill Sargent barking orders or requiring you to do anything you’re uncomfortable with!

Set aside your competitive spirit: As I mentioned before, know that you might not be the best yogi in the room. It’s time to get accustomed to that. The only thing you should be worried about is improving your own practice. And, sometimes, you may have to take a step backward before making progress.

Dump your belief that you must already be flexible: Thinking you have to be flexible to try yoga is like saying you have to be in shape to go to the gym or know how to cook to take a cooking class. The truth is, practicing yoga regularly will help you become more flexible over time.

Yoga truly is a strong, energetic, and challenging workout. But too many men never make it past that first-class or even show up at all. You may enter your first class as a skeptic, but I promise if you give it a few tries you’ll leave a sweaty convert! Oh, and one more tip—— yoga will improve your golf game by a mile. Now……who’s with me?

photo courtesy of wandering soul collective

Am I too old to start a yoga practice?

Am I too old to start a yoga practice?

When we picture yoga, we often make the mistake of calling to mind images of the thin, flexible, young women plastered on magazine covers and social media feeds. This leads many people to believe the myth that you must be young to practice yoga; that yoga is somehow for some people but not for others.

This is a misleading representation of the true image and intent of yoga. Yoga is for all. In fact, the word yoga literally means ‘union.’

The truth is: yoga is a very accessible practice that nearly anyone – at any age or condition- can practice. It’s a matter of taking what you need, finding the right class and instructor fit, and using your props liberally.

Take the risk and step out of your comfort zone, knowing that this is not a competitive space. It’s okay to move at your own pace.

Because, how could anyone be too old or too young to better their life? Common benefits of yoga, and those that may be especially appealing to older yogis, include:

  • Improved posture
  • Improved circulation
  • Better detoxification of lymph fluid & waste
  • Increased joint lubrication
  • Better balance
  • Increased concentration
  • Greater flexibility
  • More sound sleep

So, for those of you who consider your age a barrier to trying yoga, it’s time to change your mind!

3 reasons to give yoga a try, despite your age

Yoga includes much more than physical movement: Yoga is about making a connection between your breath and the way your body works. It encourages playfulness. It builds community and connection to an ancient lineage, and so much more!

You can modify your practice: You can easily vary your style of practice to adapt for conditions in your body – including practicing with a chair or other form of support. You might also become more interested in the meditation and breathing practices of yoga. Find a teacher with an inviting language, rather than a competitive one.

It might make you feel younger: The benefits of a regular yoga practice strengthen not only the body but also the mind. Yoga can help you recover from injury and boost balance so you avoid falling. But it also helps you learn to breathe through stress, leading to less wear and tear on your body and mind.

Yoga can truly be a fountain of youth. As you become more connected to life, you’ll realize youthfulness has more to do with the spirit than the body. Though your practice may appear slower to others’ eyes, you’ll experience plenty of change inside. You’ll become more tolerant, mentally-flexible, focused, and respectful of your body.

Some of the greatest lessons learned through yoga are to listen to your body, progress at your own pace, and let go of judgment and criticism.

I’ll end with this: you are only as old as your thoughts.

*Any physical elements of yoga depend on your physical status. If you’re recovering from an injury or suffer from any specific conditions, you’ll want to first check in with your doctor for approval and possibly schedule a one on one private yoga session versus a group class.

10 reasons we practice yoga

10 Reasons why we practice yoga

If you’re new to yoga or have never practiced before, you may be wondering: why the heck do people submit themselves to this crazy yoga practice? And if you’re a seasoned yogi, it’s always worth reminding yourself exactly why you step onto your mat each day.

Most people start practicing yoga hoping to gain a combination of flexibility, strength, and stress relief. But most yogis experience a change of heart regarding why they do yoga – most often pointing to self-compassion, spirituality, and community as the lasting benefits.

Let’s look at 10 different reasons why people do yoga, starting with the physical and moving into the deeper reasons.

1. Yoga provides better flexibility and mobility. Over time, even the stiffest muscles can stretch and lengthen. But one of yoga’s biggest strengths as an exercise form is the functional flexibility it offers to make it easier to complete everyday movements – such as kneeling, bending, or reaching.

2. It builds full-body strength. Yoga is a full-body workout. In any given class, you’ll touch on just about every muscle group in your body with both long, static holds, and fluid, dynamic movement. By supporting your own body weight and intentionally pulling each muscle up and in, you’re building functional strength right where you need it.

3. Yoga relieves stress. Yoga balances your body, mind, and nervous system, helping you relieve tension, ease your frantic mind, and steady your breath. Perhaps most importantly, it forces you into mindful awareness of the way you react to difficult situations, preparing you to respond more positively in the face of future stress. Read more about relieving anxiety through the power of the breath here: The Power of Yogic Breath to Relieve Anxiety

4. It detoxifies your body. Twisting poses and backward bends help give your body’s natural rhythms a boost. When you move in these poses, you squeeze your organs, pumping fresh blood throughout your body and removing waste from your cells.

5. Yoga reminds you to breathe. In class, you’re continually reminded to inhale deeply and exhale slowly, allowing you to notice when your breath is suffering – whether from physical exertion or emotional toil. I can’t tell you how many times this practice has helped me cool down off my mat – either by offering physical relief or preventing me from saying or doing something I would regret.

6. It helps increase concentration. I believe most of us today have concentration troubles, resulting from this digital age and the many tasks constantly tugging us in different directions. Yoga teaches you to continually observe your body, breath, and emotions. It focuses your mind on one pose at a time – often for much longer than you’d prefer! Over time, this practice can increase your ability to focus off the mat – boosting creativity and energy.

7. Yoga increases self confidence. Beginners and experts alike struggle, sweat, and fall over quite often in yoga class. But, guess what? No one is here to judge you on your performance. So, learn to laugh at yourself and keep showing up on your mat. Because, dedication to your practice will bring improvement – even if it’s not in the way you expected.

8. It helps you live in the present. If you spend much of your days planning, worrying, or regretting your actions, yoga can help you unplug and focus on what’s going on in your body and mind in this moment. Give it a try if for no other reason than setting technology aside for 75 minutes. Through breathwork and experience, you’ll learn to live in the present off your mat too.

9. It encourages playfulness. How often as adults do we get to practice new things, like balancing on our head or flipping upside down? Yoga brings you back to that child-like mind, where you explored and approached new situations with curiosity and playfulness, rather than anger and ego.

10. Finally, yoga builds community and connection to an ancient lineage. When you practice yoga, you become part of a four thousand year old tradition. You’ll discover a multitude of tools for enriching your lives – from meditation to health tips, and much more. Yoga can provide an amazing opportunity to discover new friendships, teachers, and communities. I can tell you that I’m continually inspired by the teachers and students who walk through these doors.

The truth is that yoga is not about simply changing your brain or your body. It transcends those goals and helps you connect to what you already have – and who you already are.

So, why do you practice yoga? I’d love to hear some of the reasons you step onto your mat each day!

7 tips for avoiding common yoga injuries

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.

Building a springtime routine

Building Your Springtime Routine through Yoga, Nutrition, and Sleeping Patterns

Last week we dove into the basic principles of an Ayurvedic approach to spring. We talked about how the kapha dosha is aggravated by qualities that are heavy, cold, or moist, so we encouraged you to begin inviting in lightness, warmth and dryness through the food, activities, and self-care rituals you choose to engage in.

We determined that the best prescription is to develop a rhythm. In this season, you’re looking to identify a set of routines that help you gradually lighten your body, mind, and emotions.

Today, I dive into what your yoga practice, eating habits, and sleeping patterns might look like when following an Ayurvedic approach to spring.

Your Yoga Practice

Your practice this time of year should be stimulating and invigorating. I’ve seen our Yoga Fever instructors begin to ramp up their classes, filling them with high-energy, powerful flows.

However, I highly recommend an inclusion of both yin and yang classes this time of year. Cultivating both strength and flexibility will bring balance to the kapha dosha. Move rapidly through your sequences this time of year, but linger in the moments between. Use those opportunities to slow down and move mindfully.

When practicing at home, try some of these poses:

Sun Salutations- These sequences pump prana – or breath – through your body, filling you with oxygen. Move rapidly through these sequences, linking breath to movement, to relieve stagnation in your body and mind.

Backbends- Any heart opening asana will energize your body. Bridge pose, wheel, and wild thing all expand your chest, relieving any congestion in your respiratory system.

Dynamic forward folds- Whether seated or standing, forward folds tone your kidneys and bladder, regulating your body’s water content and emotions.

Twists- Wringing your body out through a variety of twists – like triangle pose – really detoxifies your organs and strengthens your metabolic fire. Talk about a thorough spring cleaning!

Nutritional Advice

In the winter months, we naturally gravitate toward sweet, sour, or salty foods to counteract the dry qualities of these bitterly cold months. Now that the temperatures are rising, eat lighter foods, focusing on pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes.

Make sure that lunch is your biggest meal of the day, so you’re not forcing your body to digest a large meal during the times of the day when your kapha dosha is sluggish. Also, aim to eat at regular intervals during the day, at least 3-4 hours between meals.

Best foods to eat this season:

Saute leafy greens – kale, collards, dandelion, spinach, or mustard greens – with ghee to cleanse your body and counterbalance congestion.

Opt for less sweet fruits, like cherries, blueberries, grapefruit, or granny smith apples.

Choose seeds instead of nuts.

Barley, quinoa, and millet should be your staple grains.

Kick up your seasoning game with spices like turmeric, ginger, cayenne, mustard, and black pepper.

Adjusting Your Sleeping Patterns

Before the sun reaches its ultimate summer equinox point, take advantage of the darkness and fight the urge to stay up late. You’ll have plenty of time to milk those hours come June.

To keep your kapha dosha in balance, go to bed by 10:00 p.m. and rise before the sun. Have you ever noticed that it’s actually easier to wake up at 5:30 a.m. than 6:30 a.m.? Providing you went to bed early!

When you do wake up, use those hours before the rest of the world wakes to get outside for a brisk walk or incorporate a vigorous yoga practice. We’d love to see you at our 6:00 a.m. hot yoga classes!

acroyoga fundamentals

All About AcroYoga

Acroyoga is a form of partner yoga that combines yoga, acrobatics, and Thai massage. Among the two-person team, the person doing the lifting is called the base and the person being lifted is the flyer.

Why We Love Acroyoga:

This joyful practice is about having fun and challenging your body and mind in a new, fresh way. Often, we get so stuck in our daily rut of work, household chores, and family responsibilities that we fail to bring play and joy into our lives. And, let’s face it, we can take our yoga practice very seriously at times.

But in Acroyoga, laughter is a regular, consistent component, brought together by the natural playfulness of bringing two energies together on one mat. The great thing about acroyoga is that it’s a form of building each other up – in the most literal sense.

Acroyoga is for Everyone (No Experience is Required):

One of the first responses we hear when holding an acroyoga class is “I could never do that!” Actually, YES you can. Just like traditional yoga, acro accepts you where you are and guides you through the necessary building blocks at whatever pace you need. Sure, some background with flexibility and strength makes the physicality of acro easier, but it’s definitely not a requirement. Acroyoga is physically demanding, but the communication you have with your partner is equally as important to helping you be successful.

The Best Partner for Acroyoga:

You may think that larger people do the lifting and smaller people do the flying; or that men lift and women fly. Not necessarily the case. You’ll find that technique is much more important than strength.

Honestly, the best partner in acroyoga is someone you can laugh with! I totally understand the intimidation factor that comes with this practice, so having an adventure buddy by your side will help you take that leap into an exciting new world of play and fitness. Whether it’s a stranger turned best friend, a significant other, or a sister – whoever you have the most fun with will be your best acro partner.

The Biggest Challenge in Acroyoga:

Hands down, the biggest challenge students of acroyoga face is trust. Our society is conditioned to tackle our tasks independently, stubbornly refusing to rely on others. Acro flips that norm on its head, creating a fun, safe space to return to the basics of what makes a strong community. You’re forced to have faith in one another, clearly and directly communicate your needs, learn to work together, and then fly – together.

Not only will you learn the basics of Acroyoga but you’ll learn to trust your own strength and balance. You have to give up some control when flying, but surrendering to the balance of your base offers a peace you can’t get anywhere else.

Are You Ready to Fly?

We’re hosting our Acroyoga workshops throughout the year, be sure to subscribe to be in the know on our next fly sesh. In this partner based offering, we’ll explore basic stretches and partner drills, along with therapeutic flying, simple L basing, and standing poses. Rest assured, you will also learn partner safety and how to spot these poses with others! This 90-minute workshop is all about having fun and allowing yourself to play with new friends and old. Bring your sweetie, friend, or brother and let’s freakin’ fly!

Think you can teach yoga?

Think You Can Teach Yoga? Get Certified.

5 Questions to Ask When Considering a Yoga 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 yoga teacher 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 yoga teacher training 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 yoga 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 yoga teacher training 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.

YogaFever | Yoga Cycle Strength 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 August 17th 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@yoagfevergr.com

the power of yogic breath to reduce anxiety

The Power of Yogic Breath to Reduce Anxiety

Think back to the first time you stepped into a hot yoga studio. Likely, there were a lot of new experiences and sensations, but perhaps what you noticed the most was the military-like regimented breathing style of your neighbors. You probably heard loud, even breaths throughout the practice and your teacher likely aligned each movement with an inhale or an exhale.

And, maybe, you wondered “Do I have to do this too?” “Is it truly important that I listen to my teacher?” “I’m sure I can practice just as well if I breathe normally.”

If this was you, you’re certainly not alone!

But, yes, it is absolutely crucial that you practice a strong yogic breath throughout your practice. Not only does it help cool your body throughout a heated class, but it also instills a valuable habit that you can rely upon both on and off your mat.

In fact, many studies now confirm what we yoga practitioners have always found: regardless of the type of stress we’re dealing with, yoga is a powerful tool to calm our nervous systems and relieve anxiety. And the most basic component of yoga – breath control – can be practiced anywhere, by anyone.

The quickest way to a panic attack is taking short, sharp, shallow breaths with no focus on your exhale. Our breath is the gateway to our practice and the factor that most powerfully shapes our experiences – on or off the mat. It is intimately connected to our nervous system, so rapid breaths can increase our symptoms of anxiety. However, yoga increases our awareness of the need to slow and deepen our breathing.

Here are four simple ways in which you can ease your anxiety and enhance your mood by managing your breath.

1. Take inventory of how you feel. We often begin with this concept in yoga class. Teachers will ask students to rest either on their backs, seated, or in child’s pose as they take note of how their bodies, minds, and emotions feel that day. However, you can check in with yourself this way anywhere and anytime. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Inhale deep into your belly for five seconds before exhaling slowly for another five. Gradually increase the count to seven or even ten, taking special note of how feel afterward.

2. Practice sun salutations. Whether you prefer seated or standing, practice a few mini sun salutations. While you’re resting between rounds, be sure to soften your shoulders down your back and slow your breathing down. In these active poses, it’s easy to lose track of our breath – but quite simple to regain when you focus on calming and restoring it.

3. Rest in legs up the wall pose. When your anxiety manifests itself as jitters or restlessness, try taking legs up the wall pose. Since it can be done anywhere, it can be especially helpful after long stints of sitting at a desk or traveling.

4. Be mindful of what you consume. Too much caffeine, sugar, screen time, loud music, or work can contribute to an extra-anxious mind. The concept of self-care is real and valid. It’s not simply a luxury; it’s essential. Incorporate calm activities and healthy habits into your life, like a relaxing bath, a silent meditation, an outdoor walk, and a nutritious diet.

tips for creating your ideal meditation space

Tips for Creating Your Ideal Meditation Space

Interestingly, one of the main reasons we practice an active form of yoga is to help our bodies become capable of doing the opposite: sitting in stillness and meditation. This time of year, as we enter the busyness of holidays, parties, shopping, and cooking, I always find myself craving a quiet and meditative outlet.

As a small business owner, I know as well as anyone the challenges of finding a time and space to rest. To breathe, to think, to relax, and to unwind. I know that adding time into your daily life for stillness sounds daunting, if not downright impossible.

Yet, spending time in stillness each day provides the opportunity to pay attention to our own, individual experience. This, in turn, lets us bring intentional awareness into our daily activities. Think of your formal meditation sessions, whether in studio or at home, as the training that allow us to be more present in our own lives.

So, today I want to share some of my tips for creating a meditation space that you can call home in both the good days and the bad ones, whether you’re seeking joyful meditation or a place of solace.

Find a place that feels secure.

What I’ve found absolutely critical to successful meditation is finding a place where you feel secure enough to open your mind to this practice. Whether that’s a designated room in your house, the floor of your bathroom, a corner with a folding screen, or your yoga studio, find a place that feels sacred to you.

Add beauty into your space.

Meditation at its core is about removing the barriers and obstacles that keep our minds in a state of frenzy. So, I highly recommend that you keep your area simple and uncluttered, like our peaceful and clean space at Yoga Fever. Choose a few items that bring peace and serenity. Some great options include: a pillow, statue, artwork, mat, throw rug, curtains, or natural light.

Create a lovely aroma.

Incense, essential oils, or candles not only help you stay focused but also provide beautiful and soothing energy. In the studio, we often will waft an essential oil throughout the room during savasana. Additionally, candles offer the extra perk of providing a meditative flicker of the flame. Try our Wednesday night candlelit yoga class if you don’t yet understand the beauty and peace of this particular idea!

Soothe your soul with music.

While this piece isn’t necessary, and won’t fit everyone’s preference, I love playing soothing music during my time of meditation. Really, any style of music that brings you tranquility and peace will do. Alternatively, you could consider adding a small fountain if you’re practicing at home.

If you think about it, the spaces in our homes are often classified by the activities that we do in each of them. We have spaces for eating, cooking, sleeping, and playing. Some of us have other areas for entertaining, exercising, reading, or painting. But sometimes it’s important to have spaces in our homes that we create simply to be in them.

Perhaps we can think of our meditation space, whether in studio or at home, as simply our being room. It’s a safe, sacred retreat on bad days and a place to center ourselves each morning. I challenge you to identify some space, anywhere, that you can dedicate to meditation. The more time you spend there, the more you’ll want to return.

building heat with the practice of yoga

Building Heat in the Body with the Practice of Yoga

When we’re cold, our circulation decreases, which leads to constriction in the muscles and joints. Though I know how tempting it can be to avoid the snowy roads and stay snuggled up on your cozy couch, winter weather is actually one of the best times to keep up a consistent yoga practice. Through our practice, we develop an internal heat to keep us warm, happy, and healthy.

I suggest focusing on four specific practices this season: develop strong, consistent breath; work those abs until they burn; consume Ayurveda-friendly warm, seasonal foods and get yourself to the nearest hot yoga room.

Strong Breath

Kapalabhati is a cleansing breath technique in which you start in a comfortable seated position with a tall spine. Draw in a long inhale, then exhale forcefully from your lower belly. Continue pushing breath outward in this way without inhaling – the inhale happens naturally, I promise!

Focus on exhaling over and over again, starting with a steady pace before moving faster. After about 20 repetitions, exhale all your air out and draw in another deep breath. Slowly sigh it out. You can repeat this breathing style twice more, allowing for that important rested breath between rounds.

This breathing style removes carbon dioxide from your lungs and brings energy into your body.

Core Strength

Heat is created from your body’s furnace, located in the belly center. In yoga, we call this area the Manipura chakra, which is connected to the element of fire. Any work done in your core area will provide warmth. In the winter, we like to spend time prepping the body before diving into the more difficult core exercises.

We may start with abdominal exercises that keep the spine fully supported by the floor. We’ll move into a couple rounds of Locust pose, while focusing on a very regulated breath. You’ll often find yourself in navasana (boat pose) later in class. Seated forward folds are sometimes used in the cooling portion of class, as we focus on contracting the belly on each exhale.

Nutritional Support

The sister science of yoga, Ayurveda, states that “like attracts like.” This means that the kapha and vata doshas tend to become aggravated during our dark, cold Michigan winters. The climate is simply too similar to their natural qualities. If you’re finding yourself experiencing many colds, poor circulation, joint pains, or negative emotions, try some of these tips.

Definitely eat plenty of soups, stews, cooked vegetables, and grains. Avoid cold salads and sandwiches.

Start your day with a hearty, warm breakfast to feed your digestive fire. Oatmeal is a great option.

Season your foods with warming spices, such as cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, and nutmeg.

Drink warm teas, hot water with lemon, or dry red wine to encourage circulation and stimulate digestion.

If you naturally tend to eat warmer, heartier foods in the winter – like soup, stir fry, casserole, quiches, pasta – you’re on the right track! While our bodies are designed to eat more in the winter, it’s still important to select your food carefully.

The cold, dry, and dark winter months can certainly tempt us away from our practice – and excercise in general. If we fall victim to that temptation, though, we’ll experience a number of negative consequences. I challenge you this winter to use your yoga practice as a means of caring for your entire being. Challenge yourself to practice a certain amount of days each week. For at least 60 minutes, you’ll be incredibly warm and fiery!

If you would like to learn more about building heat in the body using the sister science of yoga, Ayurveda, please visit Laura Burkett at Real Food Wellness.

Hot Yoga Studio

The hot yoga studio creates a sauna like atmosphere that will naturally detoxify the body while warming the external sheath, bones, muscles, ligaments and joints. Hot yoga raises your heart rate and core temperature, which dilates blood vessels and increases circulation in your muscles—a total win when muscles are stiffer in the cold weather months. Essentially, hot yoga helps build the heat from the core to the periphery and the periphery back to the core.

If you’re interested in learning more about our hot yoga studio, please call(616) 805-3603 and speak to Brittany Sanagustin or anyone on the Yoga Fever staff. We can help guide you into a safe, cozy practice designed to keep you warm all year long!

Introducing Kundalini Yoga

Introducing Kundalini Yoga

What is Kundalini Yoga?

“The primary objective of Kundalini is to awaken the full potential of human awareness in each individual; that is, recognize our awareness, refine that awareness, and expand that awareness to our unlimited Self. Clear any inner duality, create the power to deeply listen, cultivate inner stillness, and prosper and deliver excellence in all that we do.” – Kundalini Research Institute

Yoga itself has dozens of variations in philosophy and style. Some are structured as a physical workout while others put a strong emphasis on meditation. Kundalini is a little of both – an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices that incorporates movement, dynamic breath, meditation, and chanting of mantras. Its aim is to awaken higher consciousness in its practitioner by activating energy centers throughout the body.

In Sanskrit, the word “Kundalini” means “coiled snake.” Early Eastern religions believed that everyone possesses a divine energy at the base of the spine. It’s something we’re born with, but we each must strive to uncoil it. Through Kundalini, we turn potential energy into kinetic energy, awakening our Higher Self.

3 Practical Reasons to Try Kundalini Yoga:

Often referred to as the “yoga of awareness,” Kundalini focuses on the expansion of your sensory awareness. It is one of the most powerful and complete yoga practices you’ll encounter, as it creates an aligned relationship between the body, mind, and soul.

Building Awareness Will Expand Your Life: Kundalini yoga is designed to strengthen your intuition and willpower. As you unravel the energy within you, you’ll gain awareness and an improved presence in the world, resulting in new opportunities and experiences.

Discover the Magic Outside of Your Comfort Zone: Kundalini combines so many elements, from stretching to breath work to sound meditations. The spontaneous nature of each class will keep you light on your feet and ready for anything.

Find Your Voice and Share with the World: Kundalini yoga helps us find our voice and discover the courage to use it kindly and effectively.

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of, or practiced, this form of yoga before. As always, Kundalini asks that you honor yourself, move at your own pace, and listen to your body’s needs – asking for adjustments and modifications when necessary.

Yoga for managing stress

Yoga for Managing Stress

Teenagers are barraged with many powerful life stressors, including grades and the pursuit of a college education, puberty, family issues, relationships, lack of sleep, jobs, and extra-curricular activities. It’s no surprise that the American Psychological Association (APA) named teens one of the most stressed-out age groups in the United States.

When we experience a perceived threat – whether physical or emotional – our bodies activate a “fight or flight” response. Historically, this response was triggered only occasionally in response to deadly dangers. However, these days certain chronic situations expose our bodies to extended periods of stress.

For teenagers, this stress is coming at a critical developmental stage – right when their life habits are forming. And they often don’t have the tools or experience to manage it yet.

When a person experiences chronic stress, their body attempts to build coping mechanisms. The problem is that these can be either positive and healthy coping mechanisms or negative and maladaptive coping mechanisms – such as drugs, depression, and even suicide.

What are Coping Mechanisms?

Coping mechanisms are the strategies we use in the midst of stress or trauma to help manage difficult emotions.

Healthy coping mechanisms include:

Support- seek the steadiness of a community, rather than self-isolating and internalizing your feelings

Relaxation- practice meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and breathing techniques

Physical Activity- on the other hand, exercise serves as a natural and healthy form of stress release

Healthy Eating- for more, read our Ayurveda blog or our Nourishing Your Body blog

Negative coping mechanisms include:

Consuming too much alcohol

Smoking

Sleeping all day

Eating unhealthily

Isolation

How Does Yoga Help Us Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms?

Luckily, yoga and meditation are among the many resources that can help both teens and adults develop healthier responses to stress.

Mindfulness techniques give students the capacity to cope with stress, providing a sense of self-empowerment and helping them overcome obstacles that previously would have seemed impossible.

Yoga practice helps redirect attention, improve concentration, and increase self-control.

It reinforces teenagers’ need for independence by teaching them that feeling better is within their control.

Additional Study Results

The results of a long-term study from the University of Cincinnati showed that a regular yoga practice helps people develop long-term resilience to stress. It analyzed 125 at-risk youth over a 10-year period and discovered that the students who participated in weekly, mindful yoga programs developed significantly stronger coping skills.

A study conducted by California State University concluded that participating in yoga classes for two hours each week helped students improve their self-esteem, classroom behavior, and physical health.

An article in Forbes Magazine revealed that yoga increases student retention rates in schools by teaching healthy coping mechanisms against stress.

Many schools and community organizations have begun to implement yoga and mindfulness programs into their curriculums over the past few years. As these continue to grow, they will empower both youth and young adults to identify healthier coping mechanisms as a response to their stress. When they encounter painful emotions or trauma, they’ll have an enhanced ability to regulate their reactions.

I highly recommend that those of you who are parents to teenagers consider enrolling them in a monthly yoga membership if they’re interested. We also offer weekly, candlelit community classes for only $5, which are a great place to start learning the yoga poses and vocabulary, as well as start building a safe, welcoming support system.

what is Ayurveda?

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda: The Sister Science to Yoga

Ayurveda is India’s ancient system of health and healing. It differs from modern medicine in that every individual is considered unique – and there is no common diet or lifestyle routine that will work for everyone.

Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas: Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Doshas are the energy patterns that make up each individual person. This science teaches that each individual contains specific mental and physical traits that compose our constitution.

Although we’re born with all three of the doshas, they form differently in each of us, creating a unique combination that makes us exactly who we are! Generally, one dosha tends to influence us most heavily.

Characteristics of Each Dosha

VataThis represents cold, dry, and light. It is the force that controls our movement, regulates our nervous system, and oversees the elimination of waste. People with strong vata dosha are creative, quick to learn and grasp knowledge. They are excitable but tend to tire easily.

However, when this energy is out of balance, they may experience fear, anxiety, and impulses. They generally have dry skin and hair.

Pitta- This represents hot, wet, and combustive. It is the force that controls our digestion and metabolism. People with a predominance of pitta tolerate most foods, but can’t handle missing a meal. They tend to have an average body build, are good speakers, organize well, and are ambitious.

If their pitta gets out of balance, they lean toward irritability, outbursts of anger, and perfectionism. Typical physical problems include rashes, heartburn, insomnia, or dry eyes.

Kapha- This represents cold, wet, and heavy. It is the protective force that governs stability, structure, and moisture in our mind and body. Kapha types are usually affectionate, loving, and nonjudgmental. They tend toward slow speech, which reflects their deliberate thought process. They are calm and strive to maintain harmony in their relationships.

A lack of balance can lead to feelings of envy, insecurity, and depression. Their physical problems can include colds, congestion, and respiratory problems.

What are the Benefits of Ayurveda?

For all doshas, asana practice complements the positive aspect of our dosha while teaching us what we need to do to bring it into balance. For example, daily routine connects Vata types to the earth, boosting strength and stability. For Kapha individuals, it brings light and warmth to increase your energy and reduce lethargy. For strong Pitta types, it offers breath awareness to bring peace to your mind.

Are you ready to learn more? Join us on Saturday, September 22 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. for a fun, life-affirming class on Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. Together we’ll explore how Ayurveda helps us uncover self-care and nutritional practices that honor our uniqueness. You’ll discover ways to improve your sleep, digestion, weight regulation, and natural detoxification.

All about yoga blocks

All About Yoga Blocks

A lot of new yogis tend to shy away from using blocks, thinking the props will quickly betray them as a beginner, incapable of mastering all of the poses. They feel the whole point of yoga is to become flexible enough to do every pose without using a prop.

Don’t be ashamed if you’ve ever thought this yourself! The truth is, blocks are critical to everyone’s yoga practice, whether brand new or a yoga master. The trick is to let go of your ego-based “How does this make me look?” approach and shift toward the “How does this make my body feel?” mentality.

Why Use Yoga Blocks?

A yoga block is a brick-shaped item made of either cork, wood, or foam. You can achieve three different heights (4, 6, and 9 inches) depending on the way you flip your brick. Blocks (and other yoga props) help you enter postures safely with proper alignment, ensuring you are not only safe but also experience the benefits of the pose – even if your hamstrings are tight.

If you’re new to yoga, they help you train your body to bend, twist, and stretch. If you’re experiencing an injury, they help you modify your practice so you can continue to recover. And even if you’re perfectly healthy and have been practicing for years, there are days your body just needs a little help – and that’s okay!

1. They Bring the Ground to You– Try using blocks under your hands in forward folds to release the strain on your hamstrings as you stretch toward the ground. We’ll often encourage them in the trickier folds, like half moon and standing splits. But, if you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to grab two to use during standing forward fold too.

2. They Build Strength– Stretching isn’t the only benefit of blocks! They can be used for strength-building exercises just as well. In the studio, we often ask students to put a block between their legs during ab exercises or wheel pose. It introduces an additional element of resistance, ensuring you’re getting the most out of your efforts.

3. They Allow You to Rest in Restorative Poses– Finally, blocks can be used to tone down the intensity of yoga poses. They support you so that you can still experience the positive effects without exerting as much effort. I love using a block for a restorative bridge pose at the beginning or end of class.

Time for to Level Up

The beauty of yoga is its acceptance of students of all levels of experience, flexibility, and strength. Using blocks and other props is not something to shy away from, and I truly hope you’ll all continue to embrace their ability to help you modify, strengthen, or rest – depending on your need each time you step on your mat. Join us for a yoga class to try it out!

yoga and running go hand in hand

Yoga and Running Go Hand-in-Hand 

I commonly hear runners praising the addition of yoga to their practice. However, many yogis often shudder when thinking about running. Maybe this is because we often hear about the dangers of running: it will ruin your joints and compromise your yoga practice. But I always wonder, why can’t yogis embrace running, as well?
I’m here to tell you that many of the skills and physical and mental strength you have built up through yoga will highly benefit your running practice too.

4 Reasons Yogis Are Prepared to Be Runners

  1. You Already Have a Strong Core- Despite what some running novices may think, the sport is not all about leg strength. It’s a full-body effort, meaning that core strength is a huge factor. Additionally, upper body strength is essential to keeping your back and shoulders from tensing up as the mileage increases.
  2. You’re Already Tuned into Your Breath- The breath awareness we yogis practice on our mats is immeasurably valuable when it comes to endurance training. The longer you run, the more important it is for your body and mind to connect, preventing you from getting distracted or quitting. If this body-mind connection sounds like the effortless calm you feel during yoga practice, that’s because it is!
  3. You’re Prepared for the Meditative Side of Running- Speaking of this body-mind connection, running is essentially a meditation. When we run, we aim to immerse ourselves in the present, eliminating unnecessary movements to find ease in the midst of a strenuous physical effort. I like to think yogis have a huge step up in this department because we’re used to adjusting our bodies to balance our muscles and limbs.
  4. You Already Know How to Rehabilitate Tight Muscles- I saved the most obvious for last. One of the most common factors that brings runners into the yoga studio is a desire to learn to stretch, twist, and rehabilitate tight muscles. For yogis making the leap into running, or for those already combining the two practices, it may be hard to give up the excitement of vinyasa and fun arm balances in favor of slower movements, but this is exactly what your body will need. Try exploring tight nooks and take your practice down a notch as you discover the ways each practice complements the other. I recommend giving Yin yoga a try!

Importance of combining two different physical/mental practices

Yoga Gives Your Competitive Side a Rest: The beauty of yoga is that it’s not a competitive sport. Sure, you may motivate yourself daily to improve and show up on the mat, but at the end of the day no one comes in first or last. Sometimes it’s nice to rest the competitive side of your brain, but other times it’s fun to enter a 5k and see how your body has improved over the course of the last few weeks or months. Yoga and running don’t live in different universes; they’re two sides of the same coin, complementing each other and filling in the gaps.
Yoga Moves Your Body on a Different Plane: Runners continually move one direction in space, whereas one of the greatest benefits of yoga is that you get to move your body along an entirely different plane. On our mats, we twist, we turn, and we invert our bodies. As anyone who has ever stepped into a yoga studio knows, you’ll discover muscles you never knew existed. While runners are some of fittest people around, many experience strength and flexibility issues, which isn’t surprising when you consider how many times they pound the ground each mile. Another reason to incorporate both practices into your weekly routine!

So, whether you’ve been combining running and yoga for years, or you’re convinced now might be the time to give it a shot, I’d love to invite you to our first Yoga Flow + Trail Run event taking place Saturday, July 14 from 9:30-11:00am at Robinette’s – Oh and PS, don’t worry about the weather, we always have a rain date scheduled!!

The movements inherent in yoga and trail running may seem tremendously different, but they share one key trait: both put you in the present moment. If you lose focus for just one moment, you could wind up face down on your mat or in the dirt. We’ll start with a 40 minute yoga flow, building the muscle strength and range of motion needed to help you dance over rocks and roots on the 2 mile trail run.

summer yoga ideas for kids

Summer Yoga Ideas for Kids

The trees are green, the temps are rising, and… there are a lot more kids running around during the day. All signs point to the arrival of summer!

For those of you who have mom or dad, aunt or uncle, or nanny attached to your job title, you’re probably already preparing the long list of activities to keep your kiddos occupied this summer. Maybe you’ve thought about introducing them to yoga, but are wondering where to start.

Now that you have some extra time with your littlest loved ones, you may be able to invest into teaching them about the beauty and power of yoga. Yoga is a great way to bond as a family, even if you can only spare a few minutes. Experiment with a few poses in the morning or outside after dinner to see what works best for the kids in your life.

Research has shown that yoga can improve children’s mental and physical health, increase their focus and concentration, and strengthen their fine and gross motor skills. If you’re considering introducing your little ones to yoga, there’s no better time than the summer, as it can be done indoors on hot days, in the backyard after dinner, or even on the beach during family vacation!

Don’t Forget These Simple Tips

Don’t expect your small students to be ready or willing to commit to an hour of vinyasa flow. Yoga for children should be playful and structured more like a game than a serious practice. So rather than asking them to follow along as you move through a carefully-constructed sequence, spend ten minutes calling out animal-themed poses.

Let them mimic their surroundings. If they’re outside, ask them to try tree pose. Before asking them to set the table, encourage them to try table pose. This will not only help them create name recognition, but also bring a lightness and joy to yoga.

Encourage them to make noise. When they’re in cat pose, they can meow like cats. Or when they’re in downward dog, tell them to bark a little. For young kids, especially, it’s best to keep this light and fun, so they start to enjoy the practice rather than burning out.

Go Beyond the Poses

Build a Community: This one’s great for nannies or childcare providers, but can also be incorporated with neighborhood children or your kid’s school buddies. Part of what we adults love about yoga is the intentional community we build at our studios. Help your children to discover this joy by planning a yoga party in your backyard or by practicing family yoga in the park.

Service: In yoga, service is not just a spiritual obligation or the righteous thing to do, as it’s promoted in many churches and synagogues. It is also a path to self-realization. Teach your children to think beyond themselves by delivering food to someone who needs help or by offering to do some simple yard work for a neighbor.

Meditation and Mindfulness: Arguably the hardest component of yoga to teach children (and adults, let’s be real) is meditation and mindfulness. Choose a breathing technique and practice it together. Maybe it’s ujjayi or maybe it’s lion’s breath. Encourage your kids to use it when they feel any strong emotions or before bedtime. Make sure they see you practicing what you preach too!

why do we use Sanskrit in yoga

Why Do We Use Sanskrit in Yoga?

AUM or Om  ( Sanskrit : ॐ) is a sacred sound or vibration from which all the manifest universe emanates.

Whether you’re new or a seasoned yogi, chances are you’ve heard at least a few Sanskrit words. Sanskrit is the ancient language the first yogis spoke and the language in which many historic yoga texts were written.

At Yoga Fever we teach Sanskrit in our teacher training courses, but we also use it often throughout our classes (not ALL of our teachers use it!). I personally love teaching Sanskrit, as it connects us to the history and origins of the practice, helping students better understand where the practice came from.

More and more, people are coming to understand that there’s a deep and rich philosophy beneath yoga practice. Sanskrit is the language by which that philosophy lives, breathes, and flows.

Why Do We Use Sanskrit?

Sanskrit literally connects us to the classical form of yoga that has been orally repeated for thousands of years.

When we use Sanskrit in our classes, we help students like you not only follow our directions but also get the most out of each session. Each Sanskrit word is believed to have its own consciousness, and pronouncing the word allows you to tap into that consciousness.

Through Sanskrit students are able to understand spiritual concepts that aren’t readily available in English. No other language can translate the mystical, transcendent, and divine as effectively.

It’s important for all of us, both teachers and students, to remember to be patient. We teachers repeat certain Sanskrit pose names often throughout class, as it often takes up to seven repetitions of a word for most people to remember it. Learning a foreign language takes a long time, but understanding some of the roots and most common words is a great first step! Read on my studious yogis.

Sanskrit Crash Course

Asana– This word refers to the poses that compile the physical practice of yoga. Maybe you’ve noticed that each individual pose ends in “asana.” For example:
Sukhasana- Easy Pose (the cross-legged, sitting position usually taken at the end of class)
Balasana- Child’s Pose

Ardha– A word which means “half,” ardha is used in poses like Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon pose).

Namaste– The universal greeting, namaste is a combination of two Sanskrit words: nama, which means “bow” and te, which means “you.” It can be translated a number of different ways, but I often explain it like this: “the light within me recognizes and honors that very same light within you.”

Kona– This component means “angle,” or “corner.” Examples include Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle pose) and Trikonasana (Triangle pose). I bet you can think of more!

Supta– This component means “reclined” and is used in many poses that ask you to lie on your back, such as Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe pose).

Ujjayi– You’ll hear us refer to this yoga breathing technique as “ocean-sounding breath.” It’s practiced with a slight constriction in the back of the throat so that an audible sound can be heard.

Now that you have a basic understanding of a few Sanskrit words, come attend one of our yoga classes. You’ll be excited to discover how much of our yoga practice includes these simple components!

yin yoga

Yin Yoga

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang: the opposite and complementary principles in nature. While most of our yoga classes focus on yang – the changing and moving aspect – yin yoga focuses on the stable, unmoving aspect. In a yin class, you’ll experience passive floor poses that mainly work the lower portion of your body, including hips, pelvis, inner thighs, and lower spine.

Who is Yin Yoga Designed For?

This practice is well-suited for anyone who has an active lifestyle and is looking to add more calmness and quiet to their lives. It’s also great for anyone who struggles with anxiety or depression and is seeking recovery or healing.

Friends with hip or knee replacements: our restorative, gentle yoga classes may be better suited for you.

Why Practice Yin Yoga?

1. Increased Flexibility and Strength – You will actively stretch your body’s connective tissue, simultaneously striving to quiet your mind and settle into the pose. Yin yoga is where poses are held from 30 seconds up to five minutes, allowing time, breath, and gravity relax your body and deepen the pose. When you gently stretch connective tissue by holding it this long, your body will respond by making it a little longer and a little stronger, which is exactly the goal of exercise.

2. Increased Awareness and Self-Intimacy – We live in a world where we are overstimulated with technology, social activities, and other responsibilities, that we often end up never switching off at all. Any kind of dynamic yoga caters to this aspect of keeping ourselves busy. That’s why it’s a good idea to balance your vinyasa yoga with a vastly different form like yin.

Finding stillness for several minutes in a pose creates gaps where the mind is free to wander. Many of us try to stay far away from meditative gaps like this because they often bring up anxiety, boredom, or anything else we suppress during the busyness of life. As with any good form of meditation, yin yoga provides the space needed to address those emotions head on.

3. A Portable Practice – You can practice yin yoga almost anywhere! You don’t always need a mat. In fact, most poses can be held while sitting at your desk, watching TV, reading, or lying in bed.

The story behind YogaFever

The Story Behind YogaFever | Yoga Cycle Strength

The Love Story Behind Our Studio

For some, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to spend quality time with their significant other. For others, it’s a reminder to demonstrate love and vulnerability toward friends and family members. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to share my honest, vulnerable story behind the creation of YogaFever | Yoga Cycle Strength – and the tremendous community we’re building together.

The Story of YogaFever | Yoga Cycle Strength

This story starts in 2014 when my sister passed away unexpectedly. It was one of the hardest times of my life. It took a lot of soul searching, contemplation, forgiveness, and letting go to move out of that state of constant grief. About a year later, when I was beginning to recover and rebuild, I knew I had to do something more with my life. Something meaningful. No longer could I coast along doing things I didn’t love; I felt inspired – and almost obligated – to do more, to make my sister proud and to make a real difference. I was on a quest to find internal bliss by creating a life of purpose.

I honestly had never seen myself as a business owner but have a long line of successful entrepreneurs in my family. I knew my sister was with me when the idea unveiled itself to open a traditional hot vinyasa yoga studio that would than become so much more.

As the studio grew and as I continued to evolve, I knew I wanted to expand and level up. I just wasn’t quite sure what that meant. I didn’t want to duplicate what I had already done within a few miles like others so often do.

I traveled west for 8 weeks on a mission to hit every studio to become inspired. Toward the end of my journey, I landed upon a fantastic studio that offered multiple rooms. Each room had a different purpose. One room was strictly TRX, one was hot yoga and the other was cycling. I thought wow, what a great concept to add all group fitness modalities together under one roof. I went on to take my yoga class and in savasana my eyes literally popped open, and a huge smile came over my face. This was it. This was how I was going to expand. I knew this was the wave of future for fitness; to offer multiple ways to move for one fee. I knew so many that spent a lot of money on multiple memberships around the city. It was a problem and I wanted to solve it.

There was a plethora of obstacles to overcome. But piece by piece everything fell into place. 12 weeks later our brand-new studio with 3 fitness rooms was born. A new beginning and so much fun!

Currently we offer barre, indoor cycle, hot yoga, strength training, restorative yoga + meditation, pop-up classes like kickboxing and fascia release + more.

YogaFever | Yoga Cycle Strength has surpassed all my expectations and grown into such a beautiful community. But I couldn’t do any of this without the help and support of my dedicated team. Imagine being able to do what you love all day surrounded by people who love it to. Life truly is a gift.

To all of you who make the choice to practice and move with us, and to heal and strengthen your body and mind, from the inside out, we thank you.

yoga poses to help you sleep better

Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep Better

Are you having trouble falling asleep at night? Do you wake up for work in the morning simply exhausted from tossing and turning? You’re not alone – and it could be costing you more than you think. Research shows that consistent lack of sleep can lead to associated health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and diabetes.

But a good night’s sleep is within your reach thanks to, you guessed it, yoga!

Yoga practice doesn’t always have to be an intense, blood-pumping, sweaty workout. Some of the most amazing aspects of yoga are the subtle changes you experience through focused breathing and bodily awareness. I’ve found that taking a few minutes at the end of my day for yoga and meditation are essential to unwinding and relaxing before bedtime.

So, how exactly does yoga help us sleep better?

Yoga helps us get in touch with our breath. When you slow down and hold a pose, you’ll identify different areas of your body that are tense – think: shoulders, hips, back. The longer you sit and breathe through the pose, the better your chances of releasing that tension and gradually letting go. Plus, stretching in general has a wonderful calming effect.

Yoga reduces stress. Difficult and exciting events both bring stress into our lives. Whether you’re in the middle of a demanding season at work or preparing to marry the love of your life, you’ll likely experience stress. Practicing yoga mindfulness before bed will help reduce levels of cortisol (ie: the stress hormone), reducing the amount of time you spend tossing and turning.
Yoga helps us create a routine. If you’ve ever struggled with sleeping, you’ve probably heard advice like “go to bed and wake up at the same time each day” or “don’t look at your phone before bed.” While these practices may work for some, I’ve found that yoga has the most significant impact in creating a routine that works for me. Ten minutes of gentle yoga before bed can do wonders in setting you on the right path.

Yoga helps us handle uncertainty. One of the biggest culprits of insomnia is a restless mind. Often, my body is physically exhausted, but my mind won’t zip it! I’ll stress about additions to my planner, adding activities in tight spaces, upcoming events. Adapting to a yoga-before-bed practice helps me accept where I am in each moment. And, sometimes, where I am is…awake. This acceptance that I can’t sleep actually helps me be able to relax more. It’s weird, but it really does help eliminate the anger and frustration.

Looking for a few poses to aid sleep? Here’s a sample routine:

  • Hero’s pose | Virasana – take this opportunity to lengthen your spine and open your chest. Settle into your calming breath pattern and clear your mind.
  • Cat and cow– Roll forward onto your hands and knees, flowing between these two poses for as long as you like.
  • Child’s pose | Balasana – Sink your hips back and settle your chest onto the floor. Breathe deeply through your belly and lower back.
  • Legs up the wall | Viparita karani – This helps drain acid from your legs, decreasing symptoms of fatigue and soreness. Stay here as long as you like.
  • Supine twist– This is a great back stretch, helping you relax and prepare for sleep.
  • Happy baby | Ananda balasana – Gently rock back and forth on your back to massage your spine.
  • Butterfly pose | Suptabaddhakonasana – a supported butterfly can help you relax deeply while focusing on the breath.
  • Savasana- It’s called corpse pose for a reason! Use this as the final pose before crawling into bed, closing your eyes and freeing your mind from thoughts.
4 key steps to building an arm balance

4 Key Steps to Building an Arm Balance Practice

Arm balances are everywhere these days. They pop up on Instagram and yoga studio posters as the epitome of yoga accomplishment. Yet, they’re often among the most frightening poses for students to try. The concept of flying fearlessly into wild, inverted poses plagues many yogis.

I’m here to tell you: this collection of poses is not reserved for advanced yoga practitioners. With a few tips and tricks (plus practice, practice, practice), you’ll find yourself in Crow, Hurdler, and Headstand in no time!

Benefits of Arm Balances

First off, why bother practicing arm balances in the first place? Balancing poses help us connect with the present moment. And when you add in the challenge of balancing on your arms, the amount of mental focus required increases. You’re never going to get up into a headstand if you’re thinking about the day’s to-do list. Practice arm balances if you’re in need of a strengthened mental focus.

Additionally, arm balances increase flexibility, core and shoulder strength, as well as feelings of self-confidence and courage. Plus, they offer a playful and curious way to approach our bodies!

What’s not to love? If you’re eager to give these a try, but maybe a bit scared about how to begin, read on for four tips to help you build your arm balance practice.

4 Key Steps to Building an Arm Balance Practice

Confidence- Honestly, guys building confidence is key to arm balancing. We are all a bit nervous about face planting. It happens every now and then. So what?! It’s totally okay to fall out of the pose and laugh your ass off. We all do it. The more we practice balancing on our hands, the more confidence and strength we will gain. It just takes time, practice and patience.

Strategic Weight Placement– How many times have you heard your instructor remind you not to put your weight into the heel of your hand? This is because when your weight is in the palm of your hands, there’s nothing to stop you from falling backward. Instead, strategically place your body weight between your thumb and pointer finger – pushing more into your knuckles than the heel of your hand. By moving the balance point forward like this, you instantly gain more control.

Shoulder Strength – Your shoulder blades are a critical, and often neglected, body part when moving into arm balances. You need them to support your arms, especially when you’re in a straight-arm balance. We often help students increase scapular strength by holding an engaged Plank pose, asking them to puff up between the shoulder blades – almost like a Cat Pose.

Core strength- All balance poses rely heavily on a strong core, and arm balances are no exception. To build an arm balance practice, you must learn to lock off one part of your body (example: core) so you can use that stability to launch into more complicated poses. We often encourage students to focus on their core by asking them to flex their belly during every single yoga pose of the class. Eventually, engaging the core will become second nature.

3 reasons to become a yoga teacher

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.

YogaFever has offered multiple Yoga Teacher Training Programs and will continue to meet the demand of the community we serve. 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 YogaFever. 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).

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.