Yoga is an ancient practice with origins stretching back thousands of years in India. It was designed as a way to help the yogi achieve a more positive outlook on life and a focused, more permanent sense of serenity and peace. Nowadays we also use yoga as a way to help build strength and increase our flexibility. If you think yoga might not be for you, I urge you to reconsider. Continue reading 17 Reasons to Do Yoga in 2017
My yoga journey started about 10 years ago. I have to admit, I was kind of in a dark place at the time and a friend of mine dragged me to my first class. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if it would even help me feel better. While I liked the class, I was still a little skeptical about yoga, but I decided to give it another try. After a handful of times, I started to see and feel the benefits of yoga. I began to recognize ways that yoga was beginning to change my life. It helped me feel better in my body, feel better about myself, be in the moment more, see the world in a brighter light, and appreciate the people and things around me more. Yoga has opened my eyes to so much and ever since then, yoga has been a huge part of my life and a huge part of my daily routine. I am not sure where I would be without it.
I knew I always wanted to teach. I always played school when I was a kid, which eventually led me to going to college and grad school for education. I received my degree in Elementary and Special Education, a masters in Special Education, and a CAGS in Administration. Becoming a yoga teacher seemed like a natural progression. First, I started to incorporate it into my classroom and was amazed by the results. I saw first hand the benefits it not only had on me, but on my students as well. I knew yoga was pretty special. So when I moved to NJ with my husband almost 5 years ago, I finally decided to get my yoga certification so I could share the joys of yoga with others. I wanted to give back to a community that had given me so much. I fell in love with teaching yoga and decided that I’d one day have a studio of my own.
While most people talk about their dreams, I try to go out and grab mine. I have always been a goal setter and a slight over achiever. I sometimes don’t know when to stop. Once I achieve a goal, I quickly move on to the next one. I try to enjoy every second of this amazing life and never want to miss an opportunity to truly live. I am always trying to push the boundaries and see what I am truly capable of. I’m not afraid of a little hard work and when people tell me I can’t do something, I will work even harder to prove them wrong. Now I know that there are cards stacked against me in regards to opening my own business, but I firmly believe that I can and will be successful. At the end of the day, if I can help people and help better their lives in even the smallest of ways, than I have already succeeded. I look to the future filled with excitement and optimisms for being able to help people and allow them to learn and grow so they too can be and do their best. I can’t wait for the studio to open come January!
I chose the name emPOWER Yoga because I want people to leave the studio feeling empowered and strong, ready to take on the day with enthusiasm and strength, knowing that they can tackle any obstacle that may get in their way. We are capable of so much more than what we give ourselves credit for. I hope that when my students step on their mat, they begin to see and understand that. I hope they can cultivate strength and awareness on their mat’s that will transcend off their mats and into their daily lives.
The studio will offer a variety of vinyasa based classes that are appropriate for all levels. I am dedicated to spreading the love of yoga to all in a safe, fun, and encouraging way. I will work hard to help my students learn and grow so they can be and do their best. I hope to get them ready for new experiences that will help them push past their boundaries and open them up to new ideas and challenges, both physically and spiritually. I hope to inspire people to be the best version of themselves and live their best life.
Sometimes as teachers, we get hung up on what we do in our own practices, rather than what the students in our classes need. As a teacher, I think it’s important to read the room and assess your students needs so that you can be mindful about what and how you’re teaching, and the impact it may be having on the class.
I recently went to a class where the teacher stopped the class constantly to show a pose or to point out faults. This really interrupted the flow. As a teacher, I know that I can sometimes talk a lot and I’ve stopped the class before, mostly to ensure everyone was moving safely, but I think we need to be aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. I think it’s important to teach with intention and purpose and allow students the time and opportunity to explore their bodies and breathe in their own way through the practice.
Things to consider when you’re teaching a class:
Don’t forget to look at your students: I hate going to classes where a teacher stays on their mat and practices in the front or when he/she sits in the front and just stares off into space. Be sure you’re walking around and looking at the students during the practice. Make eye contact, smile, check their alignment, or make an adjustment if you need to. Stay in the moment of your teaching. Remember this is about the students, not you.
Find the talking balance: Sometimes students need cues and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes teachers call cues that are unnecessary because they think they need to talk throughout the class. Sometimes the cues can be bad enough that the students have no idea what the teacher is asking you to do. Choose your words wisely, briefly model if you need to, but cue and make adjustments as you go along. This can help enhance a student’s experience in the class.
Don’t force a student into a pose: Not all bodies are created equal. Ask students if they have injuries before class and let them know ways to modify poses ahead of time if needed, based on their injuries. Then, during class, look and see what alignment points need to be addressed. First give verbal cues and then a physical adjustment if needed.
Offer variations to poses: As you cue various poses, offer students options to either modify or enhance the pose. Every time we step on our mat, we have a different experience. Sometimes we need to take it easy and sometimes we need to amp it up. It’s important to remind students to listen to their bodies. I always remind my students that I am just a guide so they should: “do what feels good & don’t do what doesn’t feel good.” This I find allows them some freedom to explore and find what poses feel good for them that day.
Be authentic: Don’t be something you’re not. Do your best to try to connect with your students, but teach from the heart. Your students will look up to you and the words and wisdoms you share, so be authentic, honest, and most importantly…be you.
As I yoga teacher and CrossFit coach, I’ve tried to get my CrossFit clients to understand the benefits of both types of training and how they can balance and support one another. Unfortunately, neither group has been too keen on trying the other; more so the CrossFitters then yogis and to be honest, I just don’t understand why. At my box (CrossFit Nassau), I used to hold weekly yoga classes for the members. At first, they were popular, but after a few months, fewer and fewer people attended and we eventually stopped offering them. I was bummed because I’ve seen first hand how yoga has helped my strength training, i.e. yoga has helped me improve my core strength, range of motion, balance, breathe, and acts as a great stress reliever. What was it going to take to get more CrossFitters to understand these benefits? Continue reading 3, 2, 1… Yoga
Recently, I have been working on how I can better quiet my mind. Those of you, who know me well, know that I am always busy, continuously moving and racing from one activity to the next. So I have begun to think about ways to slow myself down, stop more often, and truly live in the moment.
As I reflect on my daily life, I realized that the time I feel most at peace, grounded, and connected is on my mat. While there is no way to truly “turn off” our minds, a yoga class is a great way to reconnect and help the mind come back to the present, restoring clarity and alertness.
So in this week’s blog, I decided to write about how yoga can help you become more grounded and focused. As I continue to practice yoga, I hope to apply what I learn on my mat into your everyday life and you can too! Continue reading Quieting the Mind