The Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga- 8 Myths Debunked

The 8 Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga

What are the biggest misconceptions about yoga? Yoga is a very popular discipline which originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Yoga asanas were brought to the United States in 1919 by Yogendra, sometimes called “the Father of the Modern Yoga Renaissance.” Since then, yoga has gained popularity in the mainstream fitness world as well as guide to mindfulness and a lifestyle value system.

10 Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga

  1. Yoga Belongs to One Religion

Yoga is a body, mind, and soul discipline and these three things are available to all humans and exist regardless of religion. Yoga requires dedication to the principles listed in the eight limbs of yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas specifically can act as a value system and a way to live in harmony with the earth and our fellow travelers.

8 Limbs of yoga Journey

2. Yoga is only poses

The Yoga poses are called Asanas (see the image above) and this is only one piece of what yoga is. Without tribute to the other seven limbs, we cannot truly call ourselves a yogi. The eight limbs are meant to develop a personality, finding your true self and connecting with it. The practice starts with the body but should go further into the discovery of the true self.

Biggest Misconceptions about Yoga

3. Yoga styles are a “one size fits all

One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is there is a “one size fits all.” There are so many different forms of physical yoga when speaking primarily of the asanas. The original yoga, as stated above, is not physical, but the popularity of yoga in the US is largely due to it’s physical aspects. I tend to describe yoga as a spectrum and anyone can find a style that works for them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Take this Ultimate Yoga Style Guide to direct you to your fit!

Yoga for Me

4. You should be flexible

Many people stay away from yoga because they are not “flexible”. We all have some level of flexibility and we can start yoga at anytime. Sometimes we see images online so all the flexible poses that could be accomplished with yoga asana. But this is a small portion of the yogi’s out there. We can adapt yoga poses with blocks and straps to help gain flexibility over time and with practice. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about yoga. Enter here to win a free yoga block and strap set!

5. Yoga is only for young people

One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that it is only for young people. Yoga, again, is not simply a physical exercise. If the asanas are what you want though, you can always modify poses to adapt to age and physical differences. Practice is what matters and if you practice something enough, it will become comfortable in the body.

Essential Guide to Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners

6. Yoga is time consuming

Yoga classes can sometimes be an hour to an hour and a half and when you factor in driving time to class, this can take a chunk of time. However, a yoga practice does not have to be that long. A pranayama (breathing) focused session could just be 10 min. Maybe you complete 10 sun salutations to start your day. If you only did a yoga practice once a week for an hour, your body would essentially have to start over each time. It could be better to complete 15 min daily which will give you a daily stress release. Don’t let this biggest misconceptions about yoga stop you from starting.

The Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga
Daily yoga practice can build strength and flexibility. You can do yoga anywhere!

7. Yoga means a total lifestyle change

One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that you need to change your lifestyle to practice yoga. Any physical or mindfulness practice does require attention to be worthwhile but it does not mean you have to change completely. There should be moderation in all things and if you are not prepared to practice a vegan lifestyle or sell all your things, you do not have to. A lifestyle change requires more than just dietary adjustments; it also involves change in thinking ­ there should be service to others, ethical behavior, respect for all religions and people and regular meditation practice.

Macros Shakes for Every Season
I am not a vegan but I consider myself a yogi. I enjoy a healthy shake daily as part of my routine. Get my recipe book here!

8. Yoga can be taught by anybody

One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that yoga can be taught by anyone. If you attend an instructor’s course and get certified, if you attend Yoga classes for a period of time, or if you have certain yogic books and start practicing, it does not mean that you are an expert who can start teaching Yoga. Before teaching, you should first implement the same in your daily life: be humble, practice the principles of Ashtanga Yoga and only when you feel you are aware of the body mechanics with regards to safety for the student.

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How to Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom- 4 Steps

How to Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom

How to assess yoga touch in the classroom? As yoga teachers move closer to giving hands on guidance to students, it is important to approach with communication. Three steps can help you decide how to assess proper touch.

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Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom in Four Steps

  1. Always ask for consent to touch first. Even if you know the student well, they still may not want to be touched. I love to use consent cards (paid link). One side says yes to touch, one side says no.
  2. Look for beauty first- inside and outside! Don’t be the yoga teacher that rushes to judgement in observation of your students. That may lead you to only see that is wrong rather than looking at the beauty of the student. Find this beauty! It will help to remember that you are working with a real human and not just posing someone for a camera. Work with their strengths.
  3. Address the things in each posture that may be at risk. Many times yoga teachers will address risk issues with verbal cues or demonstration to give form. Sometimes a student will position themselves in a way that is problematic. If students do not respond to verbal cues, you may have to offer hands on support.
  4. Look for steadiness, ease, and presence of mind in the student’s face and breathing. The facial expression of a student can show a teacher how the student is feeling in a pose. The breath also mirrors how a student is doing energetically and can indicate strain. A yoga teacher should encourage modifications to make the asanas accessible.

Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom- Qualities of Touch

How we touch is just as important as when and where. Yoga touch can be a tool for teaching a student to understand their body. Hands on cues can guide a student to refine their practice.

Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom

Awakening or Relaxing- Touch can encourage muscular activation in specific areas of the body. More pressure into muscles can allow students to fully feel the engagement or relaxation of muscles.

Emotions with Forward Bends
Pressing into the heel of the foot in Paschimottonasana encourages extension and energetic engagement through the heel.

Clarifying- This quality of touch allows you to determine if a student is activating certain muscles.

Surya Namaskara Mastery
In Adho Mukha Svanasana, we want to encourage students to activate the quadriceps muscles and to realize that the hamstrings should be relaxed.

Stabilizing- Assess yoga touch in the classroom with stabilizing. We want the students to feel independent but sometimes this means we add some active support. In balancing poses, we can use our body to add stability to the pose with light touch that allows the student to accomplish the pose.

Hands On Adjustments
Stabilizing inversions

Emphasizing- Use light surface cues to encourage a specific movement like elongation or rotation. The intention of the touch is to both help the student better understand the dynamics of stability, ease, and movement in the asana and to suggest how to better refine the energetic action.

Hands on Adjustments

Moving- Sometimes we have help a student move their bodies into a modified position. This is a way to assess yoga touch in the classroom. We ask the student to move out of the pose and approach it with a new position. Offer touch to help the student achieve success.

Grounding- With grounding touch, we press part of the body down to enhance the foundation of an asana. This creates safety in the pose. Help the student find the root in each pose.

Yoga Bandha Locks
In Paschimottonasana, use grounding touch to help students root the sitting bones. Press firmly down on the back of the pelvis to suggest rooting and elongation of the spine.

Comforting- Assess yoga touch in the classroom by giving comforting human contact to convey emotional support and compassion.

How to Sequence and Ashtanga Style Class
Resting your hand on a student’s back in Balasana can suggest deeper relaxation and offer a sense of caring.

When you assess yoga touch in the classroom, your students will feel comfortable to explore each asana and improve the quality of their practice!

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Prenatal Yoga Tips for Beginners- 10 Ways to Support Mom and Baby

Prenatal Yoga Tips for Beginners

You have exciting news- you are pregnant! And you want to do everything you can to take care of your baby- that includes yoga. You need prenatal yoga tips for Beginners! Here are 10 Tips to take care of your growing baby and your changing body.

Prenatal Yoga Tips for Beginners

10 Prenatal Yoga Tips for Beginners

  1. Twist Open- As your body changes and the baby grows, you will have less and less room to twist. You never want to restrict air to the baby. This is a simple fix. Take twist from an open position. Instead of twisting toward the leg like in Ardha Matsyendrasana, try open twists like Bharajavasana.
Alignment and Balance with Yoga
This pose will allow your spine to twist and release tension in the hips. It will keep your center open so mom and baby can breathe.

2. Don’t lay flat after the first trimester- The baby will start placing pressure on your spine so laying flat will make your lower extremities fall asleep. Instead, take Savasana propped with bolsters or laying on your side. Supta Baddha Konasana is my favorite for pregnancy as it will release tension in the lower back and hips, an overworked area for pregnant moms.

Prenatal Yoga Routine

3. Embrace Hip rolls! Hip rolls feel good on the floor or on a chair. Try sitting in criss cross and rolling back and forth from side to side. Sitting in a chair, keep both feet on the floor and roll on your hips. Hip rolls will release low back pressure and stimulate your core muscles.

4. Taking time to move makes you feel better, not more tired. This may be the most essential of the prenatal yoga tips for beginners. In the first and third trimester, you may feel so drained of energy so the idea of moving sounds too much. Yoga helps you to focus on deep breathing which can boost your energy levels as you will be taking in more air. Yoga helps to stretch tired, overworked muscles. Gentle movement can work out the kinks in your changing body. Honor your body and your breath by moving to release and relive aches.

5. Widen your legs in forward bends to allow the baby to breathe. This prenatal yoga tips for beginners is much like the twists from tip 1. You should never cut off air flow to the baby. In standing or seated forward bends, make sure your legs are at least shoulder width distance apart. Not only will this allow your baby to get air, you will feel a deeper release in the sacrum. You can still get a great stretch in the hamstrings as well.

6. Invest in a bolster. A bolster is the most helpful tool in the prenatal yoga tips for beginners. The bolster will prop up your body making supine and twisting yoga poses possible in pregnancy. You can support your hips, back, and baby. Enter to win a free yoga bolster!

Yoga with a Bolster
Yoga bolsters (paid link) make yoga poses possible during pregnancy.

7. Build strength and stamina in the second trimester to prepare for labor. Yoga poses and yoga vinyasa (flowing yoga) can build lung capacity and help you to retain muscle strength. You will feel the best in the second trimester so it is the optimal time to build strength.

8. Relaxing with legs up the wall feels great! Try this prenatal yoga tips for beginners today. Scoot your hips right up against the wall and leg the legs relax. This will gently stretch the hamstrings, relax the back, and relieve swollen ankles.

Yoga Poses to Ease Back Pain

9. Always keep breath flow to the baby. If you are struggling to breathe, so is the baby. Pay attention to your breath above all else.

10. Do yoga to feel great, not to loose weight. Pregnancy is not the time to loose weight unless under the care of a doctor. Focus your yoga practice on making your body feel GREAT!

Prenatal yoga tips for beginners will keep mom and baby safe and healthy. Try this great yoga program specifically designed for pregnancy!

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Should Christians do Yoga? Bridging the Religious Gap

Should Christians do Yoga?

I teach yoga in a conservative Christian town and I often get asked, “Should Christians do yoga?” My answer is “Yes!” I am Christian myself and I have never felt that the values of yoga conflict with my Christian beliefs. Let’s bridge the gap between Christianity and yoga using the two of the eight limbs of yoga, the yamas and niyamas, or the value system of yoga.

Bridging the Religious Gap with the Yamas

The Yamas- Should Christians Do Yoga?

I often think of the Yamas and Niyamas (1st and 2nd limbs of yoga) as being a value system. In Christian beliefs, this can be compared to the 10 commandments.

Ahimsa

Instead of harming others, you are serving others. This can be compared to “thou shalt not kill.” Many yogi’s practice non harming by participating in a vegan lifestyle. I choose to practice ahimsa by focusing on how I can physically practice yoga so that I do not harm my body. I do not participate in extreme poses. I also think of others- how my words or actions may harm them. Should Christians do yoga? Yes, Christians should “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12

Satya

This is the principle of being truthful in all areas of your life. We should avoid little white lies as well as something greater like cheating on our partner. If we are delusional, lying to ourselves, then we cannot be truthful. We can feel Satya in our physical yoga practice by remaining true to the alignment in a balancing pose:

Satya- Should Christians do yoga?
Should Christians do yoga? Yes- follow true to the principle of Satya

Asteya

Asteya is non-stealing- Stealing implies void, seeking for external satisfaction. “Thou shall not steal.” This principle goes deeper than shoplifting. We can steal another’s energy if we are self-centered. We can steal from nature without giving back. If we revere what is given to us, we try to live an non-wasteful life. If we practice asteya, we can be the richest person in the world because we would always feel that we have enough.

Brahmacharya

This is the practice of preserving creative and sexual energy by following the middle path. We do indulge or repress our desires. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” Following brahmacharya will give you peace of mind to stay disciplined on the right path.

Aparigraha

Should Christians do yoga? Yes, they should practice aparigraha. This principle means that you should not have possessiveness towards things or people. “Thou shalt not covet your neighbors goods.” In yoga, we reduce desires, especially selfish ones, to live a happier, freer life.

Should Christians do Yoga? Observe the Niyamas

Niyamas- Should Christians do yoga?

Yoga philosophy is not a religion. The niyamas are ethical, inner observances and healthy disciplines that keep you on your journey to enlightenment. In my practice, this brings me closer to my God.

Saucha

Saucha is purity. We cleanse ourselves internally with yoga poses that twist and spine and squeeze the internal organs. We cleanse ourselves inside and outside. We keep our houses clean, our bodies clean, our minds on elevated topics, and our thoughts pure. Perhaps Christians could use the preparation for the sabbath day as a time of cleaning and purifying so that we can, “Remember to keep the sabbath day holy.”

Tips for Yoga Twists
Example of internal cleansing- yoga twist

Santosha

Santosha means contentment. When we are content, we do not desire more or less. We learn to be happy with what we have. Through my 10+ years of practicing yoga, my body has gone through hormonal changes, injuries, weight loss, weight gain. I have to learn to be happy with my body and the pose I am in during the moment. It can be challenging to be happy with the bodies we are given. At the basic level, our bodies are a gift from God. These amazing bodies should not treated with contempt. We love our bodies, we honor our God. This principle alone answers the question, “Should Christians do yoga?”

Tapas

Tapas is self-discipline. We use our intellect to stay on course and check our natural man tendencies. Enough said! To focus our self-discipline, I suggest studying sacred scripture daily for Christians and yoga philosophy for yogis.

Svadhyaya

This is the practice of self study. Should Christians do yoga? Yes, a Christian value system is rooted in self study and reflection. We are taught to daily reflect so that we may correct our mistakes a do better the next day. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12

Ishvara Pranidhana

Meaning, surrendering to Ishvara or the Self. Yoga can be found when we have humility and this is essential for spiritual growth. “Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. Why should Christians do yoga? Because we when are humble and surrender to the self, we get a sense of inner peace, sense of service, and contentment. This is in a sense knowing that we have everything we need and we ask for nothing in return. We can see divinity in everything and this fuels the love for everyone and everything. To me, that is profound.

Should Christians Do Yoga? (In my opinion, yes!)

The meaning of the word Yoga is Union. When I practice yoga, I try to align my body, mind, and spirit toward a personal goal. Since my body, mind, and spirit are gifts from God, Yoga is a healthy way to align my God given gifts and pay tribute to them. As in the parable of the talents, we should not keep our gifts hidden under a rock. We are meant to use them.

Practicing yoga for the health of my body, the enlivening of my mind, and the healing of my spirit, are essential to the worship of my God. Greater still is the ability to teach others to revere these gifts as I share yoga in class. Should Christians do yoga? Yes!

This is the beauty of the modern yoga practice – it helps us unite the different parts of ourselves (body, mind, heart, and spirit) and from this place of integrated wholeness, be one with God.

Caroline Williams Yoga
Should Christians do Yoga?

#WordPrompt

Find peace and calm in your home with daily mediation. Check out my meditation membership, Meditation Magic.

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Hands on Adjustments- 5 Tips for Effective Teaching

Hands on Adjustments- 5 Tips for Effective Teaching

Here are five tips for hands on adjustments for yoga teachers. Hands on adjustments is one component of yoga instruction along with effective cues and demonstrations. Use clear instruction while demonstrating and giving dramatic emphasis to what you want to make most clear. Emphasize what to do versus what not to do. It is most important to watch the students in order to see where cuing or hands on adjustments might be most helpful. Get off your mat and out into the room to better observe the students and give proper guidance. When teaching, teach. Do your personal practice at another time.

5 Tips for Hands on Adjustments

Tip 1- Stabilizing and Easing

Your first priority in hands on teaching is to help the students be steady and at ease in their practice. This begins with verbal cues and demonstration. If you determine that hands on adjustments would be helpful, and the student agrees, you should address any risk issues that could lead to injury. You should begin with the foundation of the pose. You may suggest the use of props or modifications to the pose. When the foundation is established, give hands on cues using the grounding quality of touch. Bring renewed attention to the breath because breath flow is steadiness and ease.

How to Sequence and Ashtanga Style Class

Example of Stabilizing and Easing in Trikonasana- Place your foot by the forward extended foot to emphasize a point of contact. Work with the students breathing pattern to ease spaciousness in the chest that happens with inhalations. Cue the deeper release that happens with the exhalations.

Step 2: Elongating the Spine

Work from the foundation of the pose to elongate the spine in order to take up more space. We can cue the connection between the root and the extension. Work with the students breath to physically and verbally cue the length of the spine. Offer a light point of contact at the top of the head while encouraging the student to elongate up into it.

Hands on Adjustments- Yoga Traveler Online

In asasas like Sirsasana, make this contact on the feet to cue elongation of the spine and the entire body. Allow for ease and steadiness with your touch. And always allow for an escape for the student while supporting the pose.

Step 3: Rotating, Flexing, and Extending the Spine

Being able to elongate the spine is an essential step in preparing for rotating, flexing, or extending it. Many students will attempt to twist, fold forward, or bend back before they lengthen their spine. This may limit the range of motion and increase the likelihood of strain. Always cue the elongation of the spine with the inhalations. Move gradually into twists and flexion while the student exhales. You could use many qualities of touch like grounding, emphasizing, and light moving. Cue with the students breathing pattern- inhale, elongate, exhale, rotate or extend farther.

How to Sequence and Ashtanga Style Class
Tell the student to breathe into the point of contact you are providing so they will understand the type of motion you are cuing

Step 4: Refining the Asana

Once you have mastered the first three steps, you will have established the basic elements of the asanas. We started with the foundation and then moved into refining the intensity of the asana experience. Continue to guide the student to refocus the breath and feel the balanced, steady flow. With hands on adjustments, keep your student coming back to connecting breath and movement, breath and sensation, breath and awareness.

Hands on Adjustments- Yoga Traveler Online

Step 5: Deepening the Asana

With the essential elements of hands on adjustments, encourage deeper exploration without loosing the essential qualities already established. Sometimes deepening the asana means staying in the pose longer. It may mean going further including variations and introducing new elements. Encourage anyone who is straining to back off, slow down, and stay in the practice. It is not about how far one goes, but how one goes into a pose.

Hands on adjustments- Yoga Traveler Online

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The Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga- 8 Myths Debunked
The 8 Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga What are the biggest misconceptions about …
How to Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom- 4 Steps
How to Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom How to assess yoga …
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Prenatal Yoga Tips for Beginners You have exciting news- you are pregnant! …
Should Christians do Yoga? Bridging the Religious Gap
Should Christians do Yoga? I teach yoga in a conservative Christian town …

7 Best Apps for Content Creators- Small Business Favs

7 Best Apps for Content Creators

You want to know the best apps for content creators, whether you are a small business owner like me (Yoga Traveler) or a social media influencer. How can you get the best bang for your buck and save time while you are at it? With these best apps for content creators!

Best Apps for Content Creators

  1. Premiere Rush– This app is my go to for video editing software. I film all the videos for my online yoga studio with my phone or Ipad. Then I load them into the Premiere Rush app. I can easily crop films, add music from the pre-loaded library or import my own (just be careful of copywrite issues), add voice over, add pictures, or add files. I can adjust the volume and take out unwanted background noise. I can splice clips together with transitions. When finished with the film, I simply download to my phone to be shared to YouTube or my studio site.

2. Teleprompter App- This app allows you to create scripts for your instructional films. No more fumbling for the right words! You can choose the speed of the script, push play and film, and the words will appear on the screen for you to read as you record. So simple!

3. Compressor- A compressor app is one of the best apps for content creators because we all need a way to save space in our devices. It is easy to fill up memories with video snippets so I run everything through my compressor app then delete the old video to save space. This is helpful for on the go when you can’t get to your laptop right away to upload videos.

4. Canva– Canva is a platform to create all you graphics. They have 25 designs complete with templates and millions of preloaded images, fonts, and colors. You can let your creative genius flow with Canva. You can choose between a free and paid account. I find them reasonably priced and the possibilities are limitless.

Best Apps for Content Creators

5. Calendly– This is my scheduling tool. A free account can create three event types with unique url to allow for easy booking. Paid accounts allow six or more. Calendly can be imbedded into WordPress blogs for ease of scheduling and visibility. My favorite feature of Calendly is the ability to load where we will be meeting (in my case the Zoom link for Yoga Traveler online classes) and will send reminders the day before and day of the event.

6. Planoly– Planoly is a social media content creator tool. It has free and paid plans and loads your content to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It has tools that allow you store your ideas to be posted later and provides educational events like “It’s Reels Easy: Using Planoly’s Reel Planner.” If you know anything about IG, Reels are the way to go. So I can always count on Planoly to be on the up and up. This is one the best apps for content creators who like to plan for successful social media content.

Best aps for content creators

7. Trello– Trello is one of the best apps for content creators because it is the ultimate digital planner. With the software, you set up boards around your ideas. It allows you to establish tasks and share the boards with others on your team. They make it easy to slide the tasks around into your completed field, making you feel successful in accomplishment. Feel free to plan and create away!

Yoga to Cultivate Kindness and Compassion
Abby Turner of Yoga Traveler

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Best Essential Oil for Chakra Balancing- 7 Secrets Revealed

Best Essential Oil for Chakra Balancing

What is the best essential oil for chakra balancing? Let me reveal the Guide to unlocking the secrets of the 7 chakras!

Essential Oil for Chakra Balancing

Best Essential Oil for Chakra Balancing

Root Chakra

Muladhara Chakra and Yoga

The Root Chakra is associated with the color Red. It is located at the base of Spine. If the Root Chakra becomes blocked, we may experience:

  • Weight Problems
  • Constipation
  • Sciatica
  • Powerlessness
  • Knee Problems
  • Arthritis

Essential Oils are a tool that can be used to release blockage. Try:

  • Cypress
  • Frankincense
  • Vetiver
  • Sandalwood
  • Siberian Fir

Each oil is earthly and grounding and will connect you to your roots, one of your chakras functioning. Try placing the oil on your feet or on the areas of concern like the knees, sciatic, and hands.

Sacral Chakra

Best Essential Oil for Chakra Balancing

The Sacral Chakra is associated with the color Orange. It is located in the Lower Abdomen. If the sacral chakra becomes blocked, we may experience:

  • Impotence
  • Frigidity
  • Lower Back Problems
  • Kidney Problems
  • Lack of Purpose
  • Jealousy

Try these Essential Oils to help release the blockage and move into a healthy state:

  • Ylang Ylang
  • Clary Sage
  • Vetiver
  • Bergamot
  • Wild Orange
  • Sandalwood
  • Geranium

Many of these oils are floral in scent which can illicit feelings of love. The Sacral Chakra’s function is balancing relationships- romantic and friendship alike. And don’t forget the grounding oils of vetiver and sandalwood. We always pay attention to the chakra that we have moved past to keep our foundations solid.

Solar Plexus Chakra

Manipura Chakra and Yoga

The Solar Plexus Chakra is associated with the color Yellow. It is located in the Solar Plexus, the center of the abdomen. If the sacral chakra becomes blocked, we may have:

  • Digestive Problems
  • Lack of Will or Discipline
  • Lust for Power

Essential oil for chakra balancing include:

  • Roman Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Bergamot
  • Vetiver
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Coriander
  • Lemon
  • Melissa

Many of these oils are derived from yellow plants, the color of the chakra. Peppermint and Ginger are especially helpful for digestive issues. Notice the grounding oils! It is so important to keep our foundation strong.

Heart Chakra

Anahata Chakra and Yoga

The Heart Chakra is associated with the color Green. It is located in the heart and is associated with love and empathy for self and others. Indications of blockage are:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung problems
  • Feeling of separation
  • Isolation
  • Loneliness

Try the following essential oil for chakra balancing:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Marjoram

The Heart chakra is closely related to the air element and oils like peppermint and eucalyptus will open the airways and clear the chest where the heart resides. Open the heart and embrace the essential oil for chakra balancing!

Throat Chakra

Vishuddha Chakra and Yoga

The Throat Chakra is associated with the color Blue. It is located in the throat. If we are blocked in the throat chakra we may experience:

  • Colds
  • Difficulty expressing feelings
  • Communication problems
  • Shoulder and arm problems

For balance in the throat chakra, try:

  • Tea Tree
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Bergamot
  • Cypress
  • Frankincense

Many of these oils (tea tree, lavender, and frankincense) have powerful effects for the skin. Try placing them directly on their throat for balancing.

Third Eye Chakra

Ajna Chakra and Yoga

The Third Eye Chakra is associated with the color Indigo. It is located in the third eye, in the forehead between the two visible eyes. When we are blocked in the third eye chakra, we may experience:

  • Eye Problems
  • Headaches
  • Fear of failure
  • Denial

Try the following oils to avoid blockage of the third eye:

  • Basil
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Clary Sage
  • Lavender
  • Roman Chamomile

The third eye takes us into the space element and is associated with our insight and knowledge, and vision into our future. The essential oil for chakra balancing will provide an uplifting atmosphere to open your vision and plan for a bright future.

Crown Chakra

Sahasrara Chakra and Yoga

The Crown Chakra is associated with the color purple. It’s location is the Top of Head. Indications of Blockage include:

  • Depression
  • Alienation
  • Inability to learn
  • Confusion
  • Apathy
  • Desperation

Use and one of the essential oil for chakra balancing:

  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Myrrh

These oils are frequently used in mediation as they create a transcendent atmosphere. Mediation and enlightenment are the final goal of balancing the entire chakra system.

Get your own handy E-book Guide Chakra Balancing with Essential Oils here: https://yogatraveler.net/chakraandoils

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How to Ease Back and Hip Pain with Yoga- 10 poses

How to Ease Back and Hip Pain

How do we ease back and hip pain with yoga? In my business as a yoga teacher and pain management coach, the biggest complaints I get are 1) lower back pain, 2) hip pain, and 3) hamstrings. It is no coincidence that all three are connected together and if one muscle group is sore, they may all be.

The mechanics of yoga poses work from the ground up. When doing a forward fold, we feel the hamstrings first. If the hamstrings are very tight, we may not be able to feel the stretch in the hips or the back. Therefore, it is important to learn how to stretch all three areas for maximum pain relief.

Top 10 Yoga Poses to Ease Back and Hip Pain

  1. Legs up the wall- This highly restorative pose is deeply relaxing and stress releasing. It allow the back to relax because the pelvis is tilted upward, taking pressure off the sacrum. With the back relaxed, the body can focus all the energy on the hamstrings so the backs of the legs softly open.
Ease Back and Hip Pain

2. Supine Twist- Laying on the floor in yoga poses is a sure way to relax the back. We do not have to worry about balance and we can fully rotate the spine, from the neck to the base of the sacrum. This pose will target the upper back as it stretches the shoulders, twists the mid and low back, and stretches the outer hips. I especially love the pose with a bolster for greater hip relief.

Ease Back and Hip Pain

3. Supta Baddha Konasana- This pose tilts the pelvis downward, allowing our back to follow the natural curve of the spine. The hips open at the internal rotators and this pose also benefits the knees as well.

Ease Back and Hip Pain

4. Legs into the Chest- This pose called Apanasana in Sanskrit, presses the curve of the spine into the floor to release back pain. Curling into a ball can feel wonderful on the hips and sacrum as well.

Ease Back and Hip Pain
This pose is gentle and will quickly ease back and hip pain

5. Happy Baby- This pose is so natural, even a baby can do it. It tilts the pelvis upward to release low back and sacrum strain. By opening the legs, we can gently press into the internal rotators of the hips for hip pain relief.

Ease Back and Hip Pain
See if this pose will make you hips and back happy!

6. Upavista Konasana- Finally a pose to ease back and hip pain that is not laying on the ground! With this pose, we sit on the ground and spread the legs wide. Like happy baby, this motion with stretch the internal rotators of the hips. It will lengthen the hamstrings if we work to keep the knees straight, and it will ease pressure on the sacrum. Forward folds over our middle also stimulate digestion.

Ease Back and Hip Pain
Try resting the torso on a bolster to ease back and hip pain

7. Fire Log- This pose will stretch the outer rotators of the hips and glutes as you layer one leg on top of the other. Ankles and knees should align as you fold forward over the legs. If this is too intense, sit in simple crisscross and build up your hip flexibility as you practice. Make sure to practice both legs!

Ease back and hip pain

8. Pigeon pose- This pose focuses on opening your hips, which supports mobility and flexibility in that joint. Pigeon Pose also stretches your hip flexors and lower back, which are commonly tight due to prolonged sitting. Stretching these muscles regularly will ease back and hip pain.

Ease Back and Hip Pain

9. Anjanyasana- The low lunge of anjanyasana deeply strengthens the hips as well as stretches the psoas, the front of the hip. This can ease in digestion and stretching of the abdomen. It is also beneficial for the chest and shoulders. As we reach up, the slight back bend will strengthen the back.

Ease Back and Hip Pain

10. Child’s Pose- This pose stretches the entire spine for back relief, opens the hips at the sacrum, stretches the outer hip, and also as a side benefits, stretches the ankles. Child’s pose can calm the mind and reduce anxiety and fatigue. We can stretch the body deeper when we are relaxed in body and mind.

Muladhara Chakra and Yoga
Ease back and hip pain with Balasana, Child’s Pose

Practice more yoga to ease the three big aches, Back, Hips, and Hamstrings. Check out the Big 3!

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Yoga for the Four Seasons- 4 Free Sequences

Yoga for the Four Seasons

Yoga for the Four Seasons- What if you could do yoga that is specific for each changing season? Each season brings it’s highs and lows, both emotionally and physically. Each season has changes that manifest in our bodies. Things like air pressure, rising or dropping of temperature, can effect our bodies. Many people are emotionally effected by the light changes from season to season, seasonal affective disorder.

We can use yoga as a tool to balance our emotions and ease seasonal changes in our bodies. Yoga breathing is deep and slow, eases anxiety and warms us in times of cold. Yoga poses build strength and stretch our bodies when they are tight and stressed. We all need tools in our arsenal for times of change!

Want actionable yoga tips from me? Ways you can ease pain and modify yoga poses to fit your needs? Then hop on the newsletter! Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Yoga for the Four Seasons- Winter

As temperatures outside drop, we need yoga that heats us up! We should focus on stimulating the digestive system like yoga twists. We need movement to fend off mental or physical struggles. Winter in nature is a time to draw in, time to regroup, time to renew and prepare for new life to come later with spring. We can add yoga poses that protect our center.

Yoga for the Four Seasons- Winter
Try this yoga sequence to heat and twist the body in the winter!
  1. Lay on your back and connect to the breath
  2. Pull your knees into the chest and hug them
  3. Extend the legs overhead and slowly lower them to the floor for abdominal warming
  4. Move into a supine spinal twist with legs bent side to side
  5. Lift to Navasana (boat pose) again for abdominal stimulation
  6. Rock and roll to adho muhka savanasana (down dog)
  7. Walk your hands back to your feet for a standing forward fold
  8. Take three rounds of surya namarakara A
  9. Move through warrior poses like Warrior A, Warrior B, Reverse Warrior
  10. Vinyasa back to the floor and warm the back with cobra pose
  11. Take child’s pose to rest
  12. Stimulate your digestion with Halasana (plow pose) and shoulder stand
  13. Finish with supine spinal twists to represent that you have come full circle
  14. End in a calming savasana- don’t forget to stay warm while resting!

Yoga for the Four Seasons- Spring

Moving into spring, the earth and air are warming up. Nature is coming out of hibernation. There is a new sense of energy to bring to your yoga practice.

Yoga for the Four Seasons- Spring
Try this yoga sequence with me to welcome spring!

Yoga for the Four Seasons- Summer

When the air and body are warmer, we can work with releasing heat, frustrations, and stresses from the body. Work with a less is more attitude in your yoga practice. Focus on the exhale, the back body, and linger in the poses. Take time to have fun and enjoy your yoga for the four seasons practice. Work up to challenging poses, open and warm surrounding muscles, and use props to be comfortable and steady. It is just practice after all!

Yoga for the Four Seasons- Summer
Try this Summer Yoga Sequence!
  1. Begin in child’s pose to start opening the hips and connect with the breath
  2. Move into easy seat begin hip circles while seated
  3. Take a few rounds of cat and cow to warm the spine
  4. Warm the abdominals with plank pose followed by cobra for back warming
  5. Press back to adho muhka svanasana (down dog)
  6. Raise to stand and take three rounds of suyra namaskara A
  7. Move into the flowing sequence Dancing Warrior
  8. Stretch the body with seated forward folds like Janu Sirsasana and Marichyasana
  9. Take a deep hip stretch like Pigeon pose (make sure to do both sides!)
  10. Move into a challenging pose- try a head stand or tripod headstand
  11. Unwind in a spinal twist on the floor- knees together and drop them side to side
  12. Finish in savasana to rest and absorb the good work you have done

Yoga for the Four Seasons- Autumn

As we think of the changing seasons, we can choose to slow down and start to draw internally in your yoga practice. Move slowly to allow the body to warm and settle into the poses. Don’t hold stationary poses, move in and out of the poses, helping to increase fluidity in the spine and joints. Yoga poses that bend and twist, flex and extend the spine, keeps the vertebrae lubricated, spacious, strong, and healthy in the autumn season!

Yoga for the Four Seasons- Autumn
Try this Yoga sequence- Yoga for the Four Seasons for Autumn
  1. Start in easy seat and take forward fold over your legs
  2. Move into side bends and seated twists- do both sides
  3. Lift to stand and move through suyra namaskara A
  4. Take a standing chair twist
  5. Move into a tree pose to balance and connect with the earth
  6. Stretch the hips with standing forward bends like pyramid pose and prasarita padottonasana
  7. Take a vinyasa to move onto the floor on your stomach
  8. Strengthen the back with salabhasana and sphinx pose
  9. Move into child’s pose to change the motion of the spine
  10. Lay on your back and take a bridge pose
  11. Pull the knees into the chest and rock and roll into a head stand
  12. Finish the inversion with a child’s pose and then relax in savasansa

Yoga for the four seasons can help you feel as refreshed as mother earth herself! Try connecting to your health as you connect to nature with seasonal, healthy, and delicious shakes!

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Nourish Emotions with Forward Bends- 6 Tips for Release

Nourish Emotions with Forward Bends

Nourish your emotions with forward bends. The classic seated forward bend, Paschimottonasana, teaches us to fold into ourselves which leads to deeper self reflection. This can be both emotionally nourishing or difficult depending on what comes up. Forward bends like Balasana (child’s pose) is very emotionally nourishing. We are in this position for nine months and we return to this fetal position to nurture and protect ourselves. When we fold forward, we stimulate the pelvic and abdominal organs. This very base energy is focused in the lower chakras and can reveal base emotions held by the body. Holding forward bends for at least a few minutes with deep, consistent breathing, allows us to safely explore these emotions.

Nourish Your Emotions with Forward Bends
Nourish your emotions with forward bends like Paschimottonasana

Stretch the Back with Forward Bends

When we fold forward, we expose the vulnerable side of our back. We tend to hold on with our back muscles when folding forward because we have a fear of dropping into the unknown. To release fully into forward bends, we have to let go of a whole chain of muscles: the feet, lower legs, hamstrings, adductors, glutes, piriformis, lower back, muscles across the entire back, spinal muscles. That is a lot to release! This release requires patience as the back gradually releases. If we approach this too aggressively, we can cause injury to the hamstrings or lower back.

Nourish Your Emotions with Forward Bends- Janu Sirsasana A
Engage the abdominal muscles to support and lengthen the back muscles.

Feel Emotions with Forward Bends

Tips for practicing forward bends, both to release emotions and to release back muscles.

  • Forward bends can be practiced at any time but are better practices when the body has been warmed through Vinyasa or other asana.
  • Supine forward bends are safest for the lower back. Use a strap if you cannot touch your toes!
Yoga with a strap
  • Seated forward bends are best started from Dandasana, the foundational pose of forward bends. You can elevate your hips by sitting on a blanket or bolster to ease strain in the hamstrings.
Yoga with a strap
  • Hip openers like gomukhasana release hip extensors and external rotators and is an excellent preparation for forward bends. Also, hip openers help us release deep, pent up emotions with forward bends.
Emotions with Forward Bends- Gomuhkasana
  • Virasana prepares the knees for seated forward bends. Try placing the arms in Garudasana to open the muscles in the mid and upper back. These muscles need to release when practicing seated forward bends.
Virasana with Garudasana Arms- Yoga Traveler Blog
  • Complete standing poses that stretch the hamstrings to prepare for seated forward folds like Trikonasasna.
Surrender and Release with Yoga- Yoga Traveler

After completing deep forward bends, practice gentle back bends like bridge pose to reintegrate the hamstrings. Also try some simple twists to reintegrate the spine. Release your back, your hips, and your emotions with forward bends!

Learn more about forward bends with my instructional e-book, Essential Guide to Ashtanga for Beginners.

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