My Biggest Pet Peeve About Yoga Class- 5 Mistakes to Avoid

My Biggest Pet Peeve About Yoga Class

What is my biggest pet peeve about yoga class? Before I was a yoga teacher, I was a yoga class participant. And I still love to attend a yoga class! However, there are some pet peeves that yoga teachers and yoga participants can agree with. So, if you are doing these things, take a moment to evaluate your behavior. You will have a better experience in yoga class and your classmates will thank you!

Biggest Pet Peeve About Yoga Class- 5 Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Coming in late to class- We have all been there, we are doing our best, rushing around, trying to make it to yoga class. As a teacher, I try to give my students some grace. We all have days that just don’t go well. But if you are habitually late to class, you will disturb the other students, the teacher, and you will potential create an unsafe condition for yourself as you may not be sufficiently warm for the practice.
  2. Leaving your cell phone on your mat- In this day of constantly being plugged in, don’t you want to unplug for a moment? This is a biggest pet peeve about yoga class that many of us can agree with. I suggest NEVER having your phone on your mat. Nothing is worse than when you are lying in savasana listening to unwind and you hear a phone vibrate, or RING. I cannot think of anything more disrespectful than disrupting other students by having your phone go off during class. There are exceptions like if you have a job where you are on call. If you do get this important class that you cannot miss, politely step out to disrupt as little as possible.
Biggest Pet Peeve About Yoga Class- the cell phone!

3. Refusing to use props– This is mostly a suggestion for you as a student. Take advantage of the yoga props in class, especially if a teacher suggests it. There is nothing worst than feeling uncomfortable in a yoga pose that can be assisted with a yoga prop modification. Embrace the props!

Enter to win Free Yoga Props!

4. Show Offs– Showing off in yoga class is inappropriate and unsafe and is a biggest pet peeve about yoga class. Yoga teaches to let go of the ego. We are not on the mat to show the rest of the students that we can do. We are there to be introspect and to take an individual journey. Showing off by doing a completely different pose than the rest of the class can be dangerous. The teacher has sequenced the class poses for a reason to prepare your body for the next pose. So just follow along and enjoy the journey!

5. Leaving during savasana– You have taken the time to do 60+ min of yoga class. Can you not spare a few more minutes for the cool down? Not only does your body crave the release and rest, the students in the class deserve a quiet space as well. Don’t clean up your mat, walk by all the others, and slam the door on your way out. Just lay there for a few more minutes in gratitude of the experience.

Now it’s your turn! What is your biggest pet peeve about yoga class? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Never worry about how to create a yoga lifestyle again with Yoga Traveler’s Beginners Guide to Yoga at Home- 30 days of essential tips to form a yoga habit! Get healthy recipes, learn basic and quick routines, and follow guided meditations. Click the link below:

Check out other blogs from Yoga Traveler:

How Yoga Can Improve Mental Health- 12 Ways to Change

How Yoga Can Improve Mental Health Let’s learn how yoga can improve mental health. There is a growing body of research that supports the benefits of yoga for mental health. According to Yoga Journal, over 15 million people are practicing yoga, pushing the practice to mainstream. Yoga combines physical movement, stretching, meditation, and breath work.Continue reading “How Yoga Can Improve Mental Health- 12 Ways to Change”

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 mainstreamContinue reading “The Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga- 8 Myths Debunked”

10 Most Common Yoga Mistakes Beginners Make

10 Most Common Yoga Mistakes Beginners Make

What are the 10 most common yoga mistakes that beginners make? One upon a time, I was that yoga beginner that made mistakes. But time went on and I learned the error of my ways so I thought I would share some of my experience with you!

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Common Yoga Mistakes

Mistake 1- Not investing in a yoga mat

My very first yoga class was in a gym that was used for martial arts. I thought, I can just do yoga on the bare floor right? I did not want to invest any money in yoga because I was not convinced that I would love it. Spoiler, I do! I quickly learned that my ability to do yoga was being compromised by my lack of mat.

Not all yoga mats are the same. I have my favs (Manduka, Hugger Mugger paid links). I suggest looking for a sticky mat with some thickness. You want the mat to lay flat every time and to support your joints; wrists, knees, back. You should note the type of the floor that you will be practicing on. If you practice at home on carpet, you will want a mat to support that. Mostly, you will want to feel like you will stay in place in poses like down dog. Don’t make one of the common yoga mistakes of practicing without a mat!

Pick a yoga mat to support your practice!

Mistake 2- Don’t skip the modifications

We don’t need to feel like a pro when we start yoga. As we learn, our bodies may need to adjust to new sensations. We will be stretching our bodies in ways that might initially be uncomfortable. So, we utilize yoga props. My favorite props are yoga blocks, yoga straps, bolsters, and blankets.

Here are a few ways that you could use the props. Yoga blocks (paid link) are used as we reach to the floor to bring the ground closer. Straps (paid link) are used to help build flexibility in hips, hamstrings, and shoulders. Bolsters (paid link) are used to prop the hips for comfort in sitting on the floor. Blankets (paid link) are used to add comfort in resting poses. Don’t make one of the common yoga mistakes of skipping the modifications and props.

Mistake 3- Don’t forget to have fun

One of the common yoga mistakes for beginners is forgetting to have fun. We can get so serious with yoga, we want to be perfect in every pose. But yoga is a time for discovery and sometimes we need to laugh a little at our attempts. If you stumble into Warrior I or nose plant in crow pose, just laugh a little. It is all part of the discovery!

I was having a little fun on the road- standing chaturanga or pushing the sign over?

Mistake 4- Skipping the breath

Yoga breathing called ujjayi breath, is essential to understanding the flow of the poses in a vinyasa class. It is essential to relaxing the body in a yin class. You will have a wonderful experience if you can master this breathing technique. Here is a tutorial to get you started:

Mistake 5- Going to the wrong kind of yoga class

One of the reasons I was skeptical about yoga before I began practicing, was that I had a preconceived notion of what yoga was. I thought is was sitting on the floor and stretching. I was so wrong of course! But maybe if I had started with a Yin class (which I now love) I might not have returned. My personality at the time craved movement so ending up in a vinyasa flow class was the right place for me. Take this quiz to find your yoga personality so that you can avoid one of the common yoga mistakes. Ultimate Yoga Style Guide.

Mistake 6- Too much focus on the shape of the pose

When you are learning yoga poses, your body needs a moment to adapt to them. Sometimes they will feel strange and if you put too much focus on the shape and not enough focus on the breath for example, you may get frustrated. Give yourself a break and go just with it for a bit until you are more used to the pose. No need to wedge yourself into a pose your body is not ready for!

Common Yoga Mistakes- “wedging” yourself into a pose!

Mistake 7- Pushing yourself too far too quickly

One thing that I love about yoga is that it can be a lifelong pursuit. Yoga is called practice for a reason- we are constantly practicing and honing our body and lifestyle because we strive to understand yoga. One of the common yoga mistakes is pushing your body too far too quickly. In yoga, we strive to let go of ego. We strive to listen to our breath and move in ways that do not harm. Have patience and see where the yoga journey will take you.

If you are not able to move into a challenging back bend at first, than don’t do it!

Mistake 8- Skipping the warm up

How many times do we need to do surya namaskara? Ashtanga practices will tell you to do a minimum of five surya namaskara A and B each. The warm up in yoga is so important. It is where you will connect with the breath and warm your muscles so that they will respond to the deeper stretches and standing poses. You will avoid injury and may be less sore the next day if you have a good warm up. Don’t make the one of the common yoga mistakes by skipping the warm up. You can follow along with surya namaskara A and B here:

Mistake 9- Don’t skip the cool down

This goes along with mistake 8, don’t make one of the common yoga mistakes of skipping the cool down. Many people want to skip savasana. They want to move on with their day and feel that laying on the floor is a waste of time. I encourage you to think of savasana as a reward for a job well done in class. It is the time that you can let your body absorb the work that you have done. Your breath will relax along with all the muscles in your body.

Try savasana with a bolster under your knees to ease low back strain.

Mistake 10- Bring your cell phone with you

This might be my personal pet peeve in this list of common yoga mistakes. Our smartphones can be a huge source of distraction in our lives, which is the complete opposite goal of yoga. Do yourself and your fellow yogis a huge favor and leave your phone in your car, or even consider leaving it at home. If you must bring it into the studio, be sure to turn the ringer off, and definitely don’t bring it into the classroom unless you are a medical professional on call. Let yoga be a gift to yourself- unplug and unwind!

I hope that these 10 common yoga mistakes will help you go from a beginner to a pro! Happy yoga practice to you!

How Yoga Can Improve Mental Health- 12 Ways to Change

How Yoga Can Improve Mental Health

Let’s learn how yoga can improve mental health. There is a growing body of research that supports the benefits of yoga for mental health. According to Yoga Journal, over 15 million people are practicing yoga, pushing the practice to mainstream. Yoga combines physical movement, stretching, meditation, and breath work. This improves overall fitness, health, strength, flexibility, and lung capacity. Yoga also has benefits like reducing back pain, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Lesser known is the benefits that yoga has on psychological issues. The American Psychological Association states, “Several recent studies suggest that yoga may help strengthen social attachments, reduce stress and relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia. Researchers are also starting to claim some success in using yoga and yoga-based treatments to help active-duty military and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.” Below are 12 ways that that practice of yoga can improve mental health.

“Never give up on someone with a mental illness. When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we,’ Illness becomes Wellness.”

Shannon L. Alder

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 Can Improve Mental Health

This blog will show you how yoga can improve mental health though 12 different aspects. Yoga has so many benefits and can be used as a tool to improve health and wellbeing. Let’s outline these 12 beneficial aspects.

1. Yoga Increases Flexibility

Yoga asana builds flexibility through stretches connected to breath. When we get anxious or depressed, lactic acid builds up in our muscles causing discomfort. Yoga stretches help us to release this lactic acid which relieves pain and increases blood flow to muscles which can improve circulation. Increasing flexibility improves quality of life. Everyone wants to be able to bend down and tie their shoes. Yoga can improve mental health by helping us to feel good in our skin.

Utthita Hasta Padangustasana B can build flexibility in the hip flexors, groin, and hamstrings

2. Yoga Improves Balance

Yoga improves balance by strengthening the muscles and tendons in the ankles. Balancing also forces us to use our core. But how does this improve mental health? Balancing focuses the mind. We have to focus on a pin point to find stability. This single minded focus can still the mind that is spinning with anxious thoughts or fears. It can tune your focus into your strength, your calm, and your breath. Yoga can improve mental health and physical balance.

Vrkasana is a balancing pose that activates the ankles and core.

3. Yoga Poses help us learn to let it be ok

Yoga can improve mental health by teaching giving us the space to let it be ok. We start to learn that some poses can be challenging and we may master them over time. Take twists for example. When we get stressed, our digestive system can be effected. Twists work directly on our digestive system by squeezing the digestive organs. This is one reason why twists can be difficult. It also makes them very rewarding when we understand how to release tension and stress through twisting. It all takes time and patience and we have to let it be ok to take that time.

Parvitta Parsvakonasana to release stress and digestive issues

4. Yoga Teaches You That You May Not Master It

Yoga can improve mental health by teaching you that you may not master it. There are poses that we do on the yoga mat which our bodies may never master. That does not mean that we should stop doing yoga, coming to the mat. We just learn to live with our bodies limitations and grow from them. This is similar to mental health. We will inevitably have bad days, we are not meant to be perfect. In yoga we learn to release the judgement and we can take this knowledge off the mat as we think about our mental health.

“Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it—just as we have learned to live with storms.”

Paulo Coelho
Ashta Chandrasana is a difficult pose that we never master

5. Yoga Teaches Us to Take It Breath by Breath

In the suyra namaskara sequence, each pose is connected to a breath, an inhale or an exhale. We do not move on to the next pose until we take that next breath. When we are living under the threat of anxiety, we forget to breathe. We don’t remember that it is ok to take one breath at a time, one thought at a time. Yoga can improve mental health by reminding us that we can take it one breath at a time.

“Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day.”

Karen Salmansohn
Urdhva Muhka is in the Suyra Namaskara sequence and always happens on an inhale

6. Yoga Teaches Breath Control

Breath work is one of the most important things we do in yoga practice. We primarily use ujjayi breath, deep breathing in and out of the nose, but there are many effecting breath techniques utilized in mediation and yoga practice. Yoga breathing has been found to lower stress and improve cardio vascular functioning.  It improves lung function and respiratory endurance. It lowers the heart rate and promotes well-being. Focusing on breath can help the mind clear and take the focus off anxieties and stressors. Breathwork is a powerful way yoga can improve mental health.

“Being present to our anxiety is an act of self-love.”

Manoj Dias.
Try breathwork in sukhasana pose.

7. Yoga Teaches Us to Modify

Many times we encounter a yoga pose that is difficult for our bodies. What do we do? We modify the pose. This does not mean that take away all the good, strong qualities of the pose, we just change the focus of the pose. In times of stress or anxiety, sometimes we need to modify. We need to learn to look at things another way so that we can carry on in a healthy way. Yoga can improve mental health by teaching us that we need to modify our outlook.

This is how I modify King Dancer pose!

8. Yoga builds strength

One way that yoga can improve mental health is by building strength. Depression and anxiety can make us feel weak. Since depression and anxiety can make us act lethargic, we may loose some of our strength. Yoga activates the muscles as it is a weight bearing exercise. Poses like Goddess Pose (shown below) place pressure on the hips and we have to use the strength of our muscles to hold us up.

“It does not make you weak if you need a little extra encouragement in this season of your life.”

Morgan Harper Nichols.
Goddess pose can help us feel strong!

9. Yoga Makes You Feel Courageous

The Warrior Poses- I, II, III, humble warrior, reverse warrior (Warrior II shown below), they all have a way to make you feel strong and courageous. Move into a Warrior Pose and realize that each time you come to your mat, it is a chance to try again. Over time, yoga can improve mental health. Think of this quote as you work to face your fears about mental illness,

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”

Mary Anne Radmacher.
Warrior II with a strong shadow warrior going before you

10. Yoga Can Teach You That You’re Strong

Every time you overcome anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or even a bad day, you grow stronger. Every time you come to the yoga mat you grow stronger. You gain confidence when you can look back and say, “wow, I pulled through! I’m amazing!”

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”

Eleanor Roosevelt.
Yoga can improve mental health by giving you the courage to look your illness in the face.

11. Yoga Will Give You Endorphins

Every time we move in a positive, physical way, we get endorphins to the brain. Every time we exert energy, breathe a little deeper, work up a threat, we get endorphins. Endorphins are feel good chemicals that can counter the feelings of stress. Yoga can improve mental health by filling us with feel good endorphins.

Time to have fun on the mat!

12. Yoga Teaches You to Be Yourself

I often tell my yoga students that they are the only one on the mat and they get to decide what happens there. You are in control on your mat. You can do as little or as much as you want. You can take liberties with yoga poses or you can honor tradition. You have the right to be yourself in the safe yoga space.

“If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”

Brené Brown
You are safe to be yourself on the yoga mat.

Yoga can improve mental health. Come on to the mat and see where it will take you. For a comprehensive healing product, check out Journey to Healing Through Chakras.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.
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.

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!

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!

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

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.


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


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:

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


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.


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.


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

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 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.”

Example of internal cleansing- yoga twist


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 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.


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


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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!

Abby Turner of Yoga Traveler

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!

Best Essential Oil for Chakra Balancing

Root Chakra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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