by hope | Oct 9, 2021 | Coaching & Business, Yogic Living
Yoga is one of the best exercises and there is a reason it is so popular in today’s day and age. It is an exercise that can be done by those of any age and ability and helps with both mindfulness and fitness. It can keep your joints supple, your body and heart healthy and aid with things such as anxiety and depression. If you love yoga, it might be that there are a few questions you have and things that you need to think about. It is important to get everything ready and ensure you are as prepared as possible before starting. While you may love doing yoga yourself, teaching it can be a whole new ballgame. Here are some top tips that can help you with becoming a great yoga teacher.
Ensure you are calm and patient
Being a yoga teacher you will need to work with class attendees that might not be very good at yoga, or who might have never done it before. It is important that you work hard to be calm and patient even when they don’t follow instructions correctly. Sometimes it can be frustrating but it is these students that you will feel the most proud of when they succeed!
Have faith in yourself
It is important as a yoga teacher that you believe in yourself. Ensure that you have faith in everything that you know within yoga and try to incorporate this into your lessons. If you have a lesson that is difficult, remember that you know just what you are doing and you are good at doing it. This is why people come to you to learn.
Don’t push yourself too quickly
When you first start it can take a while to get into the swing of things. You might get the timings of your classes a bit wrong or something else. Get feedback from your pupils so they can let you know of any areas that might need adjusting and to find out exactly what they wish to learn and the sort of yoga they are interested in.
Ensure you have all the relevant insurance in place
One of the most important things about becoming a yoga teacher is having all the relevant insurance and training in place. You might need to go on things such as different health and safety training courses in order to ensure that if something happens you are prepared and equipped to handle it. You will also need insurance such as public liability insurance or other insurances that ensure you are covered for teaching other people. It can be a good idea to do your research and ensure you are up to date on all you need.
These are just a few top tips that should help you to become the best yoga teacher possible. By following these you have the best chance of success. If you love yoga, what are some top things that you found that helped you in your success? Are there any things you wish you knew when you started? Let us know in the comments below!
by Hope Zvara | Dec 2, 2020 | Inspirational, Lifestyle, Working With Hope
The joys of having a baby is more than anyone can ever describe, and as a mom of three, myself, I have found that unless you consciously choose to incorporate your little yogis into your practice, we often then choose not to practice at all. And for others, the choice is to practice (exercise) without that little ball of joy nearby or incorporated into that very important part of your life.
Yoga is a huge part of my life and my family’s life. From day one my kids became my little yogi buddies and walking buddies, they did (and still do) everything I do. Because to me, my mindset was my kids were going to be a part of my life, a part of my practice, and a part of my studio, I wanted them to know no different. Some parents want their kids to learn a certain prayer or family tradition, I wanted my kids to learn to live a holistic-yogic lifestyle from early on.
Like many, exercise to me is important, but a mindful practice where it is a part of your lifestyle is even more important.
Here are some examples: We all go for a walk (dogs, kids, and husband) and we talk about why fresh air is important and how Mother Earth loves that we enjoy her and that we don’t litter (we usually are on a quest to pick it all up) and why that isn’t a good choice. I have taught my kids how to breathe and how they can use their breath to help them in stressful situations. I have a yoga room and my children adore spending time there, we take turns using my reformer, weights, and yoga mat, we teach each other poses, bounce on the bosu and I explain how bouncing is healthy for the lymphatic system and stretching is good for your muscles and mind, and building strength will help you get big and strong like your Momma and Papa.
For some in today’s society, the parents may be healthy but they keep that to themselves, for many, eating salad and lean chicken at dinner, but then feeding the rest of the family greasy foods. Or going out for a hike or tending the garden but leaving the kids inside watching T.V. At my house if I want to practice yoga (while my kids are awake) or go for a walk it’s either with them or nothing. And more important than me staying physically fit, is for them to see me take care of myself in all I do and incorporate them into it; so as they get older it’s no different than brushing their teeth, reading books, and taking a bath. To them, it is simply how things have always been, and these skills are skills that can and should be taught by the parents.
Now sure my little yogis crawl all over me in plank and slide down my back in Downward Dog, and that at times gets to be a little much, but that won’t be forever and yoga to me is more than exercise it’s tapping into the inner self and connecting, isn’t it for you?
by Hope Zvara | Oct 26, 2020 | Core Functional Fitness
Here are my 4 quick effective yoga poses to do while traveling, because if you are anything like me…I’ll take any help when I can get it.
Nowadays traveling can easily be an all-day affair and that means little movement and a whole lot of sitting. When you can take full advantage of my five quick and effective yoga poses to do while traveling for instant relief for all those traveling aches and pains.
4 Quick Effective Yoga Poses to do While traveling:
- Nervous Nelly Neck Stretches: Nothing like a crick in the neck from carrying all those awkward bags, the ergonomically correct posture perfect seats in the gate area or sitting in those super roomy airplane seats (NOT)… Relief is here…
- Flying High Hip Stretch: Again nothing screams happy hips more than an airplane or car seat. Get a little relief with this super quick, yet effective move.
- Twist and Shout Spinal Release: When your travels start to hit double digits, the body starts to feel the pain of those incredibly spacious seats whether it be on a plane or in a car. Pardon your neighbor and take a time out to twist and shout. A few of these throughout a day of traveling saves my back a lot of pain and stiffness in the days to come.
- Ground Level Pow-Wow: It always amazes me how many people are so eager to sit down before they sit down pre-flight. My suggestion, find some floor space (FYI it’s also usually where the USB and outlets are anyway) and take a floor seat. If you are taking a road trip, be sure to stop off every few hours to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and do a little moving around. Here you can stretch out your legs and even do a forward bend or two.
O.K. I have to admit, I do love traveling and really don’t mind flying or road trips at all, but I have traveled on some less than comfy flights and cars. China Air really is not designed for Americans, even small ones like myself. And nowadays they are packing us in like sardines so it is yours and my best interest to do all we can to make that next trip as enjoyable as can.
Safe and Happy Travels!
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by Hope Zvara | Aug 26, 2020 | Core Functional Fitness
Practice makes perfect. And I’m talking posture!
Imagine being in a room full of people and someone walks in and instantly commands the room without a word spoken.
How do they do that? Fancy clothes? Fireworks? Paid groupies?
No. Amazing posture.
Because how you carry yourself says a lot about who you are, your self-esteem, your relationship with the world, and how you feel about yourself.
Ever observe someone depressed. They posture says “don’t come near me, don’t touch me”, a fetal like position of protection.
But when you see that person whose posture screams confidence, openness, and ease, you can’t help but want some of that secret sauce they have been drinking.
Only they haven’t been drinking, they have been moving. Moving in the right way.
So to help you on your posture perfect path not only for your body’s health and alignment but your own mental, emotional and social health here are my TOP 5 POSTURE PERFECT YOGA POSES.
Top 5 Yoga Poses for Better Posture
1. Heart Opening Mountain Pose
- Standing at attention with your weight even on your feet.
- Turn your feet to face forward and draw your pelvic into neutral (pubis bone and front hip bones all parallel with the front wall).
- Interlace your fingers behind your back (or grab a strap or towel if your hands can’t clasp or you can clasp but have no range of motion).
- INHALE, drawing the shoulder blades together and down as the arms externally rotate.
- Lift your chest gently and keeping space in the back of the neck gently lookup.
Play with rotating your arms and wrists to find the most appropriate release in the shoulders. Breathe deeply into the lungs to open the chest further. Enjoy for five to ten breaths.
2. Shoulder Blade Runner
- Standing at attention in Mountain Pose, draw your arms up in front of you at shoulder height.
- Turn your palms to face each other and the folds of your elbows to gently face up (no hyperextension), keeping a solid pelvis (see #1) and a stable rib cage (no thrusting). Only move your shoulders.
- Inhale, pinching your shoulder blades together like they are going to come together over your spine.
- Exhale: reach your arms away without rounding your shoulders forward like you are reaching for an object just out of reach.
Repeat this movement focusing on range of motion ten to twenty times.
3. Turkey Neck Stretch
- Seated tall, relax your shoulders down and back.
- Drop your head forward and using your fingers pull down on the skin at your clavicles.
- Keep that connection and open your mouth as wide as you can.
- Keeping it open, tip the head back, as you do so pull down on the skin creating a facial stretch.
- Now close your mouth and imagine you have an underbite and push the bottom jaw upward.
- Try sliding the bottom jaw side to side to find the most viable stretch. Hold for up to ten breaths.
- Gently bring the head back to center.
4. Melting Wheel
Dust off your large Swiss ball (the one you bought thinking you’d sit on at your desk, make sure it’s well inflated). Take a seat on the edge of it and slowly start to lean back over the ball. If your lower back feels tight, tip the tail bone up between the legs to lengthen the lower back. Now play with where your arms lay to open the front line of the body and pretend that you are making a snow angel and when you find a point of release, hold your arms there until you feel release (your arms may not be symmetrical).
Play with your body and using your legs, experiment with squatting, and then moving your head towards the ground to choose where you want to focus-lower back and hip flexors or chest, arms and shoulders. Enjoy as long as you feel comfortable. To come up, begin to squat and roll yourself up back on top of the ball. And counterbalance by hinging forward.
5. Rolling Forward Fold
Staring in Mountain Pose, bend the knees and imagine you are like a flag blowing in the wind. Exhale and loosely roll yourself down into Forward Bend. Like you were jumping on a trampoline, bend your knees and think about being sprung up (rolling) into a standing extension.
In standing extension keep your knees bent and float your pelvis forward as you arch back. You should feel your core turn on and your front line of the body stretch. Exhale, bend the knees, and fall/roll back down (think less control and more flow). Repeat this movement fine to ten times.
Posture does make perfect. Because how you present yourself to the world is how you receive it back.
I want to know: Which move do you like most?
by Hope Zvara | Aug 12, 2020 | Core Functional Fitness, Working With Hope, Yogic Living
Let’s get started:
Yin Yoga, a less popular style of yoga in the west is an approach that some may have never even heard of. One that in my experience, takes many a few times to really warm up to and even understand. Initially called “Daoist” yoga this style of yoga targets the deep connective tissues of the body (vs. the superficial tissues) and the fascia that covers the body. Daoist yoga is designed to help regulate the flow of energy in the body. Paul Grilley is credited for bringing this concept to the forefront and offers Yin Yoga teacher training.
Yin Yoga postures are more passive postures, mainly on the floor and the majority of postures equal only about three dozen or so, much less than the more popular yang like practices. Yin Yoga is unique in that you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscle, and move closer to the bone. While yang-like yoga practices are more superficial, Yin offers a much deeper access to the body. It is not uncommon to see postures held for three to five minutes, even 20 minutes at a time. The time spent in these postures is much like time spent in meditation, and I often talk students through the postures as if they were trying to meditate. While in a Yin class you might notice similar postures to a yang class except they are called something else, on a basic level this is to help the students’ mind shift form yang to yin, active to passive.
This concept of Yin yoga has been around for thousands of years and some of the older text, such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika notes only sixteen postures in its text, which is far less than the millions of postures practiced in today’s yoga. In addition, having read much of these texts and also cliff notes from various teachers it would appear that these “postures” were more yin like to help promote meditation and long periods of pranayama and sitting. Now I am not claiming to be an ancient text yoga guru, but this is just an observation I have made.
So what exactly is Yin yoga?
It is a more meditative approach with a physical focus much deeper than Yang like practices. Here the practitioner is trying to access the deeper tissues such as the connective tissue and fascia and many of the postures focus on areas that encompass a joint (hips, sacrum, spine). As one ages flexibility in the joints decreases and Yin yoga is a wonderful way to maintain that flexibility, something that for many don’t seem to be too concerned about until they notice it is gone.
This intimate practice of yoga requires students to be ready to get intimate with the self, with feelings, sensations, and emotions, something of which I have noticed can be easy to avoid in a fast-paced yoga practice. Yin yoga is often used in programs that deal with addictions, eating disorders, anxiety, and deep pain or trauma. For me, my first experience with yoga was when I was knee-deep in an eating disorder. Not familiar with the difference in practices I did notice that yoga helped me, and I often equate my practice to saving my life. Now that being said, several years later I stumbled across Yin yoga and found that the recovery process I had been going through apparently needed some more work and WOW did Yin point that out to me. I often struggled with being alone, sitting with feelings and sensations (something addicts struggle with), and found it challenging to face myself and the rawness of what I was doing and who I was in that moment. This concept in practice allowed me a greater mental stability something that meditation offers as a benefit to basically “learn to sit still.”
Now if you’ve never practiced Yin yoga you might not quite understand how this is so different, but for me, Yin has dug deeper than I could have ever gotten otherwise. For my students, I often tell them when they are about to try a Yin class that they need to try it three or four times to really make a decision about the practice. Many find immediate benefits like more open hips, a more relaxed body, and a centered mind. To me, I don’t think one practice is better than the other, but what I would see as beneficial is for the practitioner to see the benefit in each and that there is a need for both. Possibly one benefiting more than the other at times in your life, but a need none-the-less.
Some of the benefits of Yin yoga are:
- Calming and balancing to the mind and body
- Regulates energy in the body
- Increases mobility in the body, especially the joints and hips
- Lowering of stress levels (no one needs that)
- Greater stamina
- Better lubrication and protection of joints
- More flexibility in joints & connective tissue
- Release of fascia throughout the body
- Help with TMJ and migraines
- Deeper Relaxation
- A great coping for anxiety and stress
- Better ability to sit for meditation
- Ultimately you will have a better Yang practice
- I really do believe that if you incorporate a little of both you will create a more well-rounded practice as well as a better-rounded version of the awesome you!
If you take a peek at a Yin-Yang symbol, it is suggesting that no matter what, we should take a “tiny bit” and put it in the heart of its opposite. Knowing both practices, and having struggled with a wide variety of eating disorders, addiction, depression, and anxiety, I get that too much of something is simply too much. Yin yoga has taught me to truly be still, to really come face to face with myself, even more than my past practice has; and because of this, I am now able to bring what Yin has taught me into my more Yang like practices and ultimately my life as a whole.
Yin yoga teaches you how to really listen, you don’t get the opportunity to go in and out, jump around and find a distracted version of stillness within your practice. Yin is such a great compliment to other styles and your own personal life because it brings long periods of time in an uncomfortable position, which then asks you to learn to “be” to “accept what is” in that given moment. Something we can all benefit from daily. For me, I did not know how to be in my own company, I did not like to feel or be or anything that required me to have an emotion. There is something so deep about Yin that will tap into a part of you in a way only unique to Yin. And for me, a healthy Yin practice has poured over into a healthier Yang practice and a healthier life as a whole. And I wish that for everyone.