One of my favorite things to teach in yoga is inversions: headstands, and handstands, and forearmstands (oh my!!). They’re fun, challenging, require strength and control, and help us push past fears on and off our mat.
In our Instagram age, it’s easy to get caught up in mastering a specific fancy-pants pose to take a photo, which many people will argue is the opposite of the goal of yoga. Students want to progress into poses they’re not necessarily strong or flexible enough for because they look cool or they think that’s what yoga is all about since that’s what the “celebrity” yogis do.
While there’s always a risk of injury to seriously consider, I try not to stress out too much over the obsession with picture-worthy poses. Even if you consider yourself a yoga purist, you know that if you spend enough time doing poses, you’ll inevitably get something more out of your yoga practice.
One of the things I DO love about Instagram yoga, or using a camera/phone to record your practice is that photos and videos can help you document progression, set and reach goals, and prevent some serious injuries from misalignments.
Lots of sports use video analysis. As a high school tennis player my coach showed us slow-motion videos of our serves and strokes to see where we could get more power and better control. (And she had to rewind a VHS tape, now it’s so easy!)
I used to have the hardest time holding my handstand. No matter how hard I tried, what cues teachers gave, or how often I practiced, there was something about it that just didn’t click. But as soon as I saw a video of myself, I realized what my teachers were talking about. My super flexible banana-back was causing me to flip over; and the “knit your ribs,” “draw your hips to your ribs,” “engage your core” comments made a lot more sense. By watching videos of my handstands, I was truly able to become an observer of myself, analyze what was happening without judgment or frustration, and become my own best teacher. For me, THAT’S what yoga is all about.
There’s no special club or magic shortcut to inner peace through inversions or advanced poses (and I would argue that holding poses in a more basic variation is actually much harder, but that’s another post!). The same can be said for being too strict with yourself and how you approach your practice. So play, have fun, flip, roll, challenge yourself, take pictures, film it, and then remember that it’s just yoga – whatever that means to you.
One of my favorite and least favorite parts of moving is getting rid of stuff. Since I graduated college 11 years ago, I’ve lived in 4 states, 10 apartments, and one boat, which means I’ve done my fair share of moving and all that comes along with it: sorting, packing, and apparently hoarding.
While I’m not quite TLC tv show status, I do have some kind of strange attachment to stuff that I will never need ever again. Clothes, mementos, random furniture, but most of all paperwork…I just can’t seem to get enough. If decade-old financial documents were worth their weight in gold I’d be a very rich woman.
Now that I’m making another big move, onto another boat and away from friends’ apartments where I can store all my extra stuff, it’s time to downsize again. I’ve gotten rid of so many clothes (that’s gotten pretty easy for me; I use the “if you haven’t worn it in a year, donate it” model). I’ve sold everything of value except my computer, camera, and bike. And now I’m onto the final frontier – file boxes.
So far I’ve found bank statements, medical documents, random notes, playbills, and receipts from all the way back to 2005. And maybe that doesn’t seem like THAT far back, but considering I’ve lugged this stuff around for 10 years and haven’t looked at it once, it’s definitely "excess baggage" status.
The good news (there’s always a lesson or silver lining, right?) is that getting rid of it all is very therapeutic. And though it’s somewhat embarrassing / depressing to know that I’ve kept unnecessary junk so long, it’s such a good lesson for me in letting go. Because it’s not just documents I’m holding on to, by letting go I’m able to rid myself of all the extra stuff associated with my stuff.
And if I learned nothing else from Disney, at least I know to “let it go….”
It's hard to come up with a better idea of a dream job than a yoga instructor. Yoga instructors help people to realize their physical and mental strength, which is an incredible experience.
Many yoga lovers sign up for teacher training to chase their dream of becoming an instructor and sharing their passion with others. Some yogis sign up just to deepen their understanding of yoga and enhance their practice. Regardless of why you signed up, these tips will help make sure that your yoga teacher training is one of the best experiences of your career!
Going to a yoga school will be enough to become certified and begin a career, but being ready for the challenges of a course lets you delve deeper into the art. You can prepare by watching yoga videos before training in order to understand the dynamics of the training process, or to get a leg up (literally!) on new routines.
In the 21st century, who you know is often more important than what you know. The training process shouldn't just be about learning new things but about meeting new people. A retreat or training initiative lets you get to know other yogis from around the country and maybe a few who are close to home. Make friends, trade stories, discover new routines and trade tips. You may even find another instructor to go into business with.
Reject the Normal
How many job training functions allow you to discover your life's passion while on a boat or at a resort? There's a reason why we got our name, and it's not because we put trainees in a crowded room to stare at a PowerPoint slide. Yoga teacher training should be as dynamic and vibrant as yoga itself, which is why trainees have the opportunity to break out of the usual and embrace the fantastic.
You spend so much time in yoga focusing on inhaling and exhaling that a funny joke might throw you completely out of your breathing rhythm. That's not a bad thing! Research shows that laughter offers many of the same health benefits as yoga itself, including lowering blood pressure and boosting mood. Take the time to laugh and make others laugh during training so that you can incorporate humor into your own classes.
It's one thing to go to a yoga school and learn how to push yourself to new heights, but training is made even more amazing when you get the opportunity to do it in one of the most beautiful spots around. A yoga retreat is perfect for those who are new to the occupation as well as those who have been practicing all their life. Not only can you hone your skills, but you will meet new people in an inclusive atmosphere with everyone committed to improvement, support and success.
Why bother training with the ordinary? Our yoga school offers everything you need to launch a career and have the most fun possible doing it. Check out the upcoming travel schedule and future retreats to become a yoga master and enjoy every second of it.
I had the pleasure and honor of recording a Dreamchasers podcast with Lucas Barra a couple of weeks ago.
Lucas and I have known each other for a few years, and he’s seen me grow from a new yoga teacher about to quit her day job, into a business owner launching another venture in a brand new place. He was fresh out of college when we first met, and now he’s living his dream by helping others chase theirs. Pretty awesome.
We talked for a good 45 minutes about my journey and process of finding balance, learning to say no, crying in the shower, and the general rollercoaster of life. For all the juicy bits, listen here.
While your own dreams may be way different than my own, the universal chase of the dream is something most everyone can relate to. Lucas has different guests every week, so stay tuned!
SchoolofDreams.co and iTunes.
Wahoo, Floating Yoga School is hitting the road this April/May! We'll be driving across the Southern United States visiting some great spots and taking time to slow down, explore nature, lead free yoga classes, build community, and film for our YouTube channel.
Below is the current plan. I'm calling it the "Yoga Road Trip."
If you live in one of these cities I'd loooove to meet up!
- Sedona, AZ - Friday, April 29th
- Tucson, AZ - Sunday, May 1st
- Santa Fe, NM - Thursday, May 5th
- Taos, NM - Saturday, May 7th
- Austin, TX - Tuesday & Wednesday, May 10-11th
- New Orleans, LA - Friday, May 13th
- Savannah, GA - Tuesday, May 17th
- Orlando, FL - Thursday, May 19th
- Homestead, FL - Saturday, May 21st
- Key West, FL - Tuesday, May 24th
- Miami, FL - Thursday, May 26th
Send me your favorite yoga studios, parks, restaurants, or "must-dos" so I don't miss anything!
We have less than 4 months until our first Caribbean-based yoga teacher training and I'm super stoked!
We'll be staying at Surfbreak Cabarete, just a few minutes walk from the best surfing beaches in the Caribbean, so I'm hoping to finally feel a little more comfortable riding waves. (Ha, we'll see if 3 weeks does the trick! Hold me to it - I'm promising to post surfing photos and videos in July)
My philosophy on yoga is that it should add to your life. We all have plenty of reasons and opportunities to be stressed, and I believe in the power of yoga as a way to check-in with yourself, and check-out from the rest of the world.
I'm confident that Surfbreak Cabarete, with its tropical surroundings, beautiful beaches, laid-back vibe, and cozy amenities, is the perfect place to do just that.
We'll be doing plenty of yoga, most of it off our mats and out of the studio: from walking meditations on the beach, to surfing, mindful eating, and much more. For more information about July's training, click here.
Helen's Adventures as a Traveling Yogi
Follow my adventures on social media!