United Nations Declares 21 June as ‘International Day of Yoga’

The United Nations have adopted the India-led resolution to declare 21 June International Day of Yoga.   India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who appointed a Minister for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy,  Unani,  Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) last month,  also used his September address to the United General assembly to promote the practice and to create a global day of yoga (we wrote about it on the Muuyu blog here).

Obviously his words created a huge impact for the resolution, which was introduced by India’s ambassador to UN Asoke Mukerji, also had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors,  the highest number ever for any general assembly resolution.

Additionally, what makes the adoption of this proposal even more unique and shows just how influential yoga has become, is the fact that this was the first time such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in the UN body in less than 90 days. Now, that’s pretty impressive!

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

Skin problems? Not a problem with weeds and herbs!

The following article is an excerpt from Doris Richardson-Edsell’s book ’10 Tips on Herbs, Spirituality and Food as Medicine’, which she has kindly allowed Muuyu to republish here on our blog.

Weeds and herbs can be wonderful for helping your skin.   Starting with acne,  here are some first steps to help:

Most of the time acne is caused from too much sebum (oil) on the skin.  This oil can bring about bacteria, causing plugged hair follicles in the skin pores.   If it is lodged near the surface of the skin, blackheads and other spots will form.   If a blockage ruptures, it becomes a pimple.  Sometimes the problem is hormonal,  stress,  diet or irritating ingredients in make-up.

So, what to do?

Yarrow

Yarrow is a true remedy for acne. For a yarrow infusion place dried yarrow flowers into a quart jar and fill with boiling water.  Steep overnight, strain and store in a plastic bottle.  Dampen a washcloth with it and use to clean your face every morning, evening and in-between!

Burdock seed or root

Herbalist Susan Weed believes that brewing up some burdock can help and be used to clean the skin.  “For acne rosacea take 10-20 drops of burdock seed or root tincture three times a day which will bring slow but steady improvement.”  You can buy burdock tincture at a health food store where it is generally named Actium Lappa.  You can also make a very strong tea from dried burdock root, brewed overnight, and which you can then drink several times a day.

Herbal steam bath

Herbal steaming opens embedded pores.   You can use a combination of herbs such as yarrow, elder flowers and chamomile.  Put these herbs into a large pot.   Cover with a quart of cool water and bring to a slow simmer.   Cover your head with a towel and lean over the pot so that the steam touches your face,  keeping your eyes closed.  Remember not to get to close as you don’t want to burn yourself.  Steam for about 15 minutes.

Natural first aid for burns, bruises, cuts and scrapes.

Here are some remedies that work for burns and minor cuts:

Aloe Vera

For soothing a minor burn,  including sunburn,  try some aloe.   You can use fresh aloe by snapping off a piece from a mature plant and applying the transparent gel onto your skin.   Aloe has also been used as a first aid for frost bite because it acts against thromboxane, a substance that constricts blood vessels.   When aloe is applied,  the blood vessels relax, helping to heal the frost bite.

Lavender

This plant can help with minor cuts and scrapes.   Mix 15 drops of lavender essential oil with an ounce of aloe vera juice.   They are both available at a health food store.  Place the mixture in a spray bottle and store in the refrigerator for a soothing,  cool mist that works wonders on small cuts and scrapes.

Plantain

This common weed can be found in most lawns and it can help to soothe pain,  bind together torn tissue and strengthen the skin’s surface.  When used fresh, crush a few thin leaves and apply to minor cuts and scrapes.   At the health food store you can also find some plantain salve which eases itching and promotes healing.

You can buy ’10 Tips on Herbs, Spirituality and Food as Medicine’, along with Doris’ many other books and booklets  on amazon.com. (Muuyu Tip: These books are great Christmas gifts for anyone hoping to lead a more healthful life.  Just saying!)

yoga, yoga asanas, muuyu, Yoga to the people, yoga works, pure yoga, yoga tree, yoga instructor, easy yoga, yoga and meditation, yoga lifestyle, benefits of yoga, yoga relaxation, yoga for stress relief, breathing exercises for anxiety, hatha yoga, yoga meditation, yin yoga, restorative yoga, pranayama, relaxation yoga, iyengar yoga

Doris Richardson-Edsell is a a registered nurse, yoga instructor, author, mother and grandmother.  She has worked as a counselor and group therapist at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, New York, for over 25 years.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read or hear more of Doris’ expertise, you can check out her  previous blog posts here and here or visit  Doris’ webpage, Body Mind Health, where she discusses and advises on all topics concerning holistic healing and health.

 

How Your Words Can Prevent Injury

When you take a yoga teacher training, a lot of concepts are thrown your way in a short period of time.  You may even start dreaming in Sanskrit. The experience is intense and by the time it is over, you may feel the same way first-time parents do when they take their child home from the hospital. It is the whole, “What the F$%# am I doing?”

You remind people to breathe deeply on a regular basis, so the first step is to take a deep breath for yourself.  Remember to put on your oxygen mask first before anyone else’s.  Then, when you have a class in front of you, it is about them.  As you teach, the words you use can be as important as the sequence you prepare.  Here are six phrases to make part of your repertoire:

 

  • Use your breath. You may start to feel like a broken record. “Move with your breath.” “Use your breath as a guide.” Or sometimes: “Just breathe.” You can never say it too much. Students have the tendency to hold their breath when they are holding a pose.  The quality of the breath will help to enhance the quality of the yoga practice.  Also, if they are listening to their deepest inner teacher, they will notice if a pose affects their breath.  Make sure that they know that if there is an abrupt breathing change that they must listen.  It may be their body’s signal to get out.
  • Everything you do in yoga is a pose.  Make sure the students keep their transitions slow and mindful.  Otherwise, students may have a tendency to snap out of the pose as soon as you cue the second side.  The body is likely already in an unnatural position and a quick exit can be the quickest route to injury or exacerbating a pre-existing condition.
  • Do less. When we get into a shape, many students try to take it to its full extension right off of the bat.  Make sure that they aren’t overzealous and that they are giving the body time.  Yoga is a way to rush less and be more.  Even so, many people are using the yoga mat as a microcosm for the rest of their lives by rushing the process.  By doing less, they will be very clear of their ‘edge.’  The edge is not the edge before they fall off a cliff.  It is the edge of bliss.
  • Start with bent knees.  It is the lucky few who can forward fold with a long straight spine and straight legs.  Most students have tight hamstrings, tight shoulders or a tight spine and will have to round to get closer to the floor.  Rounding causes the spine to bend in the opposite way that it is supposed to and may leave the student achy (not what you’re looking for).  In Uttanasana or Paschimottanasana  you can cue bent knees for everyone to start.  After five breaths, you can invite them to move further if you see that your class is more flexible or advanced.  Nine times out of ten that will not be the case.
  • Move within the space of the joint.  Yoga is about becoming more spacious and flexibility is determined by the amount of movement available at the joint.  We can access our students’ hamstrings by getting them to note their knees and hips.  This is also why it is important to know if your students are nursing any particular injuries.
  • Start from the ground up.  Alignment helps your students to find their energetic anatomy, but also to stay safe.  So many time, poses may look off kilter or unsafe by something as simple as the fact that the feet were turned out.  Start there and have your students build a solid relationship with the ground.

Your students come to yoga to get out of their own heads.  This can be a good thing and a bad thing.  You want to be sure that they aren’t listening to your words more than they are their own bodies.  As a teacher, it is your job to help them to find their inner teacher. Accessing this benevolent voice can help to keep their injuries to a minimum.

CourtneySunday

Courtney Sunday is a freelance writer and RYT500 who teaches globally.  She runs small and affordable Yoga Alliance teacher-training programs set on developing conscious and well-versed teachers.  It is her belief that every teacher has a specific light and a specific gift to give the yoga world.  Contact her at www.courtneysunday.com if you are interested or if you would like to practice with Courtney through muuyu.

Angela’s Yoga Lab: Reflections from the World of Yoga, Berlin

The World of Yoga three day event which ran at Postbahnhof, Berlin, last month from 7th to 9th November was open to the public to showcase what is currently happening in the yoga world and industry.  Top-class Instructors from all over the globe,  including Native German Jivamukti instructor Patrick Broome attended alongside an array of events including Ayurveda seminars and workshops, world music, yoga seminars and Acro Thai massage workshops.  Set over two levels, the Postbahnhof was filled with stalls selling books, yoga clothing and mats, yoga props, oils, CDs, raw and vegetarian food, and other health and wellness products, all in between open rooms where classes were held.

I was privileged enough to teach twice at this event this year.  On Saturday 8th November I led a two hour Forrest Yoga Class, and on Sunday the 9th November a 45 min power introduction to Forrest Yoga.

Overall, my impression was that this annual event is great for anyone but especially those experimenting with finding a style of Yoga that is right for them.  There was something for beginners through to the advanced practitioner and even classes and workshops in child yoga.

Upside-Down Workshop

For my Saturday event I developed a juicy sequence called Upside-Down Workshop, an Inversion and backbending class. (You can read about my love of backbending here).

I invited fellow Forrest Yoga Teacher, Inga Brodersen (pictured with me below) to assist in demonstrations, translating the class into German and with hands on adjustments.  Together we guided a full mixed levels class through a sequence of challenging Forrest poses, towards peak asanas of Playful Handstands, Forearm Balances and Wheel Drop backs.

Using the inner child to explore without attachments to a goal

I knew in advance that the area we were in had virtually no wall space to aid us with Inversions and so it could be challenging for those afraid to try without the security of the wall.  However these limitations encouraged me to find a fantastic theme: ‘The Art of Playfulness!  Releasing and Connecting to your Inner Child – through Yoga’.

As I often observe in my son (age 4) children are not governed by a sense of failure.  They just want to explore without an attachment to a goal.  They are truly present to the availability of their bodies and because they have yet to be taught that there is such a thing as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to their body, their sense of freedom allows them to experiment, make mistakes and thus learn and grow.

So the aim was for participants to view the workshop and these challenging asanas through the eyes of a child, with a sense of curiosity about what part of the poses they could do, meeting themselves in the present moment and without a sense of attachment over an outcome or goal.

Everyone was encouraged to experiment and explore the poses in a safe space and not to force themselves or label what they were trying as good, bad, right, wrong.   Inga and I assisted participants to invert their body and go upside-down to see the world from a new perspective.

Working with an area of focus

My Sunday class focused on a technique I first encountered with Ana Forrest, something I now practice myself and also teach in my classes.

At the beginning of the class whilst breathing deeply in Ujjayi students were asked to navigate inside and pick an area.  This area could be either in the physical body itself or an emotional or psychological focus  (If you are practicing yourself and there is more than one area of focus, pick the most prominent one at that present moment).

I’ve highlighted some examples of how you can find this area below.  These are not rules, but rather observations from my own practice and seeing patterns emerge in classes:

  • Often a psychological focus is associated with the front or back of the skull, the forehead, stomach, shoulders, jaw and neck;
  • Emotional spots include the front or back of the chest, throat, stomach and lower belly and inside or near the sexual organs;
  • If students have fascia or scar tissue from an old or current injury or tightness or pain in the muscles or joints somewhere on the physical body, then the focus is that actual site itself.

Once located, this area or spot then became their personal focus for the class.  I invited students to place their hands on the location of this ‘spot’ within the body,  to inhale deeply and run healing energy into the area,  exhaling with any kind of Bhramari they wanted ( i.e. breath with sound) using  the sound vibrations to  ‘buzz up’, awaken the area and thus creating sensation and awareness from the inside out.

Throughout the duration of the class whenever inhalation was cued, students were told to breathe into this area and to redirect the energy of the asana they were in into their chosen area to heal it. Each asana generates a different energy for each person.  To explain further how this can work take as an example Vira (Warrior)  One or Two, wherein a student can send the grounded, stable energy that this asana generates into their area of choice.   When utilized on an ongoing basis this technique can be very powerful.

To experience this technique guided with me first hand,  or for further tips on going upside-down, contact me here at Muuyu to request a class at a date and time that suits you.

Special Thanks again to my assistant Inga Brodersen – you can find more about her and her Forrest Yoga classes in Berlin here

AngelaInga

Australian-born Angela Collins is a yoga teacher based in Berlin.  RYS Certified, trained in Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and a graduate of Advanced Teacher Training in Forrest Yoga,  Angela is committed to nourishing  mind and body both off and on the mat.   She has had the privilege of teaching yoga across the globe in Australia, Thailand, Germany, UK, France and with people of all differing ages, nationalities, and needs.  Having trained alongside Mark Stephens, Kathryn Budig, Kino McGregor and Ana. T Forrest, Angela now teaches a number of different yoga disciplines including Pregnancy Yoga, Yoga for Addicts, Yoga for Athletes, and child Yoga.

Connect with Angela here on Muuyu.com or on her own website  www.endorphinyoga.eu as well as on Twitter.

You can also read Angela’s previous blog posts here and here.

First Ever British Yoga Festival

The first ever British Yoga Festival, organized by UK’s best-selling YOGA Magazine, runs next weekend (Friday 5th until Sunday 7th December) at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

The Festival, which is expecting a turn-out of approximately 15,000 people from London, the UK and around the world, will showcase a host of yoga workshops, classes and demonstrations.  The line-up includes everything from Acro to Ashtanga with some Fierce Grace, Full Moon Flow and Yoga Rave  stirred in for those who like their yoga a little on the weird and wonderful side.

The impressively starry line-up of teachers includes Claire Missingham, Howard Napper, David Sye, Sonia DoubellRachel Okimo, Vena Ramphal, Dirish Shaktidas and Radhanath Swami.

YOGA Magazine and Festival organizers told Muuyu, “”When we launched in 2003 YOGA Magazine was the first dedicated UK monthly magazine to promote the benefits of a yogic lifestyle.  Now, after building up a solid reader base over the last 11 years, we felt that this was the right time to host our first ever British Yoga Festival due to the increasing appeal of yoga, and industry and reader demand for a yoga show to offer something different.”

With that in mind attendees can also look forward to a vast range of stalls and an array of activities including Ayruveda, diet and nutrition, green living and meditation and a full children’s programme.

To mark their first ever festival, YOGA Magazine will also be aiming to set a new world record for the UK’s largest indoor yoga class. This will take place on Saturday 6th December at 1.30pm and organizers are hoping for over 2,000 people to join in.

So if you’re in London next weekend, grab your mat and make your way to Islington.   To keep the industry thriving it’s important to support new and ambitious events such as the British Yoga Festival. And chances are you’ll  have fun, meet other like-minded folk and find a great class or workshop to do that you wouldn’t have had a chance to find otherwise!

For further information look here.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

 

Yoga Fashion’s Gift of Grace

Since its establishment the yoga attire company weargrace has become brand of choice for women who want their clothing – both on and off the mat – to spark a deeper, authentic personal style.    Muuyu was fortunate to recently catch up with weargrace Founder, KAREN JOYCE, to find out what inspires the former Gucci Image Director as the woman at the helm of this unique yoga clothing collection.  

 When did you establish weargrace and what was the momentum behind it?

I have been practicing yoga for many years and in 2009 after 20 years in the fashion industry, I left my business and traveled to Asia in search of more meaning, deeper self-understanding and a greater awareness of the ancient disciplines of the east.

In my travels and study I found that the ancient teachings and philosophy inherent in yoga and meditation are very different from their western interpretations.  There is a very pure and simple side, a more meaningful foundation that gets lost in our hectic lifestyles and conditioning.

The creation of weargrace was an opportunity to use a language that I know (fashion) as a vehicle to share these precious teachings by embodying them in the brand values and the clothing itself.

This idea was born in late 2009 and developed through many subsequent trips to Asia and many yoga experiences in different parts of the world.  The first collection was produced is 2012.

You’ve talked before about there being three specific events that woke you up to the fact that you needed to change the work/life you were leading, but at what moment did you start to think about setting up your own yoga fashion line and were you not worried that the work might consume you once again?

I started thinking about a yoga line in 2009 when I sat in my teachers training workshop in Bali, listening to the profound, life changing philosophy behind this ancient discipline and observed that everyone was dressed the same.  Yoga attire was totally disconnected to the teachings.  It occurred to me that the clothing could be a vehicle to remind people of the precious values inherent in yoga and to keep these teachings alive.

I trusted that if my work could be a natural extension of who I am and the values I sustain, that I could stay aligned and not fall into the old work patterns.

“Living” the precepts of yoga and meditation is much harder than studying it on an island or in the Himalayas.  The real challenge comes in the integration of this wisdom into the ups and downs of everyday life. This remains a continual challenge for me and is what stimulates me to keep weargrace growing and to stay true to the message behind the brand.

Weargrace is so much more than a fashion brand. Along with the weargrace collection there are also grace retreats and a philosophy that promotes the practice of yoga – Can you explain further how these strands all tie together? 

Grace retreats and the weargrace philosophy are all vehicles to remind people to live from the inside out. To connect to their unique inner wisdom and guidance.  The clothing, the retreats,  the philosophy, are all part of  the same message.

You may buy a weargrace legging because you see it on Net-a-Porter or because you like the particular color or style.  Maybe you read about the prayer flag symbolism and it helps to bring more compassion to your day, or the text in the weargrace mantra inspires you to take a yoga or meditation class and you begin to live from a different space.  It is my hope that weargrace plants a seed that can lead people to their own unique path of personal growth.

You are one of the 16 hand-selected fashion lines that debuted as part of Net-a-Porter’s new, luxury activewear offering, Net-a-Sporter. How did that come about and what can we expect as part of your future relationship with them?

I first contacted Net-a-Porter in 2012, introducing the brand message, philosophy and product selection.   Candice Fragis, the buyer who I was in touch with, was very kind in her feedback, recognizing the unique offering but relaying that there was not yet a place for this niche market on the N-A-P platform.  In March of 2014, I received a call directly from Candice, senior buyer of the activewear segment.  She had remembered the brand and explained the plan to launch the Net-a -Sporter platform, and came by to see the collection.

As an avid yogi, Candice connected immediately with the deeper message behind the brand, as well as its simple and elegant style, versatility and comfort that made the offering different from all other activewear brands.

Being in the right place at the right time and having someone who understood what the brand was trying to communicate, this was grace!

In July, 2014 weargrace was the only brand to represent the yoga sector on the Net–a-Sporter platform launch.  Our presence on this important channel reaching over 170 countries is the perfect opportunity to share our unique message and offers all women simple, stylish and comfortable clothing that inspires a more personal, authentic part of themselves.

What are the future priorities for the company?

Weargrace aims to establish itself as the most modern, tasteful and meaningful brand in yoga attire, encouraging women to live from the core of their being, and connect to their unique personal style and inner guidance.

As a business woman and an avid yoga practitioner, what advice can you give to other working women in relation to using yoga both on and off the mat to live a fulfilling life? 

Yoga is not just a physical practice.  It is a tool that helps us to align with who we really are.   Approach your practice with compassion and presence.  In this connection, you will discover an inner knowing, a guidance that will help you to live from a more peaceful and authentic space.

This is living from the inside out and is my challenge every day.   To live from this space is our greatest gift.

KarenJoyce

US-born Karen Joyce is the founder of weargrace.   Following her graduation from Providence College and Rhode Island School of Design, Karen moved to Venice, Italy where she worked as a consultant for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  From there she moved to Milan where she joined Gucci as a graphic designer, then as Art Director before relocating to London as Director of Image for the Gucci Group.  In this position she managed an in-house creative agency for all Gucci’s brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga.  However, after almost two decades in the business Karen decided to make some personal changes that would greatly impact her professional life …and weargrace was born.

Weargrace products can be found on weargrace.com, Net-a-Porter and, from next year onwards, across the USA in 9 locations of the luxury department store chain, Barney’s.

8 Inspirational Quotes in the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Over the last few years I have found myself facing a lot of challenges in my career and in my relationships.  Some inspiring, some intimidating.  However, each time I am confronted with a tough situation or left wondering if I can weather another change in my life I have learned to stand still, breathe deeply and give thanks for the very place that I find myself in that moment.   For whatever the future holds,  it is by recognizing what is positive about my present that will get me to the next moment with grace and gratitude.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving this year, here are a few helpful quotes to remind us all to feel grateful and to know how to carry that gratitude into the coming moments of our lives.

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” Robert Braathe

“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.” The Buddha

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

“The ideal purpose of your life is that you are grateful—great and full—that you are alive, and you enjoy it.” Yogi Bhajan

“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.”  Oprah Winfrey

 “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” Alphonse Carr

“We think we have to do something to be grateful, or that something has to be done in order for us to be grateful, when gratitude is a state of being.” Iyanla Vanzant

“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou

 Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

 

 

 

 

 

Balance Out Indulgence: 3 Holiday Treats and 3 Ways to Burn Them Off

As a nutrition coach,  I work with clients all the time to help them understand that food has two equally important functions: as a source of energy and as a social, community and cultural phenomenon.  To focus on the calories alone is to ignore a huge component of what makes food so preeminent in our lives.

While it is critically important to our long-term health that we eat nutrient-dense foods and essential to a functioning planet that we eat as much local and organic fresh produce and animal product as possible, there is something to be said for eating all the foods we love–even the ones that aren’t so good for us–at least in moderation.

There is no time of year when the social function of food is more important than the holidays.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner in the U.S. and Christmas hot on its heels, temptation to indulge in all those “foods we love” is everywhere you turn.  One way to dig in to your favorite holiday treats guilt-free is to empower yourself with the knowledge of what it takes to burn off those extra calories with common physical activities.

I’ve compiled a list of three of most folks’ favorite holiday dishes and three corresponding workouts to help you stay on a healthy track from now to the new year.

Delicious Culprit #1: Pumpkin Pie

Nothing says fall flavors and the start of the holiday season like a little warm pumpkin pie.  This is my favorite dessert at this time of year.  Did you know that just one slice of pumpkin pie without whipped cream has around 300 calories?  When I found that out I little spot inside my heart died. The good news for those of you with a sweet tooth like me is that you can scorch those calories in no time. In fact, it’s as easy as riding a bike!  All you have to do is hop on your wheels and head out for a 5 mile ride.  This translates to about 35 minutes of cycling and, voila, you can call it even!

Delicious Culprit #2: Mashed Potatoes

Most of us try hard to avoid too many starchy foods but when it comes time to build a holiday meal, more often than not potatoes become the base.  Personally, I’m not a huge fan of mashed potatoes, but I’m willing to bet many of you are.  Just one cup of homemade mashed potatoes, prepared with whole milk and butter comes out to around 250 calories.  To burn this comfort food off you’d have to walk at a brisk pace for roughly an hour, covering anywhere from 3-4 miles depending on your stride.

If you like your spuds with gravy, tack on an extra 8-10 minutes of walking.  Here’s an idea: why not gather a group of family and friends for a nature walk to get some fresh air and improve digestion post-feast? It might just become a new holiday tradition.

Delicious Culprit #3: Stuffing

Stuffing, made with cranberries and nuts, has about 300 calories per 1 cup serving–and let’s face it, most of us go back for seconds.  This traditional and tasty side is often only prepared for Thanksgiving so it’s worth the carb-overload. When it comes down to balancing the scale, try a one-hour (or longer) Power Yoga class.  A slow-paced, stretch-focused yoga class won’t fit the bill here so make sure you aim for the kind where you really build up a sweat.

Need a little direction? Try my Fusion Flow class most Sunday mornings on Muuyu.  It’s my signature class which brings together the best of yoga, martial arts and plyometrics for a high intensity, mixed movement interval workout.  This fun and challenging class is geared towards building strength, power and stability in your body. Fusion Flow will make you sweat, keep you on your toes and leave you feeling the burn.

The bottom line with holiday feasting is that it’s all about making smart choices when you can, not dwelling on a little over-indulgence here and there, and putting your healthy efforts into balancing out the food you eat with the amount of physical activity you ask of your body – that way, when family and food come together in one beautiful space there will be no guilt, just joy and fun!

yoga, asanas, yoga for athletes, yoga for weight loss, yoga classes

Amy Rizzotto, RYT-200, is a food and fitness loving blogger, yoga instructor, nutrition coach  and studio owner based in Washington, DC. Amy’s passion is looking at the space where yoga and nutrition fuse for optimal athletic performance and overall mind/body wellness. MOAR-fit.com serves as her platform for sharing words of motivation, tasty recipes for health and workout tips. You can learn more about what she’s up to by following her on Facebook, Instagram, PInterestTwitter and Muuyu.

Bikram Yoga: 5 things to think about when you’re a teacher

Having taught Bikram Yoga now for nearly eight years I have noticed an evolution in my teaching style that, rather than being a replication of the standard Bikram Yoga training, is in fact a reflection of my own personal perspectives on how best to engage students in this style.  Things I now hold important I actually didn’t view as important in the past, and things that I once held as sacred I’ve since dropped from my teaching.

So for any certified teacher beginning their journey as a Bikram instructor here are 5 things that I’ve learned over the years that will hopefully give you something to think about in your classes:

 

1.Dialogue. It’s not important!

The Bikram Beginning Yoga Class Dialogue that instructs the 26 postures and two breathing exercises is a great tool to help any newly graduated teacher to stand up in front of a room and deliver confidence.  However I know teachers to this day that pride themselves on being ‘word perfect’, and yet have the same connection delivering their dialogue as, like I once heard a student describe, “a trainer at Sea World.”

What is important is the energy that the dialogue delivers. If you can genuinely project the fluctuations of energy that are vital in communicating each posture while keeping minds engaged and focused then you can lead your students in a really great class.

2. It’s only yoga!

I have seen teachers jump on the podium and become little Emperors: “Who taught you that? Never do that in MY class!

People are coming to the room with all sorts of issues, trying to heal and get better, and your job as a teacher is to let them find space and compassion, not a box and compression.  New teachers seem to think that this is necessary to be a good teacher.  It’s not.  It says more about you than anything else.

3.Savashana. It is quiet.  

How can you go from “100 percent effort, to 100 percent relaxation” in the floor series if you as a teacher are constantly nattering during rest?  Like music it is the silence between the notes the makes it beautiful and important.

4. Leave the Newbies alone.

New students don’t want to be constantly singled out, especially in their first class.  They just want to fit in and get through it.  Stopping the class and getting off the podium to walk over and correct a student is just bad teaching.  Do it subtly, possibly incorporating the correction into what you are saying during the posture.

5. Be authentic.

Whatever makes you happy. I know some excellent teachers that make me laugh constantly.  I know some excellent teachers who deliver brilliant classes without it being a comedy show.  Whatever your style is it’s got to be you.  And if you are friendly and authentic that’s how your classes will be.

Contact Matt here to request a class in Bikram Yoga.

Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Hot Yoga, Yoga Teacher, Yoga for Athletes, Yoga for Weight Loss

Born in Zimbabwe, Matt Devine is CEO of Muuyu and has been teaching yoga for nearly eight years.  He primarily teaches Bikram or Hot Yoga.  As a former rugby player who needed reconstruction on both his knees, he has experienced for himself the therapeutic benefits of a hot yoga practice on the body.   He believes that part of yoga’s intense ability to heal is regulating one’s sleep patterns, as with longer, deeper sleep more healing occurs, and better sleep is a regularly cited benefit of hot yoga. 

Connect with Matt on Muuyu here.