Saturday, 29 November 2014

Yoga Doesn't Care!!!

I think this disclaimer should be read aloud to all, and posted on the wall of every yoga studio to remind us that yoga isn’t about the things.

Yoga isn’t about our lifestyle, our beliefs, our weight, our diet, our flexibility, how spiritual or enlightened we are—yoga is just about showing up and doing our dance on our mats.
Yoga doesn’t care what your hair looks like.
Yoga doesn’t care if you wear Lululemon or Spiritual Gangster.
Yoga doesn’t care if you are vegetarian, if you eat meat or know what Kombucha is.
Yoga doesn’t care when the last time you practiced was—yesterday, six months ago, never.
Yoga doesn’t care what kind of mat you have, brand new or eating away at itself.
Yoga doesn’t care if you show up cranky or exhausted.
Yoga doesn’t care what religion you believe in.
Yoga doesn’t care what color your skin is or what gender you choose to love.
Yoga doesn’t care if you wear mala beads.
Yoga doesn’t care what the tag on the back of your pants says.
Yoga doesn’t care if you don’t know what yoga means.
Yoga doesn’t care how much money you have, what house you live in, what car you drive.
Yoga doesn’t care if you are flexible.
Yoga doesn’t care if you fall over in Trikonasana.
Yoga doesn’t care if you fart during practice.
Yoga doesn’t care if you ever make it into head stand.
Yoga doesn’t care if you feel uncomfortable saying Namaste and Om.
Yoga doesn’t care if you drink super food smoothies or drink coconut water.
Yoga doesn’t care if choose the back corner or the front row of the room to practice.
Yoga doesn’t care if you stay to meditate.
Yoga doesn’t care if you can put your leg behind your head, or lick your own ass.
Yoga doesn’t care if you know what Ujjayi breath is.
Yoga doesn’t care if you smoke cigarettes, and drink whisky.
Yoga doesn’t care if you need to leave class halfway through because you’re dehydrated and need to get water.
Yoga doesn’t care if you have a man bun.
Yoga doesn’t care if your monkey mind takes over.
Yoga doesn’t care how old you are, the color of your hair doesn’t affect your practice.
Yoga doesn’t care if you juice or cleanse.
Yoga doesn’t care if you shake the entire 60 minutes.
Yoga doesn’t care if you only feel comfortable doing yoga in Mexico.
Yoga doesn’t care if you spend the entire class in child’s pose.
Yoga doesn’t care what political party you vote for.
Yoga doesn’t care if you are single or divorced.
Yoga doesn’t care if you like Rumi.
Yoga doesn’t care if you like your teacher.
Yoga doesn’t care if you complete a 30 day challenge.
Yoga doesn’t care what version of wheel you go up into.
Yoga doesn’t care if you shop at whole foods.
Yoga doesn’t care if you remember to shave your armpits.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Private Yoga Clients: What You Need to Know.

I meet a lot of yoga teachers who are teaching private yoga sessions in a way very similar to a group-led class and frankly, they're missing the mark. In a one-on-one session, teachers have an incredible opportunity to deliver a truly potent experience to their client. A lot of pieces tie into being able to deliver customizable and uniquely catered-to-the-client sessions - and usually, we’re taught none of them in our 200- and 500-hour trainings.
Being able to deliver individualized private yoga lessons initially and sustainably has a lot to do with your intake and assessment of your new client. This creates a process which you'll consistently evaluate, gauging the needs and progress of your clients and meeting them exactly where they are in their process.

Establish a robust initial intake assessment.

The first time you meet with a client, you want to have a system for making an initial assessment of a few key things, including:
• Moving through their range of motion
• Discussing their personal desires and intentions
• Defining objectives and units of measurement
• Discussing their health history and physical mobility
• Exploring their lifestyle, energetics and other quality-of-life factors
• Asking questions that explore their personality
Having an initial assessment that allows you to identify areas to focus on is essential to creating a home practice and sequence that is catered to their needs and conceived to amplify their growth.

Create the space for a consistent conversation.

One of best parts of private yoga lessons is the element of connection. You can truly connect with your clients on a personal level and open the door for cultivating conversations that will aid you in deepening the yogic experience you can provide. Set up boundaries around your conversations (but keep them focused and professional), and cultivate a dialogue that allows you to continue to explore their experiences and their needs.

Curate a system to write, revisit and revise.

Creating a system that allows you to record your clients' initial assessment and progress is key. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you do need some documentation for your own records and for revisiting. Periodically, come back to the intake and allow this to inform your occasional re-evaluations, taking into account the work that you’ve done together up to that point and the progress. Then, don’t be afraid to revise.
A personal yoga practice is a very fluid thing – it is constantly changing as the yogi does. Don't hesitate to modify the sequence or plan you're following, especially when you're doing so directly in response to the measurement you’ve taken with your client.
What elements are you already using to evaluate your private yoga clients? What aspects do you plan to adopt?

6 Healing Sounds!

Six healing sounds

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Yoga & Ayurveda - Siblings!

Yoga and ayurveda are inseparable sisters. Both originate as part of a greater system of Vedic knowledge (what I would call as the nurturing mother). Yoga originates in the Yajur Veda, while Ayurveda originates in the Atharva Veda and RigVeda.

Both yoga and ayurveda are based upon the principles of trigunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) and the panchamahabuthas(earth, air, fire, water, space). Yoga and ayurveda also encompass an understanding of how the body works (Dosha-Dhatu-Mala/humor-tissue-waste material theory) and the effect that food and medicines have on the body (Rasa-Veerya-Vipaka/taste-energy-post digestive effect concept).

Both of these sciences have eight branches: Ashtanga yoga and Ashtanga ayurveda. The two have a common understanding of health of the body being dependent on the health and balance of the mind. They share virtually the same metaphysical anatomy and physiology, which consists of 72,000 nadis (subtle channels), seven main chakras (energy centers), five bodily sheaths and the kundalini shakti (energy).

In treatment, both yoga and ayurveda advocate for the regular practice of pranayama and meditation as well as the use of herbs, body purification procedures, food and chanting of mantras for physical and mental health. In yoga, the body purification procedures have been explained as ‘Satkriyas’ whereas in ayurveda they are known as ‘Panchakarma’.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Common Shoulder Problems...

What Are the Parts of the Shoulder?

Structure of the Shoulder
The shoulder joint is made up of bones held in place by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Tendons are tough cords of tissue that hold the shoulder muscles to bones. They help the muscles move the shoulder. Ligaments hold the three shoulder bones to each other and help make the shoulder joint stable.

Who Gets Shoulder Problems?

Men, women, and children can have shoulder problems. They occur in people of all races and ethnic backgrounds.

What Causes Shoulder Problems?

Many shoulder problems are caused by the breakdown of soft tissues in the shoulder region. Using the shoulder too much can cause the soft tissue to break down faster as people get older. Doing manual labor and playing sports may cause shoulder problems.
Shoulder pain may be felt in one small spot, in a larger area, or down the arm. Pain that travels along nerves to the shoulder can be caused by diseases such as:
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Disease of the spine in the neck.

How Are Shoulder Problems Diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose shoulder problems by using:
  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Tests such as x rays, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How Are Shoulder Problems Treated?

Shoulder problems are most often first treated with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation):
  • Rest. Don’t use the shoulder for 48 hours.
  • Ice. Put an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes, four to eight times per day. Use a cold pack, ice bag, or a plastic bag filled with crushed ice wrapped in a towel.
  • Compression. Put even pressure (compression) on the painful area to help reduce the swelling. A wrap or bandage will help hold the shoulder in place.
  • Elevation. Keep the injured area above the level of the heart. A pillow under the shoulder will help keep it up.
If pain and stiffness persist, see a doctor to diagnose and treat the problem.

What Are the Most Common Shoulder Problems?

The most common shoulder problems are:
  • Dislocation
  • Separation
  • Rotator cuff disease
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Fracture
  • Arthritis.
The symptoms and treatment of shoulder problems vary, depending on the type of problem.


Dislocation occurs when the ball at the top of the bone in the upper arm pops out of the socket. It can happen if the shoulder is twisted or pulled very hard.
To treat a dislocation, a doctor performs a procedure to push the ball of the upper arm back into the socket. Further treatment may include:
  • Wearing a sling or device to keep the shoulder in place
  • Rest
  • Ice three or four times a day
  • Exercise to improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and prevent injury.
Once a shoulder is dislocated, it may happen again. This is common in young, active people. If the dislocation injures tissues or nerves around the shoulder, surgery may be needed.


A shoulder separation occurs when the ligaments between the collarbone and the shoulder blade are torn. The injury is most often caused by a blow to the shoulder or by falling on an outstretched hand.
Treatment for a shoulder separation includes:
  • Rest
  • A sling to keep the shoulder in place
  • Ice to relieve pain and swelling
  • Exercise, after a time of rest
  • Surgery if tears are severe.

Rotator Cuff Disease: Tendinitis and Bursitis

In tendinitis of the shoulder, tendons become inflamed (red, sore, and swollen) from being pinched by parts around the shoulder.
Bursitis occurs when the bursa—a small fluid-filled sac that helps protect the shoulder joint—is inflamed. Bursitis is sometimes caused by disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is also caused by playing sports that overuse the shoulder or by jobs with frequent overhead reaching.
Tendinitis and bursitis may occur alone or at the same time. Treatment for tendinitis and bursitis includes:
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen that reduce pain and swelling
  • Ultrasound (gentle sound-wave vibrations) to warm deep tissues and improve blood flow
  • Gentle stretching and exercises to build strength
  • Injection of corticosteroid drug if the shoulder does not get better
  • Surgery if the shoulder does not get better after 6 to 12 months.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator cuff tendons can become inflamed from frequent use or aging. Sometimes they are injured from a fall on an outstretched hand. Sports or jobs with repeated overhead motion can also damage the rotator cuff. Aging causes tendons to wear down, which can lead to a tear. Some tears are not painful, but others can be very painful.
Treatment for a torn rotator cuff depends on age, health, how severe the injury is, and how long the person has had the torn rotator cuff. Treatment for torn rotator cuff includes:
  • Rest
  • Heat or cold to the sore area
  • Medicines that reduce pain and swelling
  • Electrical stimulation of muscles and nerves
  • Ultrasound
  • Cortisone injection
  • Exercise to improve range-of-motion, strength, and function
  • Surgery if the tear does not improve with other treatments.

Frozen Shoulder

Movement of the shoulder is very restricted in people with a frozen shoulder. Causes of frozen shoulder are:
  • Lack of use due to chronic pain.
  • Rheumatic disease that is getting worse.
  • Bands of tissue that grow in the joint and restrict motion.
  • Lack of the fluid that helps the shoulder joint move.
Treatment for frozen shoulder includes:
  • Medicines to reduce pain and swelling
  • Heat
  • Gentle stretching exercise
  • Electrical stimulation of muscles and nerves
  • Cortisone injection
  • Surgery if the shoulder does not improve with other treatments.


A fracture is a crack through part or all of a bone. In the shoulder, a fracture usually involves the collarbone or upper arm bone. Fractures are often caused by a fall or blow to the shoulder.
Treatment for a fracture may include:
  • A doctor putting the bones into a position that will promote healing.
  • A sling or other device to keep the bones in place.
  • After the bone heals, exercise to strengthen the shoulder and restore movement.
  • Surgery.

Arthritis of the Shoulder

Arthritis can be one of two types:
  • Osteoarthritis—a disease caused by wear and tear of the cartilage.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis—an autoimmune disease causing one or more joints to become inflamed.
Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is often treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. People with rheumatoid arthritis may need physical therapy and medicine such as corticosteroids.
If these treatments for arthritis of the shoulder don’t relieve pain or improve function, surgery may be needed.
src:  National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) 

b Comfortable!


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Crescent (high lunge)

What Is a Dosha?

What Is a Dosha?

Just as every snowflake is unique in shape and form, every human has their own blueprint. It’s like a map of the body that’s made up of an infinite variety of shapes, behaviors, emotions, and appearances.

In Ayurveda, the five elements that are found in all living things—ether, air, fire, water, and earth—are the building blocks of life. While this foundation unites all humans, the manifestation of those elements through the doshas is what gives rise to our differences. How the three doshas appear, and in what proportion, is what makes each of us unique.

The 3 Doshas:

The fiery and intense Pitta type may enjoy the occasional power trip. She will devour a mountain of food with ravenous hunger and yet be ready to eat again when it comes to the next meal.

In contrast, a delicate Vata can never seem to get warm. She will nibble, snack, and graze her way through the day, and she may feel the need to rest often. She’s also inclined to talk about a number of diverse subjects, probably repeating herself more than once.

The contented Kapha type may, with great deliberation, consume three pieces of cake. She will spend quality time curled up on a couch making phone calls to loved ones with uplifting, motherly advice.

The role the doshas play is a dynamic one, constantly changing in response to weather, conditions, and stress. The habits—good or bad—that you create are manifestations of your dosha. You may be inclined to go a bit overboard on ice cream, spend too much time talking on the phone late at night, or neglect sleep when you need it most.

Whatever your habits, they all result in a shift in your make-up which could lead to the beginnings of disease if you don’t balance yourself with care and a healthy diet.

Getting to know and appreciate your dosha is key to knowing yourself. It provides clues for what you should eat and what things you should address when your energy gets out of whack. The more you know about what may cause certain reactions or tendencies, the easier it will be to balance them.

by: Chef Johnny Brannigan