Category Archives: Teach

Even Seane Corn Had an Awkward First Yoga Class

In her new book, Revolution of the Soul, social activist and yoga teacher Seane Corn details how ill and awkward she felt during her first yoga class and what kept her going back for more.

Seane Corn

After hearing about yoga for years and witnessing the changes it made in David Life, owner of Life Café in New York City, where I waitressed, and Sharon Gannon, the head waitress, I’d decided to see for myself what the hoopla was about. I’d come to Integral Yoga, where everyone dressed in white and everything was absolutely pristine. Except for me. I looked down at my gray sweatpants, grease stains on the thighs from where I had wiped my hands after working on my motorcycle. I hadn’t showered and knew without a doubt that black eyeliner and mascara lay smeared under my eyes. I was a bit of a mess.

I was told to sign in and remove my shoes, so I kicked off my black-leather Screaming Mimi combat boots and tossed them toward the rest of the shoes on the floor, but I left my socks on. Going barefoot in a public place that wasn’t a park or beach kinda grossed me out, plus I often cut and peeled the skin off my big toes and heels when I was anxious and I didn’t want anyone to see that.

The woman behind the counter, also wearing white, looked calm and sweet. I noticed, when she raised her arm to reach for something, that she had a thick patch of armpit hair. I wondered if Sharon shaved her pits. Note to self: Stop shaving, buy something white and… take a bath.

See also How to Change Your Life With Yoga

Now, Yoga

The woman behind the desk announces it is time for …

Nicole Cardoza Is Changing the Face of Wellness

Nicole Cardoza is making the world a little bit nicer by bringing yoga to kids in schools and altering the face of wellness.

Nicole Cardoza

Imagine if all playground disputes were dissolved by group meditation and breath work. What if students could coach themselves and others through the stress of a big test with mindfulness techniques? How many fewer road-rage incidents and hostile Twitter rants would there be if elementary schools gave kids the tools to manage their emotions—to be kinder, wiser, more mindful, well-adjusted people—from the start?

That’s the environment Nicole Cardoza is cultivating through her nonprofit Yoga Foster, bringing yoga into elementary schools by offering teachers the training, lesson plans, and resources they need to practice with their students—many of whom come from low-income families and struggle with grown-up problems like hunger and sleep deprivation. “Yoga is a practice of self-inquiry,” Cardoza says. “And that’s not something that’s often taught to children or in schools.” But hopefully that will change. In just five years, more than 60,000 students in 2,500 classrooms across the United States have benefited from Yoga Foster—improving flexibility, strength, coordination, and concentration, and instilling a sense of calmness and relaxation.

“I love the idea of making yoga equitable and accessible from the get-go,” says the 30-year-old social entrepreneur, “so it isn’t introduced to future generations as something exclusive that comes with privilege—something that only certain people with certain bodies and financial capacities are able to practice.” Kids who take up yoga are much more wellness-conscious as they grow, she says: “They can then continue to advocate to make sure the practice remains as accessible as it was when they were in school and they did it between recess and reading in the …

8 Yoga-Teacher Led Service Orgs to Pay Attention to Right Now

These yoga teachers are using their platforms to give back to the community in necessary and inspiring ways.

The yoga community has no shortage of selfless souls dedicated to doing good work—after all, being of service is what yoga’s all about. And while we’re the first to throw appreciation toward the stellar work being done by the Giveback Yoga Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, and the Yoga Service Council, we’re here cheering on the underdogs, too. Here are six up-and-coming yoga-teacher founded organizations that are on our radar—and we think should be on yours, too.

1. Desmond’s Friends

Yoga teacher Megan Vandyke created Desmond’s Friends after losing her son just two hours after giving birth. The fundraiser initially set out to raise enough money to donate another CuddleCot—a cooling system that allowed Desmond to remain with Vandyke and her husband in the hospital for three days rather than immediately being taken to a mortuary—to their local hospital in Murfreesboro Tennessee. “In the US, there are more than 23,000 infant deaths a year—about 6 out of every 1,000 live births, which does not even account for stillbirths,” Vandyke wrote on her GoFundMe page. “[The Cuddle Cot] is about giving parents choices and reassuring them that they can spend time with their baby.” Since reaching their goal for the first Cuddle Cot in July, the couple have set out to establish an official nonprofit to continue their work helping other parents facing heartbreaking loss.

2. Embody Love Movement

Motivated to empower girls and women to love themselves and evoke positive change in the world, the Embody Love Movement spearheads initiatives such as awareness campaigns for school kids that support positive self-talk and non-judgmental attitudes, self-love transformational workshops to teardown media-perpetuated myths and bolster self-worth and purpose, and a summer camp where …

Spine Anatomy: How to Prevent and Alleviate Back Pain

Don’t miss these strategies for supporting spinal health and keeping pain at bay.

Vertebral column

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people, according to the National Institutes of Health. The good news? Yoga-based therapeutics are affordable and accessible ways to alleviate and prevent back pain—acute or chronic—by improving the quality of your movements and by helping the left, right, front, and back sides of your body work together in a balanced way, on and off the mat.

First, it’s critical to understand good posture and put it to use; poor posture often leads to back pain. You can figure out if your vertebral column and pelvis are neutral—critical to good posture—by using several benchmarks. To learn, let’s look at Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

  • The vertebral column is most stable when aligned in its normal curves. Generally speaking, and in relation to the front of the body, the neck and low back display concave curves (lordosis), while the upper and middle back together display a convex curve (kyphosis), as does the sacrum.
     
  • The sacrum is a curved, bumpy bone that angles in toward the body at about 30 degrees, beginning at L5/S1; it does not point straight down. 
  • The pelvic rim, or iliac crest, which marks the top of the pelvis, is fairly level. 
  • The plumb line runs from the center of the ear opening (external auditory meatus), through the shoulder, outer hip (greater trochanter), outer knee, and outer ankle (lateral malleolus). 
  • The cavities (“open” spaces) of your pelvis, belly, chest, and head feel balanced in relation to each other. 

See also Anatomy of the Spine

Once you understand proper posture, consider two key questions during asana practice: Does a body part need space? Does a body part need support? …

Mercury Retrograde Is Here During the Midst of Eclipse Season—These Six Yogis Will Help You Get Through The Chaos


These six yogis you should follow will help you stay in alignment with the stars during this chaotic time.

Mercury Retrograde went into full effect July 7 and will be lingering around until July 31. While Mercury RX is usually doted as a time to avoid contractual agreements and long term commitments, is responsible for tech glitches and malfunctions, and is seen as a time that will wreck havoc over our lives, this is actually a great time for an inward journey and deep self-reflection. These six yogis you should follow will help you stay in alignment with the stars during this chaotic time. 

View the original article to see embedded media.

1. Nina Yoga

“Cancer month, dig down in your roots! Cancer is the sign that connects us with our roots, our family and culture. now wonder why my consciousness got me there. Every person has a family tree, know it or not.Mine is very colorful, with different cultures and races interconnected in one body now. The richer the tree, the richer the personality I believe.

This month is an opportunity for us to know what makes us feel connected, belong and be part of s family, cause that’s what’s coming with LEO next. Out Identity. Family is the pre-set for us to create our personality and identity.

In order to go through that process of “becoming” & “to be who we are” fully and completely, we have to do a bit of work. First deconstruct yourself, start digging deep down inside. Learn who you are. You’ll find that you are not alone, you come from a family, a tree… so how is that tree? Is it healthy ? is it sick? Once we figure that out , then ask the same about culture. It represents me? not? Do …

How The Transformation Yoga Project is Helping Prisoners Find Peace

Transformation Yoga Project leads trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness classes in Philadelphia addiction treatment centers and prisons.

Eastern State

In 2009, Mike Huggins pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for the off-label promotion of a medical device at a division of the company he worked for. As he awaited sentencing, he turned to his yoga practice—which he’d started years earlier—to mentally prepare for prison. He attended a workshop held by the nonprofit Street Yoga, which teaches trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness practices to youth. “The idea of yoga for trauma was a game-changer for me,” he says. By the end of 2011, when a judge sentenced him to nine months, he was a certified yoga teacher with a new mindset. “I was committed to using prison as an opportunity to explore yoga off the mat,” he says.

At the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia where Huggins was first incarcerated, inmates were periodically allowed to leave their cells and spend time in a common area, where some chose to work out. During those times, Huggins did yoga. Other men noticed and asked him to teach them. That led to guided meditations and talks about violence and the men’s anger, frustration, and shame over the crimes they’d committed.

Inspired by how quickly a yoga community formed, Huggins continued teaching yoga to inmates after being transferred to a minimum-security prison five weeks later. “After our practice, we’d discuss the techniques and tools, such as breathwork and meditation, that could support us in living a full life while incarcerated and navigating the challenges of the reentry process,” he says. He also trained five men to continue his work after his release in 2012.

See also How Yoga Offered a Former Inmate a Second Chance to Serve His Community

After being released, Huggins continued to study how yoga …

Yoga Alliance to Require Tests in 200-Hour Teacher Trainings, More Credentials for Lead Trainers

There are new standards for registered yoga schools and teachers. Learn what’s changing.

Learn more about the teacher-training tests here. 

Yoga Alliance updated its requirements for 200-hour yoga teacher trainings today, marking the first comprehensive overhaul of its standards for yoga schools and teachers since the organization’s inception in 1999. The updates, which go into effect after February 1, 2020, include mandatory tests for students, required completion of an online course on equity in yoga, and more training and years spent teaching to qualify as a lead trainer.

These additions follow an 18-month standards-review project by Yoga Alliance that included surveys completed by more than 12,000 respondents, recommendation papers from eight working groups, and virtual town halls.

“We heard loud and clear from the community that people are ready for Yoga Alliance to do the work necessary to up-level and then uphold the standards that underlie the credential,” says Shannon Roche, president and CEO of Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation. “We wanted to make the credential mean more but not overstep into a space the community is not ready for us to go.”

Yoga Alliance is also dropping the terms “contact” (with a faculty member) and “non-contact” hours (not in the presence of a faculty member) and instead making all 200 hours in classroom and tied to a newly defined core curriculum. The organization is also allowing up to 40 of those hours to be completed online in a virtual classroom. The remaining 160 hours must be in-person. 

See also A Yogi’s Guide to Evaluating Teacher Training Programs

While these changes target the 200-hour registered yoga schools (RYS 200) and 200-hour registered yoga teachers (RYT 200), expect future updates to the 300-hour and 500-hour trainings to be announced in June 2020, according to Yoga Alliance.

Here, four …