Category Archives: Wisdom

3 Tips for Teachers: How to Thread Yoga Philosophy Into Your Classes


Elevate the practice for your students, so they find purpose and meaning beyond the physical plane.

So, you’ve been studying yoga philosophy for some time, and maybe it has dramatically contributed to your personal growth. Now you’d like to introduce a few rich teachings into your own classes so your students can also find more meaning and purpose on (and off) the mat. But how can you integrate yoga wisdom into your classes with authenticity and grace? 

In this video, Rina Jakubowicz—yoga teacher, author of The Yoga Mind: 52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen Your Practice, and creator of a new class series, Empowered Vinyasa—shares her three-step system for threading spiritual philosophy into your asana classes. Don’t forget: Being a dedicated student comes first…  

Feel like you’ve lost your sense of Self in the noise of social media or societal expectations? It’s time to get on the mat and reclaim who you are. Join author and yoga teacher Rina Jakubowicz for Empowered Vinyasa: Journey to Your Highest Self, a series of 10 yoga classes and companion dharma talks that zero in on principles of yoga philosophy—from The Bhagavad Gita and the Hindu spiritual tradition Vedanta—that are essential to self-exploration. Plus, if you’re a teacher, you’ll observe how Rina seamlessly integrates yoga philosophy into her asana classes. Sign up today! 

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Find Refuge from an Overwhelming World

Our on-the-go culture places value on striving, but if you don’t accept who you are, you’re cheating yourself out of health, happiness, and feeling whole. Here, learn how to find refuge from judgment. (Hint: It’s closer than you think.)

When you were growing up, I bet you had a special place of refuge you could go to for comfort. I had a favorite swing in my backyard that I would settle into when I felt the need for solitude. There, I found sanctuary in the fluid act of swaying back and forth, the cool breeze on my face as I floated through the air—up and down, back and forth.

When we take up the practice of yoga, becoming deliberately self-reflective, it eventually becomes apparent that taking refuge—from busyness and stress—is not about running away, but rather it is about deciding what you want to move toward. Refuge is not dependent upon a location at all. Rather, it is actually an intention we can choose. What do I mean? We can always opt to focus on that part of ourselves that is not made of thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations. We can choose to focus on that space behind our thoughts—on the silence from which we observe ourselves and the world and the space that we keep forgetting to notice.

See also An Intention-Setting Practice to Nourish the Soul

When you stepped on the mat in the first days of your yoga practice, you were likely still associating refuge with a specific place: the mat or the meditation cushion. Many practitioners believe that the sense of stillness they feel from their yoga is something that must come from what they have done rather than from who they are.

But Patanjali writes in his most famous Yoga Sutra (1:2): “Yoga is …

Cultivate Contentment with a Simple Leg-Balancing Practice


Always striving to be somewhere other than where you are right now? Give this a try.

If there’s one powerful concept in yoga philosophy that can save you a lot of strife, it’s developing a sense of santosha (contentment). After all, if you’re constantly dissatisfied with yourself or with progress in your personal journey, it can spur negative emotions that cloud the things you can be grateful for and darn proud of. But it’s one thing to understand the idea of santosha and quite another to live it. 

Well, Rina Jakubowicz—yoga teacher, author of The Yoga Mind: 52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen Your Practice, and creator of a new class series, Empowered Vinyasa—is here to the rescue. But you’ll have to put in a little work. 

In this video, Rina shares a simple leg-balancing practice that can provoke frustration—and that’s definitely the point! She’ll guide you through working with those feelings to find contentment, even when your outcome (on and off the mat) isn’t exactly what you originally desired. 

Feel like you’ve lost your sense of Self in the noise of social media or societal expectations? It’s time to get on the mat and reclaim who you are. Join author and yoga teacher Rina Jakubowicz for Empowered Vinyasa: Journey to Your Highest Self, a series of 10 yoga classes and companion dharma talks that zero in on principles of yoga philosophy—from The Bhagavad Gita and the Hindu spiritual tradition Vedanta—that are essential to self-exploration. Sign up today!

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Try This Meditation to Learn How to Witness (Not React to) Your Thoughts


You’ll need a pen and paper for this stream-of-consciousness practice.

Ever notice how easy it is to allow your mind to whisk you away from the present moment? Indulge in one little pesky insecurity, and, suddenly, you’re down and out in funk town. Well, there’s an antidote for that. In yoga philosophy, sakshi (witness) is the ability to notice your thoughts without identifying (or reacting) to them. Strengthening your inner observer will help you see thoughts—and situations—as they truly are without piling on assumptions that can result in an emotional tailspin. (Yeah, we’ve been there, too.) 

If you want to cultivate your sakshi, there’s a simple practice you can try. In this video, Rina Jakubowicz—yoga teacher, author of The Yoga Mind: 52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen Your Practice, and creator of a new class series, Empowered Vinyasa—leads you through a short stream-of-consciousness meditation to train yourself to track your thoughts without getting too attached. (You’ll need a pen and paper!)

Feel like you’ve lost your sense of Self in the noise of social media or societal expectations? It’s time to get on the mat and reclaim who you are. Join author and yoga teacher Rina Jakubowicz for Empowered Vinyasa: Journey to Your Highest Self, a series of 10 yoga classes and companion dharma talks that zero in on principles of yoga philosophy—from The Bhagavad Gita and the Hindu spiritual tradition Vedanta—that are essential to self-exploration. Sign up today!

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Boost Bliss (& Loosen Your Hips!) with This Restorative Gomukasana

It’s the perfect release following an energetic yoga practice.

Craving change but feeling too stuck, sluggish, or restless to take aim? Join John Douillard, founder of LifeSpa.com, and Larissa Hall Carlson, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, for Ayurveda 201: Six Weeks to Transformation and Bliss Through Ayurvedic Psychology. In this new online course, you’ll experience: unique yoga practices; inspiring discussions backed by science; and recipes, herbs, and a short, gentle cleanse. Sign up today!

After an energizing yoga flow, there’s one restorative pose that can help you boost harmony and bliss. (In Ayurveda, this easeful quality is called sattva.) This supported, supine variation of Gomukasana (Cow Face Pose) provides deep rest by elevating the legs and loosening tight hips. This soothing inertia rejuvenates!

See also 6 Bonus Sattva-Boosting Tips

You’ll need the following props: 2 blocks, 1 bolster, 1 blanket, and an eye pillow

Instructions

  • Place a block in the highest position about 6 inches from the bottom of your mat. From there place another block in the second-highest position about 6 inches up the mat.
  • Drape a bolster over the blocks to make a ramp for your legs.
  • Place folded blanket (and any additional supportive props you need) on the top half of the mat. 
  • Lay yourself down on the blanket with your knees pulled into your chest, placing your buttocks close to the bottom of the bolster ramp. 
  • Mindfully lengthen your left leg, crossing it to the right and placing your thigh on the bolster. Cross your right leg over y left thigh. 
  • Even out the weight in your hips and let both feet hang. 
  • Comfortably position your eye pillow, then broaden your shoulders and rest your hands on your belly. 
  • Hold for 1-3 minutes. Then reverse your leg crossing for another 1-3 minutes. 
  • Rest and renew!

See also:

Overcoming Past Trauma to Create a New Future

Yoga teacher Tatiana Forero Puerta, author of Yoga for the Wounded Heart, shares what she’s learned about trauma, clearing emotional patterns, and finding a vision for the future.

Tatiana Forero Puerta

If at the age of 20 you would’ve asked me to imagine my life 15 years in the future, I wouldn’t have been able to give you an answer. I couldn’t see my life in those terms. When I looked into my future then, I simply saw a field of blackness; my potential was not just obfuscated—it was inaccessible. This is what trauma does: It blinds us. One of the effects of deep suffering, especially during childhood, is that it can rob us of our vision.

I lost my father back in my homeland of Bogotá, Colombia, when I was eight years old. The last time I saw him, he knelt at the doorstep of our apartment and gave me a tight squeeze, consoling me as I cried. He assured me he would be back from his business trip in three days’ time, but on his way home his car was hit head-on by a drunk driver. My father and three of his co-workers lost their lives that night. He was 36.

The last time I saw my mother, I was 14. I held her and stroked her balding head, and when I kissed it, I remember feeling as though I were kissing a baby’s head; it was so soft, so innocent. My mother, emaciated and childlike after a short, brutal battle with pancreatic cancer, took her last breaths in my arms. She was 40.

See also A Yoga Therapist Shares The Truth About Trauma

Facing Childhood as an Orphan

After my parents’ shocking and premature deaths, I was transferred to a foster home where the child abuse …

Focused Vinyasa: A Strength Drill to Remake Your Wheel Pose


Build strength to transform your backbend.

Sometimes you need to step out of your flow, break your goal pose down to its key actions and body parts, and focus on those for a while. If you do, we promise that when you build that pose back up again, it’ll be an entirely different experience. Here, Irene Pappas teaches a drill that will transform your Wheel Pose. Don’t forget to warm up first!

Want to up-level your flow? In Focused Vinyasa: 11 Fresh Sequences and Drills to Advance Your Practice, Irene Pappas, cofounder of Bodhi Yoga Boulder, hits pause at key teaching moments in your vinyasa to break challenging poses down into moves you can practice and master. Learn more and sign up today!

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