Five Fantastic Outdoor Yoga Classes in Bend, Oregon You Should Try This Summer!

Summer is finally here! Which means it’s time for outdoor yoga classes. This is the first summer that I have seen tons of outdoor yoga classes in Bend… seriously, you can practice yoga outside every day of the week. How do you even choose which ones to attend?

free yoga class Bend Oregon at Deschutes Brewery

1. Deschutes Brewery Yoga on the Lawn with Wild Thing Yoga; FREE

Every Sunday 10:30-11: 30 am (rain or shine) NEW TIME: 9:30 – 10:30 am

This is my favorite class of the outdoor yoga classes in Bend. Every Sunday, tons of Bend yogis gather for a yoga session on the lawn. Helen, owner of Wild Thing Yoga, teaches a super fun, truly all levels vinyasa yoga class. There are plenty of opportunities to play on your hands or simply stretch it out. The lawn is also surrounded by a wildflower-covered hill (perfect for those Instagram pics!). After class, you can hang out on the hill with a can of Deschutes beer and chillout with Bend’s awesome yoga community. It’s pretty rad. You can usually catch me here on a Sunday morning– usually practicing, but occasionally teaching.

Location: 901 SW Simpson Ave, Bend, OR 97702 (this is the address to the Brewery) — Yoga class is on the lawn behind the brewery off of Shevlin-Hixon Road.

outdoor yoga classes in Bend Oregon

2. Lara House Bed & Breakfast with Wild Thing Yoga‘s instructors; $5-$10

Every day of the week except Wednesdays from 9:30-10: 30 am

Lara House is a super cute B&B owned by a mother-daughter team. It was built in the early 1900s and still has that original charm. Lara House has a giant lawn surrounded by huge, gorgeous trees and rhododendrons… it’s also right across from Drake Park and the Deschutes River. It’s a new favorite of Bend downtown locals and tourists alike. After your outdoor yoga class, you can head over to Drake Park or walk back downtown and grab a coffee at Crows Feet Commons or the Looney Bean. On July 6th there will be a FREE yoga class at 5:30 pm taught by myself and Helen for First Friday. Happy hour to follow.

Location: 640 NW Congress St, Bend, OR 97703

silent disco yoga classes Bend Oregon

3. Silent Disco Outdoor Yoga at Millers Landing; $20-$25

Sundays 9:00-10:30 am

Leanna Schweitzer and Wren and Wild have paired up to offer a fun Sunday morning flow at Millers Landing. Noise canceling headphones + groovy jams and sunshine by the river. It’s a great opportunity to try Silent Disco yoga in a beautiful low key setting. I loved the DJ’s playlist and Leanne’s class was awesome, as always. After class, go grab brunch at Jackson’s Corner… get their Portobello breakfast and a bloody mary. YUM!

Location: 80 NW Riverside Blvd, Bend, OR 97701

outdoor yoga classes Bend Oregon

4. Loge Entrada; $5-$10

Fridays at 5:30 pm; Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00-10:00am

If you remember the old school Entrada Lodge and it’s old school vibe you will love that the new owners are keeping that old school nostalgic vibe, but making it super cool! They’ve added fire pits, string lights, daily yoga, bike rentals and more. Loge Entrada offers yoga every day of the week for guests and locals alike. Their outdoor yoga class is on their side lawn near the stage. Grab a yoga class and then hang out for a beer, movie, or live music. Occasionally there are even beginner friendly mountain bike rides after the Wednesday evening classes… contact Loge Entrada or Wild Thing Yoga for the details.

Location: 19221 SW Century Dr, Bend, OR 97702

outdoor yoga classes bend, oregon

5. Yoga On The Pond at Bend Brewing Company; FREE

Sundays 10-11am (2 x month June-August)

Another great outdoor yoga class offered by the Deschutes River. Bend Brewing Company, or BBC as the locals call it, opens right after class, so you can grab a beer or a bite and chill by the river and enjoy your post-yoga glow. Class is taught by Kayla Heuton. Kayla teaches an all-levels vinyasa style class… well-behaved dogs and children are welcome!

Location: 1019 NW Brooks St, Bend, OR 97701

 

Outdoor Yoga Events

Athleta | Free Yoga With An Athleta Ambassador | July 7, 2018

Athleta offers free yoga classes… sometimes in the store and sometimes outdoors. Here is a link to their July 7th class.

Bend Beer Yoga | Saving Grace Fundraiser | July 8, 2018

Bend Beer Yoga offers outdoor classes in Bend at local breweries, Crows Feet Commons, local guesthouses and hostels. Check out their website for upcoming events… this is a great opportunity to convince your non-yogi friends to give yoga a shot!

Yoga + Beer Bend, Oregon Retreat | August 15-19, 2018

Mikki Trowbridge leads a yoga and beer retreat here in Bend. She gets a great turn out and I can only imagine it’s a ton of fun.

End of Summer FREE Yoga at Les Schwab Amphitheater | August 30, 2018

Helen Cloots of Wild Thing Yoga will be packing the lawn at Les Schwab. Don’t miss out!

Yoga Poses for Better Foot Health

The feet tend to take a lot of abuse and they almost never get a day off as most people are always on their feet whether they are working or playing. While keeping active is always a good thing, it can leave you with achy and sore feet. But, if you are a fan of yoga, you should know that there are some poses that can be very useful in keeping your feet healthy so that they can withstand the almost constant abuse.

yoga poses for better foot health tree pose

Some of the best yoga poses for better foot health include the following five.

#1 Mountain Pose-Tadasana

If you are going to do any standing yoga pose, mountain pose is always going to be your foundation. However, it is also a helpful pose for your feet as it helps improve balance, focus and your general posture. Healthy posture is vital for foot health as it reduces irritation and inflammation of the foot muscles and joints. Mountain pose helps you focus on your posture and stance which in turn ensures you are more aware of your standing habits to minimize the pressure on certain parts of the foot which tend to be the most problematic such as the heels.

How to do it:

* Start by standing with your feet parallel and about hip-width apart.

* Spread your toes apart and then distribute your weight evenly across both feet.

* Make sure that you do not lean forward or backward as you apply even pressure on all four corners of each foot.

* Keep your legs straight but not locked and make sure that your hips are aligned with the ankles.

* Breathe in deeply and then stretch the spine towards the ceiling with the arms at your side.

* Hold the pose for about 3 minutes and try to focus on both maintaining the correct position and your steady breath.

#2 Tree Pose-Vrksasana

Tree pose is a classic yoga pose that will help to improve your balance and the distribution of weight across your feet. This pose will entail transferring weight from one foot to the other which in the long run will improve your balance. Also, the weight transfer will help to stretch the micro muscles around the shin and foot.

How to do it:

* Start by coming into mountain pose.

* Slowly shift your body weight to the left foot, bend your right knee and then use your right hand to bring the sole of your right foot to your inner thigh, calf, or ankle.

* While in tree pose, keep your pelvis centered and parallel to the floor and your back straight.

* Bring both your hands in front and together to form anjali mudra (prayer hands). Lift your hands above your head to come into the full expression of the pose.

* Hold the position for at least 10 seconds and then release before repeating for the other foot.

#3 Warrior 1 Pose-Virabhadrasana 1

Warrior 1 or Virabhadrasana 1 in Sanskrit is also a classic yoga pose that can come with numerous health benefits for the feet. This pose is all about stretching your feet and strengthening the foot muscles but it can also help to reduce heel pain. And it can also help lift flat arches as it targets specific arch muscles to help lift the feet.

How to do it:

* Start in mountain pose.

* Take a long step forward so that your feet are 3-4 feet apart and hips width distance.

* Make sure your body and front foot face forward and turn the back foot 45 degrees to provide some balance.

* Bend your front leg until the front knee is directly above the ankle to form a 90-degree angle.

* Press your back heel and pinky toe edge of your foot into the ground

* Lift your arms straight up. Hold this pose for 30 seconds before switching to the other foot.

#4 Thunderbolt Pose- Vajrasana

When you want to release tension on your feet Thunderbolt Pose is a great option. And this is because it entails sitting on your heels which helps to press into a natural pressure point in the arch.

How to do it:

* Start by kneeling on the floor.

* Bring your knees to touch and press the tops of your feet flat against the floor. Your heels should be as close to one another as possible.

* Now lower the weight of your body onto your heels and then sit with a straight posture and your hands resting on your thighs.

* Hold this posture for about one minute before releasing.

* Finish by stretching your legs out in front of you. Give your legs a little shake or find movement before repeating the routine again.

 

#5 Toes Pose

Toes Pose is a popular Yin Yoga pose that targets the plantar fascia ligament, one of the most problematic ligaments in the foot as it is where the pain that comes from plantar fasciitis originates. This pose aims to stretch, strengthen and elongate the fascia, and in doing all this it helps to keep the soles of the feet in great shape.

How to do it:

* Start by sitting in a kneeling position.

* Next, lift up on the toes (your toes are curled under) with the knees still anchored in front of you and still on the ground.

* Gently let your weight settle back onto your heels and hold this pose for a minute or two.

* Make sure that you breathe calmly and deeply through this pose, and also try to imagine the fascia becoming more flexible and elongated.

Bottom Line

Your feet have to carry a lot of weight every day and so keeping them in good shape is vital not only for their health but also for your overall well-being. And while there are many ways of doing this, yoga poses like the five above are a great starting point.

 

By Patrick Greer

Ayurveda 101: A Healthier, More Vibrant Life with Ayurveda

I’ve been deep diving into living a healthier and more vibrant life. My desire to live the best life possible led me to Cate Stillman’s Body Thrive course. The course is fully rooted in healthy habits and Ayurvedic principles. I’ve been feeling so great, that I committed to doing her twelve month Yoga Health Coaching course (I’m in month one as of May 2018)! This little blog post is simply meant to be an intro to Ayurveda, an Ayurveda 101 if you will. 😉

Ayurveda 101: What is Ayurveda?

ayurveda doshas thriving

Ayurveda is an ancient science that originated during the Vedic era in India, thousands of years ago. When one looks at the Sanskrit roots of the word Ayurveda we see Ayu = life and Veda = science or knowledge, so Ayurveda is literally the science of life. Ayurveda is not just a way to cure disease, it is also a way of life.

Following an Ayurvedic lifestyle leads to overall health, improved immune system function, weight loss/weight maintenance, lowered risk of disease and improved energy. I think we all want more of that!

Ayurveda 101: Ayurveda and Your Whole Being

ayurveda doshas balance

Ayurvedic practitioners take into account the person’s entire being: physical, mental and spiritual. They assess diet, lifestyle, daily habits, imbalances and instances of dis-ease. Ayurvedic practitioners look at your prakriti (or constitution) and your vikruti (current state of imbalance) and work on bringing the patient back into balance by balancing the doshas.

The Ayurvedic College defines “a person’s prakriti [as] the inherent balance of the three doshas at the moment of their creation.” To know a person’s constitution is to know their tendencies. And to know your own prakriti is a way to step into your own power and live a vibrant, healthy dis-ease free life.

Your prakriti, or constitution, is determined by the balance (or imbalance) of your doshas. It is common to have one or two dominant doshas. The three doshas are vata, pitta, and kapha. Each of the doshas has very specific tendencies and are identified by different characteristics of body type, energy, digestion, personality and so much more. Want to find out your dosha? I like the Banyan Botanicals quiz (although they do try to sell you their products). Here is a link to the Banyan Botanicals dosha quiz. I’m Kapha-Pitta, and almost NO VATA!!! I’ve been working on balancing my own doshas and it’s been a fun experiment in self-care.

Your vikruti is your current state of imbalance and is not static. Your vikruti changes at different times of day, seasonally, your stage of life and with lifestyle changes. Would you like to determine your vikruti? Here is a short worksheet from the Ayurveda Institute that you can take.

Once you’ve discovered your prakriti and vikruti, and therefore your dominant dosha(s), you can begin to make lifestyle changes to balance your doshas and thrive. Three easy ways to balance your doshas are to eat a diet to pacify your dominant dosha(s), establish a dinacharya practice, and align your lifestyle with the ayurvedic clock.

Ayurveda 101: Ayurvedic Diet

ayurveda doshas spices

In Ayurveda they have broken down our tastes into six dominant tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Certain tastes increase or decrease the qualities of each dosha.

For example, pitta types typically tend toward hot and oily need to eat foods that are cooling and drying to balance the firey qualities of pitta. They do well with smoothies, fresh and raw foods and should avoid garlic and heating spices. Spicy foods can aggravate pitta and bring it out of balance. Salty, sour, and pungent foods increase pitta, while sweet, bitter and astringent foods pacify pitta.

ayurveda doshas diet

Kapha types who tend toward heaviness will do best with astringent, bitter and pungent foods, while vata types who tend to be light and airy need foods that are warm, rich, and heavy or foods that are characterized by sweet, salty and sour.

You can see here that the Ayurvedic diet is one way to find balance and overall health. Quote by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Ayurveda 101: Dinacharya

ayurveda doshas meditation

Another way to balance your doshas is to establish a dinacharya practice. Dinacharya is a daily routine, specifically a morning routine. The Ayurvedic morning routine begins with rising before the sun and involves a handful of self-care practices. For most of us, we don’t have hours to dedicate to our morning practice, but I’ve found it pretty easy to streamline.

For example, I wake early, sit upright in bed and meditate for a few minutes, I get up and scrape my tongue and brush my teeth, evacuate my bowls, hydrate, walk the dogs, and then hop in the shower. After my shower, I use a little oil to massage my body and joints and then I’m ready to go.

Do I do all of the dinacharya practices? No, but I have it down to a habitual flow and it works wonders. The trick with waking early begins with eating an early dinner and going to bed at a decent time the night before. The beauty of following Ayurvedic practices is that we immediately tune in and honor our body’s natural rhythms.

Ayurveda 101: Aligning With The Ayurvedic Clock and Your Physiology

ayurveda-doshas-exercise

Our 24-hour clock and the doshas are also aligned: certain times of day align with certain doshas, which means that certain tasks are better done at certain times of the day. Here is a simple breakdown of the Ayurvedic clock:

  • 10 pm to 2 am Pitta
    • From 10pm-2am it is possible to get a second wind, want to snack, etc. It’s best to head to bed before 10 pm, so that your second wind doesn’t keep you up later than you intended. This is also the time of organ healing and restoration, so it is best to skip that midnight snack.
  • 2 am to 6 am Vata
    • This is the time where energy is most fluid. This is also the time when many people need to get up for a late night bathroom break. It is best to wake up and start your day before 6 am. This time of day is also characterized by active dreaming and is a time of expansion and awe.
  • 6 am-10 am Kapha
    • The morning hours between 6 am and 10 am are characterized by a steady energy and it is the best time of day to get your daily exercise in.
  • 10 am-2 pm Pitta
    • Digestive fire is the strongest during this time, so it’s recommended to eat your largest meal of the day between 10am and 2pm. This is also the time of greatest productivity.
  • 2 pm-6 pm Vata
    • This is the time to work on projects or do seated tasks and it’s a good time to tackle problems as you may feel both alert and creative. It’s best to eat dinner before 6 pm to allow for proper digestion before bed.
  • 6 pm-10 pm Kapha
    • This is a time of slowing down. It’s a great time to spend with friends and family or to get your daily exercise in.

The amazing thing that happened to me was that my energy improved. I’ve had more energy to do the things I want to do. I’m also more in tune with my body and its needs. Do I need to rest? Do I need to eat? What foods make me feel good and what foods make me feel “blah”. I love it!

 

Over the next few months I will work on sharing more info about Ayurveda, changing your habits and living a healthier life, so if you have questions please ask!

So many blessings to all of you!

Love and Light,

Autumn

Ayurveda doshas

 

The Best Yoga for Better Posture

Does yoga improve posture? The answer is yes! Yoga is great for overall back care and spinal health. The best yoga for better posture includes a full range of motions: forward folding (spinal flexion), backbends (spinal extension), twisting, shoulder opening, hip flexors and hamstring lengthening, and retraining the body to move in better, healthier ways. It is also important to strengthen muscles that have become weakened and/or overstretched.

Posture issues and back pain are often caused by poor biomechanics and muscular imbalances due to habitual patterns of movement (or lack of movement), imbalances of strength and flexibility, injury, and sometimes genetic predisposition.

In this blog post, I will be focusing mostly on gentle yoga stretches for good posture. These good posture exercises help release tension and tightness in the muscles that often become tight, shortened or overstretched when we spend much of our time standing, sitting, or walking with poor posture.

 

1.) Yoga For A Stiff Back: Cat Cow

best-exercises-for-posture-cow-pose

Cow Pose

Cat-Cow is one of the best exercises to improve posture. I include cat-cows in every single yoga class I teach. Why? Because it stretches the postural muscles, encourages the healthy movement of the pelvis and requires the core to gently engage. Cat-cow also helps release tension in the neck and shoulders.

gentle exercises for posture-cat-pose

Cat Pose

To practice Cat-Cow, come into a tabletop position on hands and knees with your knees directly underneath your hips and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. To start, find length through your spine, draw your lower belly in and up to support your lower back and lengthen your tailbone straight back behind you. Take a few rounds of breath here and experience the length of your spine and the subtle engagement of your core.

Use an inhale breath to lift your tailbone up towards the sky, draw your belly down, pull your chest forward between your upper arms and finally turn your gaze forward and slightly up while you maintain your core engagement. This will draw your spine into a gentle backbend. You want to think of articulating through each vertebra. On your exhale breath, tuck your tailbone under, pull your navel to your spine as you round your back; Continue to round your back, puff up the space between your shoulder blades, and draw your gaze toward your knees.

Continue this movement for 10-12 rounds of breath.

 

2.) Yoga for Rounded Shoulders: Supported Supta Baddha Konasana

best-exercises-for-posture-reclined-butterfly-pose

Reclined Cobbler’s Pose

Reclined cobbler’s pose is one of my favorite yoga poses because it is deeply restorative, reestablishes the lumbar curve, opens the chest, and softens the muscles of the groin and inner thighs. The forward head, shoulders rounded forward, spine rounded forward posture is quite prevalent in today’s society. This forward head, “C” shaped posture is reinforced in our workplaces (computer hunch), our cars, and our homes (super soft couches that you sink into).

When we allow our shoulders to round forward, the muscles in of our chest get tight, weak and shortened, the muscles between the shoulder blades become weak and overstretched, and the muscles of our neck and upper shoulders become tight and prone to strain. If you notice your shoulders rounding forward during your workday, take a minute and do some shoulder rolls.

To practice supta baddha konasana, or reclined cobbler’s pose, you will want a bolster (or a couple of pillows or a rolled blanket), a blanket or folded towel, and two yoga blocks (or cushions of the same size).

Place your bolster or rolled blanket lengthwise behind you and take your folded blanket or towel at the far end of your bolster (this will support your head and neck).

Take a seat with your sacrum at the short end of your bolster, carefully lower yourself down onto your bolster, support your head with the blanket/towel (optional), and bring the soles of your feet to touch as if you were coming into butterfly pose, your knees drop out to the side like the pages of a book. If you feel like you need support for your legs, slide your blocks or extra cushions underneath your thighs/knees. Settle into the posture and allow your entire body to relax. Hold 4-7 minutes.

 

3.) Yoga For a Flattened Lumbar Spine: Supported Bridge Pose

best-exercises-for-posture-supported-bridge-pose

Supported Bridge Pose

Supported Bridge Pose benefits your lower back by re-establishing the lumbar curve. The lumbar curve is often flattened in those who sit for the majority of the day. Some individuals will have a deep lumbar curve typical of what you would see in gymnasts. A deep lumbar curve compromises the integrity of the vertebrae and discs of the lower back.

For supported bridge pose you will want to have a bolster, block or a firm pillow.

Lay down on your back and bring your feet as close to your bum as you can with your feet and knees both hips-width distance. Stretch your fingertips down toward your heels. From this pose, press into your feet and lift your hips, belly, and chest up toward the ceiling on an inhale. On an exhale breath reverse the motion. Begin at the top and roll your spine down one vertebra at a time. Repeat 3-7 times. The active version of bridge pose strengthens the glutes, back, abdomen and legs.

On your last active bridge pose slide your bolster, block, or pillow underneath your sacrum, so your hips and lower back are supported. Keep your legs bent for a few minutes. If the posture still feels okay after a few minutes you can play with lengthening your legs long along the floor. This will lengthen your hip flexors, but please be mindful of your lower back. If you experience any lower back pain then bend your knees and bring your feet back down to the earth.

Hold the pose for 5 minutes.

 

4.) Two Exercises for Better Posture and Health of The Lower Back & Pelvis: Low Lunge & Half Splits

best-exercises-for-posture-low-lunge

Low lunge, or anjaneyasana, is a foundational yoga pose. When linked with Half Splits or Ardha Hanumanasana, it is a great yoga exercise to improve posture because it opens the quadriceps, hip flexors, and hamstrings. Low lunge with the torso upright also trains the paraspinal muscles (the muscles that run along your spine on either side) and abdominal muscles to hold the torso stable.

You might like to have two yoga blocks to practice the low lunge and half splits

Come into a standing forward fold with your feet hips-width distance at the top of your yoga mat. Bend your knees enough to bring your hands down to your mat. Step your right foot towards the back edge of your mat and bring your right knee down. Make sure that your left knee is directly above your left ankle. To begin, bring your torso upright and if you feel stable take your arms up overhead.

Bring your awareness to your lower back and notice if you’re collapsing; if you are, your lumbar curve will be deeper and your belly will have softened forward. If this is you, draw your lower belly in and up. You can think of lifting your pubic bone up toward your ribs, which will teach you to use your core muscles to support your lumbar spine. Hold this posture five to ten rounds of breath and then release your hands to the ground (or onto your blocks).

gentle-exercises-for-posture-half-splits

Half Splits or Ardha Hanumanasana

For half splits you will wiggle your left foot an inch or two forward and then shift your hips back, so your right hip stacks over your left hip. With your left leg extended long out in front of you flex your foot and dray your toes back toward your shin. This posture lengthens your hamstrings. Hold this pose 5-10 rounds of breath.

When the hamstrings become shortened they pull on the pelvis via the sit bones (ischial tuberosities) and this pulling posteriorly tilts the pelvis and flattens the curve of the lower back.

 

5.) Supine pelvic tilts

best exercises for posture pelvic tilts 1

Anterior pelvic tilt.

Supine pelvic tilts are incredibly helpful when it comes to rehabbing low back injuries and teach the muscles of the abdomen, pelvic floor, and inner thighs to engage.

You will want one yoga block to practice supine pelvic tilts.

Lay down on your back like you’re setting up for bridge pose (see exercise #3). Put your feet close to your bum to start. Place your block between your thighs on its narrowest setting.

yoga-best-exercises-for-posture-pelvic-tilts-2

Posterior pelvic tilt.

Level 1. Keep your feet on the mat. Bring your hands to your lower abdomen and pubic bone, so you can feel the movement. Inhale a full deep breath and as you exhale curl your tailbone up off the mat and draw your navel toward your spine. Your lumbar spine will press into the mat beneath you. As you inhale, reverse the tilt: tailbone down, belly lifts and there is a space underneath your lower back. Make sure to squeeze into your block during this exercise. Repeat 10-20 times.

best-exercises-for-posture-core-1

Level 2, position 1

Level 2. This is more of a core strengthener than a pelvic tilt, but it’s equally important. Stay on your back, keep your block between your thighs, bring your shins to parallel with the floor. From here, superglue your lower back to the mat and lower your heels down to tap the mat on an inhale. As you exhale, lift your legs back up to the starting posture. Repeat 10-20 times.

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Level 2. position 2

6.) Yoga For Better Posture: Release Tension in Your Back With Simple Supine Twist

simple twist yoga for better posture

Simple Supine Twist not only helps release tension in your lower back, it also helps reduce stress and improve relaxation. It’s also really easy and you can even do it in bed.

To practice simple supine twist, make your way onto your back. Draw your knees to your chest and give them a little hug in. Then release your arms out to the side, so they go straight out from your shoulders. Release your knees to the right and turn your gaze toward your left shoulder if it feels okay on your neck. Hold for a couple of minutes and switch sides.

 

7.) Improve Your Posture With A Chest & Shoulder Opener: Downward Facing Dog Using A Wall, Table Or Chair

best-exercises-for-posture-downward-facing-dogDownward Facing Dog at a wall or table is a gentler version of the traditional yoga posture. It helps those who have tighter/shorter hamstrings, tighter lower back or tighter shoulders get the benefits of the posture. Downward Facing Dog stretches the hamstrings, back, and shoulders. The posture also helps people find a long spine and core engagement.

To practice Downward Facing Dog on the wall, face the wall and bring the palms of your hands to shoulder width distance on the wall in front of you. Walk your feet back until your back becomes straight. You might need to slide the hands down a bit. You will create an upside down “L” shape with your body. Your spine is lengthened long and your navel draws in to support your lower back. Hold the posture for 10 rounds of breath.

 

8.) Reduce Your Swayback: Child’s Pose

best-exercises-for-posture-childs-pose

Child’s pose is wonderful for those who have tight lower backs. There are two versions of child’s pose: one that works deeper into the hips with the knees wide, and one that works deeper flexion into the spine with the knees together.

You don’t need any props to practice child’s pose. Come down into a tabletop position, bring your knees to touch and your big toes to touch and press your hips back toward your heels. Rest your forehead on the mat or on a yoga block or pillow if your head doesn’t reach the floor. Hold for 2-4 minutes.

I hope you find this blog post helpful. If you would like to learn more about strengthening poses specifically related to the postural muscles, read my post on back strengthening yoga poses. If you have lower back pain, please take a look at my four-part series on back pain, where I discuss restorative yoga for better posture as well as active yoga postures to help strengthen your core and back.

11 Important Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Yoga Instructor Course

Congrats! Embarking on a yoga teacher training course will absolutely change your life, and that’s why it’s so important to choose the right yoga instructor course for YOU. I have personally taken a handful of yoga teacher training courses that have ranged from really freakin’ awesome to ugh… what a waste of money, time, etc. I want to make sure you find the yoga instructor course that works best for you, your needs, your lifestyle, and your practice.

Here are eleven questions you should definitely ask any yoga school before signing on the dotted line.

1.) Is the yoga instructor course registered with the Yoga Alliance?

yoga-teacher-training-course-meditation

Yoga Alliance provides the minimum standard for which a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher training must meet. The Yoga Alliance outlines a minimum number of hours to be spent on each topic: philosophy, anatomy, practicum, methodology, etc.

I’ve heard horror stories where yoga instructors were duped into taking a yoga instructor course not registered with the Yoga Alliance and their teacher training fell way short.

While Yoga Alliance isn’t a perfect organization, it does provide a bit of necessary accountability to instructors leading yoga teacher training courses.

2.) Who are the lead yoga instructors? What’s their experience? What style(s) do they teach?

yoga-teacher-training-trainees

You will spend a LOT of time with your yoga instructors and your fellow yoga teacher trainees. I recommend chatting with the lead instructors before the teacher training begins. Find out what the lead yoga instructors are passionate about. What do they love to teach?

If possible, you should take a class with the instructor before the teacher training. Do you actually enjoy their class? Would you like to teach the way they teach? Some instructors will invite you to take a class with them at a local studio or give you a video link to preview. Familiarize yourself with their teaching style and explore other styles too.

What type of yoga will you be learning? Vinyasa? Iyengar? Bikram? Ashtanga? Restorative? Yin? Hatha? Integral? Kundalini? Make sure their teachings align with what you want to learn AND with what you want to teach.

3.) Where is your yoga teacher training course located?

yoga-teacher-training-course-location

Will the training be in your hometown or abroad? Is the training held at a yoga studio, retreat center, or conference room? Will all of your class sessions be in the same place? Are portions of your yoga teacher training done online?

What time of year is the yoga instructor course? Is it in the summer or winter? Is it during the rainy season or dry season? I personally wouldn’t throw out a yoga teacher training course just because it is in the offseason… you’re doing yoga and learning the whole time anyway, but if it’s important to you, then take note.

4.) What are the expenses associated with your yoga instructor course?

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Typical 200 hour yoga teacher trainings cost between $2300 and $4500 USD. Sometimes these trainings are all-inclusive, other times it’s just the training that is included.

There are often additional expenses associated with yoga teacher trainings. Examples of additional expenses include: books, manuals, private lessons for missed hours and registration with the Yoga Alliance.

If the yoga teacher training course isn’t in your hometown, then you will also need to factor in accommodation, meals, and possibly flights.

5.) What is not included in the training?

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Make sure you know exactly what is included and what is not included in your yoga teacher training.

Also, note that your registration as a Yoga Alliance registered yoga instructor is typically not included in your course fees. The Yoga Alliance registration isn’t much, so don’t let that deter you from becoming a yoga instructor.

Books are often not included either…. which is a good thing. You can often find used copies for cheaper online on Amazon or similar.

If it’s a destination yoga teacher training, then accommodation and meals are frequently included, but not always. You might as well double check.

6.) How many teacher trainees do they accept?

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There are benefits to both larger and smaller yoga teacher trainings. In larger groups, you have an opportunity to connect with more like minded people and see more bodies in their yoga practice. In a smaller group you will receive more one-on-one time from your instructors, develop closer relationships with your classmates and have more time to practice teaching yoga. What do you value most? Choose accordingly.

7.) How long will it take to become certified? What is required to receive certification?

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Some yoga teacher trainings are done in an intensive format, typically around three weeks long, others are spread out over a few months or even a year. All formats have their benefits. In an intensive you are fully immersed in the yoga lifestyle. In a longer training you have more time to integrate between sessions.

Are there any additional papers or online classes that you will need to complete before you receive your certification? I didn’t look into this for my 300 hour yoga teacher training and I realized that I was going to have to essentially write a masters thesis to receive my certificate. Whoops! I learned my lesson.

You will also likely be required to attend a certain percentage of class hours to reach the minimum requirement set out by Yoga Alliance. The lead instructors for your yoga course will also have their own standards of attendance.

8.) What’s their policy on attendance, cancellation, etc.?

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Each yoga teacher training course will have different policies regarding attendance, cancellations, etc. Some teacher trainings allow you to make up time with private sessions (usually at a cost), extra book reports, or self-study.

Know the yoga teacher training course’s policies. If you know the policies then you won’t be surprised when something does come up.

9.) How much yoga experience is required to participate?

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Many yoga teacher training courses require you to have a minimum number of years or hours of practice under your belt. Some yoga instructor courses are more flexible on this requirement and some are more strict.

A few courses may even require that you practice at their studio for a certain number of hours/months/years before acceptance into their yoga instructor course.

10.) Will the program teach you how to modify for those with injuries? How to teach beginners? How to teach all levels?

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No matter where you end up teaching after taking a yoga teacher training course, you will end up with beginners in your classes and you will end up having people with injuries in class too. It’s important, from a safety standpoint, to be able to teach both of these populations.

11.) What are the yoga instructors passionate about teaching? How do they teach?

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Are the instructors passionate about teaching anatomy? Are they passionate about story telling, theme-ing, philosophy? Do they teach from their mat? Do they walk around the room? Do they demo? Do they use their hands? Do they use their voice to speed class up or slow things down? Do they teach pranayama and meditation? Do they teach the business of yoga?

You should find out as much as you can! It’s okay to ask to see their syllabus too. You’re paying good money to enroll in their training, so they should be happy to answer your questions.

I hope this blog post helps clear up some of your questions. I also recommend that you reach out to your yoga instructors in your community and ask them about their experience with teacher trainings. In hindsight, what would they have done differently?

If you’ve read this far, you might be interested in checking out the Ambuja Yoga 240 hr. Intensive Yoga Teacher Training held in Bend, Oregon in August 2018. As always, Toni and I are happy to answer your questions.

Have you already completed a yoga teacher training course? If yes, please share your experience below.

Love and Light,

Autumn