How Mindfulness Can Help With Mood Disorders

new yoga teacher tips

Mindfulness is a much used method of relaxation and it can help you with a lot of different issues.

Some people have a little bit of a misconception about mindfulness and about meditation in general.

People often try to meditate in order to help deal with things like anxiety and depression and find it to be an ineffective treatment.

In some cases, it is ineffective and it’s never going to cure your condition completely. However, a lot of people just don’t actually know how to properly practice mindfulness.

It’s not about sitting down in a quiet room, closing your eyes and taking deep breaths. It’s something that takes a lot of effort and a lot of concentration.

True meditation has a history of reducing the symptoms of certain mood disorders when you master it. There are a few different ways to meditate, the most effective for this is mindfulness, although any type of meditation practice can help reduce stress, improve learning and memory, and improve emotional regulation.

Practicing mindfulness can help you a lot in dealing with some of the most debilitating mood disorders. Here are a couple that you can use it for:

1. Bipolar Disorder

As we’ve already said, it’s not going to cure your bipolar disorder completely, but it can help give you some relief from the symptoms.

Oftentimes, people who suffer from bipolar disorder will find it complicated if they are feeling stressed.

The disorder causes extreme highs and lows in the mood of those who suffer from it and when you’re stressed, these highs and lows can fluctuate much more aggressively and unpredictably.

And then people are likely to get even more stressed as a consequence of feeling the effects of bipolar disorder.

Practicing mindfulness will help you to stabilize your mood. When you’re practicing, the goal is to focus on how you are feeling at that very moment and be completely aware of all sensations.

Doing this will allow you to develop an awareness of anything that could potentially be causing your stress and how you are feeling in that moment.

By having this awareness, you can disengage from these thoughts and feelings and allow yourself to relax more easily.

This will help with the stress problem but it will also give you an understanding of your mood imbalance which will allow you to feel more at ease with your feelings.

Again, this won’t cure this or any of the mood disorders we’ll be discussing but it should help you feel better.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is not always a mood disorder. Many people just suffer from some form of anxiety in their lives but there is something called General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD.

This is one of the more common mood disorders and there are a lot of sufferers around the world, but it’s also one of the easier ones to deal with.

Mindfulness can treat regular sufferers of anxiety, but it can also be used as a treatment for the effects of GAD too.

Anxiety is yet another problem that happens as a consequence of stress. Stress is something that people should be more familiar with because it causes many mental issues.

The stress of anxiety, in particular, is caused by unproductive worries which people assign too much power too.

Thoughts that wouldn’t normally be a cause for concern for most people but that the anxiety sufferer makes too big of a deal out of in their own mind.

The thing about mindfulness though, is that it will give you a chance to really focus on these thoughts and put them into perspective in your mind.

You can make it clear to yourself why you are thinking these thoughts and why they are irrational.

You will have to train your brain to think differently and the only way to do that is to put an active focus on actually thinking.

After practicing mindfulness for a while, you’ll begin to recognize these thoughts in your day-to-day life and deal with them as you would while meditating.

effects of yoga on the respiratory system mindfulness

 

3. Depression

Much like anxiety and bipolar disorder, depression is an issue that can be severely complicated by stress.

In the case of serious, clinical depression, you should probably seek professional help which will potentially result in prescribed medication, but mindfulness is helpful for side effects.

Some of these side effects of depression are things like forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a general distortion of thinking.

Practicing mindfulness will stabilize all of these specific symptoms by allowing you to understand the thoughts that are contributing to them.

Your depression will not disappear by practicing mindfulness, but you can prevent it from infiltrating your life in other ways.

Depression can completely take over your livelihood if you allow it to. Mindfulness ensures that you maintain a relaxed outlook and balance of your thoughts.

Conclusion

So to sum up, many of these mood disorders are amplified by stress and some of them are even caused by it.

As we’ve said repeatedly, meditation won’t fix your mood disorders, but by eliminating stress it can help you control how the disorders affect you.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tips: What to do when you’ve lost your center

new yoga teacher tips

Erik Brolin @ Unsplash

I recently moved to Santa Barbara, CA and have started teaching at some studios in the area. YAY! It feels great to be back in the studio teaching again… but I have to laugh because I feel like I’m starting over from scratch. Teaching in a new space, especially after a break from teaching tends to throw me off… even though I have been teaching for what feels like a bazillion years. So I thought I would share my go-to practices for recentering. There are a handful of tips for new yoga teachers I would love to share, but today I will focus on tackling just this one issue. Here are my favorite ways to teach a great class after I’ve lost my focus or center.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #1: What to do when you’re anxious before teaching your yoga class.

first yoga class jitters

Joe Gardner @ Unsplash

As a new yoga teacher, you could be anxious for a ton of different reasons. Maybe it’s your first class in a new space, maybe it’s your demo class or the studio owner is taking your class or a million other reasons… and that’s okay. We all get anxious sometimes. New yoga teacher tip #1 for centering when you’re anxious: DON’T start your yoga class with everyone sitting or standing there looking at you. Invite them into child’s pose or down into supta baddha konasana or even just to close their eyes. With their eyes off of you, start guiding them through some three-part belly breath (deerga swasaam) or alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhana). And do it yourself. A few minutes of either of these pranayama exercises will get you and your students grounded and centered for class.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #2: What to do when your music stops working randomly.

Santa Barbara Roll and Restore yoga teacher training

Okay, this honestly happened to me this morning. On a system that I don’t know how to troubleshoot (yet). Sigh. New yoga teacher tip #2: have your students hold a pose like downward facing dog, child’s pose, or forward fold while you troubleshoot your music. If possible, keep teaching the breath and they won’t even notice, or they’ll at least think it was part of the plan.

  • Check your auxiliary cord and make sure the connection is secure.
  • Check the settings on your sound system.
  • Check your bluetooth (sometimes if another teacher has their phone in the same room and it also connects to the same sound system then it can override your connection… *sometimes*)
  • If none of the above work… restart your phone. And try again.
  • If that doesn’t work, roll with no music.

This morning my Spotify account was being buggy. The songs would play for ten seconds and quit. Not so cool, but restarting my phone did the trick.

Keep teaching the breath. If you need to ground, join your class for a downward facing dog or a partial sun salutation.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #3: What to do when you forget the sequence on one side.

center your class new yoga teacher tips

rawpixel @ unsplash

Oops! You’ve linked together too many poses and can’t remember the other side!!! Eek! Okay, but seriously don’t freak out about this one. Once again, have them hold a pose for a few breaths while you try to remember… and if you can’t? New yoga teacher tip #3: OWN IT! You’re human, it happens. Ask your students! Laugh it off! Thank them! What would you do without them? Also, your students are your best teachers, often times they will go into the next pose without you even teaching it… a blessing in disguise!

That being said, if this happens a lot… you need to create shorter sequences or spend more time prepping for your classes. If it happens once in a blue moon, it will endear you to your students. If it happens every other class, it will drive them nuts.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #4: What to do when you fall out of a demo.

vinyasa-yoga-greece-retreat

Autumn Adams @ Ambuja Yoga

You might not be teaching advanced asana when you’re a brand new teacher, but also you might be and if you are, there is a good chance that one of these days you’ll fall out of an asana… perhaps you’ll fall on your bum or perhaps you’ll fall on your face. New yoga teacher tip #4: this is a great teaching moment. It teaches your students that it’s okay to fall. It’s okay to not be perfect. And you better get up and try again. Laugh it off. Keep it light. Smile. Have fun. And keep going.

I was teaching a private yoga teacher training for a student and we were taking a class together and practicing side-by-side and we were transitioning from eka pada koundinyasana up to chin stand and I hadn’t done it in a while and I used WAY too much force to lift up and I ended up skidding across the floor on my chin. It hurt, but I was fine and we had a good laugh. And my student now uses it as a teaching story in his own community.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #5: What to do when someone walks out of your yoga class.

new yoga teacher tips

Mitchell Griest @ Unsplash

Whatever you do, don’t take it personally when someone walks out of your class. It will happen eventually. Yes, it throws you off. Yes, it makes you doubt yourself. Yes, it makes you want to run after them and make sure everything is okay. Consider that a good thing because it shows that you care. You want people to enjoy your class. I get that. New yoga teacher tip #5: people leave classes for all kinds of reasons… smells, temperature, they don’t feel well, the level of the class, the music… honestly it is rarely because of something you’ve done. Personally, I like to let the yoga studio owner know… and that’s just so they can follow up with them if they want to. Keep going. When you’re distracted by your student leaving you might want to make your next sequence simpler, likely you will not be present as you were before they walked out. Get yourself grounded again… teach the breath, get everyone into a grounding pose, join your class for a pose or two. Give a simple *feel good* assist and move on.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #6: What to do when someone does their own flow.

effects of yoga on the body

Okay, I’m not going to lie, this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. It is so distracting! Not only is it distracting, but if you’re not careful you can get sucked into questioning your teaching ability… is my sequencing good enough? Is my pacing okay? Etc. Etc. Etc. New yoga teacher tip #6: Don’t go down the rabbit hole! If they’re doing mostly the same sequence and modifying to make it more challenging or more accessible let them be (this doesn’t bother me at all). If they’re doing warrior 2 to reverse warrior and the rest of the class is doing a crescent lunge sequence it’s going to be obvious and distracting. If you’re up for it, you can bring the class down into child’s pose/down dog and quietly check in with the student… they could have an injury or something else going on. If you’re not confident enough to address the issue right away, check in after class. If you do check in with them, make sure it is from a place of care not from a place of ego, doubt, anger, frustration, etc. And be prepared for any kind of answer.

Remember that it is their practice and it might be the only chance they have all week to get on their mat. Maybe ask them to set their yoga mat up toward the back of the room the next time they come in, simply so they aren’t distracting the other students. For me personally, I partially ignore these people. I will still have an eye on them, but my main priority is going to be keeping the students that are participating safe and engaged.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #7: What to do when you’re hungry/hangry.

new yoga teacher class ritual

Erol Ahmed @ Unsplash

Oh boy, this definitely happens. You accidentally skip a meal and now you’re irritable, light-headed, spacey. New yoga teacher tip #7. Keep a snack in your bag… something simple like a bar or a handful of almonds and eat it before class starts. If you don’t have a snack available, make some tea. If you don’t have tea available, drink lots of water. Also, do yourself a favor and keep your sequencing simple. Teach your go-to sequence. Maybe don’t demo your forward folds… you might get light headed when you stand up to tadasana.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #8: What to do when you’re exhausted.

new yoga teacher tips essential oil

Christin Hume @ Unsplash

Keep it simple. Simple sequence. Simple theme (or just use the breath as your theme). Personally, when I’m tired and I have to teach I get inverted! A couple of handstands at the wall will usually give me the little boost I need. And if I don’t have time for a short inversion practice I will center class using pran mudra… it’s a mudra for vitality and reducing fatigue. Another favorite is shaking… it sounds weird, but it really helps. I will shake my right hand/arm above my head for a count of seven, followed by my left hand followed by my right leg followed by my left leg. Then I repeat the sequence from six and then five… all the way down to one! You can even do this with your class if the energy is low.

When things don’t go as planned, go back to the basics. Keep it simple. Recite a grounding mantra or hold a mudra for a few moments. Keep a couple of your favorite essential oils in your bag so they’re there when you need them. Try to come up with a pre-class ritual that helps you ground and center. Follow these tips and you will be able to handle anything that comes your way with grace and ease!

Do you have a favorite tip that you would like to share? Comment below!

Much love,

Autumn

 

 

Simple and Nutritious Vegan Pea Soup

I was recently in Portugal and I had the most amazing pea soup in Lisbon at the TimeOut Market. I had never tasted a pea soup that was so fresh, simple and flavorful. I came back from Portugal with a mission to recreate it! I really wanted the full sweetness of fresh peas to come through, so this recipe is again… super simple and nutritious. Vegan pea soup for the win!!!

I love fresh peas but I don’t care for shelling them. So much work for so few peas! I recommend using the Trader Joes fresh English peas… the only bummer is they’re not organic. Obviously organic is preferred, so feel free to swap out fresh for frozen. Peas are a great source of vitamins and minerals. According to the WHfoods, “Green peas are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus and folate. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B2, molybdenum, zinc, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium, and choline.” Also, just one cup of peas has 8 grams of protein! So many reasons to eat your peas. I guess mom was right. LOL.

ayurveda plant based pea soup

 

Ingredients for Fresh Vegan Pea Soup

  • 1 10 oz. package of fresh English Peas from Trader Joes (you could also use frozen peas– but IMO fresh is best)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 medium-sized shallots, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • micro greens (optional)
  • croutons (optional)

Vegan Pea Soup Cooking Instructions

  1. In a medium sized pot, over medium heat, add your oil and shallots. Saute the shallots until soft.
  2. Add vegetable broth and peas. Bring to a boil and then drop back down to a simmer. Cook until peas are just soft, but not mushy.
  3. Transfer to a blender and blend away. Transfer back to your pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top your soup with your favorite toppings. I like to add microgreens and croutons… my husband likes to add pancetta.

 

 

Delicious Spinach and Broccoli Soup

I love the Autumn and Winter seasons because I love slurping on a delicious bowl of warm soup. Last week I was craving broccoli soup, but it seems most of the broccoli soups out there are dairy-rich. In lieu of destroying my gut, I made this super nourishing vegan spinach and broccoli soup. The spinach lends a bit of sweetness to the soup, while the broccoli lends a bit more body. This soup turned out so great that I have to share it!

Soups are one of my “go-to” meals year round. They’re one-pot wonders. And now that we have upgraded our blender to a Vitamix, I love making soups even more… lol. This spinach and broccoli soup is particularly vitamin packed with all kinds of goodies. According to Healtheating.org, “A cup of cooked broccoli contains as much vitamin C as an orange and is a good source of beta-carotene. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc too. It also provides fiber and is low in calories.” And according to the Vegetarian Times, “When you eat spinach that has been heated, you will absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron.”

 

vegan broccoli soup recipe

 

Vegan Spinach Broccoli Soup Ingredients

  • 2-3 heads of broccoli, thick stalks removed, cut the heads into small-medium size pieces
  • 4 large handfuls of spinach
  • 3-4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 leek, sliced, whites and light green parts only (if you don’t have any leeks substitute 1/2 of a medium yellow onion)
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • microgreens

Spinach and Broccoli Soup Cooking Instructions

  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, add a splash of oil and leeks. Saute leeks for 2-3 minutes, add celery and garlic and saute another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add your vegetable broth and broccoli. Bring to a boil and then drop down to low heat and simmer until the broccoli is tender.
  3. When your broccoli is tender add your spinach and stir.
  4. Transfer the soup to your blender and blend until desired consistency. Add more broth or warm water if it is too thick.
  5. Garnish with the micro greens.

This soup is ready to eat in under a half an hour… from prep to finished product, so it’s perfect for a nourishing weeknight dinner.

vegan broccoli soup recipe

The Yogis Guide to Lisbon

yoga in lisbon

Hey beautiful yogis. I’ve just returned from an amazing work/yoga holiday in Portugal and I wanted to share a bit more about my trip to Lisbon in what will hopefully be an awesome and useful guide to help you enjoy your trip. Topics included will be: yoga in Lisbon, awesome vegan restaurants in Lisbon (and some seriously delicious regular restaurants), and where to find yoga clothes while you’re in the city. I only spent a few days in Lisbon and I can’t wait to go back and visit again after our June 2019 yoga retreat in Portugal.

Where to Practice Yoga in Lisbon, Portugal

Alright yogis, who has practiced yoga in a foreign language? I have! And it’s super fun. Obviously, it has its challenges too. When I’m traveling I usually seek out bilingual classes because it helps me learn the native language… in this case Portuguese, but sometimes I just want to be told what to do without thinking about it. LOL.

yoga studio in Lisbon

Little Yoga Space in Baixa is my favorite spot for yoga in Lisbon. The yoga studio is conveniently located, the space is beautiful, and there are many classes throughout the day. Little Yoga Space offers English & Portuguese classes, English only classes, and Portuguese only classes, which is an absolute win in my book! I also love that they offer everything from Vinyasa to Kundalini to Yin to Laughter Yoga. There is literally something for everyone. The studio has an extensive workshop calendar for yogis that want to deepen their yoga practice or are around a bit longer.

Little Yoga Space Rua da Assunção 42, 1. floor, room 3, 1100-044 Lisboa, Baixa
Drop in rate: 10 euros

yoga studio in Lisbon

Ministry of Yoga is another great option to practice yoga in Lisbon. Ministry of yoga is also conveniently located to many tourist sights and will likely be at least close-ish to where you’re staying. The studio has wonderful, knowledgeable teachers with a wide range of classes including: Rocket Yoga, Ashtanga (led), Vinyasa, Forrest, Yin, and Kundalini. Owner Zoe, is also incredibly responsive to inquiries and questions.

Ministry of Yoga Rua das Portas San Antao 27 Level 1 Lisboa
Drop in rate: 10 euros

And there are even more yoga options in Lisbon. Yogana Lisboa offers rooftop yoga and yoga in the park. The amazing and delicious Foodprintz Vegan Cafe offers Jivamukti and Hatha Yoga. And there is a rumor that there is an occasional pop-up yoga class at one of the museums. There seem to be a large number of yoga meetups in Lisbon as well. There are many ways to get your yoga on!

Where to Eat in Lisbon (Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, and More)

Many of you know that I am more flexitarian than strictly vegetarian or vegan or any other label. At home I eat 95% vegetarian, in Bali I eat nearly 100% vegan, and in Europe and Central America I’m a bit more flexible. We ate some amazing food in Lisbon… and after a yoga class or afternoon of sightseeing, I’m usually pretty hungry!

best pea soup lisbon

One of my favorite meals of the entire trip was a gorgeous pea soup from the TimeOut Market. So fresh, so wholesome and nutritious. I’d honestly never had pea soup like it. The TimeOut Market is essentially a fancy food court near the water. There were so many great looking things to eat.

TimeOut Market, Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisboa, Portugal

We also tried to eat at Ramiro a famous family-owned seafood restaurant and cerveceria, but we didn’t have a reservation… nor did they pick up their phone earlier when we tried to call and make a reservation. Anyway, when we arrived the wait was so massively long… I think there were 50+ people milling about outside the restaurant. We didn’t want to wait, so we searched out another seafood restaurant and we found a gem! We ended up at Marisqueira do Lis (no website) which to our surprise was full of locals instead of tourists. The prices were fair and portions large. We had an octopus salad and a platter of mussels. Both dishes were fresh and flavorful.

A Marisqueira do Lis, Av. Alm. Reis 27B, 1150-019 Lisboa, Portugal

Ao 26 Vegan Restaurant in Lisbon was conveniently located right next to where we stayed. The restaurant was busy with both locals and tourists and had a menu that could convert a meat eater into a vegan real quick! Lots of options from curries to burgers to chocolate cake (get the chocolate cake). The vibe is pretty cool too. I will definitely be dropping in again before next summer’s yoga retreat in Columbeira.

Ao 26 Vegan Food Project, R. Vítor Cordon 26, 1200-484 Lisboa, Portugal

Where to Buy Yoga Clothes and A Yoga Mat in Lisbon

where to buy yoga clothes in LisbonDid you forget to bring your yoga mat or leggings? No worries. There are a handful of Oysho shops in Lisbon. Oysho is a lingerie company, but they also sell activewear… and it’s actually cute. The quality seems pretty decent and it’s definitely on trend. When I was there last month they had some gorgeous leggings and super cute sports bras in beautiful Autumn colors.

Oysho does sell yoga mats too… although they might not have much of a selection. Your best bet is to bring a yoga mat from home or borrow one from a studio. If you’re attending a yoga retreat in Portugal and you need to buy a yoga mat in Lisbon I would check Oysho first. There is an Oysho shop on Rua Garret, which is not too far from Rossio Square. There is a Nike store nearby too.

There is a big sports chain in Lisbon called Sport Zone. The most central location is at the Amoreiras Shopping Center, but there are many locations throughout the city. They also sell activewear and yoga mats.

Oysho, 14-18 Rua Garret, Lisbon

Sport Zone, Av. Eng. Duarte Pacheco, Lisbon

Yoga Events in Lisbon

And finally, we’re to yoga events. I recently found out that Wanderlust Festivals hosts a Wanderlust 108 festival in Lisbon. I still haven’t been to a Wanderlust festival… sigh. Anyway, they had one at the end of September in Lisbon and I’m sure they will host another one next year. Lisbon has a great yoga community.

yoga event in Lisbon, Portugal Wanderlust 108

Wanderlust 108 Lisbon, Portugal

The Lisbon Yoga Festival takes place in November. This affordable festival has been going on for over 6 years! If you’re in Lisbon in November I recommend checking it out.

yoga and surf retreat portugal

Back to Nature Yoga Retreat is an affordable yoga, surf, and hiking retreat offered just 45 minutes outside of Lisbon. The next scheduled dates are June 15-22, 2019. This is a great opportunity for yogis ready to deepen their yoga practice and learn more about the chakras.

Portugal Spirit Festival, although not in Lisbon, is another event that is taking off in Portugal. This yoga, dance, spirit, music, and healing festival is held in Cascais in September.

Yogis, let me know your favorite place to practice yoga in Lisbon. Don’t be afraid to share your favorite restaurants, sights, etc. too. I’d be happy to add them to the list. Comment below or just send me an email!

Love and Light,

Autumn