Introduction to the Chakras

chakra colors

An Introduction to Chakras

Chakras are swirling energy wheels observed throughout the body. They are commonly associated with different mental, emotional, and physical traits originating from eastern spiritual traditions. The seven main chakras have been adopted by western culture as a pathway to connecting with your spiritual self by cultivating awareness to these concentrated energy centers.

The origin of the chakras

The idea of chakras was first developed in ancient India thousands of years ago, the earliest evidence of chakras can be found in the Vedas. The Vedas are an ancient religious text written in Sanskrit (the written language of ancient India), they are the oldest known scriptures of Hinduism and the oldest known written Sanskrit dating back to 1500-500 BCE. Evidence of chakra philosophies are found in the Upanishads (part of the Vedas) and helped to shape the spirituality of Hinduism, Buddhism and other ancient eastern religions.

The Upanishads are centered around two main spiritual forces, Brahman (ultimate reality) and Attman (soul self). Brahman exists outside of time and space and creates everything in every universe. Attman is the life force within every living being, the essence of an individual.

Attman energy (often called prana) flows through the human body along specific lines of energy called Nadis. These energy lines cross one another at certain points in the body forming wheels of energy called Chakras. “Chakra” in Sanskrit literally translates to “wheel” or “disc”, these spinning wheels of concentrated energy are where matter and consciousness meet.

Chakra locations

      Chakras are found at specific locations in the body. The number and location vary from philosophy to philosophy, some mystics suggest there are over 100 chakras in the body. Common western philosophies acknowledge seven main chakras that are located along the spine. These seven chakras are: the root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, the third eye chakra, and the crown chakra. Each of these chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as emotional, spiritual and psychological centers.

The contemporary western view of the seven chakras associates them with the seven colors of the rainbow. A healthy chakra is bright, vibrant and clear in color whereas an unhealthy or blocked chakra will appear to be more dim, muddy, and muted.

The seven main chakras stretch from the base of the spine to the crown of the head as follows:

The Root Chakra, Muladhara, is located at the base of the spine and is commonly seen as red. This chakra is focused on stability, security, and survival. When this chakra is open we feel safe and fearless.

The Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana, is located in the lower abdomen above the pubic bone, and commonly appears orange. This chakra is our creativity and sexual center. This chakra brings vitality and joy through various forms of pleasure.

The Solar Plexus Chakra, Manipura, is located above the belly button and appears as yellow. This chakra is our source of personal power, assertiveness, confidence, and willpower. The solar plexus chakra empowers the rest of your body and helps you feel self-assured and independent.  

The Heart Chakra, Anahata, is located in the center of the chest and is commonly seen as green. This chakra is a source of love and connection and rules our relationships, unity, and balance. The heart chakra governs friendships, romance, and spiritual connections.

The Throat Chakra, Vishuddha, is located at the base of the throat and appears blue. This chakra gives us the ability to speak our truth, it is associated with communication, self-expression, and speech. A healthy throat chakra helps us express our views, let things go, and live in the moment.

The Third Eye Chakra, Ajna, is located on the forehead just above the space between the eyes and is commonly seen as indigo. This chakra governs spiritual awakening and intuition.  

The Crown Chakra, Sahasrara, is located at the top of the head and its color is violet. This chakra represents enlightenment, pure awareness, and spiritual connection. The crown chakra ultimately connects us with the divine spirit.

When all seven of your main chakras are in balance you will feel healthy spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. All is great and as it should be in the world, you’ll feel wonderful and like you can handle anything that is thrown your way.

However, it is common for one or more of your chakras to become temporarily blocked. If one chakra is blocked it is quite likely your other chakras will become out of alignment to compensate for this imbalance. The best way to identify which chakra(s) are out of balance is by bringing awareness to each one of them. Once you begin to cultivate awareness in your chakras you will be able to identify the root of the issue and begin the healing process.  

If you enjoyed this article, check out our intro to mudras blog post. You’ll discover here, how hand mudras can influence the chakras! And for a bit deeper understanding of the chakras check out this chakra blog post written by Abigail Cox.

You can also learn more about the chakras by joining the Ambuja Yoga Newsletter, where you will receive our downloadable chakra guide and receive updates about upcoming retreats where you can learn more about the chakras on an experiential level. Enter your email in the sidebar… easy peasy!

chakra guidechakra basics

What’s a Mudra? Discover The Power in Your Hands

What’s a Mudra?

Mudra is a term with many meanings. It is used to signify a hand gesture, a mystic position of the hands, a seal, or even a symbol. However, there are eye positions, body postures and breathing techniques that are also called mudras. These symbolic gestures are said to have some influence on your body’s energy or mood. For example, a person who consistently does the gesture of fearlessness, which can often be seen in the depiction of Indian deities, will lose their fearfulness over time. Gertrud Herschi, author of Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands, says, “Mudras engage certain areas of the brain and/or soul and exercise corresponding influence on them.” Essentially, mudras allow you to influence your body and mind by bending, crossing, extending or touching the fingers with other fingers.

In Hatha Yoga, there are 25 mudras. In addition to hand gestures, these also include eye and body positions and bandhas. In Kundalini yoga, the hand mudras are used during the body postures to intensify their effect.

hand mudra for trust

Vajrapradama mudra is a mudra for trust.

The Origin of the Mudras

The specific origin of the mudras is a mystery. Mudras are found and used throughout the entire world. In India, mudras are an established component of all religious activities. Various mudras and arm poses are significant in the depiction of the Hindu gods. Mudras also represent distinguishing characteristics of the deities.

Mudras are also common in Indian dance. The hands, eyes and body movements act out the entire song without words, almost like a sign language.

Mudras are also practiced in Tantric rituals. They play a large role in Buddhism. In the pictorial depictions of Gautama Buddha, six mudras are present. These mudras are closely related to his teachings and his life.

How are Mudras Practiced?

Form your hands and place your fingers as they are shown in the various illustrations. The pressure of the fingers should be very light and your hands should be relaxed. Some mudras may be difficult to do at first because of the placement of the fingers. With practice, they’ll become easier. If you do the mudra as best as possible, you should still experience the effects.

Mudras can be done while seated, lying down, standing or walking. Be sure that your body position is symmetrical and centered and that you are as relaxed as possible. If you sit on a chair while doing them, your back should be straight and your feet should have good contact with the floor. You can also do them lying down on your back. It is important to remain comfortable and relaxed because any tension will hinder the inner flow of energy. If you do them while walking, make sure you move in an even, calm and rhythmic way. You can also do them standing or seated in meditation.

Meditation is the preferred way to use mudras because the effect is accelerated and intensifies. Observing the normal flow of the breath or influencing and directing the breath is a very important way of supporting the mudra. Visualizations and affirmations can also intensify the effect of the mudra.

You can practice mudras at any time and in any place. A good time to practice mudras is a few minutes before getting up and a few minutes before falling asleep, before or after meals, when you walk somewhere, while on public transportation or during breaks at work. Specifically, select one or two mudras to practice at a time.

There is some disagreement among researchers regarding the amount of time you should hold a mudra. Hirschi says, “Mudras that are used for acute complaints — such as respiratory and circulation problems, flatulence, exhaustion, or inner restlessness — should be discontinued when the appropriate effect is achieved. Other mudras can be practices for three to thirty minutes, two to four times a day.”

The effects of the mudra may occur immediately, over several days, weeks or even months. The person performing the mudra may start to feel warm while the sense of pain or unwellness fades away. Their mood might improve. But exactly the opposite might occur first. They might become tired, or start to feel cold and shiver. This is also a positive sign of the effects.

Breathing to Enhance Mudras

The effect of a mudra can be intensified with the breath. They can also be enhanced by affirmations and visualizations. Here are a few tips on how to use breath to enhance mudras:

  • Exhale vigorously several times at the beginning of the mudra. This is said to make room for what you want to achieve.
  • Always lengthen the pause after inhaling and after exhaling by several seconds. Hirschi says, “The inner powers are developed during the pauses – on every level.”
  • When you practice a mudra to calm yourself slow your breathing.
  • When you practice a mudra to refresh yourself intensify your breathing.
  • Breath should be slow, deep, rhythmic and flowing

The Power of the Palm

Eastern sages and doctors say that the body, mind, and soul are inherent to every fingertip, finger joint, and each individual finger and even the entire hand.

In Gertrud’s mudra book she says, “There is a direct relationship between the hands and neck since the nerve paths run through the vertebral foramina in the arms, hands, and fingers. The flexibility of the hands always affects the flexibility of the neck. Moreover, spreading the ten fingers creates the thoracic vertebrae to spread out. This increases the tidal volume of the lungs. The hands and/or fingers no longer properly stretch their fingers. This shows tension in the heart area, which often indicates the prelude to heart disease or a tendency toward osteoporosis.”

Ilse Middendorf, a leading expert in the field of respiratory therapy, has proved that a direct relationship between the individual fingers and the corresponding areas of the lungs. The index fingers and thumbs influence breathing in the upper area of the lungs, the middle finger in the middle area and the little finger in the lower lung region.

Also, the nerve paths of the hands and feet occupy a large area in the brain. This area is much bigger than that of the arms and legs.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda practitioners believe that every illness is an imbalance in the human body and that healing can take place when the natural balance has been restored. They believe the universe is composed of Ether, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Therefore, human bodies are also composed of these five elements. Each finger represents an element. If there is too much or too little of one element, an imbalance occurs. The balance can be restored through mudras. The image below shows which element represents which finger.

Chakras

The most common classification of the chakras in the fingers is listed below:

Pinky finger = Sacral Chakra
Ring Finger = Root Chakra
Middle Finger = Throat Chakra
Index Finger = Heart Chakra
Thumb = Solar Plexus Chakra

Acupressure

Acupressure is a Chinese healing method used throughout the world. Instead of using needles, like acupuncture, meridians are stimulated with the fingers. In the image below you can see the corresponding points. You simply press the point lightly with the thumb for several minutes to achieve the desired effect.

Reflex Zones

The hand reflex zones correspond to the foot reflex zones. Both of the images below show the reflex points or surfaces that are connected with the muscles and organs.

There are also places on the palm that corresponds to the meridians, the energy paths that run through the body and control its individual functions like circulation, respiration, digestion, and individual organs. Additionally, astrology and palmistry aspects can be found in the hands.

Different Types of Mudras

There are many different types of mudras including mudras to heal physical and emotional problems, mudras for recharging energy reserves, improving relationships, coming to terms with the past, solving everyday problems, building character, planning the future or connecting with the divine among many others. You can even create your own mudra with proper knowledge and experience.

Here are three examples of mudras:

1. Ganesha Mudra (The elephant, Ganesha, the deity who overcomes all obstacles)

hand mudra ganesha

Hold your left hand in front of your chest with the palm facing outward. Bend the fingers. Now grasp the left hand with the right hand, which has its back facing outward. Move the hands to the level of the heart, right in front of the chest. While exhaling, vigorously pull the hands apart without releasing the grip. The will tense the muscles of the upper arms and chest area. While inhaling, let go of all the tension. Repeat six times and then lovingly place both hands on the sternum in this position. Focus on the feeling in this part of your body. Then change the hand position: your right palm now faces outward. Repeat the exercise six times in this position. Afterward, remain in silence for a while.

Ganesha is the remover of obstacles. If you would like to learn more about the Ganesha mudra, hop on over to this blog post I wrote from Bali here.

2. Pran Mudra (Life mudra)

pran-hand-mudra

With each hand: place the tips of the thumb, ring finger and little finger together. The other fingers remain extended.

The Pran Mudra activates the root chakra in which the elemental force of a human being is found.

The Pran Mudra generally increases vitality, reduces fatigue and nervousness, and improves vision. It is also used against eye diseases. On the mental-emotion level, it increases our staying power and assertiveness, healthy self-confidence, gives us the courage to start something new, and the strength to see things through.

3. Garuda Mudra (Garuda, mystical bird)

hand mudra garuda mudra

Clasp your thumbs and place your right hand on top of the left hand, on your lower abdomen. Remain in this position for about ten breaths and then slide your hands up to your navel. Stay here for another ten breaths. Then place your hands on the pit of your stomach and remain again for ten breaths. In conclusion, place your left hand on your sternum, turn your hands in the direction of your shoulders and spread your fingers.

This mudra activates blood flow and circulation, invigorates the organs, and balances energy on both sides of the body. Whether in the pelvic or chest area, it invigorates and stimulates. It relaxes and relieves pain related to menstrual complaints, stomach upsets, and respiratory difficulties. It also helps people deal with exhaustion and mood fluctuations.

We have loads of mudras on our blog. Which ones have you experimented with? Let us know in the comments.

Autumn, founder of Ambuja Yoga, often incorporates mudras into her yoga classes and retreats. If you would like to learn more, check out one her upcoming yoga retreats. Mudras are an integral part of the Ambuja Yoga teacher trainings. If you’re ready to take the leap, we’re here for you!

Stacey Ripp

Growing up in the mountainous town of Bend, Oregon Stacey spent her early years exploring unmarked paths, hidden lakes and dirt roads. Her love for storytelling and communication led her to the Journalism school at University of Oregon.

During her time at UO, she found yoga and it was love at first sight. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations she began her career at a marketing agency, where she worked with a variety of clients to develop creative campaigns and increase brand visibility.

Eventually, her love for mountains and dirt roads brought her back to Bend where she found herself in Elearning. She worked as a creative director to develop eLearning courses for thought leaders. Now, she continues to work in both eLearning and marketing as a freelance consultant. And of course, she still loves yoga and continues to strengthen her practice.

Stacey completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Ambuja Yoga and can be found teaching yoga at Snap Fitness in Bend, Oregon.
Stacey Ripp

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What Is The Meaning Of Om?

om mantra meaning

If you’ve attended a yoga class or visited a Hindu or Buddhist temple you have likely heard the mantra OM or AUM being chanted. The Om mantra is the most sacred mantra in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In addition, Om is also said to be the primordial sound of the Universe. The Om mantra is the most elemental of vibrations and is considered the sound of the void.

According to Patanjali, Om, the original sound, is a direct expression of isvara or God. Therefore, when we chant Om it provides a direct link to the Divine and divine knowledge. Om connects us to the Divine in vibrational form and makes our prayers and mantras more effective by increasing pranic energy.

Where did the Om mantra originate?

Om, an ancient Sanskrit letter, first appeared in the Vedas between 1500 and 1200 BCE. The main teaching on Om from the Vedas, Upanishads and Yoga Sutras is to experience non-dual awareness.

How do you pronounce Om?

The common pronunciation of Om is to pronounce the mantra with the same “o” sound as in “home”. But there are actually three sounds that make up the mantra: A-U-M or “aaah”, “oooh”, “mmm”. The sound of OM/AUM begins at the back of the throat with the “aaah” sound and ends at the lips with the “mmm” sound. When chanting the mantra OM, it fills the entire mouth from back to front, which represents the entire Universe. Similarly, when chanting Om, one can feel its vibration deep within the body. At the end of chanting AUM there is a pause or a moment of silence. This pause represents the state known as Turiya, or Infinite Consciousness.

What does the Om symbol mean?

If you look at the symbol for OM you will see three curves, one semicircle, and a dot at the top. In addition, each portion of the symbol contains not only the sounds of the mantra but deeper symbolism and meaning.

  • The large bottom curve symbolizes the waking state, A.
  • The middle curve signifies the dream state, U.
  • The upper curve denotes the state of deep sleep, M.
  • The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, Turiya.
  • The semi-circle at the top represents Maya or illusion. Therefore, it is the illusion of Maya that is an obstacle to accessing our highest self.

The three sounds of the om mantra represent the various trinities:

  • Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (creator, preserver, destroyer)
  • The past, present, and future
  • The waking, dreaming, and dreamless states
  • Heaven, earth, and underworld

In David Frawley’s book, Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, he says:

“Om is the prime mantra of the Higher Self, or Atman. It attunes us with our true nature. It is the sound of the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe, who is also the inner guru and prime teacher. It reflects both the manifest and un-manifest Brahman, sustaining the vibration of being, life, and consciousness in all worlds and all creatures.”

The mantra Om is directly linked to the sixth and seventh chakras, Ajna and Sahasrara respectively.

Sound and vibration are powerful tools for healing and transformation. Exploring the mantra OM, and the power of sound can remind us to treat our words and thoughts as sacred, creative, and divine. What we think and say, we manifest.

Nikola Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

om mantra meaning

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