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yoga teacher

Yoga & Meditation

FeetUp® Trainer – The Yoga Inversion Tool

June 9, 2017 • By

Yoga Inversion Tool - Northern Yogi

 

While I was a Yoga beginner I used to watch people float up into headstands like it was the easiest thing in the entire world, and I’d think “that’ll never be me”.

 

Headstands are too scary. I’ll never be strong enough or have that much balance. Is it even safe to stand on your head?

 

 

Feet Up Trainer yoga - Northern Yogi

The headstand in an Ashtanga practice comes at the end of the primary series. Meaning that if you’re a beginner and you turn up to an ‘all level’ yoga classes the teacher will, no doubt, have headstand in their sequence. A good teacher will set up the foundations of a headstand; the correct arm position, where the strength comes from, etc. Then the rest is up to you, the student. And it’s scary. A lot of teachers won’t let you go up against the wall because frankly there is no point in being against the wall, one day that wall won’t exist so best no to rely on at all. So how is one even suppose to learn what it feels like to be upside down?

Feet Up Trainer - Northern Yogi

If your yearning to lift up into headstand, or want to challenge yourself in inversions, you might like to give the FeetUp Trainer a try. I was lucky enough to be sent this product recently and WOW, game changer!

 

The FeetUp Trainer has been developed to make headstands accessible to everyone. By using this tool yoga students are able to progress with their headstand practice much quicker as it helps to build confidence in those challenging inversions.

 

No weight is placed on the head when using a FeetUp Trainer as the tool evenly distributes the weight across the shoulders. This means and pressure is taken off the neck, and the spine is gently stretched. The hands can be placed onto the handlebars and this helps massively with balance. Over time you can play around with releasing the hands, moving the legs, shifting the weight around and seeing what feels good for you.

 

yoga tools - northern yogi

 

I know my students love a good challenge in class and using this tool is fun, challenging yet safe. I’d recommend it to all my students and teacher friends. It really is a fearless way of practising yoga inversions and once fear is removed, anything is possible!

 

Yoga Inversion Trainer - Northern Yogi

 

To find out more about this latest yoga innovation visit FeetUp Trainer.

 

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Yoga & Meditation

Manifesting Your Dreams

January 10, 2017 • By

New Year YogaIt’s the start of a new year, 2017. It’s a time that we evaluate where we have been and where we aim to go. It’s time to set yourself some goals for the months ahead.

If you follow me on social media you’ll have seen my posts about manifesting your dreams on New Year’s Eve. It’s the ideal time to let the universe know what you want to achieve, thoughts become things after all.

If you managed to peel yourself away from the prosecco for long enough to write your dreams and goals down on paper then you have made the first step towards manifesting your dreams. It’s advised to place these offering in your personal meditation area. This will remind you to meditate on these aspirations each time you sit.

I’m such an advocate for manifesting goals because in 2016 I tried it for the first time, wrote down my goals, offered them out to the universe and by December 2016 I had achieved each one. Don’t get me wrong, it takes hard work, effort, patience but the focus is never lost. Things slowly begin to fall into place, you’ll be amazed that as soon as you make one big change everything else just seems to fit.

If you have not yet decided upon your 2017 goals here are some tips to manifesting your dreams:

  1. Write them down! Writing something down makes it more real somehow.
  1. Place them within your meditation space. Maybe you have an alter at home containing some of your favourite ornaments, sages, sing bowls, inspiring images. By placing them on your alter will remind you to meditate on your dreams each time you sit.
  1. Don’t stop working hard! Just because you have written down your dreams and offered them out don’t mean to can relax for the rest of the year. You have to work hard, you have to take risks, you have to say yes to every opportunity and do the things that scare you.

I hope you had a wonderful welcoming into 2017 and I hope you have many blessings and light in your life for the year ahead.

If you are thinking about making your health and happiness and priority this year be sure to check out my yoga classes. Visit my timetable or get in touch for more information.


Yoga & Meditation

New York Yoga Classes

November 7, 2016 • By

Rooftop Yoga - Northern YogiI’ve practised yoga in many places around this globe, from dusty church halls to golden sandy beaches, Hindu temples to bustling city rooftops. Where you practice yoga has a huge effect on the type of practise you will have, will it be gentle and devotional or will it be energetic and filled with life?

One place I’ve not yet had the pleasure to practise yoga is New York City. A polar opposite location to the shalas of India, yet a place that has yoga running through it’s veins. Can anyone benefit more from a regular yoga practise than a 21st century New Yorker?

Geydi is a yoga teacher who has lived in New York most her life, she’s from the Bronx and has recently opened a new studio where she has opened her doors to share this beautiful practice with all. She offers yoga classes to everyone and kindly shares her New York Yoga experience with us here.

NYC has more than 300 yoga studios, not including the Yoga Classes at Gyms and Boutique Fitness Studios; and we keep expanding the community of yoga enthusiasts pursuing tranquility, awakening in the middle of this stressed, crowded, sleepless urban jungle we call home.

Yoga is about awakening and self consciousness. In Sanskrit Yoga means “The union of any form of connection” – So it’s like “The conscious connection with self”. We adopted the traditional Yoga from India, but we keep twisting it here little by little, every single day.New York Yoga - Northern Yogi

In New York, we leave behind the four walls of the studio and enjoy big scale yoga events. As the world already knows, we are into yoga festivals, and big-scale wellness events; as Americans we love outdoor celebrations and favor more of a concert type of experience. We like to meet new like-minded people, soulful music, learn something new through events at different places. We like to follow a great celebrity instructor from Instagram; but sometimes NYC Yogis get together for an important cause of yoga and activism, to produce an impact in our community and make a change.

In NYC we like to elevate everything, even our yoga, and now we literally elevate our practice on the rooftop.  It’s becoming super trendy, we get the amazing downtown view, and we don’t have to deal with the difficulty to get permits for the parks. One of our instructors, Racheal Weathers, is the Queen of Rooftop Yoga in NYC.

Last year we hosted the Beer and Bend Yoga events from the East Gun Hill Road Brewery Company in the Bronx, NY; sometimes the event took place inside the studio, other times the event happened in the facilities of the brewery company.

Many times it’s hard to avoid the noise in this concrete jungle: ambulances, trains, loud people are everywhere. I think this is why yoga is so popular in NYC, to be able to unplug from the crazy media, demanding jobs and hectic social lives. This could be why New York City is the birthplace of headphone yoga. In this way you can have a large class, in places where you are not permitted to amplify sound. The headsets are battery operated and allows yogis to move freely, to adjust the volume to their preference. Another benefit is that even participants at the back of the studio get to hear the instructor clearly. An instructor is present in the studio, but doesn’t have to be amplified, because you can adjust the volume of the voice and the music, right on your headset. The noise-isolating headphones also block out ambient noise, minimising distractions. The inspiration to this “Sound Off Yoga “ happened when the inventor of this trend attended a silent disco in Israel five years ago, where dancers were using similar headsets on the patio of a nightclub. Participants say their wireless headphones stay on even during inversions.

Yoga-In-NYC-Northern-YogiEach year, more than 10,000 thousands of yogis from around the world travel to Times Square to celebrate the Summer Solstice with free yoga classes in the heart of New York City. On the northern hemisphere’s longest day of the year, you can find your center at “the Crossroads of the World” in this global celebration with classes all day.

Outdoor Yoga events for causes of social impact are also a theme now in the NYC Yoga Lifestyle; although yoga has become very popular as physical fitness, the essence of yoga goes deeper than just exercise, taking into account principles such as kindness and selfless-service known as “Seva” in Sanskrit. Through yoga people embrace a lifestyle that leads to peace for the individual, but can also inspire the individual to become an active agent of social change. So yes! The LGBT Pride Week, for example, where Yoga was present in multiple events.

What about 9/11 Memorial?! Wanderlust 108, the world’s only mindful triathlon, happened in Prospect Park on Sunday, September 11th 2016 with more than 8,000 down dogs.

It was a field day for the mind, body, and soul; starting the day with a 5K (run/walk), followed by a DJ-powered yoga flow class, and a blissful guided meditation. A little sweat, lots of high-fives, and a deep chill. It was a rainy day but, Wanderlust 108’s message to create a global community around mindful living, was still a success.

 “Mindfulness is the antidote to the human condition… our mindlessness”

 


Yoga & Meditation

Things to do before your yoga class

October 13, 2016 • By

yoga-adviceWahoo! You’ve made the decision to go to your local yoga class tonight, well done! You’ve made the right decision.

Before rolling out your mat, handing over your hand earned cash or beginning the sun salutes here’s some tops tips to help you get the most out you’re your yoga practice:

  1. Set off in plenty of time

You don’t want to run into class, panting, whilst the other students are halfway into their second downward dog. You want to arrive around 10 – 15 minutes early. This will give you enough time to greet the teacher, let them know of any injuries you may have, roll out your mat in a decent place and take a few quiet breaths before the class begins.

You’ll enjoy your practice a lot more if you ease into it gently rather than throw yourself onto the mat and quickly and quietly as possible.

  1. Drink lots of water

Traditional yoga teachers advise not to drink water during your practice as is douses the internal ‘agni’, the fire you create internally when practising. Obviously in the health and safety conscious west a teacher would never forbid you to drink, just advice against it. Therefore drink lots before a practice. This should stop you feeling thirsty yet keep that internal agni burning.

  1. Stretch

Yes, it may seem a bit weird stretching before a class that includes lots of stretching but it’s nice to warm up your muscles and release and tensions before you get into full swing. Maybe a few ‘walking the dogs’ (downward dog with paddles feet) or a pigeon to open the hips.

  1. Take some deep breaths

Meditating before your yoga practice will help you bring your mind into the right place to commence your moving meditation. Just sit on your mat, close your eyes, forget about your journey to class and breathe away the stresses of your day.

  1. Talk to people

If you’ve turned up in plenty of time then utilise it by making some new friends. If it’s a class you attend regularly you’ll begin to notice a few familiar faces. Chat to them, talk about how your practice is progress or probe them for tips. You’ll also notice a few new faces each week, talk to the newbies too! They feel nervous and ‘out of the group’ so approach them, ask them if they have practised before and tell them how much yoga has helped you with your back pain/ flexibility/ confidence etc. Yoga does, after all, mean ‘union’. So unite!


Wellness & Lifestyle

Autumn is here!

September 27, 2016 • By

autumnIf you live in the northern hemisphere like myself then you’ll know autumn upon us, it started on 22nd September to be exact.

Not only will you notice autumn beginning, the leaves changing colour, the air becoming crisper and the evenings becoming darker. You’ll feel it too. Your body is super sensitive to seasonal changes because it believes it needs to adapt in order to survive (your body isn’t yet aware of supermarkets, year round crops, central heating or the internet). This means that you may begin to feel a little more tired in the morning, may start feeling hungrier than usual or may not be feeling as active as you were a few weeks ago.

Your body is preparing to go into hibernation mode, it slows down and begins to preserve energy to get you through the winter months. To help you mentally survive this wonderful season I’ve put together a few tips and tricks, let’s see if they work for you too:

  1. Get yourself in the garden: It’s important to get as much vitamin D as possible at this time of year and hours of daylight are becoming less. Whenever you get free time get yourself into your garden and begin planting for next spring. Not only will you have a beautiful garden to look forward to but you’ll be practising mindfulness and getting your RDA of vitamin D. Win, win!

 

  1. Eat well: okay, so this applies all year round really but did you know your body is naturally preparing to lose those stubborn summer pounds in autumn and winter. So eating right now will ensure you don’t have to work extra hard come spring to prepare for beach season.

 

  1. Daily dry brushing: your skin will become drier during the next two seasons. It will lack moisture and the Autumn Yoga | Northern Yogicombination of cold air and central heating will play havoc on the skin. Dry brushing daily will help shift dead skin cells and moisturising will help your skin look fresh and beautiful come spring. Add some coconut oil to your nightly bath, it’s a super easy way to ensure you’re getting all the moisture your skin needs.

 

  1. Meditate: If you’ve never had a meditation practice before then autumn is the ideal time to begin. The nights are longer and your social calendar will no doubt become a little calmer. Take this time to learn to sit with yourself, focus on the breath and making your exhalations longer than your inhalations. You’ll soon have a sharp, focused and calm mind.

 

  1. Appreciate your surrounding: autumn is such a beautiful month yet I sometimes fail to stop and appreciate quite how beautiful because I’m already dreading winter. I now make an effort to live in the present moment, to look up to the crisp blue skies and kick my feet through the dried, sunburnt leaves. Wrap up warm and go for a long walk outside. Collect the fallen conkers and pine cones, take them home and decorate them in time for Christmas. Enjoy the magic of this wonderful season, take care of your body, breathe deeply and look forward to the coming months as a time for relaxation, peace and copious amounts of hot chocolate.

Yoga & Meditation

How to Survive Yoga Teacher Training

July 27, 2016 • By

Beach YogaAt the beginning of 2016 I took the plunge and signed up to my first yoga teacher training course. It’s something I had wanted to do for so long, so despite my trepidation I found my metaphorical balls and enrolled. I felt completely ready for the hard work, commitment and the challenge I was about to endure. On my first day I sat in a circle of, what were once, strangers and listened to the teacher tell us ‘something will change for you over the next 6 months’. I was curious as to what my change would be, I mean how much can a person really change in 6 month? Little did I know what the next chapter had in store.

During the research process of finding the perfect teacher training school I read numerous articles advising not to take on any extra ‘life pressure’ during study. This advice is all well and good, but sometimes you cannot plan what life throws at you. With this in mind I thought it best I share with you future teacher trainees my top 3 tips on surviving yoga teacher training whilst living in the real world.

1. Get a support group, quickly: I’m not sure whether I got really lucky with my fellow teacher trainees or if it was the universe sent me special angels to guide me along the way but the people on my course just happened to be the most supportive, loveliest, friendliest and wisest group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around. When I struggled, they were there. When I fell, they were there. When I laughed and cried, they were there. I looked forward to seeing them after a long week (with an even longer weekend ahead of me) and they made my experience even more special. We created an energy that was sacred to us all, and without them, training to teacher would have been so much harder and a lot less fun. So find your yogi sisters and brothers and lean on them when you need them, which you definitely will at some point.

2. Prepare to be broken: I was so strong before embarking on my training; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Or at least I thought I was. I started practicing yoga over a decade ago to help manage anxiety and stress, I worked hard on my mat so I would eventually be able to still my mind, and it worked! It worked for years. It worked up until the pointhurricane yogini-2of beginning yoga teacher training and the universe said; ‘Okay girl, let’s see how much you really want this’. It then proceeded to throw at me an array of life stresses; a house move, renovations, a sick dog, work worries, cancer, long distance relationships, money woes. You name it, the universe dealt it. My anxiety was through the roof, my practice was minimal and my mind was right back to square one. It was as if I’d been stripped of all my layers of strength and forced to remember what life was like before I first stepped on that mat 10 years ago. This time though I knew my practice would be there to save me, not my physical asana practice, but meditation. I sat, for hours, and felt every little broken piece. I’m still sitting, still feeling, still nursing the after effects of Hurricane Yogini. I just trust that little voice at the bottom of my stomach that whispers ‘trust in me, it will all be okay’.

3. Believe in yourself: If you are brave enough to put your dream out there into the big wide world then you a brave enough to stand in front of a group of people and teacher asana. Your mind will tell you differently, your mind will tell you that you’re not good enough to be there, that you ‘can’t even do a handstand’ so you’re definitely not teacher material. Don’t listen to that voice! That voice is bad, it doesn’t know anything about you and it wants you to fail. When you start believing in yourself that voice will become quieter and quieter until, one day, you just won’t hear it anymore. Hopefully your course leader instill in you a sense of self belief, trust them when they tell you you’re good enough. They want to you succeed and will do everything in their power to help you. Now the rest is up to you.
Training to be a yoga teacher is possibly the most challenging yet most rewarding thing I have ever done. It teaches you so much about yourself, it forces you to deal with the aspects of life you want to change, it forces you to accept the parts of yourself you weren’t so keen on before. It makes you see other people, other places and, most importantly, yourself in a different light. And that’s worth every tear you will cry during the process. There is no hiding from yourself during training to teach yoga, you become raw. You will learn what it’s like to feel deep into your own soul so that one day, hopefully, you’ll pass that gift onto a student.


Yoga & Meditation

My Tips and Advice on Yoga Teacher Training

March 28, 2016 • By

Yoga Teacher Training AdviceI’m so happy to tell everyone that I am embarking on my first yoga teacher training! This is something that I’ve wanted to complete for so long, so at the beginning of 2016 I made a vow to myself that this year would be the year. I’m completing my 200 hours at Yoga London and it’s something that I’ve been dreaming of for so long that it’s hard to believe I’m now doing it. Currently I’m 40+ hours into the course and already I’ve learnt so much. I read so much about what to expect on various teacher training programme that I thought I’d share some tips on how to choose the right programme for you.

 

  1. You really have to want to teach – these courses are very intense and very challenging. It’s bloody hard work to be honest so you really have to have a strong desire to share the practice. If you don’t it will sap all your energy and it will become a chore. You have to really love your practice in order to find the time, energy and strength to complete a teacher training course.

 

  1. Find timings that suit you – Studies have been conducted that show the longer the course, the more successful a teacher. I have not been able to find any of these studies however and I’ve met many teacher that trained within 1 month and went on to become wonderful teachers. My point here, find what is right for you. I knew a 1 month intensive wouldn’t suit my lifestyle, I had to find something that I could fit in around my full time job. I also knew I didn’t want to spend 2 years training, I’m too eager to teach! So I looked for courses between 6 – 10 months and was lucky enough to find one that was perfect for me. Don’t rush into anything, everything happens as it’s meant to. Do your research and make sure you can give the time needed in order to qualify.

 

  1. Location, location, location – The majority of teacher I know went to India to train to teach. With this being the source of yoga it makes sense to go there to train BUT only if it’s right for you. I will say that again, ONLY IF IT’S RIGHT FOR YOU! It is not a requirement of becoming a yoga teacher, there is no proof that training in India will make you a better teacher. By all means go there to deepen your own practice but don’t sign up to a teacher training programme just because you think that’s where the best teachers are made. There are a number of reasons I chose not to train in India; timings, responsibilities, commitments. I didn’t want to leave my family for a month, I wanted to make UK based friends on my course, I wanted knowledge wider than physical and philosophical training. I wanted business plans, social media insights, room hire advice, support post training. I wanted teacher training to fit into my lifestyle, not vis versa. It wasn’t something I just wanted to ‘get out of the way’. I really wanted to experience it, meeting the other trainees, grabbing coffees and talking yoga, building a support network, sharing books, blocks, mats, advice! I’m not saying you don’t get all this whilst training in India, I’ve heard it’s an amazing experience. But, it wasn’t right for me, that doesn’t mean it won’t be right for you. Listen to what is in your heart.

 

  1. Really throw yourself into it – many people worry they won’t be good enough to teach yoga, that their practice won’t be strong enough. Most schools ask for 1 – 2 years’ experience so as long as you have this, you’re good to go! I know we are all so used to seeing handstands and headstands and inversions online but you do not need this in your practice in order to teach yoga. Maybe you’re working towards it but REMEMBER, handstands don’t make teachers, hearts do. What is in your heart? Are you excited about sharing the practice? Thirsty for knowledge? Dedicated to the lineage? As long as you have a real passion for yoga then you’ll be okay, I promise. It’s also worth remembering that 20 years ago teacher training programme didn’t exist. They only exist now so we, as teachers, can insure ourselves against people who may try to sue us.

Wellness & Lifestyle

How it began

February 9, 2015 • By

NorthernYogiBeachWheelWhen I was 19 years old I took my very first yoga class. Not only because I wanted to be uber fit and bendy but because I was anxious and stressed about everything I could find to be anxious and stressed about. After many (many!) trips to my doctor and many misdiagnosis it finally became apparent that I was suffering with anxiety attacks. These manifested in me believing I could not breathe. I physically could not get enough oxygen into my body. So what better place to learn to breathe again then a yoga class.

If I’m totally honest I expected to walk into my first class, do some ‘Oming’ and deep breathing and all would be cured. Shockingly this isn’t how it went. What actually happened was I walked into class, struggled to touch my toes or count my breath and left feel pretty much the same. Foolishly I then thought yoga mustn’t be the answer, mustn’t be what I’m looking for.

It wasn’t until 2014 that I actually fell completely, head over heels in love with yoga. I mean seriously, I’m obsessed! This was because I met my yoga teacher, the person who first introduced me to the Ashtanga yoga method. I cannot stress enough the importance of finding the right teacher for you. Trust me, I’ve taken a lot of yoga classes with many different teachers. I’ve been practicing with the same teacher now for 12 months and it has changed my entire practice. Do some research on your teachers, take a few different classes. Do not think yoga isn’t for you, maybe you just haven’t found your teacher yet. Keep looking.

Within my blog I’ll talk a lot about the Ashtanga method, it’s heritage, benefits, asanas, my own personal journey and how best to live a yoga lifestyle. So whether you’re here to browse, discover or learn please feel free to ask as many questions as you like.

I hope you enjoy.

Namaste