Self-Care Tips for Yoga Teachers

Despite the therapeutic nature of yoga, being an instructor does not come without its challenges. With hours spent teaching multiple yoga classes at different yoga studios and events – in addition to taking time to prepare for workshops – it can be challenging to make time for your personal practice. However, maintaining your practice and continuing your education are two of the best things you can do for yourself and your career.

Fuel Your Passion for Yoga

You cannot be an effective teacher and help your students if you do not feel inspired or connected to your own practice. Your students show up for YOU and want to learn from YOU, so being able to relate to them is essential. If you find yourself feeling disengaged, take some time to think back to what drew you to yoga and inspired you to become a teacher in the first place. Creating space for reflection will once again ignite your passion and rekindle your love for yoga.

Create a Home Practice

We all know life can get incredibly busy, but even if you can only make time for a daily 30-minute practice, that is a great place to start! Here are a few tips to make it easier:

Prepare your space the night before: Set up your mat and props that you want to use so you do not have to think about it in the morning. Everything you need is right there waiting for you.

Commit to a time to practice and make it consistent: This can be one of the most challenging things to schedule, but if you stick to a specific time each day, it will become an easy routine.

Remove distractions: Make this time about you. Leave electronic devices behind and relish in the peace and quiet of your own practice.

Keep a notebook close by: After your practice, jot down the sequence you did and any enlightening thoughts you had. Personal notes are great bits of information to share in your classes.

Put on Your Student Hat

Do you aspire to be a better teacher? The answer is easy: become a student. There are so many areas of yoga to explore, and continuing your education will not only allow you to expand your horizons, but it will also give you an opportunity to practice with other experts in the field.

300-Hour Advanced Studies

Taking the next steps in your educational journey shows that you have made a commitment to both your personal growth and to your career. If you are feeling stuck in your teaching, the 300-Hour Teacher Training Program will give you a broader scope of knowledge and exposure. You can learn how to teach yoga to children, elderly adults or expand your expertise to include ashtanga, bhakti, restorative yoga and so much more. The 300-Hour Program is designed to provide the opportunity to make choices in the areas of yoga that inspire you most while creating flexibility with your schedule. Learn more about AYC’s 300-Hour Program here.

Feel Rejuvenated with Your Practice

The sun stretches out, clearing away winter shadows, blooms of kaleidoscopic color emerge from the earth and the world feels rejuvenated. We have all been patiently waiting for spring, and it is finally in the air! This new season is the perfect opportunity to awaken your body, shift into newness and embrace a fresh start. Here are some yoga poses and healthy foods that will make you feel light, motivated and fully awakened in your mind, spirit and soul as you embrace springtime.

Awaken Your Body on the Mat

Marichi’s Pose or Marichiyasana III

Revitalize your body with a nice twist. Sit up straight and hug your knees into your chest while you root down into your mat through your sitting bones. Straighten the right leg and keep the left knee bent, with your left heel on the floor as close to the sitting bones as possible. When you feel relaxed in your belly, wrap your right elbow around your left knee and look over the left shoulder. Inhale while you lengthen through your sitting bones and exhale, giving your body a nice twist. Repeat on the other side of your body.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend or Janu Shirshasana

Shift into this pose to release built-up tension in your legs. Extend your left leg out and bring a small bend into your right knee, with the bottom of your right foot facing the inner left thigh. Extend your arms out to wherever feels comfortable or rest your arms along the floor. Relax your shoulders and head, and let your belly, chest and head fold forward. Stay in this position for at least 10 full breaths as you sink into total relaxation. Repeat on the other side.

Cow Face Pose or Gomukhasana

This pose will awaken your hips with a nice stretch. Fold your legs so that your knees are stacked on top of each other and bring your heels out to the sides. If you want to go further into this pose, stretch your arms forward. Stay here for a few breaths and release tension in your hips.

Energizing Springtime Foods

To awaken your body from the inside out, accompany your yoga practice with fresh foods for the season to help you feel rejuvenated and healthy. Berries are a great choice! They are rich in Vitamin C, which aids in proper blood circulation. Add them to your breakfast or eat them as a healthy sweet snack.

Arugula is a springtime green that is rich in Vitamin A, K and folate. This leafy green machine will help reduce inflammation while offering hydration and detoxifying benefits to your body.

Beets are another amazing food to incorporate into your diet. These deep colored root vegetables are great for your blood and circulation. They can lower blood pressure and support detoxification.

Start this spring season feeling your best on your mat and fueling your body with healthy food! Open your heart and mind to new possibilities and experiences as you flow into spring.

Get your body moving with a class! See our full class schedule here.

Realign Your Sacral Chakra & Enhance Your Creativity

Imagine that you’re standing in front of a blank canvas with a paintbrush. You have a color pallet in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. Let your imagination flow freely through every bristle. Each stroke of the brush and every color that you choose, work together simultaneously to form a unique image. As you let your brush run to the outer reaches of the canvas, you are diving into one of the greatest components of the human experience: creativity.

The Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra, represented by the element water, manifests itself through your sense of creativity. Think about how water ebbs and flows through rivers and streams in nature. Creativity moves fluidly through our human bodies, in the same way, waiting to be expressed.

Reveal Your Creativity

Whether you enjoy music, the arts or another type of creative platform, you can easily express yourself and enhance your sacral chakra on a daily basis.

Just Dance: Turn up the music, move your feet and let your body flow in the way you want. The sacral chakra loves movement, especially when it comes to moving your hips.

Treat Yourself to a Warm Bath: Did you know that baths can balance your sacral chakra? There’s something so relaxing and comforting about a bath after a long day. Add sea or Himalayan salts to your bath for added detoxifying benefits and rejuvenate your sacral chakra.

How Yoga Can Help You Enhance the Sacral Chakra

Learn how to open your sacral chakra with these few yoga poses.

Get into Butterfly Pose, or Baddha Konasana by sitting up straight on your mat. With an exhalation of breath, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together to touch. Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you can without feeling discomfort. Wrap your hands around your feet or ankles while keeping your spine lengthened. You’ll feel a nice stretch in the inner thighs and knees.

Balance your sacral chakra in One-Legged King Pigeon Pose. You can practice this pose by beginning on all fours with your knees positioned directly below your hips and your hands slightly above your shoulders. Start to slide your right knee forward towards the back of your right wrist. Angle your right shin under your torso and move your right foot to the front of your left knee. At this point, your right shin should rest on the floor. Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee and compress the front of your thigh to the floor. Lower the outside of your right hip to the floor and let your right heel rest just in front of the left hip.

These two simple poses will help you unlock your sacral chakra to embrace your creative genius and live your life with more passion and joy than you ever imagined!

Find the Program Option to Fit Your Schedule

Are you ready to dive into 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training? This in-depth curriculum will give you the confidence and experience you need to start educating and sharing the love of yoga with others while providing a deeper understanding of yourself through the process!

We realize that life is busy, and it can be tough to set aside time to dedicate to training. To accommodate, we developed two different program options with the same curriculum to give you the flexibility to choose the training that best fits your schedule. Find the transformative experience you are looking for in either the 3-week or 9-weekend program and start the next phase of your yoga journey!

3-Week Program

The 3-week program is perfect if you want to be fully immersed in yoga and complete your training all at once. It gives you the time and space to step out of your day-to-day routine and focus exclusively on learning and practicing yoga. Come prepared to spend full days in training, study and practice in a group setting. Class sessions run six days a week from 7:30am until 5:30pm with an hour lunch break. This experience will lay the foundation for understanding and mastery of yoga while feeling your soul, and you will leave training with the tools to continue practicing and sharing what you have learned. If you are looking for a dynamic program and want a more intense experience of living and breathing yoga, while earning your Yoga Alliance certification, then this is the path for you!

9-Weekend Program

The 9-weekend program is ideal if you have commitments during the week, such as school, work or family obligations. This path will allow you to train for nine scheduled weekends, spread out between six or seven months, to earn your Yoga Alliance certification. Each weekend consists of a 5:30-9:00 session on Friday evening, a session on Saturday from 8:00am-6:00pm and a session on Sunday from 8:00am-3:30pm which will allow you to develop a strong bond with your training group. In terms of flexibility, this option will allow you to maintain your work schedule, let you focus on your family, and still give you time between weekend trainings to study and prepare. This program moves at a slower pace, giving you time to absorb information and bring lessons from the classroom into your normal daily life in between trainings. You’ll come back together with your classmates to discuss philosophy, the evolution of yoga and so much more. It will give you space to share how your life has been impacted by what you’ve studied and let you hear how your other classmates have been inspired.

It is extremely transformative to watch each other grow and change throughout 200-Hour Training. Whichever option you choose, you’ll come away from training with a deeper love for yoga, yourself and life. Embrace your journey and be a part of this life-changing experience!

Learn more about the 200-Hour Teacher Training programs here.

Tips and Poses to Feel Your Best

A yoga practice provides countless benefits to your overall health. By dedicating a few hours a week to your practice, you will feel calmer and more balanced both physically and mentally. A synopsis of yoga and cardiovascular disease, published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, proposes that yoga can help lower heart disease. A study showed that people who took yoga classes found improvements to their heart health. Participants lost an average of five pounds, took five points off their blood pressure and lowered their levels of LDL cholesterol by 12 points.

The Om Factor

Along with its many health benefits, yoga can help open your heart physically and emotionally. By adding these heart-opening poses to your weekly yoga practice, you can help your heart stay healthy and strong.

Bow Pose or Dhanurasana

Begin this pose by lying on your belly with your hands alongside your torso, palms facing upward. Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels towards your buttocks. Reach back with your hands and hold your ankles. Inhale and strongly lift your heels away from your buttocks while lifting your thighs away from the floor. As you continue to lift your heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to give a nice heart-opener.

Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana

Lie flat and stretch your legs back with tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Inhale and straighten your arms to lift the chest off the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back and press your thighs into the floor.

Cow Pose or Bitilasana

Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Keep your knees directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders perpendicular to the floor. On an inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling, letting your belly sink toward the floor. Lift your head and look straight forward. On an exhale, come back to the neutral tabletop position on your hands and knees.

Ways to Keep You and Your Family Heart Healthy

February is American Heart Month and the perfect time to encourage your family to join you in making heart-healthy decisions. Here are a few lifestyle changes you can incorporate to create long-lasting habits.

Exercise Together

It is so much more fun to move as a family! Make time in your schedule for exercise that is all-inclusive. Maybe that is a yoga class in the afternoon or a nice walk after dinner.

Plan Healthy Meals for the Week

Making time to plan out healthy food options is a great way to save time, monitor your habits and stay on a healthy track.

We hope that these tips have been helpful for you and will be beneficial in promoting daily heart-healthy habits in your life.

Open your heart with a yoga class! View our full class schedule here.

Consent in the Classroom

In a recent article written for the New York Times, journalist Katherine Rosman found herself face-to-face with the issue of consent and hands-on assists during Asheville Yoga Festival this past summer. During a four-hour workshop titled “Inversions and Adjustments” with Jonny Kest, she found herself in a unique situation. A woman in the workshop was practicing a pose, widely known as Triangle Pose, when Kest moved one leg around the student’s leg, wrapped his arm around her from behind and placed his palm between her collar bone and breast.

This particular instance has gained a lot of attention in the yoga community and begs the question, “how do you handle hands-on assists in class?” In light of this situation, it is imperative for yoga teachers to always ask for consent before giving any kind of hands-on adjustments. Yoga is meant to be a safe and healing space for people to come together and practice. However, when you are teaching to a group of students with diverse backgrounds unknown to you. Some people who have endured trauma in their lives can be triggered by touch, so it is vital to be mindful in your classes.

Use Consent Cards in Class

One way that you can show respect and understanding to your students is implementing a type of consent card. This is an easy and private way for students to let you know whether or not they are comfortable with hands-on assists during class, and it provides you with awareness of your students’ needs at a glance.

Establish Boundaries at the Beginning of Class

When class starts, share with your students that you intend to use hands-on adjustments, so they are clear on what to expect. If you do not want to use cards, you can also ask students to raise a hand while in child’s pose if they would prefer to not have hands-on assists.

Make Sure Students Know They Can Say No at Any Point

Some students may feel comfortable being adjusted in only certain poses. Some of your students may be more open to assists at the beginning of class rather than later on. You want them to feel comfortable throughout the duration of class. Make sure your students know that they can opt out of hands-on assists at any point during class by giving you some sort of indication whether that is with a verbal cue or with a card.

Be Aware of Resistance from Your Students

In some situations, you will be able to feel physical or energetic resistance to your hands-on assists. If you feel this type of energy, take a moment to reflect on whether or not the adjustment is necessary and act accordingly. Remember, it is always okay not to give an assist if it seems unnecessary or at all uncomfortable.

Mindful Assists 300-Hour Training – March 27-29

If you would like to better understand how to mindfully approach assists in your classes, this is the workshop for you! Instructor Shala Worsley will lead a fun and informative weekend to explore the art of hands-on adjusting. She will provide an introduction to marma points and instruction for giving hands-on adjustments that are marma specific. Click here to register!

Tips to Maintain Your Practice as a Yoga Teacher

Despite the therapeutic nature of yoga, being an instructor is not without its challenges. With hours spent teaching multiple yoga classes at different yoga studios, events, and taking time to prepare for workshops, it can be really difficult to make time for a personal practice. It can be tough when you are feeling tired and burned out from external factors going on in life. However, maintaining your practice and continuing to learn are two of the best things you can do for yourself and your career.

Fuel Your Passion for Yoga

You cannot be an effective teacher and help your students if you don’t feel inspired or connected to your own practice. Your students show up for you and want to learn from you, so being able to relate to them is essential. If you’re feeling disengaged, take some time to think back to what it is that drew you to yoga and inspired you to become a teacher in the first place. Creating space for reflection will once again ignite your passion and rekindle your love for yoga.

Create a Home Practice

We all know life can get incredibly busy, but even if you can only make time for a daily 30-minute practice, that’s a great place to start. Here are a few tips to make things easier:

Prepare your space the night before: Set up your mat and props that you want to use so that you do not have to think about it in the morning. Everything you need is right there waiting for you.

Commit to a time to practice and make it consistent: This can be one of the most challenging things to schedule, but if you stick to a specific time each day, it will become an easy routine.

Remove distractions: Make this time about you. Leave electronic devices behind and relish in the peace and quiet of your own practice.

Keep a notebook close by: After your practice, jot down the sequence you did or any enlightening thoughts you had. Personal notes are great bits of information to share in your classes.

Put on Your Student Hat

Do you aspire to be a better teacher? The answer is easy: become a student. There are so many areas of yoga to explore and continuing your education will allow you to expand your horizons and give you an opportunity to practice with other experts in the field.

300-Hour Advanced Studies

Taking the next steps in your education shows that you’ve made a commitment to both personal growth and to your career. If you’re feeling stuck in your teaching, the 300-Hour Teacher Training Program will give you a broader scope of knowledge and exposure. You can learn how to teach yoga to children, elderly adults, or expand your expertise to include ashtanga, bhakti, restorative yoga, and so much more. The 300-Hour Program is designed to provide the opportunity to make choices in the areas of yoga that inspire you most while creating flexibility with your schedule. Learn more about AYC’s 300-Hour Program here.

Find the Style of Yoga for Your Body

If you’re ready to make a fitness change this year, you don’t have to dread spending hours in the gym or agonize over going to a strenuous workout class. Fitness should be something that you look forward to and something that serves your body. You should love your body and love feeling healthy!

For many, a New Year’s Resolution comes with losing a certain amount of weight. This can be somewhat frustrating, and more often than not we see people give up on their goals soon after starting. This year, what if you changed your mindset on your fitness resolution? Instead, create a goal of feeling good and loving your body: the most important home you have to take care of.

Yoga comes with a multitude of styles that range from relaxed and rejuvenating practices to rigorous practices and can be a great fit for anybody. What are you looking for in a yoga practice to meet your needs? Here, we’ll break down a few styles so you can see just how much yoga has to offer.

Restorative Yoga

You’ve just been through a busy and possibly hectic holiday season with shopping, parties with friends, and many family gatherings. You’re tired and your body is telling you it needs some time to relax and recover. Restorative yoga could be the perfect practice for you as you dive into the new year. This style is a gentle, calming, therapeutic practice that soothes the nervous system and releases physical and mental tension. Props such as blankets, blocks, bolsters, and straps support the body in gentle stretching sequences and nurturing, sustained postures that ease the entire system into relaxation and balance. If your body feels like it needs added rest, then a restorative yoga class could be the perfect place to start.

Hot Yoga

Energize your new year with hot yoga! If you want to get back in shape, strengthen your muscles, and increase flexibility, then hot yoga may be the right move for you. Temperatures in a hot yoga class are usually in the 90’s, which makes it easier for your muscles to stretch. This will also increase your heart rate as your body works to keep you cool, and a higher heart rate results in a better cardio workout. Sweating it out in a heated room gives your body the opportunity to cleanse itself and release built up toxins that will leave you feeling renewed and energized from head to toe.

Bhakti

If you are looking for something inspiring, this particular style will introduce to the spiritual side of yoga. Bhakti offers you a path to self-realization, exploring a unique experience of oneness with everything around you. Asheville Yoga Center offers Bhakti flow classes, which combine the chanting of universal mantras with the grace of vinyasa flow yoga. Class usually opens with a musical style of group chanting, sometimes accompanied by instruments, sometimes voices only. The remainder of class is vinyasa flow, which incorporates different postures into a specific sequence with ujjayi breathing, mindful alignment, and a meditative focus.

This new year, listen to your body and do something kind for it. You can find exactly what you need from your yoga practice and enjoy all the benefits that come with it without straining yourself at the gym. Make this your best start to a new year.

See our full list of classes here.

Supporting Local Greenways

Many people begin their yoga journey looking for a source of healing from mental health struggles and physical ailments. A yoga practice can help you heal from the inside out by building your mind-body connection as well as strengthening your muscles. It provides the space to listen, reflect and rejuvenate both mind and body from whatever you may be dealing with.

Similarly, spending time outdoors creates the perfect healing compliment to any yoga practice. Being in nature is wholly therapeutic by reducing feelings of anger, fear, and stress. It contributes to feeling better emotionally and contributes to physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. Spending time in a natural environment provides the opportunity to unplug and helps to center your mind. Additionally, being in nature gives the brain the downtime it needs to recharge. If you’re feeling stressed out and need a break, take time in your day to be outside whether that’s going on a hike, a walk or a bike ride.

We are proud to support an organization that also believes in the power of the outdoors through our January Charity of the Month Program. This month, we invite you to join us as we raise awareness for Connect Buncombe and its work to encourage and support the implementation and construction of greenways throughout Buncombe County. Greenways are undeveloped pieces of land around urban areas that are set aside for recreational use or environmental protection. They are essential components of city living, and we hope to see more of them throughout Buncombe County in the coming years.

On Thursday, January 30, you can be a part of our Day of Giving where 10% off drop-in and community class proceeds will be donated to Connect Buncombe. Donation boxes will also be able in the Studio and Boutique throughout January if you would prefer to give a monetary donation.

By supporting Connect Buncombe, you can make it possible for people locally to have access to safe, beautiful outdoor spaces to recharge, rejuvenate, and heal.

Enjoy spending time outside by checking out Connect Buncombe’s map of greenways!

Show Your Light

Take a minute to think about some of your most influential yoga teachers. How did they impact your life? What qualities did they possess that made you admire them?

Yoga teachers are some of the most nurturing, impactful people that you will meet in your life. Going through 200-Hour teacher training will equip you with the essential tools you need to share your love of yoga and start inspiring others in your own classes or out in your community. Just like your favorite yoga teachers, you too can be a light to others and help them grow.

The knowledge that you’ll learn in 200-Hour teacher training will stay with you for the rest of your life, and you’ll find that you start implementing practices and teachings from training in your everyday life and in your relationships. You’ll learn the spiritual aspects of yoga, breath work, ethical codes, meditation and more. These gems of wisdom will help you serve others in and out of the classroom and will grow your love and appreciation for yoga beyond your personal practice.

How You Can Be an Inspiring Yoga Teacher

Care About Your Students

Impactful teachers are the ones who check in with their students and form relationships with them. Take time to really get to know individuals who come to your classes and build relationships with the ones who are regulars. Going that extra mile will end up giving you and your students an even more fulfilling experience.

Live by What You Teach

Be a teacher devoted to your practice and someone who truly lives yogic values on and off the mat. Your students will be inspired by the love you share both in the classroom and beyond.

Be Present, Not Perfect

When you start teaching, you may feel pressure to make your classes flow perfectly like some of the classes you’ve taken from your favorite teachers. But yoga isn’t about fitting into a mold of perfection. Remember, you’re just starting out and things aren’t going to always go the way you want them to and that’s okay. Your students will admire you for trying and being humble as you embrace your career.

Serving others starts by implementing your own personal growth, and you will blossom beyond belief through training. You’ll learn so much and be ready to grow personally and inspire those around you with the goodness you find from yoga. This is your time to jump in!

AYC’s 200-Hour Teacher Training Program 

Asheville Yoga Centers offers 3-week immersions and 9-weekend course options for students to complete their Yoga Alliance RYT-200 yoga certification, but the curriculum is the same no matter which path you choose. Each day of yoga training will consist of about 50% asana and 50% lecture/discussion. You’ll cover multiple topics such as yoga poses, meditation, philosophy, pranayama, anatomy, sequencing, assists, and a variety of different styles of yoga. You’ll also get to learn from eight highly skilled and experienced instructors.

This month, receive free books when you register for your 200-Hour training! Prices are increasing in 2020!