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3 Reasons Class Vibe Matters

By Classes, How To, Opinion, Teachers No Comments

The next batch of Broga Instructors having their first class together at in atWhether you’re into “that energy stuff” or not, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had experiences with an environment or person giving off a bad “vibe.” It’s also possible you’ve had the inexplicable experience of “feeling good” in a place or with someone. What you felt is considered the “vibe.” A quick Google search tells us a vibe isa person’s emotional state or the atmosphere of a place as communicated to and felt by others.”

What’s this have to do with yoga? The atmosphere an instructor creates for their class is a determining factor in why students are drawn to attend and why they choose to return. In the interest of sharing the benefits of yoga with as many people as possible, it is important for instructors to consider the student experience when planning classes. Let’s look at the 3 reasons the class vibe matters.

  • Students don’t come to yoga to learn a new language. I love Sanskrit and have a deep appreciation for my thorough training including it. However, most people are relatively unaware of this language and even yoga philosophy. Keeping the language clear, anatomical, and directional with an emphasis on the postural benefits will make the practice accessible to a wider audience.
  • Students want to breathe fresh air. I don’t know about you, but I am not into getting centered while trying to recover from an asthma attack (I speak from experience). It is much less intimidating if attending a yoga class doesn’t accost the senses or feel like a cult initiation. Many people are still resistant or fearful of yoga philosophy and symbols (statues, altars, chanting, etc) so keeping the learning space free from distractions allows them to be more present and experience the benefits of the physical practice, which is most likely why they came to class.
  • Students like music that moves them. Music speaks to me on a cellular level, and I know I’m not alone in my experience. If your class is meditative and slow paced, choose music that supports the timing. When teaching a more energetic, powerful practice, students like music with a good beat, even up-tempo at peak points in the flow. It can be instrumental, it can have lyrics, just keep them clean and positive. Choosing lyrics that don’t compete with your instruction is critical. Most important is the class’ ability to hear your cues so consider the volume of both your voice and the music throughout the practice.  

As instructors, the environment created for the students is just as important to consider as your sequencing. You can be a creative sequencer, but if your playlist is lackluster and space is cluttered or odiferous, then people will never experience your sequencing genius. Or they’ll be so focused on all the other “stuff” going on they won’t remember the practice. Word of mouth can make or break class attendance. Consider the student experience when designing or choosing your teaching spaces and marketing your classes. Bring students to the mat, give them an accessible and memorable experience, and keep them coming back. Let the yoga do the work.

What to Do When Life Asks You to Keep Moving

By How To, Inspirational, Motivation, Opinion, Students No Comments

keep moving, never give up, Broga Yoga, strength, one way, yoga, expansion

“I don’t think I can go any further” was what went through my mind when I went running yesterday. I checked in with my breath, my body, and the energizing Citizen Cope song in my ear and decided to at least finish the song. Before I knew it, I had traveled two more miles than I thought I could go! Possibly, you’ve had a similar experience of pushing beyond your perceived limits, your edge, only to emerge stronger. Maybe you don’t push yourself, and backing down or giving up has been your pattern. There’s a perceived comfort in the discomfort found on either path.

Clarity comes for me when I run, hit the mat, or work out. Basically anytime I apply a singular focus, and really check in, tuning out the distractions of life. During this particular run, I gained needed clarity on some ways life was asking me to expand, be more flexible, and to show up ready for action. I’ve essentially been waiting to make the turn onto a one-way road for quite some time and it is time to leave the intersection.

Life is constantly begging me to expand, become more flexible. When I resist and become rigid, something always forces an opening. I’ve jokingly said this year is the year I “let go or get dragged.” Recently I had an experience of letting go, offering forgiveness, and the freedom which resulted was powerful. Seemingly since that very moment, I’ve felt a pull towards moving forward, towards more action, and an expansion overall. I’ve felt the familiar pull before, I just always allowed something to hold me back. Now I have the space and the freedom.

While running, when I realized I was still going beyond my intended limit, the biggest smile took over my face, followed by my body. The feeling of strength, belief, and the clarity was exhilarating. I was okay, I was actually stronger than I thought. The sound of feet on pavement, the fullness of the exhale as you move to the final relaxation on your mat, the clank of the weights crashing down after the last rep, the victory groan you let escape as you reach your goal all encompass the universal experience found when we agree to show up and stay the course. Those tastes of victory, even if intermingled with “failures,” can be the greatest motivators for focused forward motion.

I can’t even count the times I have said, “I don’t think I can handle one more thing.” Each time I face a challenge head on, push a little harder, fold a little deeper, even open my heart to someone, I always learn something: I CAN. Muscles can be retrained and strengthened, new neuronal pathways can be carved in the mind and body, belief patterns can change, and our hearts can expand to hold and offer even more compassion than we thought possible.

It’s like I tell the students in Broga® Yoga classes: to fill their lungs and then sip in just a little more. I tell my training clients to check in with their body and go a little farther than the mind says they can, until they find their second wind. Same idea. When we show up and open up, we can expand to meet any demand placed upon us, or find room in our hearts when we thought it impossible.

How can you expand to meet life’s demands? Where do you need to push just a bit harder? How can you connect to your inherent, untapped strength? Leave the intersection…the horizon awaits.

Let’s Start With What You Need

By Opinion, Uncategorized No Comments

I recently came across a forum topic entitled “Let’s start with the definition of yoga!” Some of the conversation was insightful and interesting. As it turned out, the objective was not to establish a concrete definition as the title would have you believe. But when I first read it in my inbox, I had an immediate reaction. I thought, “No! Let’s not START with the definition of yoga. Let’s start with what YOU NEED.”

As you well know, there are hundreds (thousands?) of books about yoga – what it is, how it works, what it does for you, the history, lineages, etc. There are also many different schools of thought about “proper alignment” and whether or not “Western yoga” has bastardized and co-opted yoga’s true “essence”. While interesting academically/historically, many of these conversations miss the point in my view.
I look at this way. Yoga is an art and science for improving the quality of human lives. Put another way, it’s value lies in how much it helps you improve your life. Much of yoga is very old. Most of it is very wise. But it doesn’t matter. It’s more simple than that. Yoga is ultimately about your now.

If the practice of yoga makes you feel better, then yoga is good. Period. End of conversation.

You could spend a lifetime studying the sutras and going on pilgrimages (and that’s totally great if that’s what you want to do) or you can go to a couple of yoga classes here and there every few weeks. You can do a full-on deep dive into the vast spiritual depths of yoga, or you can take three focused deep breaths while sitting at your computer at work.

The point is, the definition of yoga is irrelevant. What you need to make your life better is of ultimate relevance.

You need to:
  • breathe
You may need to:
  • to feel better in your body
  • gain strength
  • improve your circulation
  • lower high blood pressure
  • reduce stress
  • avoid injury
  • feel fulfilled
  • feel connected to a sense of purpose
  • and so on…
The practice of yoga, even for a few minutes each day, can help you identify, address, and develop what you need.
Then, when you’ve practiced yoga for a little while, you can define it for yourself.
Yoga is what it is to you.