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yoga

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.

The Hunt For Your Yoga

By Classes, Featured, How To, News, Students, Teachers No Comments

Mention the word “Yoga” and your mind (unless you’re a Broga student) may conjure that classic Western misconception: rows of women stretching in colorful spandex while an instructor floats around the room, gently instructing the students to breathe, and open their hearts, and radiate positive energy. While this is accurate for some Yoga, there are many different types, varying from the cold (snowga), to the hot (Bikram), to the esoteric, to the spiritual, to the novel (laughter yoga), to the accessible (Broga), to the athletic. Seek information about “Yoga”, online or off, and you’ll be catapulted into this vast world of options with no map and no compass.

So, with new yoga teachers opening new yoga studios and offering new yoga styles all around the world, everyday, how do we, the students, find the yoga that will be best for us?  I mean, how do we efficiently sift through the websites and Yelp reviews and Facebook pages to find the right style, with the right teacher, at the right location, at the right time?

kidding-around-yoga-3-day-kids-yoga-teacher-training-ages-2-12

Kidding Around Yoga

 

Alex Klein, Alex Jaton, and Sven Ernst decided to answer these questions for all of us, by making the world of yoga more transparent and easier to navigate. They founded a site called YogaTrail, a site where yogis are able to “share their experiences and opinions, whether they’re looking for places to practice, people to practice with, teachers, resources to learn from, or just information.”

 

I took some time to check out the website for myself, and was not disappointed. The YogaTrail team has done a beautiful job of displaying information: looking up a yoga studio nearby in Toronto, I was given a small excerpt about the studio, along with a clear display of the prices of classes, amenities, class styles available, and the level of classes that are taught. I was able to glance at the checklist and see if I needed to bring my own mat, if they offered a Mysore class, and find out how much it would be for a drop-in class.

Teachers are rated on their articulation, friendliness, attentiveness, experience, personalization, and spirituality, so I was also able to make an informed decision about which teacher’s class to attend based on my preferences.

Body to Bliss Yoga

Body to Bliss Yoga

 

 

YogaTrail’s one minor shortcoming, if it has one, is simply its relative nascency. While they’ve done an impressive job aggregating tons and tons of information on Yoga Studios and classes around the world, the site’s major value for users will lie in the reviews and ratings provided by others. We all know that power of reviews as we make online shopping/purchasing/planning decisions, so in honor of the phenomenal work being done by the YogaTrail team and as an investment into the future usefulness of the site, review, review, review! If you have an experience, good or bad, share it (with honesty and equanimity of course), on YogaTrail.

 

Overall, YogaTrail is a brilliant idea (that I wish I’d thought of!), a tremendous tool that I’ll be sure to use in the years to come, and a great collection of information and ideas.

 

Oh, there is also a great subsection on yoga retreats, teacher trainings, and events, all of which are neatly presented and well organized you should be sure to check out.

ajalila-gardens

Ajalila Gardens

The Health Benefits of Bacon and Butter

By News, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized No Comments

It’s most highly concentrated in coconut oil, and its health benefits are through the roof. However, its reputation is terribly negative, second only to that of trans fats. Can you guess what it is?

 

The answer: Saturated fat

 

Moving past the dogma of low fat, high carbohydrate fad, many of us now realize that low-fat just means high sugar, and high sugar equals more insulin, and more insulin leads to stored fat. You are likely familiar with the health benefits and necessity of unsaturated fatty acids like EPA and DHA found in cold water fish, but saturated fat also proves just as essential. But in what ways can butter, coconut oil, lard, and rib-eye steaks improve your health?

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

1. Lower cardiovascular risk

Saturated fat reduces the levels of lipoprotein (a), a substance found to be strongly correlated with the risk of heart disease. It also increases your level of HDL (good cholesterol).

 

2. Bone strength

The fat within these foods also contribute to bone strength, as your body cannot effectively incorporate calcium into your bones without it. For this reason, Mary Enig, Ph.D, recommends that 50 percent of your fats should be saturated.

 

3. Liver cleanliness

A fatty liver is damaging to your health and can eventually lead to cirrhosis.  However, the saturated fat that you eat does not directly convert to fat in your liver. On the contrary, adding saturated fat into your diet encourages the liver cells to dump their fat content, additionally protecting the liver from the toxicity of alcohol. The liver’s key role in a healthy metabolism connects the consumption of saturated fat to fat loss.

 

4. Strong lungs

Saturated fatty acids make up 100 percent of your lung’s airspace coating, essential for the function of the lungs. The absence of these fats will lead to the collapse of these airspaces and breathing will become difficult. In fact, some researchers theorize that the rise in asthma is linked to the fact that children have replaced saturated fats with hydrogenated fats, which do not correctly support the structure of the lungs.

 

5. Brain building

Did you know that your brain is made largely of fat and cholesterol? EPA and DHA are still important, but the fat found in butter, coconut oil, lard, and meat is more so, as a majority of the fatty acids in your brain are saturated. Without the proper materials, it is impossible for your body to put together the best functioning brain.

 

Image Courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6. Fat loss

To get your metabolism cranking, eat more saturated fat! This type of fat directly signals the nerve signals that influence metabolism, leveling out the release of insulin and keeping fat storage to a minimum.

 

7. Strong immune system

The myristic and lauric acid in butter and coconut oil keep the immune system healthy, helping your white blood cells identify and destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi. To prove the wholesomeness of saturated fat, it may be important to note that human breast milk is rich in both myristic and lauric acid, killing germs and protecting the immune system of an infant, and is needed throughout the lifetime in order to keep an immune system alert and attentive against cancer development and infections.

 

Give saturated fat a chance. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you.