yoga

10 Reasons to Do Yoga Teacher Training!

angelique.jpg

Have you been considering taking part in our yoga teacher training this summer? Here are some reason why we think you should join our amazing group of trainees!

10 Reasons to Do Yoga Teacher Training!

Written by Angelique Flynn (Co-Lead Instructor)

An estimated 33% of students who complete a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) program never actually teach yoga.  In my experience, about half of students who get that YTT certificate do not go on to teach in a gym or studio, though many use their training to pursue other goals.  So why would you go through 200 hours of training for something you don’t intend to do? Here are some great reasons why:

1) You will get in touch with your body.

Before YTT, my body consisted of major parts, like thighs, knees, shins, and feet.  Now, I have a deeper understanding of my anatomy, like hamstrings, quadriceps, ischial tuberosity.  This helps me with body awareness to avoid injury in other activities and it also helps me to communicate better with medical professionals.

2) You will develop strength and coordination, and lessen your chance of injury.

Before yoga, I constantly tripped over my own feet, often twisting an ankle or worse.  After YTT, my balance is better and my core is stronger. Not only does this help me now, but later in life it will help me with basic activities that we take for granted such as bending over to tie my shoes and twisting.  Yes, a consistent yoga practice can help you in these areas as well, but YTT helps you commit to that regular practice and gain a better understanding how to improve in these areas.

3) You will make new friends!

Let’s face it, making friends as adults can be challenging, particularly if you have moved to a new area or changed careers.  After spending 200 hours with your YTT tribe, you will make lifelong friends who have similar interests as you: YOGA!

4) You will develop or deepen your spiritual practices.  

Learning to let go and let the universe (or whatever your Higher Power is) guide you, is one of the key benefits of a yoga practice.  If you do not already have a relationship with something greater than yourself, YTT will introduce you to many different spiritual practices. If you do have that relationship, YTT will help you deepen your awareness through chanting and meditative techniques.  

5) You will learn new things about yourself.

You will learn just how strong, open minded and committed you are.  Throughout my YTT, I kept asking why they didn’t teach this stuff in high school. If I could have learned then what I learned now, I could have grown self-love and self-acceptance so much earlier in my life.

6) You will gain confidence in yourself.

You will learn to express yourself and be kinder to yourself.  You will also learn to graciously recover from mistakes and missteps.  

7) You will learn how to connect with others.

In addition to reading bodies, you will be able to pour loving energy and light into a room.  You will learn to “hold space” for others. You will learn to communicate with people in all walks of life, and make community accessible to all.

8) You will improve your asana practice.

A major benefit of YTT is deepening your own personal yoga practice.  You will learn safe ways to get into more advanced poses and learn modifications.  You will also be able to identify when you should rest your own body and when you can push further.  Many YTT grads are able to develop their own daily or weekly asana practice outside of a yoga class. And if you’re traveling on vacation and can’t find a yoga studio, you’ll know exactly what to do!

9) You will be able to share with others.

If you do not want to teach in a traditional setting, you can still share what you have learned with family, friends, and children of all ages.  In my YTT program, one person shared yoga with the preschoolers she taught to get them to be quiet for a few minutes each day, one person taught boardroom yoga at her job, one person helped his staff stretch after a long day in the construction industry, one person used mindfulness techniques in her therapy practice, and one person used the asana practice for her high school theater group...the possibilities are endless!

10) You will develop an appreciation for the study of yoga.

Yoga Teacher Training opens up doors to new experiences and wisdom.  There are many avenues to pursue beyond the physical practice. Whatever grabs your interest during training can be pursued further after training.  At the very least, you will be able to practice mindfulness in every aspect of your life!


We hope you’ll join us!

For more info, visit: http://empoweryoganj.com/teacher-training

Stop Skipping Savasana

savasana.jpg

For most people, Savasana is the easiest pose to get into, but the hardest pose to stay in. As a result some people bolt out of class early and skip it all together. But, Savasan is honestly, the best part of class. It's the reward for all your hard work.

Why is Savasana so hard?

Savasana means total relaxation. It is a chance for your body to absorb your practice. It’s a way to rejuvenate your body and mind. Most people find Savasana so difficult because they have a hard time lying still, closing their eyes, and quitting their minds.  So instead of trying to relax into the pose, they avoid it.

Here are some tips to help you in Savasana.

How To Do Savasana Properly

  1. Spread the legs one to two feet apart, the toes are turned outwards, the heels facing each other, a comfortable distance apart.

  2. Bring the arms a little away from the body, palms turned upward.

  3. Relax the whole body. Letting go of any tension you may be holding onto.

  4. Close the eyes and focus the attention on the body, breathing normally.

  5. Bring your attention slowly to each body part and try to relax them one at a time.

5 Tips For A Successful Savasana

  1. Close your eyes.

  2. Allow your body to melt into the mat.

  3. Keep the mind focused on relaxing. As thoughts come to your minds eye, acknowledge them, but then let them go.  

  4. Avoid moving the body, as even the slightest movement will use many muscles and increase the nerve impulses.

  5. Practice, practice, practice. It's not easy, but it's totally worth it. Don't give up.

Why you should Savasana

Here are some benefits:

  • Improved self-confidence.

  • Improved concentration.

  • Increased energy levels and in general productivity.

  • Improvement in concentration and in memory.

  • Relaxes your whole body.

  • Releases stress, fatigue, depression and tension.

  • Helps insomnia.

  • Decreased fatigue, coupled with deeper and sounder sleep.

  • Calms the mind and improves mental health, i.e anxiety

  • Stimulates blood circulation.

So I challenge you, next time you feel like skipping Savasana, dont... no matter how busy you may be. Indulge yourself in those 5 or so minutes at the end of your practice and you will reap the benefits, I promise you.



Why You Need Yoga in Your Life- Especially When You're Crazy Busy!

stop yoga.jpg

If you've ever said the words "there aren't enough hours in the day," you're not alone.

While there's no doubt that most of us have our plates full with work, family, friends, etc… studies show that we're not quite as busy as we think we are.

Life is about priorities and making time for the things you want and need. It’s important to take care of yourself. You can't pour from an empty cup, so it’s critical to take care of YOU. To do all the things you need to do and to do them well, you need to stop, breathe and give yourself a break.  So if you’ve been wanting to try yoga for a while, but you just can't seem to find the time, think again. Now is your chance to stop what you're doing and discover all of yoga’s amazing benefits so you can start to feel better. When we feel good, our lives feel much more manageable.

Here are a few ways yoga can help:

Yoga is a great way to work the body.

Yoga helps increase flexibility, improves muscle tone and strength, and helps develop better posture.  It’ll make you feel strong, empowered and renewed. Perhaps giving you a sense of confidence that wasn't there before.

Yoga helps you stay present.

Life seems to be filled with those never-ending to-do lists. We quickly move form one thing to the next, which makes it hard for us to be present in any given moment. Well yoga can help that. Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists. Spending a few minutes on your mat will help you stay in the moment and teach you to be more present in the flow of life.

Yoga helps you stay grounded and balanced.

When you're spending more than 8 hours a day at the office, staying grounded is tough. It can seem like your entire life is and endless cycle of work, eat, & sleep. Yoga can help bring more balance into your life and remind you about what's important. There is more to life than just working! Take time to feel centered and enjoy what's happening around you.

Yoga helps you destress.

Yoga helps decrease the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Yoga provides a nurturing space and quiet time to stop for a moment, relax and reflect upon our daily routine and priorities.  Stress is a part of our human nature, but we can go to yoga to balance it out. With yoga, you can begin to tap into that constant source of inner happiness so you can spend less time being bogged down and more time doing the things you love.

Yoga helps you sleep better.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, stress is highly correlated with sleep problems, and lack of sleep makes you more stressed out. So if your lifestyle is making it difficult for you to sleep, maybe yoga can help. With more sleep you’ll be more rested and ready for the day!

Yoga creates harmony between you and the world around you.

A regular yoga practice centres you and keeps you balanced. What yoga can teach you is to let go of things that no longer serve you. Being present and being ok with it, no matter what the particular moment reveals. It gives you confidence and realisation that you can actually achieve more than you think but without aggravation, unnecessary struggle and stress.

Here's to living a more balanced life.

Namaste!



Manifest Your Best Life!

manifest.jpg

We are always manifesting!

We are powerful manifesting beings, but since we have 50,000-70,000 unconscious thoughts per day, of which about 80% are negative, we’re not always manifesting the best things into our lives.

We need to remember that each thought we have, creates an energy flow within and around us. This energy attracts similar energy. So if you’re thinking, “I suck,” then your energy kinda sucks, and you’ll attract sucky experiences.

The opposite is true when you think positive thoughts like, “I rock” you exude an energy of confidence and therefore will attract greater experiences into your life. Each thought you have informs your energy and your energy manifests into your experiences . . . Your thoughts and energy create your reality.

Law of Attraction is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, people can bring or manifest positive or negative experiences into their life. The law of attraction is not a magic wand, but with positive thinking, we can shift our feeling state to attract more of what we want.  Because our brains store negative experiences, we have to consciously and regularly build the positive mental muscle. We all have layers and layers of limiting beliefs and fears that block our ability to think more positively, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. It won’t happen overnight, but in time, we can shift our mindset from one of negative, to more positive.   

In order to become a master at manifesting with the law of attraction, we have to begin to rewire our brains and start replacing negative thought patterns with more positive, empowering patterns. 

As we head into the New Year, this is a perfect opportunity to begin the rewiring process.  Begin to think about what it is you want to manifest into your life and start to take the steps below in order to help make it happen.

Start today, clearing all that blocks you from believing in your greatness.

Ways to Manifest Your Desires

By implementing these daily positive practices into your lives, you will start  to shift and raise your energetic vibration that will produce good experiences and results! 

Notice your thoughts and clear space in your mind.

Begin by paying attention to what you focus on and observing your thoughts. Do you pay attention to what’s going right, or what’s going wrong? When you’re working on manifesting your dreams, obstacles and challenges will arise, but when you focus on what’s right, you increase your energetic vibration. Clear away any negative beliefs you have, these get in the way of your happiness and prevent you from believing in your greatness. Know that the universe shows up for you in many ways- if you lose your job or end a bad relationship, while these things may seem tough at first, there are lessons to be learned and new and better opportunities that await you.  

Write down your goals and connect to your “why.” 

Write down your goals or create a vision board. Doing so will not only help you get clear, but will help you create positive steps towards your dreams. Connecting to your “why” means connecting to the feeling that achieving the goal will give you. When we connect to the “why,” we raise our vibration and become magnets for attracting the people, circumstances, etc. that will help us achieve our goal.

Visualize what it will look like when you achieve your dreams. 

Hang your vision board in a place you can see it every day and/or read your written goals first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night; then take a few minutes each day  to visualize and connect with the feeling of achieving your dreams. Get it into your subconscious mind! The more you feel the feeling of what you desire, the more you believe it is on the way. 

Chill- the Universe has your back!

In order to manifest your desires into form, you gotta chill out! Stop waiting around with anxiety for your dream to happen and know what you desire is on the way. Trust that the Universe has a plan for you. You can’t always control the timing of when things come- so stay calm, relaxed, and remember that the Universe has your back! In time, what you desire will come through fruition.

Stay committed to happiness.

Trust that you’re exactly where you need to be. If life starts to feel chaotic or just plain overwhelming, sometimes you just need to surrender and learn to trust that things will work out. When one door closes, another door opens.

Practice breathing. 

Practice breathing from the belly, not the chest. This type of breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps produce a sense of relaxation and contentment which allows us to be calm and clear.

Move your body.

Negative emotions get stuck and stored in our bodies on a cellular level. Moving is one way to release stress and negative energy. Perhaps practice yoga, go for a walk, dance, etc… Just work on releasing that stuck energy and clearing space for what the Universe has in store for you.

Keep a gratitude journal. 

Gratitude is one of the simplest ways to raise our vibration. When we recognize our great fortune and appreciate all our blessings, it automatically puts us in a “feel-good” energetic vibration.

 

Stay committed to the goal of feeling good first and attracting good stuff second. Continue to remind yourself that when you feel good you will energetically attract goodness into your life.  Be patient and stay strong. Trust that what you desire is on the way!



Do Hard Things!

38c90c9fd91ff14739d8f555bd5e86c2-m.jpg

You have to do hard things to be happy in life. And doing the hard things is a skill to be honed.  At the basic level, it’s the ability to overcome distractions and get the right things done, even if you don't want to in that moment.  Doing hard things is a sacrifice and one that may not offer immediate satisfaction. However, you need to trust that those hard things are going to help get you where you want to be.  And in order to excel, live your dreams and be your best, you need to do the things no one else is willing to do. The things others can’t do for you. The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward. That's when you know you're on the right path. If your dreams don't frighten, they arent big enough.  

When I wanted to open a yoga studio, everyone thought I was crazy. They asked, how are you going to pull that off? Do you have enough money? Why leave a good and stable job in education, a pension? But I didn't care what other people said, I new what was right for me and trusted that the Universe had my back.  

Was opening a business easy? Absolutely not. Was it scary at times? Definitely. It's hard to quit a job and move forward into the unknown. I spent 2 years in limbo wondering what the hell had I done. However, I was able to figure it out, because if there is a will there's a way. Things weren't and still aren't perfect, I have challenges like anyone else, but I embrace each challenge in stride and continue on my path, unwilling to give up or back down. The hard things are what lead you to where you are meant to be, you just have to be willing to take the risk, have patience, and faith that it will all work out.

Those hard things in life are what define us.  Taking the risk and doing hard things is the difference between existing and living… between knowing our path and walking our path. It's the difference between an average life and the living the life of our dreams, filled with success and happiness.

Most people avoid the hard things, they procrastinate, make excuses or pretend like they somehow don’t apply to their life or situation. However, the truth is that ordinary people can achieve immense success and happiness if they are willing to step out of their comfort zones and do the hard things that others don’t have the courage, drive or determination to do.

I dare you to stop sitting back and watching your life happen and take control.  Start doing those hard things TODAY. I guarantee, you will be amazed at how strong and remarkable you really are and just how amazing your life can be.

Happy Planksgiving!

yoga athletes.jpg

For the month of November, Empower Yoga students and friends have been participating in a Planksgiving Challenge. It is 30 days of giving thanks and planks.  No prizes are awarded, it's more about having fun, creating community, challenging ourselves and of course giving thanks! Each day our plank holds get a little bit longer. We started with a 20 second plank and are working our way to a 3 minute hold on November 30th.

Planksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! Planking is not only a really great way to activate and strengthen your core, but a great way to work your whole body!

Are you ready to jump into our #Planksgiving Challenge? Don't worry if you find it too difficult to hold, you can plank as long as you can and break it up into smaller parts. Try to hold a few more seconds each day! Remember to stay aware of your form- it’s quality, not quantity that counts. Challenge yourself, but not to the point of injury.

Why you should be thankful for the plank:

  • No equipment needed

  • Improves your posture

  • Promotes a flat belly

  • Works more than just your core

  • Reduces back pain

  • Burns calories

  • Builds strength

  • You can do them anywhere

How to safely do a plank:

  • Start out lying on your stomach with your hands flat on the floor, directly below your shoulders

  • Have your legs out straight and toes curled under

  • Press your hands into the floor, squeeze your core, and come up into a straight arm plank position

  • Don’t allow your hips to sag or your butt to come up

  • Think about squeezing your core and drawing your belly button in towards your spine, and pressing your hands into the floor the entire time

  • Try to keep your head and neck in line with the rest of your spine

  • You can do most of these on your forearms, too, just place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders!

Click for 35 fun plank variations!

Happy Planking ;)