yoga teacher training

New Year, Same Old Recap

It's that time of year. The weird week between Christmas and New Years where you're not quite sure what to do with yourself. 

I always want to start planning, plotting, and rolling new things into action - but without wishing away the last week of the old year. It's a tough balance to find and a weird line to walk.

For me, taking time to review what did and didn't work in the previous year helps me chart a course and decipher a plan for the next.

So let's see what went well in 2017:

1. My business, as a whole. I took on more classes, taught more trainings, and created more opportunity than ever before. And it showed. As the year closes, it's pretty neat to see that I literally doubled my revenue from 2016.

2. Yoga retreats! I held my first two wine and yoga retreats in 2017. They were a test. Would anybody even want to go? Would working with my parents be successful? Would I even like leading retreats? Yes, yes, and yes. So in 2018 we welcome on two more retreats (there's ONE space left for the weekend of July 26-29- otherwise they are sold out) and a single day mini retreat (that is all full). And perhaps think about adding a third? A local San Diego option? Hmmmm...

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3. Teacher trainings. I co-lead my first 200 hour yoga teacher training at Spirit Yoga in 2017 and had an amazing experience. Not only did I get to impart my specific knowledge upon some amazing now yoga teachers, but I got to soak in the immense wisdom of my co-leaders. 2018 finds me heading back to Spirit from January to April to co-lead 200 hour teacher training once again (it's not too late to sign up!). I'll also continue to teach the anatomy portions of teacher trainings at other local studios. And I'm in the early stages of discussing hopping on board with co-production of a brand new teacher training with a dear friend (and amazing yoga instructor) for sometime at the end of 2018 or early 2019.

4. Anatomy. Publishing my first book was a huge highlight of 2017. Perhaps even more exciting was teaching the intensive course to yoga instructors here in San Diego. 2018 brings another local intensive (dates TBD), taking the course on the road (hello, Los Angeles in May), and beginning work on a second book and deeper level anatomy training. A large goal of mine is to teach this course outside of California - so any leads on studios that would love to partner to bring Critical Anatomy to their communities would be appreciated.

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5. Balancing personal life with work. We finally got a dog! We put in the love, time, and effort to make sure his first year of life was setting him (and us) up for success. And I think we nailed it. 2018 will bring more adventures with Arlo, bonding trips with Angelo, maximizing the quality of the time we spend together as a family, and making lots and lots of memories. 

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And where to improve...

1. Health and fitness. 2017 was another year spent battling injury. While it had many more highs than the previous year or two, it was still a year with more mornings of "ouch" than I'd like. I'm committed in 2018 to being better rounded - more yoga (my personal practice has been lacking), more strength training (yes, yes, yes it feels so good to be strong), appropriate recovery (hi foam roller), optimal nutrition (for performance, but also life). Because I'm committed to achieving big goals (Boston Marathon, a long trail race of some sort) and to having a year of being healthy.

2. Blogging. From a business standpoint, my weekly blogs, monthly blogs, and occasional in betweeners aren't doing much. And from a personal standpoint it's become something that I honestly am beginning to dread writing. I do not like having to write when I'm not inspired to. It feels less than authentic. So this year I'll be posting blogs when the inspiration strikes, and only when it strikes.

3. Run coaching. As the past two and a half years have led me down a yoga-centered road, I've let my run coaching and run specific teaching take a backseat. And while I had the opportunity to coach a few amazing people in 2017 (Antonette, Jessi, Jenn - to name a few) I want to do more! So in addition to more marketing and making space for more clients, I'll be continuing to teach runner's yoga every week and adding a Run Strong class to my weekly schedule. Plus, stay tuned for hopefully big announcements coming this year about expansion of my Rock Solid Runner programming!

4. Making more time for fun! I get caught up in the feeling that I should always be working. Because if I don't work, my business doesn't grow, and I don't get paid. And while that work ethic is one I appreciate and want to keep I know it is important to sprinkle some fun in. So here's to a year with more time spent with friends, enjoying coffee dates, ice cream scoops, tv shows, movies, reading more books, and playing more games. Also, planning more free events (because those are always fun) through Bodies in Motion. And generally smiling and laughing without holding anything back.

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Lastly, what's coming up immediately in January?

1. I'm keeping my theming going for yoga classes. January's theme is "foundations". It's impossible to build a sturdy house without a strong foundation and it's impossible to attempt or achieve an advanced yoga posture without the same. So we'll be focusing on one foundational aspect of our asana each week and building it up to a peak pose.

Come play: 

Mondays - 12PM at Buddhi Yoga

Tuesdays - 9AM at Spirit Yoga

Wednesdays - 7PM at Spirit Yoga

Fridays - 630AM at Buddhi Yoga and 9AM at Spirit Yoga

Keep up to date with my schedule here. 

2. I'm also keeping up with the small changes to my daily routine that I've coined "Maximize my Month". They may not stick as monthly challenges, but they'll be around. The current challenge? To buy less processed and packaged foods. Yup, grocery shopping is changing. No more browsing the middle aisles for crackers, snacks, cereal, and canned foods. Let's stick to the outsides of the store - produce, fresh protein sources, bulk items - as well as visiting farmers markets. Not only will it be better for us, but it will be much more friendly to the planet. Of course, some packaging will be hard to avoid (eggs are a good example) but the less the better!

 

Off The Mat - Be Flexible in Your Goals and Rigid in Your Approach

As humans, we love to set goals. To have something to work towards. To create benchmarks for ourselves. 

Whether it's a birthday, a new year, a Monday, or even just the beginning of a yoga class, we approach that activity or time frame with a goal in mind. This year I'm going to lose 10 pounds. This month I'm going to read every day. Today in yoga I'm going to do a headstand.

I'm one of the biggest goal setters you'll ever meet. I live for creating goals for myself, writing them down, breaking them into smaller portions, and chronicling my way towards achieving them. So please don't mistake this blog for being one about how goal setting is a bad thing. I don't believe it is at all.

But the other half of setting goals is how you approach reaching them. What changes do you make in your hourly, daily, or weekly life? This is where many of us falter. We don't fail at achieving goals, we fail at making the small decisions each and every moment to propel us towards success with those goals.

How are you going to lose 10 pounds if you continue to hit snooze every morning and miss your workout? How are you going to read every day if you instead pick your phone up out of habit and scroll Instagram during your free time? How are you going to do a headstand if you choose not do focus on your breath and bandhas?

And that's not to say that if you made all of those decisions correctly, day in and day out, that you would 100% achieve every goal you set. There are some things out of your control. Shit happens. Life happens.

Which is why I've been focusing on the idea of being flexible in your goals but rigid in your approach. Conditioning yourself to make those small decisions that move you in the right direction each and every moment of each and every day. But removing the attachment to the outcome.

In a month you might wake up and decide you don't actually want to lose 10 pounds this year. That as you've been waking up every morning and skipping the snooze to do the workout instead you've learned that you are more concerned with doing 10 pull-ups by the end of the year rather than focusing on what the scale says. Your approach hasn't changed, but your goal has. 

Halfway through yoga class today you might find that by focusing on your breath and bandhas you feel stronger and more confident. And when you try to do a headstand, you may still fall over - but instead of feeling like a failure, you feel calm and grounded in your breath and body connection, you realize you've learned something and that you've grown as a yogi and a human.

I'll always be a goal setter. But now I'm also a routine builder, a decision maker, and more mindful of how I approach each day. Because the consistent approach breeds results, whatever those may end up being.

This week, try being flexible in your goals and rigid in your approach.

xoxo

LP

 

Anatomy and Teaching Yoga: It's Critical.

Opinions surrounding yoga vary just as much as the postures themselves. Mental practice versus spiritual practice versus physical practice? Strict tradition and history or modern interpretation? Headstands and shoulderstands: yes or no? Ashtanga or Vinyasa or Hatha or Kundalini or Bikram?

Every teacher, every studio, every school has an opinion and a belief to back up that opinion. And one place we have widely differing opinions is related to training programs, certifications, and what they should include. Without getting into the discussion about the validity and value of Yoga Alliance as a governing body, let's state a fact for the purpose of this discussion: they accredit studios and yoga schools to provide training to teachers. One of the requirements for accreditation is that the teaching of anatomy is mandatory in a teacher training program.

Still, many studios and teachers disagree with this mandate. They use unqualified teachers to teach anatomy, gloss it over, and even completely skip it (just don't tell Yoga Alliance that). Why?

There's the argument that yoga is an ancient practice that was taught long before the anatomy was understood the way it is now and that we should honor that ancient practice. Or that teaching from an anatomical perspective takes away from the spirituality and subtle body-mind-spirit connection of yoga. Or (my favorite) that there's no proof that learning anatomy as a teacher prevents injury in your students.

While I believe that the people that share these viewpoints do not intentionally intend to cause harm or damage, there is a growing body of scientific research, anecdotal evidence, and well informed opinion to support the exact opposite - that in today's world, learning anatomy is not only important as a yoga instructor, but that it is critical. 

The participation of people in the practice of yoga nearly doubled from 2007 to 2012 and currently stands at over 36 million Americans practicing yoga. Yoga related injuries were seen in hospital emergency departments almost 30,000 times from 2001 to 2014, with one study citing that 75% of those incidents were seen in the last five years (implicating a rise in yoga injury). This is the science, the numbers, the black and white. 

Okay, but so what? There's risk of injury with every type of physical activity. What makes yoga different?

Yoga is an ancient practice, one that is deeply rooted in spirituality. The history and tradition is extremely important to keep while teaching yoga in a modern world. But yoga was originally designed for young (pre-teen and teenage) boys. Boys of that age began doing rigorous yoga asana practice daily. Their bodies were more flexible, more malleable, and quicker healing than the modern man or woman who steps on their mat. And the anatomy of the two groups is different. To instruct a 20-30-40 something typical American into a yoga posture and try to make it look like the photo of Iyengar doing the same posture is dangerous (and, quite frankly, stupid). The modern student has different functional anatomy. They may have the same bones and muscles but the alignment of the bones, the health of the connective tissue, and the strength and flexibility of the muscles is very, very different. 

In addition, we live in a culture driven by social media. There's no sense in denying it, especially when it comes to yoga, people are hooked on networks like Instagram. And who can blame them? There's a bevy of attractive, fit, freakishly flexible, and enviably strong men and women doing inversions, backbends, and arm balances in some of the most beautiful places on earth. People see that, they walk into a yoga studio, and they want to do that. The problem lies in the fact that they want to do the end pose without doing the work. Those poses take hours upon hours of dedicated practice. In a culture of instant gratification, people want that now (and this doesn't even begin to account for the fact that anatomy is individual and many people won't ever be able to achieve some of those poses).

And so it becomes easy for an under educated, under experienced yoga instructor to fall into a place where their teaching can become physically harmful. Without understanding basic structural anatomy of the systems of the body, biomechanics (the physics of the body), and functional anatomy (how the anatomy actually works, both in yoga postures and in daily life) even the best intentions can go astray. Complicated sequencing, poor verbal cuing, inability to properly verbally or physically adjust students, lack of knowledge of modifications, and lack of ability to hold students back (and to require them to build an appropriate base) are all too common.

You don't have to teach like an anatomy professor - you never have to use the word "metatarsal" (you can say "foot") or tell people to "externally rotate" their thigh (you can say "rotate outward"). Your teaching style can still be spiritually focused and steeped in yogic tradition. But you do absolutely need to understand the anatomy. 

As for my favorite argument? Why should we wait until we do have to have evidence to prove that knowing anatomy as a teacher prevents injury? That means that not knowing anatomy caused enough injury that we were forced to publish studies about it. That's a critical failure. And, if I'm not mistaken, feels quite like the opposite of the first and foremost goal in both yoga and medicine - ahimsa, non-maleficence, or do no harm.

 

 

*The author of this article holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University with over 8 years of clinical practice. In addition, she has been a yoga practitioner for over 13 years and currently holds RYT-200. She teaches anatomy courses for yoga teacher trainings and is finishing a handbook and workbook titled Critical Anatomy. She also hosts anatomy certification courses for yoga instructors and leaders of yoga teacher trainings. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Freak the F Out Edition

We all have those days (or weeks, or months, or minutes - it really doesn't matter the length of time) where all you want to do is panic and scream. It could be for a variety of reasons, big or small: someone cuts you off on the freeway, your significant other gives you a weird vibe, your dog eats your shoe. 

None of those were my catalyst. Instead, Monday morning I woke up to an email from my bank saying my account was overdrawn. By a lot. I've never, ever, overdrafted my account. Ever. I freaked out. Turns out, instead of scheduling a deposit from one financial institution to my bank, my financial adviser had accidentally scheduled a withdrawal. Whoops. Big whoops. Especially when he told me they couldn't fix it for three or four days. And, you know, the first of the month is coming up. Where things like the mortgage payment and rent get taken out of that same (already overdrawn) account.

I kept my cool with him, as even though it was his mistake losing my shit on him wouldn't change anything. And I was left figuring out how to rearrange things to get by for a few days. The minutiae, the details, were not a big deal. I know they are temporary and that it will all be resolved. But the aftershock of the reality of the situation kicked in: I'm not where I want to be financially. I'm vulnerable and living on the edge of needing paychecks and autodrafts to all fall perfectly on the right days or else I'm screwed. I know I'm not the only one there but this freaked me out. 

What am I doing? How am I going to make this work? Should I even be trying to create this business and life? Should I go back to my 9-5? All of the self doubt and the questioning and the panic grew really, really loud. 

So this weeks What I'm Into Wednesday is dedicated to the things that bring me back from the edge. That help me to tell myself that I'm okay, that I'm doing okay, and that it will be okay.

Have you ever been in one of these "on the edge of losing it" moments? What helps you?

LP

See

One of my favorite books of all time is called the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It's all about resistance. Resistance is that force that tries to keep you from doing what you are made to do, what you know in your heart is your calling. Resistance shows up all the time, in many ways. It's questioning friends and family, it's procrastination, it's self doubt. And it gets louder and louder as you get closer and closer to that ultimate goal that it's keeping you from. And as it get's louder it pushes you harder and harder to quit. It has a thousand reasons why you should just give up. This moment was all resistance in my face. Re-reading that book has saved me many, many times. 

Do

It's impossible to be creative and motivated and passionate when you're coming from a place of fear. Sometimes you just need to get out of your own head, away from your work, and give yourself space to be present and to enjoy something, anything. Tomorrow I'm taking the day off and going to LA with my friend Amanda. We're going to hike, get a massage, go to a bookstore, and drink good coffee. And it's going to be amazing. A day off and a day away. It's not selfish, it's necessary. 

Hear

MUSIC! Ah, how it heals. My favorite jam of this week? Soldier of Love by Sade. It's just so good, groovy, soulful. Digging it. Did you know you can follow me on Spotify?

Smell

This Saturday we took our Spirit Yoga teacher trainees to the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas to visit and spend time in the meditation gardens. This is another space where the rain we've been getting is magical. The flowers, the greenery. Gorgeous and smelled so good! If you haven't been, it's a perfect space to find a bench and meditate or journal. I spent my time journaling about this idea of being a mindful badass

Taste

Nothing fixes a sour mood faster than a cheese board and some chocolate. A much needed date night happened on Monday night. We created a charcuterie plate complete with too much cheese (never too much) as well as all the accompaniments and headed on a walk to Bird Park to watch the sunset and snack. My favorites? Trader Joe's mushroom brie and pesto gouda and the dark chocolate coconut almonds. Heaven.