Featured

Meet Your Kula: Mel Douglas

  Meet Your Kula: Mel Douglas Part of what makes us so unique are the amazing members of our Yogi community, our kula. Each month, we’ll feature one member of our yogi community, chat with them about their practice, learn more about what draws them to yoga, and get to know each other a little […]

Read More

The Yoga Friendship: How Many of Us Have Met Our Closest Friends Via Yoga?

I’m so inspired by the idea of yoga friendship I actually wrote a novel based on that concept. Yoga studios are a unique place and they practically beg us to connect with others. In the novel, Yoga Train, the main characters, Devon and Ruby, meet at the yoga studio. Devon has been wanting to approach Ruby and she finally does. As she puts her mat down next to Ruby’s, she looks up at Devon and says, “Hi. I like your purple eye-liner.” And that was that. The yoga friendship begins with common ground and a shared experience Seems like a damn good place to start building a relationship. Yoga becomes the way we live our lives. We all want to connect with other like-minded folks who care about their minds, bodies, and how they affect and influence the world around them. Self-awareness is a key component in the development of a yoga practice. Automatically, we want to form relationships with others who value that too. We yogis get extremely passionate. A fire starts and it doesn’t burn out. We form a much more honest relationship with ourselves and we take that with us out of the studio and into every aspect of […]

Read More

Yoga Arm Balances: The Benefits and Reasons We Want to Do Them So Badly

The first time I saw Crow Pose (Bakasana), I was pissed that the pose even existed. It was surprising to me that yoga arm balances were even a thing. I didn’t know much about yoga, and arm balances hit me hard because I knew it would take a lot of practice to be able to achieve them one day. I remember thinking, “Oh my stars, I will never be able to do this pose. How is it possible that in a class of twenty people, I’m the only one who can’t do it?” Everyone else lifted into it so seemingly easily. It was dumbfounding. If everyone else could do it, how hard could it actually be? Um, turns out the answer is pretty damn hard. And acknowledging that is crucial if you want to pursue these postures. Yoga arm balances are flat out cool. We desperately want to be able to pull them off. There are a lot of benefits to arm balances. But do they really deserve the amount of attention we give them? Are the benefits that valuable? The answer is complicated. It all depends on your goals and what you think is worthy of your time and […]

Read More

Is There a Specific Yoga Diet? Yes but Mostly No

Timing is everything, they say. And I absolutely believe that cliché. It was when I was in the process of moving back to Atlanta from Columbus, Ohio that I met my life partner. And when I first moved to Columbus, I walked into a yoga studio to apply to teach there. The owner was reading Yoga Journal and was on the page of my DVD review. Timing, y’all. It really does matter so very much. Let’s talk about the yoga diet We all know the stereotype of the vegan yogi who basically lives on what they can pick from their garden. They can essentially subsist on greens, good vibes, and downward facing dog pose. This is bullshit, for the most part. There are a whole lotta yogis who eat everything and anything. I even know an avid hunter who practices five days a week and just completed his 200-hour yoga teacher training. Many people who have tried to become either vegetarians or vegans report that they became sick as a result. There are also loads of happy, healthy folks who do not eat any animal products. And there’s a ton of people, like me, who are pescatarians (they only consume fish). […]

Read More

Is The Equation of Giving and Receiving In Balance?

I bet you’re a giver. Most yoga lovers I know really excel at the giving part. They use almost every ounce of energy they have in that direction. Why is it so much easier to give than to let ourselves to receive? Energy is currency. Giving and receiving need to balance one another out Part of self-care is knowing when we have depleted our energy. We have to replenish the well constantly. Making thoughtful choices about how much of ourselves we give to others is a crucial part of making sure we protect and nurture our ability to be of service. If we think of energy as currency, noting when our bank account is insufficient of funds is an important thing to understand. And when it’s in abundance, that’s when we can indulge being the most generous version of ourselves. How and when to set boundaries Giving and receiving will probably never be quite in perfect balance. But getting as close to an evenness as we can needs to be a priority. When your yoga teacher is quiet after teaching a class, it’s likely because s/he has extended themselves as much as they could and it’s time to conserve energy. […]

Read More

Self-Care Via the Practice of Yoga Nidra

Yoga nidra may feel strange the first time you try it, but the echoes continue long after the physical practice ceases. If you’ve never practiced yoga nidra, you’re in for a real treat. It’s believed that practicing this form of meditation for 45 minutes is equitable to 3 hours of sleep. The benefits will reverberate throughout the rest of your waking hours making stress more manageable and focus more obtainable. Once you invite yoga nidra into your life, you’ll probably wonder how you ever functioned without it. An explanation of yoga nidra and how to practice it Yoga nidra translates to “yogic sleep”. It very well may replace that nap craving you typically find yourself having. It’s a guided meditation that relaxes your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and allows your brain to go from the active beta state and transverse over to the more restful alpha sleep state. If you can relax enough, your brain may be capable of going to an even further state of restoration. And when things are really working, your brain is able to move all the way to the delta state of deep, restorative relaxation where the benefits of truly restful sleep start to kick in. Sounds […]

Read More

Why The Practice of Jnana Yoga Is a Necessity for A Happy Life

Have you ever heard of Jnana Yoga? Me either. Or at least I hadn’t until recently. A student asked about how to best practice Jnana yoga, and I had to admit I didn’t know what it was. Once I did a little research, I got excited about exploring this practice. The yoga world is vast, and just when you think you’ve tapped into every piece of yoga philosophy there is, a whole different zip code shows up on the map. Jnana translates to ‘wisdom’ or ‘knowledge’. It’s one of the four main paths of yoga and highly regarded as the most challenging to practice. Why is self-inquiry so tough? Why are we afraid of the truth and the pursuit of liberation from our untrue thoughts? Jnana yoga throws down the gauntlet of Svadhyaya To get on the other side of our egos, we have to be willing to invest fully in Svadhyaya, or “self-study”. While it’s true that most people like to talk about themselves, it is decidedly untrue that we like to explore our inner workings and implore honesty to rise to the surface and show us who we really are. How can we embark on this daunting path? Questions. […]

Read More

Yoga Symbols and Why They Compel Us So Very Much

What’s the first thing you think when you see someone wearing a t-shirt featuring an OM? “That human digs yoga.” “They are probably an open-minded sort.” “I’m going to ask her where she practices yoga.” “Am I OMing correctly?” Essentially, yoga symbols have meaning to us because we feel a deep and profound love for yoga and want to express it Symbols have always been a potent way to announce devotion, support, and reverence. They tell the world an important piece of our identity and values. Religious people often wear a piece of jewelry announcing their membership, such as a cross or Star of David. The yin/yang symbol holds strong meaning in Taoism and represents the pursuit of balance and wholeness. It also stands for the beginning point for change. In Native American culture, the bull skull is symbolic of offering protection from the natural elements. It also stands for strength, courage, and leadership. Yoga symbols have grown wildly popular. If you actively observe this, you’ll find them everywhere from jewelry, clothing, tattoos, pillows, paintings and sculptures, hell, even nail polish decals. The Om is probably the most recognizable and popular. I decided to count the number of Om yoga symbols I […]

Read More

2 Highly Effective Breath Practices to Minimize Stress & Anxiety

It really is all about the breath Every time I think otherwise, I’m again proven wrong. And I enjoy being wrong about this. It’s comforting to be reminded and really accept that the breath is paramount and everything else has the job of supplementing the effectiveness of breath. Don’t believe me? Think of the hardest pose you can effectively (most of the time) execute. Okay, now go practice it with a determined commitment to your breath. How did it go? Pretty damn well, I’m betting. Sit with that. Breath practices and movement equal excellent outcomes. Next, try the posture while holding your breath. What’s the verdict? Did you kind of want to pass out a little from the awfulness of it? Yeah, been there. Been there too many times. And I know I’ll be there again. I can’t quite seem to remember to prioritize breath practices each and every single time. If we know a specific resource makes all the difference, why would we ever decide not to utilize it? There are quite a few theories on why breath practices are not as much of a priority as they should be: We are habitual folks. All of us. We get […]

Read More

3 Mind Blowing Kundalini Yoga Benefits: Scratching the Surface of this Miraculous Practice

I was a skeptic. I’d heard all about how magical and transformative Kundalini yoga is, but somehow never felt compelled to give it a go. Since I’m a writer and believe in writing from experience, I decided to finally take a Kundalini class. It knocked me sideways and shocked my system. I have never left a yoga class or any other experience with such a lightness and giddy sense I’d stumbled into something that would irrevocably change my whole perspective on how I cope with and experience life. Kundalini yoga really is that deep And now I get why people often have trouble explaining Kundalini yoga. How do you find the words to label something that touches you on levels you’ve never quite located before? I’m very new at this, so perhaps the effects don’t land quite so intensely after a while. Although, talking to others after class leads me to believe I’m not alone in my excitement. They too are thrilled they’ve found this practice and want to share it with as many other people as they can compel to try it. Kundalini yoga basics First, a brief primer about Kundalini, or ‘The Yoga of Awareness’. There are no […]

Read More