Category Archives: Teacher Training Graduate Stories

Yogi Interview of the Month with Rene de los Santos! AND a YOGA CRUISE!

Important note from Tracy:  Rene will always have a special place in my heart, because he was the person who talked me into offering my first yoga teacher training oh-so-many years ago.  He’s a fabulous yogi, a great friend, and an overall wonderful human being. 

And you can see that for yourself this November!  Rene is leading a Mexican Riviera yoga cruise! He’s got a great group already formed and they’d love to have you join them.  Double click on the flyer below for more information or e-mail Rene at theyogirene@yahoo.com

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Now, on to Rene. Tell us your yoga story!

Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I discovered Yoga (some would say “you were ready to discover”) in early 2001 after two different Yoga instructors mentioned “You should try this”!

My belief system dictates that when two different people who don’t know each other make the same request of me in a relatively short period of time – it’s really the universe (or ancestors or spirit) making the request.

My mothers voice resonates in the back of my head “If all of your friends went and jumped off the end of a bridge – would you jump too”?! To which I always responded “Probably”.

The connection was immediate in the very first practice. Yes, the very first class. Although the room was filed with people, I felt completely at peace. My body responded positively to the movements. The practice was lead by a male instructor, Roy Holman (who later became a good friend) which gave me hope! This was definitely for me. By the third class – I knew this was something to be pursued and shared.

After taking classes from several instructors over the course of three or four months, the time had come to practice more consistently and on the regular basis. The search was on to find a Yoga studio where I could go connect with other yogis and expand my experience.

Walking down the street one day with my partner Mark on Greenwood Avenue,  I noticed a woman placing balloons on the sidewalk underneath a sign that read Whole Life Yoga. It had a nice ring to it. Another sign read Join Us for Our One Year Anniversary Celebration! I was in class the following Sunday morning.

I didn’t know then that the simple act of connecting movement to breath would change me profoundly.

After that first class at Whole Life Yoga, I distinctly remember having a conversation with Tracy… not sure what was said but my mind was going a hundred miles per hour; This is great! Have to do this! Yoga, where have you been my whole life?! When are the classes?! Do I need special pants? Etc..etc.

After participating in 500 hours of formal training with Tracy at Whole Life Yoga, endless workshops from coast to coast, traveling to India, lectures, books, more books, years of personal practice, videos and classes, I am still discovering Yoga. My studies are in their infancy.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned as an instructor is to share. Share what you know so that other can benefit. krishnamacharya said “Teach what is inside you. Not as it applies to you, to yourself, but as it applies to the other.  The greatest lesson as a student; Desikachar said “The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships”.

I truly believe that the most successful Yoga teachers are those who teach with the intention of helping and serving others.

What I really appreciate about Viniyoga practice and Viniyoga philosophy is that it focuses totally on the practitioners and what THEY need on every level; obvious and subtle through the use of breath, movement, chant and meditation to name a few tools. As Yoga instructors, we must connect with our participants on a deeper level over time; as Yoga students we must be willing to adapt over time in order to serve others. There is no room for superficiality. It’s not meant to be cool or trendy – it’s a lot of work! It’s life changing.

And I have a lot of work to do! I’m glad that Yoga allows me to learn and grow, to adapt.  I’m not perfect and I’m ok with that. Looking forward to more training, practicing, moving changing and growing.

Although not currently teaching a regular on-going class – I know I will be when the time is right.

You should try this!

Thanks, Rene.  You inspire me every single day.  It was my great fortune that the universe pulled us in each others’ directions.

Rene De los Santos is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 and 500 hour yoga teacher trainings. He can be contacted at theyogirene@yahoo.com.

Yogi Interview of the Month–Jenny Zenner!

I’m delighted to host Whole Life Yoga teacher training graduate and phenomenal yoga teacher Jenny Zenner here on the blog today. She’s been kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for me. Pour yourself a cup of tea (or mix up and appletini!)and join us!

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Tell us a little about your journey to yoga. Why and when did you start practicing?

Yoga was my breakup cure starting in 2003. Lamenting the loss of a cross-country boyfriend, a friend going through a divorce invited me for “detox and retox” girls night – heated vinyasa with Hilary Steinitz followed by appletinis at the tapas bar below the studio. Between our sweaty mats and sisterhood, I became convinced that yoga was the cure for all of society’s ills.

Appletinis? YUM! Sounds like a great entry to a practice we both love.  Now that you’ve been practicing for well over a decade, how has yoga changed your life?

Initially, yoga gave me a proprioception I previously attained through years of running and strength training. It gave me my own sense of my body’s alignment, orientation, greater flexibility, and capacity for change by a simple shift into a posture.

Surely it can’t be all appletinis, sisterhood, and flexibility. Tell us the truth: Any yoga horror stories?

Why yes. While “auditioning” to teach by taking an advanced teacher training workshop, the student assisting me was unable to support my failed transition from crow to handstand. Dropped on my head like a pogo stick, to this day I feel the effects from my concussion and sprained cervical spine.

I’m so sorry that happened to you. We’ve spoken before about this experience and how it’s given you a greater appreciation for Viniyoga. What do you specifically appreciate about Viniyoga?

Viniyoga took me out of my vigorous flow practice and showed me a lifetime practice applicable to ANYONE.

Now that you’ve graduated from Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training, how are you sharing what you learned?

I teach yoga and mindfulness within organizations (workplace and schools). I like taking the practices to new audiences who might not ever visit a studio.

It’s great that you like to reach out to people outside of the traditional studio environment. What’s the most unique place you’ve taught yoga?

I led a session for a day of movement sponsored by Zella in the entrance to Nordstrom at the Northgate Mall.

That sounds like fun! I’ll bet you got a lot of interesting looks.  When you teach, what’s your favorite yoga pose, and why?

Tree. Every year or so, I have taken a picture of myself in the balance holding my twin sons, my own little monkeys. I’m due for another.

Who is your yoga hero?

I realize my yoga lineage is of yogini authors: Sharon Gannon (multiple books) who founded Jivamukti taught my first teacher Hilary (novelist) and my teacher training was with Tracy Weber (novelist). I hope to do them justice with my practice, teaching, and writing.

Ah… Now you’re making me blush. 😉  There is something about yoga and writing that go together.  It’s that whole persevering practice thing.  What non-yoga thing are you most passionate about?

After my family, it’s a tie between anti-inflammatory nutrition and neuroplasticity. I’m convinced I’m on this earth to help others heal and hurdle life’s obstacles.

Thanks so much for joining us today! How can people learn more about you? 

About Jenny Zenner:  Jenny Zenner is a career coach, product consultant, writer and the founder of Seeds Yoga. In her current chapter as a mom to twin preschoolers, she calls on all her resources to be mindful in as many moments as she can muster.

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

Research on Viniyoga for Cystic Fibrosis

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I co-authored a research paper!

The paper, “Yoga as a Therapy for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cystic Fibrosis: A Pilot Study,” was published in the November, 2015 issue of Global Advances in Health and Medicine.  The study was (at least as far as we know) the first to look at the safety of Yoga for individuals with Cystic Fibrosis.

The goal of this pilot study, led by Jennifer Ruddy, MD and conducted at Seattle Children’s Hospital, was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of yoga for patients with Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a life-shortening genetic disease that thickens secretions in the lungs, which leads to lung infections and decreases the patient’s ability to breathe. CF secretions also limit the pancreas’s ability to release digestive enzymes. As a result, patients with CF often have difficulty digesting food. (Not unlike my German shepherd, Tasha, who has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.)

I was both honored and excited to design a series of sessions that would bring Viniyoga to this population of students. After all, Viniyoga’s breath-centered practice is almost uniquely designed to increase lung capacity while integrating movement with breath.

Each participant in the study completed sixteen private Viniyoga sessions taught over a two-month time period. The Viniyoga sessions were designed to be safe for individuals with mild to moderate lung disease and easily modified for the individual.

The four study instructors—Claire Ricci, Roxie Dufour, Beverly Gonyea, and Cynthia Heckman—were all Whole Life Yoga certified yoga teachers who received additional training in Cystic Fibrosis. They were given the specific yoga protocol for this study but allowed to adapt as needed for student safety. Sessions included asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breath practices), and mindful awareness.

The results are encouraging. Ten of the eleven students enrolled in the study were able to complete the two months of practice.  Out of the 160 private sessions represented by those ten students, only two adverse effects were noted that might have been related to yoga: one mild instance of calf pain and one mild headache. Even more encouraging, statistically significant improvements were seen in the CFQ-R respiratory domain score (a measure of respiratory symptoms including cough and difficulty breathing.)

More research clearly needs to be done to see the full benefits of Viniyoga for this population, but these initial results are encouraging and will hopefully pave the way for more research in the future.

One again, research shows it: Viniyoga works!

Tracy Weber

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PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Yogi Interview of the Month–Laura Miller!

Please join me in welcoming Whole Life Yogi Laura Miller to the Whole Life Blog this month.  I’ve been honored to have Laura in my teacher training this past year, and she’s been kind enough to answer a few questions for me today.  You can reach Laura at msnailtek@yahoo.com and on her Facebook page.  Laura, take it away!

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Why and when did you start practicing yoga?

I remember being a little girl and when you would walk out of the grocery store there were these little small books about everything from dieting and recipes to different kinds of exercise. This would’ve been back in the 1960s. And I remember asking my mom if I could get one little book and it was about yoga.

Now I didn’t understand the concept behind it but I really enjoyed doing it, practicing those poses in that little book. Yoga still was not something that I knew much about really until I was a teenager but in grade school I sure enjoyed paging through that cute little book and practicing the yoga positions.

What made you decide to take a teacher training program?

Even though I’ve been taking a variety of types of yoga classes throughout probably the past 30 years, I felt that at this stage in my life I wanted to know yoga far better than I already did.

I wanted to be able to immerse myself in a program that I really believed in, not just to perhaps help others especially my massage therapy clients, but to be able to have a yoga foundation that would last me for the rest of my life especially as I am now approaching 60 years old. To be able to keep my flexibility, balance, and strength is extremely important to me.

Knowing that Yoga encompasses so many facets other than just asana, the ability to practice breathing techniques and meditation and calming the monkey mind, are all so beneficial to anyone at any stage but I felt such a need to just understand it all deeper and to know the background and the heritage.

Finding Viniyoga, and this was the first school I had even gone to inquire about the teacher training, and I was not familiar with this type of yoga, and yet it certainly spoke to me and I knew that it’s therapeutic nature would benefit me the rest of my own life much less the people that I would be teaching it to.

What population do you most enjoy teaching?

I am happy teaching any age group from children all the way on up through seniors, but I would say that given my own age that being able to work with seniors and helping them to have a basic practice is one of the most helpful things anyone can do to aid the aging process and keep it as graceful as possible.

I’m also very interesting it in designing a program for doing yoga outdoors, and also incorporating yoga with hiking. Definitely a passion of mine that I will be working on this summer.

What is the worst thing about yoga in America?

This is an easy one for me, I think the worst thing is that unlike a country like India, we don’t teach children yoga at an extremely young age whether it’s at home or in school. To have a yoga practice starting early in life, the health benefits alone would be tremendous. I certainly wish for myself to have had a foundation like this, and I would love to see yoga integrated into schools and into more park and rec programs for children. And then that reaches out to the far end of the age spectrum as we become seniors, to include more yoga classes in senior centers and nursing homes, to help bring some peace and calm and gentle movement as we age.

What non-yoga thing are you very passionate about?

I am extremely passionate about animals, all animals but dogs in particular because that is what I am able to fill my home with! We volunteer for a local dog rescue organization, that takes in blind dogs and any with medical issues. We have fostered and also adopted some of our foster dogs, and being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves is extremely important to me.

As a society, ensuring that all creatures are respected and well taken care of I believe it’s something that should just automatically happen but it doesn’t. There is a lot of work to be done in the area of animal rescue and I’m happy that were able to do our small part.

I love dogs, too!  And I think what you and your partner Patrick do for special needs dogs is simply astounding.  Now, here’s an offbeat question for you: Yoga pants, Fashion statement or work of the devil!

I think that yoga pants are extremely comfortable and I definitely wear them a lot. I think for movement whether it’s yoga or other forms of exercise, they are about the best thing out there for working out. Now I’ve seen some amazing styles and colors, but I’m kind of a neutral black yoga pants kind of gal! But there are some amazing fashion statement outfits out there for yoga,

What is the best thing about yoga in America?

Well I probably should say yoga pants, ha ha! But I would say the best thing is that we’re seeing it more and more often, at health clubs and park and rec centers, yoga studios are popping up all over the place. At least it gets more exposure for yoga and then hopefully people will find what type of yoga works best for them.

What is your favorite yoga pose and why?

At first thought I would say child’s pose, it’s relaxing and a wonderful transition between other poses. But I guess really mountain pose or savasana also jump out at me because they are more difficult to keep the monkey mind and focus in check. Balance poses are also a favorite because of the concentration level to maintain the pose. Being able to calm the mind and focus on one thing is probably one of the most rewarding things about yoga to me, in my own personal practice.

Who is your yoga hero?

I would say that my yoga hero is Tracy Weber. And the reasons why, she’s not only able to take and articulate the vastness of this lineage to her students, she also walks the walk and talks the talk. She lives her life, from my perspective, in a way that touches others in such a positive manner, through the teachings of the yoga sutras and because that’s just her personality, she is someone to aspire to in all of our teaching experiences. To be able to eventually instruct a yoga class even half as well as Tracy does, then I will have felt like I accomplished the highest goal I have for my teaching ability.

Oh my!

Now you’re making me blush.  😉  Here’s a final question:  What do you most appreciate about Viniyoga?

It is therapeutic, it can be very gentle or you can also make it pretty kick butt if you want to! It’s key differentiators make it unique and applicable to everyone. Function over form, the use of movement and stay, linking your movement with your breath, sequencing, and adaptation. I believe that anyone can learn and use Viniyoga in their lives.

Thanks for coming to chat with us today, Laura.  Having you on the blog was almost as great as having you in class.  Make me proud!

IMG_1218About Laura Miller: I was born and raised in Seattle although I’ve had the opportunity to live a number of other places in our beautiful country. I am a licensed massage practitioner and a nail technician, and a yoga instructor! Along with my partner Patrick, we have 6 adorable dogs, one feisty cockatiel, and a very mellow bearded dragon. We love hiking, traveling, and hanging out with our fur babies. I have 5 beautiful grandchildren and they are the lights of my life! Namaste

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

How injury will make me better (as a yoga instructor and a human being)

Hi all!  Please welcome one of my favorite Whole Life Yoga grads–and perhaps my overall favorite human being–Mary Bue to the blog today.  One of the many, many things I love about Mary is her upbeat attitude.  Not to mention her indestructible spirit and way she takes lessons wherever she finds them.  Contact Mary at Imbueyoga@gmail.com. Those of you in Minneapolis definitely need to check out her new yoga studio, Imbue Yoga!

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It was a beautiful,  sunny winter day in northern Minnesota. My husband and I were gifted free lift tickets to snowboard at a ski resort because we performed a rock show the night before. I had been wanting to try snowboarding for years and the conditions were perfect. I figured it would be a challenge – but I’m a yoga instructor who has good core strength, balance and mindful breathing.  I’ve got this! No problemo, right?

Wrong!  My husband was a ways down the hill and I thought, “I’ll catch up to him!”  For 30 seconds I was having a blast,  zooming down but I turned too sharply onto my toe side,  did an airborne cartwheel and BAM! Crashed down on my right shoulder.  I heard a crack.  Doh!

The results weren’t looking good – possibly torn rotator cuff.  Thankfully the MRI found only a bad sprain, but also a fracture on the tip of my shoulder,  such that, should I lift my arm too high,  it would chip off requiring sugery.  SO,  for six weeks,  no yoga.

Did I mention that during this six weeks I am recording in Nashville, moving, and opening a yoga studio?

Life has interesting timing sometimes, doesn’t it?

Thankfully I was trained in the yogic lineage of Viniyoga that not only values adaptations but also trains teachers to teach with our voices rather than demonstrating every move.

How will this injury make me a better yoga instructor and human?

  • Incorporating a sense of humor.  It’s been funny to see the look on a new student’s face when their teacher shows up with her arm in a sling.  Have to make light of it!  In one class I wanted to applaud my students for an awesome balance posture and told them, ”Here is the sound of one hand clapping for you!” (I thought it was funny).
  • Greater observation.  Instead of being glued to my mat,  I walk around and watch what is going on in the room, making sure everybody is on the same page, trying to connect with each student with eye contact and a smile.
  • Well designed sequencing.  I tend to create classes in the moment depending on what my students want, but I’ll also have some peak postures which I’ll research, share the anatomy and benefits, and get a little off the grid from my habitual teaching routines.
  • Increased empathy.  This injury,  minor as it is,  reminds me of my vulnerability and that this human vessel is fleeting.  Life can dramatically change without warning,  in mere seconds.  I felt pain,  distress,  aching,  restlessness,  and I am healing. All beings feel these feelings at some point in thir lives.  I hope to fully integrate this experince into my teaching,  my music,  and my day to day life.http://www.marybue.com

Namaste,

Mary Bue

Mary Bue is an indie musician, yoga instructor and brand new studio owner of Imbue Yoga in Minneapolis, MN – grand opening June 11th 2016! She spends her time touring the country, recording (7th album in the works), teaching and practicing Viniyoga amongst the lakes, trees and nice Minnesotans.

Music: www.marybue.com
Yoga: www.imbueyoga.com

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

Yogi Interview of the Month–Cynthia Heckman!

Hi all! Please welcome Cynthia Heckman to the Whole Life Blog today!  Cynthia is a talented yoga teacher as well as one of my favorite graduates of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour and 500 hour yoga teacher trainings.  Cynthia is a much braver woman than I for teaching yoga to families. Please join me in welcoming her and ask her any questions you have in the comments!

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Why and when did you start practicing yoga?

I started practicing yoga in 1994, when my first son was 3. At the time I was just looking for any class at the gym to help me get in shape.

After the first class, I knew yoga was different. Instead of just feeling energized after class, I felt energized and peaceful.

What do you specifically appreciate about Viniyoga?

It wasn’t until more than a decade after that first class that I had the good fortune to find Tracy Weber and my introduction to Viniyoga. After so many years of gym class yoga and Iyengar yoga, it took me awhile to fully integrate Viniyoga into my practice.

Now I wouldn’t have my yoga any other way. Firstly, in Viniyoga movement and breath are fully fused together. This brings a totally new awareness of the body and encourages more focus during practice, as well as other physiological benefits. Secondly, in Viniyoga the practice is designed to suit the individual who is doing it. No more trying to force my body into an ideal pose, but, instead, I get to choose the poses that my body needs. With regular practice, this has resulted in new love and appreciation for the body I was born with.

What yoga myths would you most like to debunk?

The yoga myth I would most like to debunk is the idea that if you are a yoga teacher you must be some kind of human pretzel. Flexibility is nice, but it isn’t a pre –requisite for teaching or practicing yoga. The body you have will work just fine, thank-you.

I completely agree.  If you had to be a human pretzel to teach yoga, I’d have been disqualified long ago.  That’s why I like teaching yoga to people who think they “can’t” do yoga.  Who do you most enjoy teaching? 

When I first graduated from teacher training I promised myself I would say “Yes!” to the first person who asked me to teach. I imagined this would be a class for adults at a studio or gym, but, no. The first person to ask me was a friend of mine, a mom who wanted a family yoga class at a local community center. I said yes, and I was terrified.

It turned out though, after a few bumpy classes, teaching kids with their parents was a good fit for me. I learn so much from the kids with their open hearts and playfulness and try to help the parents find a few moments to relax in the midst of yoga chaos. We all laugh and laugh, which may be the best practice of all.

Tip for teachers who would like to try teaching kids: After you graduate from teacher training, consider taking an Improv class, and/or a class specifically geared toward teaching kids yoga. It really helps when you need to change your plans on the fly.

Now that you’ve graduated from yoga teacher training, how are you sharing what you learned?

It has been said that if you are given the yoga teachings and don’t share them, you are a thief. As a teacher who only finds time to teach an occasional class or series of classes, I’ve thought about this a lot.

How do I share yoga when I’m not formally teaching without being annoying and preachy? I like to think that doing my best to follow the yoga sutras is the answer. I share their beauty whenever I’m given the opportunity. Here’s one I love:

Sutra 1.33: “The mind becomes quiet when it cultivates friendliness in the presence of happiness, active compassion in the presence of unhappiness, joy in the presence of virtue, and indifference toward error.”

Easier said than done, right? But as some wise soul once said, “That’s why they call it a yoga practice not a yoga perfect.”

What is your favorite book about yoga?

My favorite book about yoga is The Essence of Yoga , Reflections on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Bernard Bouanchaud. Quoted above.

Who is your yoga hero?

I have many yoga heroes. From great teachers who spend their lives sharing the yoga tradition, to the regular practitioner, who, despite all of life’s obstacles, returns to the mat again and again. Namaste to you all!

Cynthia Heckman is a homeschool mom and yoga teacher. She graduated from Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training in 2009. She occasionally teaches kids’ and family yoga at Loyal Heights Community Center in Seattle and tries to live by and share the yoga teachings every day. Contact her at Chyoga@earthlink.net.

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

Yogi Interview of the Month–Roy Holman!

Hi all! Today is the first of what I hope will be monthly interviews with some of my favorite yogis!  Roy Holman is a fabulous yoga teacher as well as a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour and 500 hour yoga teacher trainings.  I understand his retreats are to die for!  Please join me in welcoming him, and ask him any questions you have in the comments!

Tracy Weber

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Roy, thanks so much for joining me on the Whole Life Yoga blog today! Let’s dive right into the questions.

Why and when did you start practicing yoga?

1996, during a dark night of the soul, depressed, with an eating disorder. I felt so good and grounded from yoga, I knew if it could help me, it could help anyone!

What do you specifically appreciate about Viniyoga?

The breath connection and presence, and the look in people’s eyes after class. A spark!

Any yoga horror stories?

Too many to list! Farting when I was adjusting someone’s head in Savasana comes to mind. Another time while teaching, during a stretch, I split the back of my pants.

Oh my. I hesitate to ask after that, but what is one of your most humbling moments as a teacher? 

I usually share a few thoughts before we begin the asana. A woman would always come to my YMCA class 10 minutes late. I finally gently, kindly asked her if it was difficult to arrive on time, and she said “I purposely show up late to avoid listening to your psychobabble!”

At least she was honest! Tell me, what would you tell people interested in trying yoga for the first time?

If you don’t like it, don’t quit. Try another teacher or style until your body purrrs … I’m biased, but I feel there is a yoga for every body.

I totally agree. And there  is a yoga TEACHER for every student. What do you think are the most important qualities of a great yoga teacher?

Authenticity, humility, kindness, and one who is doing the inner work and has a spiritual practice (not just asana).

Kate (the yoga teacher/sleuth in my series) has anger management issues, but she uses yoga to mitigate them.  What challenges do you face, and how does yoga help you overcome them?

I have no issues–except denial! Truthfully, I feel like it may take several lifetimes before I truly love myself, sigh. Practice, practice, practice…

Who is your yoga hero?

Krishnamacharya. Talk about devoted and committed! Not too many yogis like that these days.

Agree. He’s my hero, too.  I often wonder what he would think about yoga as we practice it in America today. What would you change about the American yoga scene, if you could?

I’m trying to stop controlling everything so I think I’ll just let it be! I’m thrilled that 36 million Americans are now doing yoga, including 10 million men, according to a recent study. It has to start somewhere, but again, I wish there was more breath connected, gentle, slow, traditional yoga aimed less at developing six pack abs and more on ahimsa, satya and isvara pranidhana.

I totally agree. No wonder I think you are so awesome!  How can people learn more about you and your classes? 

www.holmanhealthconnections.com … or my Blog at http://holmanhealthconnections.com/blog/

Roy Holman has run Holman Health Connections in Everett, Washington since 2000. Roy is a 500 hour certified Yoga, Meditation, and Healing Instructor, a Oneness Blessing giver and trainer, and leads retreats to Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Hawaii, Bali, Sedona, and in his home state of Washington. Roy Holman is author of two books: Healing Self, Healing Earth: Awakening Presence, Power, and Passion, and Poems from the Passionate Heart: Reflections on Healing and Awakening.  Roy does a health and healing radio commentary every week on KSER 90.7 FM. Roy also lived several years abroad, mostly doing human rights work in Central America. Roy has a passion for assisting the healing of our Earth and evolution / shift of humanity.  He teaches with humor and joy.

Contact Roy at 425-303-8150 — Holmanhealth@gmail.com

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

Community

Please welcome Sharon Gillette to the Whole Life Blog today.  I’m honored to have Sharon as part of my yoga community!

The communities that we live in, work in, and join because of athletic, musical, or other skill, all help to form, grow, and sometimes support us.  What is our responsibility to our communities?

When we become aware of the power behind a community simply thinking/writing/voicing good thoughts about somebody, how can we fail to take the opportunity to lift someone up who has lost a job, a parent, or hope?  Even day-to-day questions and cares, answered thoughtfully by community members, can make a difference in the sense of well-being of another.  What an honor for that person to know that someone noticed their challenge, gave it thought, and took even a brief moment to recognize it in some way.

The yoga community of teachers is strong, especially among those who trained together.  Learning from and supporting each other makes them more able to serve students.  Members of group yoga classes that meet regularly, often look forward to connections made there.  Specific-themed classes for prenatal, MS, cancer, or other health-related needs, sometimes see very beneficial bonds form among practitioners.  Be open to exploring these personal connections.  Care, and be cared for.

Having the opportunity to take the gift of community and add it to the content-rich forum of the internet, is a perk of modern life that should not be taken for granted.  Spend time reading the blog or the Facebook page of your favorite yoga teachers, and offer your thoughts.  Nourish, and be nourished.

However you find your yoga community, move forward by asking yourself what you can do to help that community.  Could you deliver a flower from your garden to the friend on the mat next to yours?  Might you give of your knowledge or from your heart, to comment in an online group?

Share of yourself in community.  Lift others, and be lifted.

SharonandPiperArboretum2015Sharon Gillette is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200-hour and 300-hour teacher trainings.  Connect with her at http://www.polkadotyoga.com/

 

 

Snacks & Blood Sugar Stabilization

Please welcome Nicole White to Whole Life Yoga’s blog today.  Nicole is a graduate of  Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training  program.  She can be reached at siennanana@gmail.com.  And be sure to check out her fabulous book!

Nourishing snacks, in combination with breakfast, keep your blood sugar stable. Snacks also give you consistent energy throughout the day. If you know your mid-day slump is at 3:30pm every day, set a timer for 3pm and eat your snack at 3pm (or sooner). Experiment with eating a meal or snack EVERY 2-3 hours, especially if you have any blood sugar or mood related issues.

Blood sugar issues affect more than diabetics or people with hypoglycemia. Certain foods, and stimulants such as caffeine, go through your blood stream quicker. Caffeine can give you a huge rise (why so many people feel that they MUST have it in the morning). Caffeine also acts as an appetite suppressant which disrupts your blood sugar balance.

When blood sugars get too low, you may become cranky, easily frustrated, shaky, light headed, etc. Remember this: Don’t make any important decisions on an empty stomach! Why? Because your brain does not have the proper balancing fuel it needs when your blood sugar drops too low.

1. STABLE blood sugar. Starting the day with a nourishing breakfast and then having snacks and meals throughout the day. Drinking purified water and incorporating the Magic Trio Combination (see below) into meals and snacks.

stable blood sugar

2. UNSTABLE blood sugar. Starting the day without breakfast or beginning with coffee and a refined sweet or processed food or cereal will give you that initial BOOST of energy you are looking for and then DROP you down low. Once you realize it, you may go for the quickest energy source available, more caffeine and refined sugars/processed foods. You have highs and lows of energy throughout the day.

Unstable blood sugar

Once you are able to Upgrade the items you love, incorporate the Magic Trio Combinations (see below) and eat at more consistent times. You will notice a Natural Rise in your ENERGY. This is the energy you have sought through caffeinated drinks and refined foods. The Easier and QUICKER route to Sustained Energy and Stable Blood Sugar is through Nourishing Foods, Snacks and the Magic Trio Combinations.

The Magic Trio Combination is:

1. Fiber

2. Protein

3. Fat

When you combine Fiber, Protein, and Fat your food cravings stabilize. For example, notice what you crave after eating a piece of fruit. Then notice what you crave AFTER eating a piece of fruit with some nut butter, nuts/seeds or full fat yogurt or raw cheese. Then create your ritual accordingly. Yes, there is the old saying ‘fruit alone’. However, with blood sugar issues it’s important to slow down fruit (natural sugar) with fat and protein (i.e. nuts/seeds etc.). This will take the fruit from acting like a fast carb to behaving more like a slow carb (which is what you want).

Want to learn more? Please visit www.upgradeology.com or pick up your copy of Upgradeology through Amazon.com

Nourishingly,

Nicole White, CHHC, AADP, RYT

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Upgradeology-Upgrade-Your-Food-Life/dp/0990981614/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1436830688&sr=8-1&keywords=upgradeology

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.   The second book in the series, A Killer Retreat, is available at booksellers everywhere!

The Gift of Self-Doubt

me and my boys2

This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Shelley Curtis. Shelley is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 500-hour yoga teacher training program and a teacher at Whole Life Yoga. She  can be contacted at sac68@earthlink.net.

My confidence is easily shaken. This is something that has followed me from childhood, through young adulthood to where I am now. I’m closer to 50 than I care to admit and a mother of two young boys. I also teach yoga. Although I never thought I’d have children I have settled into the role with a passion I didn’t know I had. I recently read a quote that went something like this: “Making a decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.” That’s exactly what it feels like. And even though I love my boys more than life and mother them with 110% of my heart and soul, I still feel like I make daily screw ups. Heck, some days it’s by the hour.

Same with yoga. My passion for it has taken me by surprise. I was totally blindsided.  I took Tracy’s 200 hour training when I was pregnant with my second son and at the outset didn’t really intend to teach. But the bug bit me and I fell hook, line and sinker. I started teaching prenatal women and then new moms and found it extremely rewarding as well as challenging – a great combination for my mushy mommy mind. Yoga had changed my life in a profound way. Then I took Tracy’s 500 hour training and my mind was really blown. My teaching changed and my own practice changed in ways that I would never have imagined. And the community of yogis that I became part of has kept me going and growing. They are amazing and inspiring.

But just as with motherhood, I still feel like I make screw ups each and every time I teach. The most challenging thing for me lately is making sure I stay present and aware of each student. Teaching is like meditation for me most of the time. I am not thinking of my grocery list or how to make our bedtime routine less stressful or whether or not my son will eat all of his lunch. I am in the moment and totally focused on teaching. But even still, I feel like I miss so much. After each class I ruminate for hours. Did I keep that pregnant woman on her back too long? Did I not notice that someone was pregnant in my all-levels class? How did I forget to something for the upper back when that student said her upper back was tight? And it goes on and on. Sometimes I feel complete panic with the thought that I could’ve caused someone discomfort – or worse yet, injury. After every class I promise myself that next class I will be even more aware, even more present. And then I do it again. I lose a student in my memory. Someone I failed to be completely aware of, someone I failed to make a connection with. Tracy says I cannot possibly be completely present and aware of every student all the time. And I shake my head and say, “ Yes, oh wise teacher, you are right.” And then I worry some more.

After almost 10 years of personal practice, more than 500 hours of training and 5 ½ years of teaching I still feel like I just stepped onto the mat. I yearn to teach with unshakable confidence and to let go of my doubts and anxieties. But I can’t help but entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe, this is what will make me a better teacher. The desire to make each class for each student special and unique. To meet each student where they are and bring them to where they want to be. Perhaps instead of trying to push away the doubt and anxiety I should allow myself to lean into it, to let it be what it is. And then maybe, I could be more at peace with my teaching. Perhaps that is the lesson I am meant to learn?

Namaste

Shelley

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.   The second book in the series, A Killer Retreat, is available at booksellers everywhere!