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Episode 74: Jill Miller Talks Honestly About Hip Replacement Surgery & How Yoga is in Need of a Tune Up

Jill Miller is the creator of Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model Method® — a self care method that utilizes specific poses, sequences, and self massage tools to help you tune into your body’s “blind spots.” Jill’s method can help ease aches and pains, it can soothe your nervous system, and increase proprioception — that important ability to feel where your body is in space.

Just before this interview, Jill made the announcement that years of wear and tear on her body (including yoga practice) have led to the need for a hip replacement. Understandably, the response in the yoga community was one of shock, curiosity, and even some judgment. Jill was kind enough to share her story — what she thinks led her to this point, what she would do differently, and why she’s not throwing yoga under the bus.


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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
The Roll Model Method (PS: I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in her method. It’s so detailed and filled with helpful rolling sequences.)
Surprise, Surprise! You Need a Total Hip Replacement
More About Yoga Tune Up®: www.tuneupfitness.com/yogatuneup

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The Yoga Hustle: An Insider’s Guide to Survival

Mira Valeria | Business Tips for Yoga Teachers | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

The Yoga Hustle (n.): A phase at the beginning of one’s teaching career or upon arrival in a new city; a period in which a yoga teacher takes on every possible class that his/her schedule will accommodate.

Thanks to Instagram, we have a clear image of the ‘leisurely yogi lifestyle’ that becoming a successful yoga teacher can yield. Never mind that the scantily clad beach asana photos in no way reflect the reality of daily life. Nevertheless, social media is actively shaping our collective vision of what being a yoga teacher looks like and giving us a false sense of the work involved.

Don’t fall for it, and certainly don’t quit your well-paying job and jump into teaching yoga with the hopes that it will lead you to life on the beach, free of responsibilities. If you are going to quit your job to become a yoga teacher, do so because you love to teach and want to share the practice, period. Because, you will most certainly go through a period of The Yoga Hustle and it looks something like this:

— Wake up at 6:30am to sit on your meditation cushion for a handful of minutes and get in a brief home practice before you rush out the door to teach the first of several classes that day.

— Between classes, zigzag across town to coffee-shop-nearest-next-class and buy an almond milk latte in hopes that it will help you drop into writing some social media posts. But with only 30 minutes until the next class, you get sucked into perusing not posting on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, which only feeds your anxiety.

— Get home between 9:00 and 10:00pm with just enough energy to dig something out of the fridge and shower before you fall into bed comatose.

Why Do It?

Let me be clear: The Hustle is a very real phenomenon. It’s also a necessary part of becoming a full-time yoga teacher. This period demands your time, your energy, and your focus in order to sharpen your teaching blade and make your mark in the face of talented and plentiful competition. It is a right of passage that centralizes around one theme: Do Your Work.

If you make the – ahem – “economically sound” decision to become a full time yoga teacher, The Hustle is your chance to get your name out there and build a following. Making a living teaching yoga is a numbers game, and the one true key to success is a strong and consistent student base. Teaching as much as possible not only gives you exposure, it also provides an opportunity to try on different studios and different times of day to get a better sense of when and where feels like a good fit. In other words, it gives you a chance to find your people.

In order to survive, however, it is important to remain grounded in the purpose this period serves, to get clarity around your expectations and boundaries, and to become unrelenting in your commitment to self-care. Like we do with the mind through our yoga practice, we must learn to yoke The Hustle, for if left unrestrained, it can quickly become an all-consuming force that sends us headfirst into burnout.

The Burnout Phase

Burnout isn’t just an adjective. It is a real condition with real psycho-emotional and physiological effects. Those of us prone to “I can do everything” thinking (read: “Sure, I can teach more!”) are most susceptible, and we often don’t see it coming. For those of us in The Hustle, it often happens because we prioritize teaching and let self-care become a matter of “if there is extra time.” (There never is.) We wake up one day, haggard and foggy brained and coffee-dependent, and realize that we haven’t actually done our own practice in weeks – or even months. We start to teach go-to sequences because we don’t have the time or mental capacity to think about content, which quickly becomes boring. And then we start to resent our work.

If we let The Hustle take over our lives, burnout becomes inevitable. Just as simply, however, we can pull on the reigns and steer The Hustle to make it a manageable and even enjoyable experience.

See also 7 Vital Things to Look for in a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Keys to Surviving – Business Tips for Yoga Teachers

1. Make a road map. If you enter The Hustle without a clear goal (read: exit strategy), you have no hope of escape; rather, you will run from studio to studio endlessly and grow weary in the process. Get clear on what you want to be doing one month, six months, one year from now, and make a plan of action to start you moving in that direction. Figure out how much on average you need to make per week to live comfortably. (Yes, yoga teacher, you need to behave like the sole proprietor you are and have a real notion of the financials of your small business.) Using that number as a baseline, write out your ideal schedule. Which of your current classes do you love? Which yield consistent turnout (i.e. revenue)? Which classes do you find draining? Figure out how far you are from both your target number and your ideal schedule. Over time, start to make shifts in this direction. Be sure to block out dedicated admin time in your week and don’t waiver when the tempting subbing opportunity shows up.

2. Be authentic in your teaching. Trying to do what others do the way they do it is draining and unsustainable in the long run. Get clear on your purpose and let that be what guides your teaching, in terms of content as well as context. In his trainings, Jason always asks students, “If you could teach one thing, what would this be?” The answer to this question is rarely “Handstand.” How do you want students to feel when they walk away from your classes? What take-away do you most want to share about the practice? The more you can stay connected to this, the more meaningful your teaching will feel. And don’t get distracted by the paths that your peers are taking; you are you and you have your own gifts to share.

3. Consistency will save your sanity. Another Jason-ism: Don’t be afraid to teach the same sequence all week – or all month! Teaching the same sequence saves you some brain space and it gives you the chance to refine the sequence over time. It also allows the students the opportunity to drill, to repeat, to learn. How novel.

4. Make time for self care. Time can’t be found. But you can choose to prioritize your health and well-being to avoid burnout. Create and commit to some easy non-negotiables that will help nourish and replenish you. Hike on Saturdays. Schedule a massage (and keep the appointment). Have a bedtime and stick to it. Do the things that feed your body, mind and soul — things that you enjoy doing – so that you have an easier time setting boundaries and saying no to things that aren’t serving you.

See also Survivor’s Guide to Teaching Yoga When Life Throws You a Curveball

5. Be a student. Stay inspired. You are a yoga teacher now. Make your practice part of your job. Many of us become yoga teachers because we love to practice yoga – but like Jason always says, just because you like to eat food doesn’t mean you should open a restaurant. In other words, practicing yoga and teaching yoga are two very different experiences. It is this realization that sends most of us crashing into the burnout wall. Don’t let your practice fall by the wayside. You need to feed the fire that set you on this journey in the first place.

Mira Valeria is a San Francisco-based Yoga instructor and the founder of Santa Fe Thrive, an indoor cycling and yoga studio in Santa Fe, NM. She is a writer, translator and wanderlust polyglot. She is available for private lessons, workshops, teacher trainings and interpreting gigs around the globe.

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Episode 44: Tiffany Cruikshank — Self Care Ideas for Spring’s Transition

Although most of us welcome the transition from winter to spring with open arms, it can actually be taxing on the body. This week Tiffany Cruikshank comes on to talk about ideas for making the transition a smooth one. Tiffany is a renowned yoga teacher and the founder of Yoga Medicine. She’s also a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and ran an acupuncture clinic at Nike headquarters for years. Tiffany offers her unique perspective on how to modify our diet, asana, breathwork, and meditation for spring. She also (very patiently) answers my questions about the ways that Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine overlap.

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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Tiffany’s web site, Yoga Medicine, has a schedule of many different ways to study with her. (And registration is now open for this upcoming Shoulder: Anatomy, Dysfunction, and Treatment module!
Tiffany’s book: Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life

MUSIC
Ryan Cullinane — Smooth Space with Drums
Breakmaster Cylinder — Key Cards
Ryan Cullinane — Beach Vibes with Drums

WRITE A REVIEW
If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! I’m learning that it really does help others find it and it helps me to know which episodes resonate with you! You can also follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast.

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Pranayama Ninja

viloma pranayama breathing | How to Practice Pranayama | Jason Crandell Yoga Method

Hey everyone!

I have been so busy working on the Yogaland Podcast in the past year that I haven’t had much time to blog. I miss it and I miss you! I have grand plans to get back to it and to create more content this year that will serve you.

For today, I’m going to share something straight-up and simple that’s transpiring for me lately. Here goes: As the working mom of a preschooler with a husband who travels constantly, I can say that unequivocally, it’s my practice that keeps me sane and balanced. (Can I get an “Amen!”)

And so. I am making this commitment to myself and to ALL OF YOU(!) that this year I am NOT completely tossing my practice aside during those times when my schedule becomes excessively wacko or “I don’t have enough time.” I’m gonna try to be a self-care ninja and craftily fit it in where I can.

Lately, I have been surviving on pranayama. When things are going well in my life, a standalone breathing practice is the first thing I toss out the window. It’s not conscious — it’s simply that I’m breathing mindfully during asana and calming my mind during my meditations. So, it seems like it’s all covered.

But when things get exceptionally busy (and I won’t bore you with the details but I’ll just say that a kitchen leak has kept us out of our house for SEVEN WEEKS), pranayama breathing is a godsend. It feels like the perfect bridge between asana and meditation. It channels the prana through my body (like asana) and it settles my energy and thoughts (like meditation). It feels so familiar — because after all, we breathe all day long! But it also feels so special to just take a few minutes to witness this simple act that keeps us alive and ticking.

Here’s the other thing: It’s so portable. I have done pranayama practice during long meetings! Alone in my cubicle! During tense dinners with family! On boring dates! But, admittedly, if you’re just starting out, it’s best to set aside 5 minutes of ideally quiet, alone time to practice.

Lately, pranayama breathing has given me an energy buzz when I need it, a sense of warmth in my heart when I feel cold and paralyzed, or space between thoughts when I’m anxious. There are SO MANY pranayama breathing practices – some are more energizing (like kapalabhati) and others more soothing (nadi shodana). For me Viloma, aka Stop-Action Breath is my go-to to cultivate evenness and balance.

See also 5 Ways to (Re)Inspire Your Yoga Practice

When you do Viloma, you either inhale in three parts and exhale completely. Or do the opposite: You inhale completely and exhale in three parts. (You can also inhale and exhale in three parts.) It might sound confusing, but in practice it’s incredibly simple and soothing. I prefer to start with the latter approach because it’s easier to access and it tends to be more grounding. Here’s how:

PRANAYAMA BREATHING FOR BUSY PEOPLE

1. Set a timer (that’s not too loud) for 5-6 minutes.

2. Find a comfortable seat – either cross-legged on the floor or on a chair with both feet touching the ground. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your heart.

3. Take a minute to deepen your inhalations and exhalations and to just “warm up” your breath.

4. Then inhale completely, feeling your belly, diaphragm, and ribs expand.

5. Now exhale one third of your breath. Pause. Exhale two-thirds. Pause. Exhale completely.

6. Repeat this cycle until your timer rings.

THE APPROACH
As you inhale, try not to force the breath. Make each part of the exercise light and easy. Feel the beauty and simplicity of the life force in your body. As you exhale, imagine a sense of grounding and rooting through your tailbone into the earth. If you feel strain at any point, return to simply watching your breath.

For some people, it helps to retain the breath for just a few seconds before the exhalation. I tend to do this in the last few minutes, when I’ve warmed up a bit. It’s definitely not something to force. Ideally, when your alarm sounds at five minutes you’re breathing a little more deeply and feeling more clear, grounded, and energized.

Hope this makes your day a little better. And I’d love to hear what your go-to pranayama breathing practice is in the comments below!

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Episode 17: Niika Quistgard – Self Care Time! Ayurvedic Ideas for Staying Calm & Grounded

This week my guest is Ayurvedic practitioner Niika Quistgard. Niika (@AyurMama) is an internationally-recognized consultant, trainer and practitioner in Ayurveda and is the founder of AyurMama.com.

Niika was the founder and director of Rasa Ayurveda Traditional Healing Centre for Women in Kerala, India — a full-service Ayurvedic residential hospital — where women came from more than 50 countries for treatment and educational immersion at the source of Ayurveda.

When I first learned the basics of Ayurveda years ago, I found it phenomenally helpful. I’d been living my life oblivious to how the environment around me affected my sensitive constitution, which made me alternately anxious or grouchy or ungrounded more often than was necessary. When I say the “environment around me,” I’m referring to everything from the weather, to the company of the people, to the room I work in all day long.

After years of practice, the principles that I’ve integrated into my life are second-nature. And they guide the way I eat, the way I practice, and the simple rituals I do if I need some grounding.

For this episode, Niika offered specific self-care ideas for calming the vata dosha when it goes out of balance. Whether you’ve never heard the words vata dosha uttered or you already know your prakruti, this episode offers enough background about Ayurveda paired with creative self care ideas and reminders that it will be helpful to everyone. Here are some more details about our conversation:

* We start with the basics — What is Ayurveda?
* How the three dosas form the unique blueprint of your constitution
* The qualities of the vata dosha
* What are the common things we do that cause vata imbalance?
* Why is vata imbalance so common?
* A morning routine to stay grounded
* Food choices for high vata times
* How can you practice or teach yoga during times when vata is running high?
* A simple way to take the calm state of Savasana with you after practice

“We used to laugh about the magazine article checklists of all the things you need to do to be more beautiful. We don’t need the checklist. We need the motherly attitude of, ‘What’s going make the difference for you today to be your best self?'” — Niika Quistgard

Subscribe via: iTunes | Acast | RSS

RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Everyone’s Different: What is your unique nature?
Dosha-Spotting at the Train Station
Nervous or Nourished? Moving Away From a Wired and Tired Existence
Niika’s new free online mini-course that includes the basics of Ayurveda and how this ancient science works with your mind and senses: Know Ayurveda
Niika’s second course, Know Your Nature, which dives deeper into finding your unique doshic blueprint.

MUSIC
Jahzzar — Flutter
ABSRDST — Chakra Reset Button
The Polish Ambassador — Chill or Be Chilled

WRITE A REVIEW
If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! I’m learning that it really does help others find it and it helps me to know which episodes resonate with you! You can also follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast.

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