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15 Apr
Posted by Nikola Ellis

I’M NO YOGA GURU. AND THAT’S A GOOD THING.

I’ve been practicing yoga for 25 years and teaching for 15 years. And I’m a long way from being a guru.

I’ve got plenty of diplomas, degrees and postgraduate qualifications as well as many thousands of hours of experience. But the gaps in my knowledge are as wide as the ocean.

And that’s a good thing. For two reasons.

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18 Mar
Posted by Nikola Ellis

The tyranny of vinyasa – why asana sequencing is NOT choreography

I’ve been dropping in to a few casual yoga classes in my neighbourhood recently and I’ve noticed a worrying trend. Too many teachers are mistaking asana sequencing for choreography. Everything is sacrificed on the altar of ‘flowing’ vinyasa. There’s no time to teach safe alignment, challenging poses are presented without adequate preparation and counterposes disappear entirely in the quest to choreograph the perfect flowing vinyasa. Along the way, teachers are throwing out the classic principles of yoga that are designed to keep their students safe. 

 

So what is the difference between asana sequencing and choreography?

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07 Mar
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Why the mindfulness revolution is short-changing students

 

Mindfulness is the hottest ticket in town right now. Celebrities, media, self-help books and doctors are all touting the magical properties of mindfulness meditation. And it's true that there have been some convincing studies to show the benefits of mindfulness. But is the mindfulness revolution all it’s made out to be?

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01 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga Therapy Training – Home-School Style

When I first started practicing in the late 80’s, yoga wasn’t being offered on the same industrial scale as today. Teachers taught classes in community halls and back bedrooms and teacher training was usually conducted informally in small groups or one-on-one.

 

By the time I started teaching yoga in 2002, the landscape had changed dramatically.  Yoga schools and teacher trainings were proliferating across the country and new multi-room professional studios were being built. As the owner of a new and rather small yoga studio, I wondered how I should develop and sustain my little business.  I looked around at the growth in the yoga industry and thought that my studio had to keep growing and getting more ‘professional’ in order to survive.

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15 Dec
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Who is your yoga teacher's teacher?

One of my early yoga teachers, Buddhist nun Anipema Chodron, gave me an important piece of advice about choosing a yoga teacher. Make sure you ask your prospective yoga teacher who THEIR teacher is. Then ask them who their teacher’s teacher is.

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20 Nov
Posted by Nikola Ellis

The link between sleep, breast cancer and yoga

Are you an early-bird or a night owl? Your answer could increase (or decrease) your risk of cancer.

 

Yoga and its sister science Ayurveda promote a healthy lifestyle that recommends an ‘early to bed, early to rise’ model of sleep. Now, a study from the UK has found that early risers have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

 

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11 Nov
Posted by Nikola Ellis

No more RYT200 Yoga Teachers - Why I’m quitting Yoga Alliance

Do you know what the world doesn’t need right now? More RYT200 yoga teachers. I don’t know about your town, but Sydney is awash with them. So I’m not going to be responsible for producing any more.

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21 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Sequencing Yoga Classes - Three things you're doing wrong

I’ve been to a few yoga classes recently that indicate there's a sequencing-tastrophe happening in yoga studios in Sydney. Some of the 'sequencing' I've experienced can best be described as choreography, with teachers far more concerned about flow than either the effects of the practice or the safety of their students.

 

If you’re a yoga teacher putting together weekly or daily classes, here are three things you might be doing wrong when you plan asana sequencing (but hopefully not...)

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06 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

5 Ayurvedic Tips for Eating Right This Spring Season

Did you know that changing your diet and lifestyle with the seasons is an important part of yoga? Yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda, provides healthy guidelines for living in harmony with the natural world. A simple way of doing this is to make small changes to the way you eat as the seasons change.

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25 Sep
Posted by Nikola Ellis

4 Reasons Mentoring is Vital for Yoga Teachers

If you’re like most yoga teachers, you’re pretty much out there on your own. No line managers, no mentor, no colleagues. Just you, taking yoga to the world. While that might be OK for a while, in long term, that’s bad news for both you and your students.

 

Why? Because you are not as resilient, impartial, skilled or well balanced as you think you are. Nobody is. That’s why most professionals working in the ‘helping’ industries have mandatory mentoring, supervision or other mechanisms for looking after themselves and their clients.

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