Are you using those downloadable yoga class templates to prepare your class? You might be short-changing your students. While these tools can be inspiring, here are three good reasons not to use them:Read More
It’s well documented that yoga can help people with cancer manage many of the side effects of their treatment, from fatigue and inflammation to anxiety and quality of life. But can yoga actually reduce tumors?
New research on the effect of stretching on tumors is opening up new opportunities for yoga as a therapy in the treatment of cancer. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have completed pre-clinical trials that observed the effect of stretching on breast cancer tumors on mice. And the results are remarkable.Read More
Want to stay healthy this Winter? Get on your yoga mat! New research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine shows that yoga can boost your immune system, helping you fight off the winter bugs. What’s more, yoga has also been shown to decrease inflammation. That’s a big deal when you consider that inflammation is associated with many health conditions, including depression, auto-immune diseases, cancer, IBS and heart disease.Read More
In the humid air of the South Indian monsoon, a faint whiff of fermenting milk emanates from my head. Despite two rinses, the gentle aroma of organic buttermilk lingers from my afternoon Ayurvedic treatment.
I’m here in Tamil Nadu for Pancha Karma, a comprehensive cleansing and healing process that is central to India’s ancient system of medicine, Ayurveda. Pancha Karma (meaning ‘five actions’) can get to the root of health problems that western medicine struggles to manage – auto-immune diseases like Hashimoto’s and Rhuematoid Arthritis, skin problems like eczema, allergies, asthma, Parkinson’s, cancer, addictions and more.Read More
There’s been a backlash lately against the images of perfectly toned bodies that are used to represent yoga in the media. This is important– yoga is for everybody and people of all ages, sizes, ethnicities and sexual identities should see themselves reflected in yoga imagery. But are we at risk of replacing the idolization of one body type (young, skinny, white) with the objectification of all yoga bodies?Read More
Here are some things students have said to me this week:
“I’m ashamed that I still feel resentment towards my ex-partner. That’s not very yogic, is it?”
“Anger is corrosive. It keeps bubbling up and I hate myself for it.”
“ I’m a yoga teacher but I hate my body. I’m such a fraud.”
At the heart of these statements lies the conviction that feeling anger, resentment, disgust and any other ‘negative’ emotion is a bad thing. It’s un-yogic. Where did so many of us get that idea? How did we come to believe that being a yoga practitioner means vanquishing all emotions except that elusive ‘bliss’ state that we see in the dreamy expressions of Instagram yogis meditating on the beach?Read More
This morning I walked into the cancer support facility at a large Sydney hospital. The women in the room were slightly nervous. Many of them hadn’t done yoga before and, given that yoga is often presented as a form of exercise for young, bendy people, they weren’t sure if they were going to be able to keep up. But, nevertheless, they’d turned up in the hope that yoga had something to offer them as they recovered from cancer.Read More
Does yoga help people with eating disorders? What kind of yoga is best? Can yoga actually be harmful? These are some of the questions I wanted to answer when I embarked on a research project about yoga therapy for eating disorders, working with young people in the adolescent medicine unit at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney.
I recently presented that research at the Yoga Australia conference in Melbourne, where I realised I'm not the only one asking those questions. Yoga teachers, psychologists, parents and teachers are all interested in how to harness the benefits of yoga to support people struggling with eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental health issues and those working and living with people with anorexia want to be sure that the yoga practices they introduce to their clients and family members are safe and effective.Read More
What’s the single most important skill you need to be a good yoga teacher? Proficiency at Asana? Expert knowledge of yoga philosophy? Great sequencing?
Well, all those things are helpful, but you can be the most flexible, knowledgeable person on the planet and still be a rotten teacher. Because teaching isn’t about how good you are at something. It’s about how well you can connect, listen and communicate with others. Let me just define communication here. I’m not talking about the clarity of your verbal cues, or your body language, or your tone of voice. I’m talking about a way of being with others that fosters deep connection, trust and hope.
Towards the end of a yoga retreat in India I was facilitating, three apparently unconnected events intertwined to give me a deeper insight into both myself and many of my students.
Firstly, a fellow traveller asked me “How do you travel overseas for nearly a month with just one small piece of cabin baggage?” as she pointed to the three hefty bags she’d brought along for her 10 day yoga break.
Secondly, when I got to my emails, I (politely) turned down an invitation to speak at an ‘empowering women’ themed event in Sydney.
Thirdly, I flicked into Facebook and shared a post that read “Mother Theresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs. She did shit.”
What have these three things got in common? Look closely and you’ll discover a powerful illustration of the forces that stop many of us from fulfilling our potential.Read More