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Nikola Ellis

Nikola Ellis is the founder of Adore Yoga, yoga therapist, counsellor and teacher trainer. She conducts regular trainings that help people of all ages, shapes and abilities enjoy the benefits of yoga and meditation, including Meditation Facilitator Certificate Trainings; Level 1 200hr Teacher Training and Post Graduate Yoga Teacher Training in Mental Health, Adaptive Asana and the Foundations of Yoga Therapy and a highly regarded professional 650hr Graduate Certificate of Yoga Therapy.
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Recent Posts

17 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga for Heart Disease

 

Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia. There is now a significant body of research to demonstrate that Yoga Therapy can play an important role in helping people to manage heart disease.

 

The European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that yoga (and not the active, exercise kind of yoga) is comparable to walking and biking when it comes to cardiovascular health.

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15 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Take two down dogs - what yoga therapy isn't

 

“What yoga pose is good for back pain?” I’m sitting opposite Jade a newly qualified yoga teacher who’s just started mentoring with me. “Well”, I begin, “where is the pain?” Jade describes her student’s lower back pain and I ask a few more questions. How did the pain start? What is the student’s lifestyle? I suggest a few simple poses and ask Jade to teach them to me. She teaches the asanas, but doesn’t pay much attention to the breath. When I ask about her instructions for the breath, she seems surprised. “I thought we were focusing on the lower back,” she replies.

 

It’s never about the lower back. Or the neck pain. Or the anxiety. Or the eczema. As a yoga therapist, it’s always about the whole person. While it would be great if there was a yoga pose to fix every health issue (imagine a doctor prescribing ‘take two down dogs and call me in the morning!’), therapeutic yoga is a more subtle approach to wellbeing. It’s also more thorough. Jade’s student certainly needs to work on stretching and strengthening his back in order to relieve the pain, but any qualified physiotherapist could provide a set of exercises that would do that.  Why do yoga if a physio can fix it?

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10 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

How to do Nadi shodana (and why)

Pranayama, or yogic breathing, is an important part of yoga. But many yoga classes focus on the physical postures and don't include many breathing techniques. That's a shame because pranayama practices can make a big difference to how you feel - and fast.

 

The way we breathe directly influences the way we feel, think and behave. That's because our breathing regulates the autonomic nervous system. Each time we inhale, we activate the sympathetic nervous system - that's the 'fight or flight' mechanism that readies us to deal with looming threats. Each time we exhale, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system - this is the 'rest and digest' function that allows our bodies to go into repair mode, sleep soundly and build nurturing relationships.

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03 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Don't learn this pose (and many others) at Adore yoga

 

What's wrong with this pose? Nothing. Nothing at all if you are super flexible. But there are many people for whom practicing this pose is unhelpful (and, depending on your spinal health, dangerous). That's why we don't include this pose (it's called Kurmasana) in our 200hr yoga teacher program. We don't teach it in our studio classes either. 

 

So what DO we teach?

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03 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Karma and the urban yogi

Ever been to an ashram in India?  Many westerners are surprised to find that, far from being tranquil retreats where frazzled city dwellers find their inner zen, they are bustling community centres.

Ashrams provide the schooling, food, medical assistance and social safety-net that their communities would otherwise lack. I’m not idealizing the ashram system and I’m well aware of the unsavoury side of some of them. But the idea of yoga as central to a network of social projects that benefit the community resonates strongly with my personal philosophy.

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26 Sep
Posted by Nikola Ellis

MAKE YOUR STUDENT THE TEACHER

It's tough teaching general yoga classes. Have you ever watched new students struggling while wondering if the more experienced students were bored? Perhaps you've felt bad at the end of class because you didn't get around to offering an adjustment or modification to every student who would have benefited from one.


If that’s a familiar scenario, it’s time to change your approach to teaching open group classes and learn how to put your students at the very heart of the practice.

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18 Sep
Posted by Nikola Ellis

5 Ways to teach yoga from the heart

I recently ran into Joanne, an old friend and an experienced yoga teacher. She wasn’t feeling very yogic.  “Why can’t yoga teachers just teach from what they know?” she said, exasperated. “If one more teacher quotes Rumi at me, I’ll scream!”

 

Now, Joanne wasn’t suggesting that we have nothing to learn from Rumi or that yoga teachers shouldn’t find inspiration in spiritual texts. That’s clearly not true. Her problem, as she explained, was the use of cookie-cutter scripts in yoga classes.

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13 Sep
Posted by Nikola Ellis

I'm no guru (and that's a good thing)

I’ve been practicing yoga for over 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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28 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga, Karma and Social Justice

 

Something happened to me after I’d been practicing yoga for a few months. I started to feel connected to the world around me in ways I’d never experienced before.

 

I first came to yoga as a way to manage crippling panic attacks and find some peace of mind at a difficult time in my life. While yoga certainly helped me deal with my own problems, it also opened up a new awareness of the ways in which my thoughts, feelings and actions were intricately bound up with the lives of others. Bit by bit, I began to move from feeling isolated in my own struggles to appreciating the interconnectedness between myself and the wider world.

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17 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Why yoga needs a fact-check

Many of us in the field of yoga and other complementary therapies are guided by our hearts. That’s one of the great strengths of natural therapies – being able to connect with clients on an intuitive level and offering more than a formulaic treatment plan. We are also our own favourite guinea pigs – talk to any yoga teacher or complementary therapist and you’re likely to find a personal story of overcoming health problems by using the techniques that they now offer to others. Again, that’s a great strength, giving practitioners deep insight and empathy for clients who are tackling their own health challenges.

 

However it’s important to recognise that just because something works for you (or your kids or somebody else you know), it doesn’t necessarily make it effective for everybody else. Whether it’s a yoga pose or a natural remedy, we cannot assume that something works just because it feels good. If it works for you, AWESOME! Keep going. But if you’re selling your treatment to a client, it’s important to understand the evidence base for what you’re giving them.

 

As the director of an accredited Yoga Therapy training program, I place a strong emphasis on encouraging yoga teachers to develop their understanding and appreciation of the evidence base for what they're learning. There are a lot of claims made in the name of yoga, but some of those claims need a fact-check.

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