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27 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

the performing yogi

 

What would my body look like if I didn’t do yoga? I know I wouldn’t feel so good. But would I actually look any different? I ask the question because the imagery of modern yoga directly equates yoga practice with physical attractiveness. While anybody who’s done more than a couple of classes will tell you it’s all about what’s happening on the inside, the external representation of yoga increasingly mirrors the wider cultural obsession with perfecting and then displaying the body.

Yoga is rapidly evolving into a performance art in which the physical form trumps the internal experience. The yoga body has become an object of display and the practice of yoga is no longer a vehicle for exploring our internal, embodied experiences. Instead, it has become yet another arena for creating and broadcasting our idealized selves.

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05 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Lighten up!

I kick start many of my morning yoga classes in Spring with Kapalabhati. Kapalabhati is an uplifting, detoxifying and energising practise that is often confused with pranayama. Yes, it works with the breath, but it's actually a kriya - a cleansing practice. It's English translation is "skull shining breath" and it really feels like you've cleansed your frontal lobes after a session of Kapalabhati! 

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03 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga for eating disorders


 
Nearly one million Australians suffer from an eating disorder. Around 9% of adolescent girls have, or have had, an eating disorder. Eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating, can have devastating effects on the people living with the disorder as well as their close family and friends. A 2012 study found that 1800 Australians had died from an eating disorder in that year – higher than the annual road toll.
Yoga can help, and there are some encouraging research findings to back up the theory.
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01 Sep
Posted by Nikola Ellis

yoga for cancer webinar with cancer council NSW

Yoga and meditation can make a big difference to people recovering from cancer. From managing the physical burden of the disease through to the emotional roller coaster that a diagnosis of cancer can bring, yoga can play an important role in increasing overall wellbeing.

I was recently asked by the Cancer Council to present a Webinar for cancer survivors on how yoga can help people manage their recovery from cancer and move forward into new ways of caring for themselves (you can register to view the Webinar HERE) . Alongside me was Katherine, a young woman who has survived two different types of cancer and shares how yoga has helped her move beyond healing the body and into a state of wellbeing in which she is thriving in all areas of her life. She’s a true inspiration.


The webinar includes information on studies that demonstrate the benefits of yoga for cancer, including:
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24 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

TRY YOGA ON THE EDGE

Struggling to find balance in your life? It could be time to take advice from an ancient sage. Patanjali, the father of modern yoga, compiled a book known as the Yoga Sutras around 2,000 years ago. 

 
While the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the foundation for most of the yoga taught around the world today, don’t look to Patanjali to learn how to align your hips in Warrior 1. The only specific instruction he gives about yoga poses is this: 
 
"Sthira Sukham Asanam."

Steadiness AND ease are required in asana (yoga postures).

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06 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

a day in the life of a yoga teacher

As a yoga teacher, I’m often asked “do you practice yoga every day?” The answer is yes, but not always in the way that you think!

6.30am
My morning yoga practice used to be quite elaborate.  Then I had kids. These days I enjoy 20 minutes gentle stretching followed by 10 minutes meditation - just enough to get me on track for the day. And, of course, even that's subject to the unpredictable schedules of the rest of the family...

7.00am
Ruby (11yrs) and Eddie (8yrs) join me for a few down dogs (which usually ends up being more of an all-in wrestling session on the yoga mat) before breakfast followed by the school run.
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27 Jul
Posted by Nikola Ellis

YOGA, BOOZE AND B.S.

Yoga and alcohol. It’s a bit of a laugh, isn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t love a glass of something fruity after class?

Disclosure – I’m not teetotal. Weekends are super-exciting at our place.  Monday to Friday you’ll find us eating macaroni cheese with the kids and chatting about Minecraft, basketball scores and what other kids have in their lunchboxes. But at weekends, we pack the children off to bed, enjoy some grown up food and indulge in a glass of red wine. We’ve occasionally been known to get through an entire bottle between the two of us over the course of a long weekend. So I’m no wowser.

But I don’t pretend that quaffing wine is part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I do all sorts of things that don’t reflect my highest values, like shouting at my kids, eating rum and raisin chocolate and using the local rat-run before the 7.45am curfew is lifted. Nobody’s perfect.

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01 Jun
Posted by Nikola Ellis

What's getting in the way of your happiness?

There’s a whole industry dedicated to helping people be happy. From vision boards to positive affirmations, there’s one message that all the self-help techniques have in common: ‘Have, do and be MORE’. When you head off on your quest for happiness, it invariably involves adding something to your life that’s missing right now.

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25 May
Posted by Nikola Ellis

making meditation easy

Does this sound familiar: you really, really want to meditate. But within seconds of sitting still, your mind’s a riot of buzzing thoughts. You love the idea of meditation, but it just isn’t working for you. Why?

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18 May
Posted by Nikola Ellis

the not-so-perfect yoga teacher

I’ve been privileged to work as a yoga teacher trainerfor more than 12 years. It’s rewarding work that is both challenging and exhilarating and I’ve met some extraordinary people along the way.

However, about 3 years ago I started to notice something different about the students signing up for the trainings. The broad diversity of ages and body types that I had encountered in the early days of my teacher-training career had almost disappeared. The people signing up now were overwhelmingly young, bendy and body-conscious. 

To be fair, the vast majority of trainees have always been female. But within that population, there were people of different sizes, ages, backgrounds and experience. In recent years, that profile has changed.

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