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08 Mar
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Pranayama -  How yoga breathing brings balance

Does your regular yoga class include pranayama? Pranayama, yoga breathing techniques, can have a more profound impact on your health and wellbeing than any number of yoga poses. Depending on the technique you choose, pranayama can:

  • Soothe anxiety
  • Improve sleep
  • Boost energy
  • Bring balance
  • Create instant calm
  • Reduce headaches/migraines
  • Release muscle tension/pain
  • Promote healing from chronic disease by reducing inflammation in the body

So how does it work? And why isn’t everybody doing it?

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27 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Grounding Yoga for Difficult Days

These are difficult days. The cultural, political and environmental landscapes are shifting radically and many of us struggle to stay positive. This is when we need yoga most. Yoga can be a powerful force for positive transformation, but before we can go out there and change the world, we need to manage the world within.

 

The first step is to stay grounded. It’s challenging to stay steady and grounded when everything around you seems to be whirling at a million miles an hour, but yoga can help.

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25 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga mantras for healing

 

 

Are mantras part of your mediation practice? You don’t have to be a great singer to chant mantras (you can even recite them silently) and once you get the hang of it, you'll be blown away by how powerful they are.

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24 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

How yoga nidra saved my life. Twice.

When I was 21 I had a nervous breakdown. Well, that’s what the doctor said. A toxic combination of untreated depression, exam worries and self-medication with a variety of substances tipped me into a year of hell.

 

Nobody knew what to do with me. The doctors prescribed drugs, my mother ran out of ideas (for the first time in her life) and most of my friends drifted away when they realized things weren’t going back to normal any time soon.

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13 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

THE BARRIERS TO ADVANCED YOGA TEACHER TRAINING

I’m deeply committed to high quality yoga teaching. It’s been my life, my passion, and my reason for getting up in the morning for over 25yrs. But I’ve been listening to a number of yoga teachers in recent months who would love to undertake advanced teacher training, but find the barriers insurmountable.

 

Good yoga teachers never, ever stop learning, but high quality yoga teacher training isn’t accessible to everybody. That’s a problem for both the yoga teachers who are deprived of the opportunity for professional development and their students – everybody deserves access to a well trained yoga teacher. So why isn’t it happening? I've identified four key barriers to quality yoga teacher training:

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13 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Self love for valentines day

Looks like Valentines Day is on the way again.  Are you hoping for flowers and romance?

 

While it’s nice to be adored, it’s a truism that we have to love ourselves first. No matter how much attention is showered on us by friends and lovers, if we don’t love ourselves enough to truly believe we’re worth all the effort, we can remain curiously unsatisfied (and even anxious– “What if they find out I’m really not that nice/pretty after all and abandon me?!”)

 

If you can’t offer yourself love and compassion, it’s hard to believe you deserve it from somebody else. And the worst culprits for neglecting to appreciate and care for themselves?  Women who spend a lot of time caring for others. OK, disclosure time. That’s me too.

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11 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Bedtime meditation for kids

What does the word ‘Bed-time’ conjure up for you? Images of fluffy pillows and crisp white sheets? Maybe a glass of warm milk and a good book? If you’re the parent of a young child, chances are the images in your head are not quite so tranquil!

Bed time is often the most challenging part of the day. 

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06 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Meditation? I'd love to but I don't have time...

Yeah, that was me. I'd spent years thinking about meditating, reading articles about it and telling my friends how good it was. I even bought a meditation cushion. But I never got around to actually meditating. I tried to concentrate on those breathing exercises at the end of my yoga classes, but my mind kept wandering off to domestic tasks, jobs left undone, shopping lists to write etc. etc. etc.

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02 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

The day i lost my yoga students

 

At first, I thought it was the weather – a wet week often sees student numbers drop at the yoga studio. Then the sun came out, but the students didn’t return.

 

In my heart of hearts, I knew why my students had gone. I was a rotten teacher. I hadn’t started off that way. My passion for sharing the healing magic of yoga had seen my classes numbers build, with many students coming back term after term.

 

But things had changed and I knew I wasn’t giving my students what they needed. I couldn’t. I had nothing left to give.

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18 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga for back pain? NO deep forward bends. Please.

Stretching can feel great when your back muscles are tight. But deep forward bends are not the way to tackle chronic back pain. In fact, it can make things worse.

An increasing number of yoga teachers are recommending long, deep forward bends for lower back pain. Ask most new-ish yoga teachers how to help a sore lower back and they’re likely to pick a forward bend to 'release' the back. That’s a problem. Especially if there are bulging intervertebral discs involved. Worse still is the emphasis placed on holding the forward bend and the lack of focus on moving safely out of it. Injuries are much more likely to occur during the transition into and, especially after a deep forward bend, out of a position, rather than while holding the posture itself.

So how can yoga help somebody with lower back pain and bulging discs? There are two key steps:

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