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16 Sep
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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09 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

why your relationship with food is messed up - and how yoga can help

Do you have a healthy relationship with food? I don’t mean ‘do you eat healthy food’?  I mean can you just get on with the business of eating without worrying about weight gain/loss, cutting out certain types of food or restricting what and when you eat? Many ‘healthy’ women constantly monitor and control their food intake and intuitive eaters are hard to find.

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10 Jul
Posted by Nikola Ellis

7 WAYS TO teach ACCESSIBLE yoga for ALL BODIES.

I received an email recently from a woman called Michelle asking if yoga could help her with insomnia. When I called her to explain how yoga can help manage sleep disorders, she replied “That's great! I've got a couple of kilos to lose and then I’ll sign up.”

Happily, I managed to persuade Michelle that fitness levels and body weight have nothing to do with being able to practice yoga and she started enjoying the benefits of yoga straight away. Michelle is not alone in thinking that yoga is only for fit, slim, bendy people – that’s certainly how it often appears in the media. One of the problems with media images of super flexible yogis doing advanced poses is that many people think “I’ll try yoga when I’m thinner/fitter” or even worse, “yoga’s not for me”.

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20 May
Posted by Nikola Ellis

The Art of Savouring

Have you noticed how your appreciation for something increases when you know it's about to end? Perhaps you savour the views on the last day of your holiday. Maybe you hold your kids more closely just before they leave for school camp. It could just be relishing an extra 10 minutes in bed before the alarm goes off!

Whether you know it or not, in those precious moments when you really appreciate what's happening in the here and now, you're practicing the sacred art of coming into the present moment. It's a delightful experience of mindfulness that has long term positive effects on your health and wellbeing. 

Whether you've heard it from your yoga teacher or read it in a self help book, it's likely you've come across the instruction to ‘come into the present moment.’ That's sound advice, but how can you practice that on a day to day basis and what are the benefits?

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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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09 Jan
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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01 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga Therapy Teacher 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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