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06 Jul
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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22 Jun
Posted by Nikola Ellis

FEELING ANGER, RESENTMENT, DISGUST? THAT’S OK.

 

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?

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15 Jun
Posted by Nikola Ellis

THE 20 SECOND YOGA ROUTINE

Want to do a home yoga routine but can never find the time? Have you ever decided to do a regular meditation practice, only to find yourself constantly distracted by ‘more important’ things? Here’s the secret: save yourself 20 seconds and you’ll gain several hours to dedicate to your practice.

Willpower alone is not enough to get us into a daily yoga or meditation routine, according to psychologist Shawn Achor. In his book, The Happiness Advantage, he demonstrates the 20 Second Rule that really will get you on your mat every morning. Simply follow the same technique that Achor used to cut down his TV viewing time so that he could be more productive in the evenings.

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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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11 May
Posted by Nikola Ellis

yoga and body image

I’ve just got back from delivering a presentation on the hot topic of yoga and body image at the Yoga Australia Conference on the Gold Coast. 

Yoga is now practiced by over 20 million people in the USA, more than 80% of whom are women (85% in Australia). The lure of a product that promises to makes you look and feel better has transformed yoga into big business, turning over US$10.3 billion in 2012. In fact, the aspirational, mass appeal of yoga closely resembles other products marketed primarily to women, such as fashion and cosmetics. It was the presentation slides that compared advertising for these products with advertising for yoga that conference delegates found most alarming.  Just to make it clear, the top picture shows advertising for fashion and cosmetics, the bottom picture shows a selection of adverts for yoga studios and products.

 

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04 May
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga alliance de-registering yoga 'therapists' without proper training

There’s a lot of fur flying right now as yoga teachers who advertise their services as ‘yoga therapists’ scramble to get certified (or change their marketing!) Why is Yoga Alliance threatening to de-register teachers who claim to be yoga therapists without formal training? Because Yoga Alliance registers teachers with just 200hrs training, often from courses that last only a few days, and with little prior experience of yoga.

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29 Apr
Posted by Nikola Ellis

autumn soup

I'm no Nigella, but I can't help myself when it comes to soup. Soup is the yummiest, fastest, easiest and most nutritious food in the world. As soon as the temperature drops below, er, 21 degrees (I know, I should be fine with cold weather being a Pom, but I seem to have fully acclimatised to Sydney), I’m in the kitchen with my blender. And I totally make it up every time.

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27 Apr
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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