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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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17 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Cooling yoga for hot days

Are you feeling the heat? I love hanging out at the beach with my kids in summer, but take me away from the cooling sea breeze and I get a bit hot under the collar (translation: grumpy). Maybe it's something to do with being English, but when the temperature soars, I need to cool down quickly!

Yoga offers some great tools to beat the heat, from cooling breathing techniques to diet and lifestyle changes. I've been practicing Sitali this week, a cooling pranayama (breathing technique) that never fails to beat the heat. If you feel irritable, drowsy or hot and bothered in summer, you can use Sitali throughout the day to take the heat out of things and leave you feeling calm, cool and in control. This video will show you how with a simple, step by step guide!

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16 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga for cooling pitta dosha on hot days

I get cranky when it’s hot. At first, I just feel tired and everything seems too hard. Then something flips my switch and I’m off. Raging. Every day niggles suddenly becomes unbearable provocations and I find myself giving my son a roasting for the terrible crime of spilling pencil shavings on the rug. So what happens to me when the temperature rises? And what can do to keep calm? The answers can be found in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science (Ayurveda = ‘Science of Life”). Ayurveda tells us about the three doshas or 'constitutions' - Pitta, Vata and Kapha.

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12 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

a room of one's own for meditation

Virginia Woolf famously wrote that a woman needs a room of her own. She was talking about having a space in which to write fiction, but any woman who’s brain is scrambled by the demands of family and work will understand the appeal of a tranquil space in which to relax the body and calm the mind.

I’m on holiday with my family, and, after a week of 24/7 exposure to my very active children, I’m longing for a room of my own! I love my kids. I love my work. But I go mad if I don’t have the time to retreat into my own space and restore my inner balance.

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09 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

how to become a yoga therapist

Yoga Therapy is a rapidly growing discipline with hospitals, clinics and other healthcare environments across the world employing qualified Yoga Therapists. Yoga Therapy training provides the skills and confidence to work safely and effectively with people living with a broad range of physical, emotional and psychological issues.


What is Yoga Therapy? Find out here.


But what does that training involve? And what are the pathways to accreditation as a Yoga Therapist? Here’s an easy step-by-step guide.

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07 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Why modifying a pose isn't yoga therapy

A student arrives at one of your regular classes and tells you she’s got a disk lesion. Just behind her is another student who mentions he’s got a bit of tendonitis. And there, right at the back, is a new student who you can see is struggling to keep up before the end of the warm up. How do you manage all these diverse bodies in one class?


And those are just the injuries and restrictions that you know about. With 1 in 3 Australians receiving a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime, 2 million Australians experiencing anxiety and up to 80% experiencing back pain, you can be sure that for every student who tells you about their condition, there are several others suffering in silence.


Yoga is, and always has been, therapeutic. But the rise of large group classes and the popularity of flowing vinyasa styles has created a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to yoga that just doesn’t work for much of the population. How do you stop and modify a practice for students with injuries when you are demonstrating a non-stop flow sequence?

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06 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

two yoga myths that are giving you back pain

Got lower back pain? You’re not alone. Over 80% of us live with lower back pain*, most of which is not caused by disc injury or serious illness. But if you’ve been trying to relieve the pain with some serious stretching, you might be making it worse.


The most common cause of back pain that we see in our Yoga Therapy Clinic is poor postural habits. If you spend a lot of time sitting or driving, it’s going to take more than a general work out to keep you pain free. And going for the burn with some killer back stretches could be compounding your woes. Here are two back pain myths that could be preventing you from living pain-free.

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03 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis


I've been training yoga teachers for fifteen years, and I can guarantee one thing. About two thirds of the way through their  yoga teacher training, most students have an ‘I’ll never be good enough to teach!’ moment. In fact, I worry about the ones who don’t. 

Teaching yoga is a big responsibility – students trust their yoga teachers with their bodies and their minds so it’s no wonder new teachers can feel a little overwhelmed.

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