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07 Oct
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Ayurveda for Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

I loved learning about Ayurveda when I did my very first yoga teacher training. In fact, it was one of the highlights of the course. But, after that first training, I didn't feel like I had enough knowledge to incorporate Ayurveda into my classes or help students manage their wellbeing.

 

Sound familiar?

 

So I decided to do a deep dive into the world of Ayurveda. I spent the next  25 years studying Ayurveda and yoga therapy, including immersive programs with masters in India, Over that time,  seen first hand how Ayurveda can restore balance and heal, especially when it comes to mental and emotional wellbeing. 

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25 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

How to teach yoga for eating disorders

 

Does yoga help people with eating disorders? What kind of yoga is best? Can yoga actually be harmful? These are some of the questions I wanted to answer when I embarked on a research project about yoga therapy for eating disorders, working with young people in the adolescent medicine unit at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney. 

 

When I presented that research at the Yoga Australia conference in Melbourne, I realised I'm not the only one asking those questions. Yoga teachers, psychologists, parents and teachers are all interested in how to harness the benefits of yoga to support people struggling with eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental health issues and those working and living with people with anorexia want to be sure that the yoga practices they introduce to their clients and family members are safe and effective. 

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18 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Why yoga teachers need to understand Googling is NOT research

 

As a yoga teacher, your students look to you for advice. You may not feel like an expert, but your students trust you. That trust often extends to areas of knowledge outside your expertise and training. For example, a student may ask you for help with their anxiety or shoulder pain. What do you do if you haven’t undertaken specialised training in these areas? 

 

If you’re like most yoga teachers you head to Guru Google to do some ‘research’. Here’s the thing. Googling something is NOT research. The internet is full of yoga ‘experts’ (I’ve written about this before) and it’s easy to believe what you read online, especially if it comes from a source you think you can trust, such as a well known teacher. 

 

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that there are plenty of people out there sharing half truths and misinformation - many are doing so with the very best of intentions. So how do you know if the pranayama practice that popped up when you Googled ‘yoga for anxiety’ is going to help - and not harm - your student? How do you know if the asana sequence you’re teaching your student with scoliosis is going to offer long-term benefits?

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10 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

THE TOP 3 REASONS YOGA TEACHERS TRAIN TO BECOME YOGA THERAPISTS

Remember the buzz when you started your first yoga teacher training? The pure joy of doing something truly meaningful with a group of like-minded people? Then there was the excitement of taking your first steps as a yoga teacher – scary but oh so rewarding. 

But somewhere down the line, thoughtful yoga teachers begin to wonder what more they can offer the world beyond teaching 60 minute group classes. They notice that many students struggle with the poses or ask for help with injuries and realize that the ‘group-fitness’ model of teaching yoga isn’t working for lots of people. Including them. 

Those forward thinking yoga teachers have also realised that COVID-19 has changed everything. There were already lots of yoga teachers looking for work in an environment where yoga studios and gyms battle it out for survival, paying teachers less and expecting more for free. And now the internet is flooded with free classes. Sounds familiar? Here's an idea....

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04 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Teaching yoga to elderly students

I was SO EXCITED this week to share a Facebook Live conversation with a wonderful yoga therapist who specialises in working with elderly students. If you work with older students or want to know how to approach teaching frail and elderly people, read on - you'll want to know what Nana Chresta has to say (plus there's a FREE 'yoga for older adults' class plan for you!)

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21 Jul
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Why ALL your students will benefit from trauma sensitive yoga

 

"Trauma sensitive yoga is for people with PTSD? Why do I need to learn it if I'm teaching regular classes?"

 

That's a good question. But who is attending your 'regular' yoga classes? Do traumatised people only show up in yoga classes designed especially for them? Do people who are affected by trauma but don't meet the clinical threshold for PTSD benefit from trauma sensitive yoga?

 

And what if ALL of your students benefited from trauma sensitive yoga?

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11 Feb
Posted by Nikola Ellis

How does online yoga therapy training work?

An experienced yoga therapist asked me this weekend 'how on earth does online yoga therapy training work?' She was horrified at the idea of teaching the art and science of therapeutic yoga online. She exclaimed that the deep and nuanced philosophy and techniques of yoga therapy could only be learned face to face.

 

As the director of an online yoga therapy training course, how did I respond? I told her she was absolutely right. And completely wrong.

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28 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

English breakfast tea and the art of yoga sequencing

How do yoga therapists and experienced teachers design safe and effective yoga sequences that support the unique needs of each student? And how do they do it day after day, without getting bored or running out of inspiration?

The answer can be found in classical yoga. There is a traditional concept that, once you learn how it works, steps you through the process of developing the ideal yoga practice for every student.

And. Because I'm English, there's a very LARGE teacup involved.

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24 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

What could be more important in yoga therapy than yoga?

 

 When it comes to helping people heal with yoga, there are tonnes of effective techniques. You'll study them all in a yoga therapy training - asana, pranayama, mudra, meditation, Ayurveda and more. But what is the MOST important technique? Turns out, it might not be yoga at all.

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30 Dec
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Ayurveda and food

 

In Ayurveda, you really are what you eat.

Food is an integral part of the Ayurvedic tradition and everything is carefully chosen and prepared to ensure good health. Fresh, local, seasonal produce is carefully cleaned and blessed and cooked with great care. Food combinations are meticulously crafted to ensure meals are both nutritious and easy to digest. 

If you are living an Ayurvedic lifestyle, you'll choose foods that are appropriate for your dosha, or body type. Eating according to your dosha helps to maintain balance and good health. 

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