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Yoga Teacher Training A Transformational Journey

If you are considering a 200-hour yoga teacher training, you might find yourself filled with emotion; both excitement and its shadow—anxiety. These reactions tend to find their way into our thought patterns when new opportunities arise. Teacher training is often a transformational personal journey that opens your heart + mind to a higher level of awareness. Here are our suggestions for getting ready, and some advice to help you along your new path.

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Once you've selected a program, read through the offerings and course curriculum or talk to a recent YTT graduate to hear about their experience. We also suggest that you spend time working on your asana practice; this will prepare you for the physical demands of longer classes and will help you remember the names of common poses.

A training is not all testing and introspection. A brilliant part of the process is sharing this experience with like-minded yogis. Practicing in class every day, all day with the same group of people creates a closeness and a comfort level that is irreplaceable. These fellow teacher trainees are a priceless resource for support, inspiration and shared knowledge.

Immersing yourself, whole-heartedly in a new group of people and meeting the physical and mental demands of your training can be a life-altering experience. Your personal transformation may happen quickly or you may need a bit more time to absorb the information and personal growth as you step into the role as a teacher.

The Bread and Butter (or ghee) of a yoga teacher training. Below are a few topics that will be covered in our 200-hour teacher training program:

• Learn to practice and teach a broad spectrum of yoga asanas

• Learn postural alignment, including modifications and variations of common asanas

• Understand the concepts of functional anatomy applied to yoga practice

• Experience and practice different pranayama and meditation techniques

• Discover sequencing strategies to create safe + effective yoga classes

• Practice teach to hone your teaching skills

The training process includes the nitty-gritty—modifying poses, dealing with special populations, sequencing, but this time also leads you to the understanding of what it means to teach and truly live your yoga. Please feel free to reach out to Bhava Yoga Owner and teacher, Jenni Frank if you have questions or would like additional information.

Modern Ayurvedic Wisdom to Feel YOUR best this Spring!

Spring is right around the corner. According to Ayurveda, the worlds oldest comprehensive system of medicine, Spring is the most important time of the year to renew your body, mind, and spirit!

Spring Cleaning

A time honored tradition in our homes, can have wonderful health and wellness benefits for the body and mind as well. Cleansing has become a bit of a buzz word in modern times, but it is a practice that dates back centuries and across many ancient cultures. It is rooted in living seasonally, in tune with the cycles of nature as well as enhancing our bodies innate detoxification processes. Seasonal Cleansing in the Spring and Fall is a time honored tradition in Ayurveda and is a wonderful way to help our bodies and minds adapt, come back to balance and reset in the process.

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Why Cleanse?

We are exposed to toxins everyday in the foods we eat, our environment, the air we breathe, everyday stress and from chemicals that exist in our cleaning products, toiletries and cosmetics. These toxins accumulate year round, overloading our body’s natural purification systems and creating inflammation in the body. The goal of a gentle cleanse is to release these toxins, improve digestion, de-stress, and help the body function at it’s highest capacity — to reset and revitalize.

Ayurvedic specialist, Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP explains, “The transitional seasons of spring and fall present a unique opportunity to detox in such a way that we send a ripple effect of health, vibrancy and immunity benefits into the summer and the year ahead. Spring marks natures “new year” and the plants and herbs that grow naturally this time of year are naturally detoxifying.”

Shed the heaviness of winter, energize and rejuvenate with these simple tips.


Eat Seasonally

The spring harvest includes naturally light and antioxidant rich foods like dark leafy greens, sprouts, asparagus, spinach, peas, tart cherries and berries. Dr. Douillard notes, “When we adjust our diet and lifestyle to match the season, health-promoting digestive microbes dramatically change. Spring microbes support balanced immunity, digestion, mood, energy, blood sugar, weight, sleep – and much more.”

For a simple spring cleanse, nourish with body with seasonal, fresh, organic whole foods; avoid processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and simple carbohydrates. Drink lots of water and use herbs and spices like ginger and turmeric to fire up your digestion, boost metabolism and reduce internal inflammation.

For a guided experience and to learn more about the science of Ayurveda - check out Bhava Yoga’s Ayurveda Essentials or Spring Cleanse offerings.

Just Breathe

Stimulate your respiratory system with 1-5 minutes mindful breathing a few times each day. This simple exercise can enhance the overall lung function, support the nervous system, increase mental clarity and focus. Once you have established a deep breath pattern, add an ocean wave or “Darth Vater” sound to each breath. In yoga, this technique is called Ujjayi or Victorious Breath. When practiced properly, it builds internal heat, oxygenates the blood and aids in the release of unnecessary thoughts, tension and toxins.

Yoga for Detox

Cleanse from the inside out and outside with a detoxifying yoga sequence. Yoga shares the inherent benefits of exercise but doubles down with therapeutic qualities, inspiration and ancient wisdom to purify the body, mind and soul. The connection of breath, movement and mindfulness tones the body, strengthens the mind, promotes focus, healthy digestion, detoxification, healing and restoration.

Focus on the Core

Build heat in the body and ignite your digestive fire or agni  with focused core work. Use poses that strengthen the core and create stability like boat pose, forearm plank and knee to nose pose.

Twists

Twists help to tone and fortify the inner organs, calm the mind and balance the body. It is valuable to practice twists in standing poses like a low lunge or chair pose as well as seated and reclined on the back. They are wonderful tools to support and stimulate healthy digestion, increase circulation and vitality.

Child Pose variation

Practice Childs pose with your fists pressing against the low belly, resting your forehead on a block or the mat. Allow your low belly to soften; breathe deeply for a gentle belly “massage” with each breath. Adding compression to this pose aids digestion and healthy elimination.

Legs up the Wall

Gentle inversions reverse the flow of gravity by elevating the legs over the head. This simple action helps flush out accumulated inflammation, toxins and assist in movement of lymph boosting immunity. The deep relaxing and restorative nature of these postures literally gives the heart a break by allowing gravity to assist in the pumping of fresh blood to the brain and it’s recirculation from the extremities back to the heart.

Indoor cycling meets yoga for complete mind-body-wellness practice.

Strength. Cardio.  A real heart-pumping good time, that’s indoor cycling. Blend cycling with the stability, balance, mindfulness and body opening offered in yoga and now we are talking about a complete mind-body-wellness practice.

 Indoor cycling and yoga blend together to create the perfect yin and yang. Both allow you to go inside of yourself in unique ways to find strength and endurance, both require a firm sense of body position and muscle engagement.  

 Just as most asanas require energy igniting from your core; cycling at high RPMs with little resistance requires a solid sense of balance, also stemming from your lower back and core. Reminders from the instructor to lift up from the abdominals and to keep them engaged for maximum support are similar cues found on the yoga mat.

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Beyond muscle engagement and position, the most important physical trait cycling and yoga share is the use of breath. In each discipline, breath is king. You lose your breath awareness and all of the sudden we arrive in an anaerobic state; the breath is gone. During intense hill climbs, challenging transitions, big body opening stretches… breath is everything. No matter if you are on the bike or on your mat, keep breathing. It’s easy to be caught up in the moment, sometimes literally with the finish line in sight, but stay true to your breath. Owner of Psycle 9600, Melissa Dasakis shares her mantra “inhale energy; exhale fatigue” no matter the challenge, your breath will provide ease in any situation.  

The personal experience is always unique. In yoga, asanas don't change, yet each time you practice, you have a different experience with them. It's the same with cycling: a flat ride is always flat, but you never have the same ride twice.

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Winter Wellness: Our Favorite Products To Thrive All Season Long

The winter season can be a trying time both mentally and physically. The days are darker, colder and shorter and our bodies become more susceptible to winter funk like cold and flu. We like to stay ahead of the game, being proactive about your health and wellbeing will help ensure that you make it through a Rocky Mountain winter with ease. Here are our favorite winter wellness products.

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Mike & Honey: Cream Deodorant and Everything Oil

Sourced from the highest quality ingredients and essential oils — always clean, plant-based, and organic as possible. Milk & Honey is committed to creating products that not only smell and feel luxurious, but yield effective results with long-lasting benefits. 

Why we love it: The products are clean, simple and effective and travel well.

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Chattra: Bolsters and Meditation Cushions

Chattras small-batch, hand-block printed yoga and meditation gear is crafted by master artisans in India and finished in the USA. Chattra products are made in ethical workshops dedicated to preserving India’s incredible textile heritage. 

Why we love it: The vibrant colors and high-end material exude luxury, while the dense cushion fill provides proper support for yoga postures and meditation. Divine in any home or studio setting.

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Wunder Workshop: Golden Balance - Adaptogen x Turmeric

Focusing on consumption with purpose, Wander Workshop harvests the power of plants for the ultimate wellness ritual.  Wunder translates to miracle, and the company focus on plants that have a quality that can be classed as such. 

Why we love it: Pure, functional ingredients blended to maximize life’s potential. Wonder Workshop drink blends make you feel nourished on the inside, glowing on the outside.

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Good Living is Glam: Sage Signature Ritual Collection

The Good Living is Glam signature smudge stick is reiki'ed with positive words and meditations. These energy wands are handcrafted using sacred ingredients and are delicately wrapped to protect your bundle.

Why we love it: It’s downright beautiful. Use this to cleanse your surroundings and energy.

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Asher Market: Alpaca Scarf

Designed in California and made in Peru, these alpaca blend scarves are beyond soft and never itchy. They are also machine washable! 

Why we love it: Alpaca is up to five times warmer than sheep's wool… that’s important at 9,600 feet!

Stop by our boutique to pick up our favorites or check out the plethora goodies we have in store.  

Yoga for On-Mountain and Off-Piste Adventures

Breckenridge is a winter wonderland, known for world-class skiing and off-piste adventures. Ski season and the physical demands of a day on the mountain can be taxing until we settle into our winter groove. Below are our favorite postures to tone and strengthen the physical body so we are ready for opening day.

 Utkatasana: Chair Pose

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In downhill turns, the weight is distributed slightly forward over the arches of the feet at the start of the turn and slowly shifts to the back of the arch as you finish the turn. Utkatasana imitates that movement. The slightly crouched posture, powerful core, and strong legs of Utkatasana are what allow you to make these subtle weight shifts.

From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), with your feet hip-width apart, raise your arms in front of you to the height of your shoulders, parallel to the floor, palms facing inward. Bend your knees and lower your torso as if to sit in a chair. Draw your navel in toward your spine as you lower your sacrum and tailbone down toward the floor, tucking your tailbone under slightly. Reach forward through your fingertips and, at the same time, draw your shoulder blades toward each other and down your back. Continue to lower until your thighs are as nearly parallel to the floor. Lift your torso as you press into your heels. Hold with steady breath for 10-15 breathes, slowly straighten your legs, and come out of the pose allowing 8-10 breathes of recovery. Repeat 3 times ending in Tadasana.

The benefits:

Tones the leg muscles excellently. Strengthens hip flexors, ankles, calves, and back. Stretches chest and shoulders.

Adho Mukha Svasana: Downward-Facing Dog

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Come onto all fours, with your shoulders over your wrists, your hips over your knees, and the knees 4 to 6 inches behind the hips. Curl your toes under and, as you exhale, lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling. Keep your knees slightly bent and heels off the floor at first. Give yourself a few moments to shift your body weight, bending into your knees, nodding your head, finding freedom and space in the posture. As you settle in, press the tops of your thighs back and, as you stretch the backs of your legs, press your heels down. Press firmly into the palms of your hands, keeping your upper back wide and your shoulder blades drawing down your back toward your pelvis. As you inhale, press into the palms of your hands and the balls of your feet. As you exhale, keep your core active as it supports you in the pose. Invite extension through the spine and side body as your arms and legs are actively engaged. Remain in the posture for 15-20 breathes.

The benefits:

Strengthens the ankles, core muscles, upper back, shoulders, and arms. Stretches the calves, hamstrings, and glutes.

Ashta Chandrasana: High Crescent Lunge

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From standing with feet hip-width apart, step your right foot back behind you for a lunge, bending your left knee and stacking it directly on top of or slightly behind your left ankle. Keep your right heel stacked over the ball of your foot and pointing straight back (not allowing the heel to drop out or in). As you inhale, reach your arms up toward the sky, stacking your shoulders over your hips. Draw your belly in, and soften your shoulders away from your ears. If you find tension in the low back, hinge your arms forward toward a 45 degree angle to relieve pressure.  Take 10 breathes in the pose. Then step your right foot forward to return to standing in Tadasana before switching sides.

The benefits:

Leg strength and stretches the hip flexors. Working to keep your balance in this posture will also help increase core strength.

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Paripurna Navasana: Boat 

The benefits: Core strength in both the front and backside of your body, essential for maintaining stability. 

The benefits:

This posture  strengthens the abdomen, psoas and hip flexors.

Malasana: Squat

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Begin by squatting with your feet mat width, feet paralle to the edges of the mat or feet working toward a 45 degree angle. Allow your heels to connect with the mat. Exhale and lean forward such that your torso fits between your thighs. Bring your palms to match in prayer and press your elbows against the inner thighs. Doing this will help you extend the front part of your torso. Hold the pose for 10 breathes.

The benefits:

Opens your hips and groin. Stretches your ankles, lower hamstrings, back and neck. Aids in digestion. Keeps your pelvic and hip joints healthy.

After the lifts stop turning, stop by Bhava Yoga for our après ski classes. These classes are the perfect way to open the body, stretch and relax after an exciting day on the mountain.

Fall feels. Drawing the warmth inward.

Colorado is known for its dramatic change of seasons. We shift from summer to fall, welcoming hillsides covered with Aspen leaves in vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red. I know winter is coming. It’s just around the corner. For now, I savor the moments, keep moving through the moody weather and allow time for self care. Warming yoga flows, nourishing foods and an occasional getaway to the hot springs will keep my internal flame glowing.

Cultivate.

Warming yoga flows invite heat into the physical body. These classes are often listed as elevate or power classes offering a higher intensity practice. These often include more challenging twists, backbends, binds, and arm balances. Allow yourself to stay present, focused on the breath and intention.

Drink it up.

Turmeric. The color alone is enough to lure you in.  Vibrant orange-yellow at first glance, earthy when it hits your palate.  This nourishing goodness is known for aiding inflammation and balancing doshas, who could want more? I didn’t always love turmeric, but the health benefits and savory flavor won me over.  I think it’s an acquired taste. My son says it tastes like dirt, but I’ve always been a sucker for black truffle, raw cacao and other goodies from nature that have “dirt like” umami.  

Golden turmeric latte:

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup unsweetened almond, cashew or coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon  turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root (or 1 teaspoon ground)
2 teaspoons coconut oil
Raw honey to taste

METHOD

Warm the almond, cashew, or coconut milk in a small saucepan. Do not boil. Add turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. Next, combine the coconut oil with the mixture and gently heat together until melted. Use a wire whisk to create a foam. Continue to stir until frothy and heated through.

Pour into your favorite mug and sip it slow, savor the moment. 

*Serves 1

 Soak it in.

Fall is an amazing time of year to take a trip to the hot springs. From Breckenridge, there are nine hot springs within a 2.5-hour drive. Below are my favorites!

COTTONWOOD HOT SPRINGS: GRAVITY-FED MINERAL POOLS

  • Distance: 1.5 hours from Breckenridge

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS RESORT & SPANATURAL MINERAL WATER SPRINGS

  • Distance: 1.5 hours from Breckenridge

GLENWOOD HOT SPRINGS RESORT: GEO-THERMAL WATER, LODGE & SPA

  • Distance: 1.75 hours from Breckenridge

The transition of seasons can be an incredible time to return back to your intention. Allow yourself to stay present, get adequate rest and maintain or enhance your self care rituals.

Om Shanti

Author: Melany Beck