yoga instructor

7 Steps to Set Your Yoga Practice Up for Success

Sara Fruman by Sara Fruman | January 7th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: 2014, breath, breathing, change, Fitness, health, new year's resolution, well-being, wellness, yoga class, yoga instructor, yoga teacher, yoga-practice

yoga practice 2014

Beginning a yoga practice can feel frustrating, stressful — maybe even boring! But stick with it. Coming back to your mat again and again will improve your body, mind and spirit beyond levels that you even dreamed imaginable.

Find a blissful yoga practice by following these simple steps:

Tips on Mastering Handstand

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | February 14th, 2013 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Green Living, Yoga | tags: Adho Mukha Vrksasana, asanas, core alignment, Downward-Facing Tree, handstand, inversion, mindfulness, tips, Yoga, yoga classes, yoga instructor, yoga poses, yoga teacher, yogi

Kathryn Budig HandstandAny yoga pose can be done in an inspired way. In fact, the more inspiration you put into it, the better the pose. (This goes for Savasana too, yo.) Be present, breathe, look inward, breathe … be inspired. This is yoga!

Nevertheless, most of us yogis aspire toward the more advanced asanas, and one that usually comes right to mind is Handstand: Adho Mukha Vrksasana. Downward-Facing Tree. In which your hands and fingers are the branches reaching down into the ground, and your feet and toes the roots reaching for the sky. There’s nothing like it for a new perspective — on yourself and on life in general.

Muses and Meaning: An Interview with Yogi Elena Brower (Part Two)

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | January 3rd, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Yoga | tags: Africa Yoga Project, Akasha Project, Art of Attention book, at home yoga, charity, community, desert island, deserted island, Elena Brower, Erica Jago, Every Mother Counts, Indie Go Go, interview, leg stretch, Lineage Project, Oahu, Ojai Yoga Crib, online yoga, raquel welch, self-publish, Somaly Mam, spinal twist, supine stretch, Supta Padagusthasana #3, Virayoga, Women for Women, yoga class, Yoga Gives Back, yoga instructor, yoga pose, yoga teacher, Yoga Tune Up®, yoga videos

Erica Jago

Jill Miller met fellow yogi Elena Brower this past October when they both presented at the Ojai Yoga Crib, and the two immediately struck up a friendship. When Jill found out Elena was about to publish a yoga workbook called Art of Attention (co-authored by Erica Jago), she knew she wanted to have a heart-to-heart interview: teacher-to-teacher, innovator-to-innovator and woman-to-woman. Here is Part Two of her interview. To read Part One, click here.

Muses and Meaning: An Interview with Yogi Elena Brower (Part One)

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | November 30th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Inspirational Media, Personal Growth, Yoga | tags: Art of Attention, asana, author, book, burning man, celebrities, Central Park, Christy Turlington, donna karan, Eiffel Tower, Elena Brower, Erica Jago, extroverts, Gwyneth Paltrow, interview, introverts, Jill Miller, MC Yogi, meaning, Michael Chichi, Muse, Ojai Yoga Crib, problems, somatic imagination, vision board, wanderlust, Xanadu, yoga instructor, yoga teacher, yoga workbook, yoga-practice

Elena Brower at Burning Man

I first met Elena Brower this October when we both presented at the Ojai Yoga Crib, although we’d been acquainted through email for about a year prior. Elena walked into the faculty dinner and seemed to carry a piece of the sun in her essence.

Now I know that might sound a bit “woo-woo,” and if you’ve been reading my blog for the past five years, you know that I am a straight shooter and tend to refrain from sharing heavy doses of mystical or esoteric phenomenon with my readers. But I tell you, I can also recognize a galvanizer when I see one, and I was immediately drawn to Elena’s intense stare, clarity of tone and poetic spirit. She’s awesome! And I am happy to now call her my friend.

So when I found out she was about to publish her very first book Art of Attention, a yoga workbook designed to inspire your yoga practice, contemplation and creativity, which she wrote with co-author Erica Jago, I wanted to have a heart-to-heart interview: teacher-to-teacher, innovator-to-innovator and woman-to-woman. Here is the result of that conversation:

Did You Finish Breathing Yet?

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | June 27th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: abdominal muscles, abs, body, breath, breathe, breathing techniques, CrossFit, diaphragm, focus, hiccup cure, hiccups, Jill Mller, Kelly Starrett, lungs, mindful, Mobilitywod.com, pranayama, respiration, respiratory system, San Francisco CrossFit, uddiyana bandha, Yoga, yoga class, yoga instructor, Yoga TuneUp

Yoga class standing in Mountain Pose

SCENE: A yoga class. Students are standing in Mountain Pose like a Buddhist “army.”

Teacher: Breathe in…

Class: (A subtle, yet audible “sucking” sound is heard.)

Teacher: And breathe out…

Class: (A subtle, yet audible “whooshing” sound is heard.)

Teacher: Good. Now three more deep breaths just like that.

Class: (They are audibly compliant until…)

Teacher: Now step your right foot back.

Class: (The sound of 25 left feet strike the pose, and no more breathing is heard.)

Teacher: What, no more breathing? Let every movement be a prompt to remind you to breathe for the next 90 minutes.

Class: (Sound of breathing is amplified again, and class proceeds smoothly until … well, the class forgets to breathe again. And again. And again sporadically throughout the class.)

What’s going on here? Why do so many of us forget to breathe? Did you actually finish breathing?

It seems laughable, the notion of “finishing breathing.” Our nervous systems are actually built in such away that breath happens automatically, without us prompting our breathing muscles every few seconds. Think about it, a lot of mental energy is actually required to control every single breath (instead of letting it happen on its own), and our brains have a zillion other tasks to balance. But the breezy thing about breathing is that we can control it, and in so doing we can deliberately impact every system of the body.

Hope on the Mat: How a Yoga Teacher Became the Student

Andrea Marcum by Andrea Marcum | May 1st, 2012 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Personal Growth, Yoga | tags: disabled, faith, Gaiam Hope Project, George Iles, headstand, HOPE, limitations, limits, muscular dystrophy, Oscar Wilde, physical disability, student, teacher, Yoga, yoga instructor, yoga poses

Hope Yoga“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” ~George Iles

When you run a yoga studio, you hear it all. From the annoyingly trivial (“So and so was in my spot!”) to the enormously overwhelming (“I’ve been diagnosed with cancer.”). Some of the stories I’ve heard over the years are so powerful and transcendent, they’ve reached into my life and left an indelible imprint of hope. This is one of those stories:

Her limbs twisted by muscular dystrophy, she wandered in and unrolled her yoga mat. I was concerned — mine is a rigorous class, and I wanted to protect her without making a spectacle. It’s a line every teacher walks with any new student, but her circumstances had me feeling more conflicted about how hands on or off I should be than usual.

What My Daily Practice Looks Like

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | March 1st, 2012 | 3 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: backbends, core, corpse pose, daily yoga practice, dance, handstand, inversions, Leg Stretch #3, longevity, matador circles, meditation, Monk Walks, movement, posture, Psoas, rotator cuff, savasana, self-massage, Shoulder stabilization, Side Bends, squats, twist, Twisted Triangle, uddihyana bandha, Veeparita Korani Mudra, yoga block, yoga instructor, yoga poses, yoga teacher, yoga therapy balls, Yoga Tune Up, Zobha

Daily Yoga PracticeStudent: Jill, what do you actually do for your personal yoga practice?

Me: I practice what I teach.

Student: You mean you don’t do anything else? Spinning? Or running? Or Zumba? I mean, how do you get your arms to look like that?

Me: I don’t mean to sound cryptic … but I practice what I teach.

It’s true. I have been practicing yoga and multiple movement arts since I was 11 years old, and the yoga practice I teach in the classroom (I began teaching part-time at age 19 at The Omega Institute) has evolved and changed with me through the past two decades. The work I share in my classes, workshops, conferences and videos all resonates with my own discoveries in my personal “jungle gym” of a practice.

Why Acting Like You Own the Joint Will Make You a Better Yoga Teacher

Amy Ippoliti by Amy Ippoliti | January 30th, 2012 | 12 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: Amy Ippoliti, confidence, confident, fear, insecurity, nervous, self confidence, self-esteem, yoga class, yoga instructor, yoga students, yoga teacher

Confident yoga teacher

Have you ever taken a yoga class and the teacher was sheepish, visibly insecure or just not confident? C’mon, you can tell me — did you want to walk out?

I don’t blame you if you did.

How I Lost My Voice — And Found It Again with My Own Two Hands

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | January 26th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Green Living | tags: Jill Miller, laryngitis, listen to you body, losing your voice, lost voice, music, Robyn, Saturday Night Live, singing, SNL, speechless, Stockholm, stress, swedish massage, Swedish pop star Robyn, teaching, tongue massage, vocal cords, yoga class, yoga instructor, yoga teacher, Yoga Tune Up, yoga workshop, Yogayama studio

Lost VoiceLast month I spent a week in Stockholm, Sweden, teaching my Yoga Tune Up® Integrated Embodied Anatomy module to a group of future yoga teachers at Yogayama studio. I arrived in icy-cold Stockholm late at night after a 22-hour journey. When I awoke jet-lagged the next morning, I was hoarse — very hoarse. With 20+ hours of teaching ahead of me over the next four days, I was concerned. There was no way to call in a “sub.”

It’s Okay to Say “Namaste”

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | August 4th, 2011 | 9 Comments
topic: Fitness, Personal Growth, Yoga | tags: closure, divine, end of yoga class, greetings, honor, Jill Miller, Kundalini Yoga, love, mantras, meditation, namaste, oneness, prayer, respect, sacred, sanskrit, santa fe, the light within me, universal consciousness, Yoga, yoga instructor, yoga teacher, Yoga Tune Up®, Yoga TuneUp, yoga-practice

NamasteThe first time I took a live yoga class, at age 12 or 13, I remember hearing some strange, prayer-like, exotic word come out of my teacher’s mouth. Everyone echoed it back, and it made me uncomfortable. It didn’t stop me from going back, but I did kind of feel “left out,” as I didn’t know what they were saying, what it meant, or if it was the name of a god or other deity. Frankly, it sounded kind of religious, and I was definitely not into god-stuff at that point in my ’tweendom.

When my teacher told me what Namaste meant (“I bow to the god within you”) and how to pronounce it (Nah- Mah-Stay), it didn’t necessarily make the phrase any easier for me to embrace. But the social pressure of  “call and response” soon won me over. I attended very small classes in Santa Fe, and any non-compliant Namaste’ers would be very obvious to the teacher and other students. At first it barely rolled out of my lips, a garbled rumble of vowels with slight hiss in the middle. I had no way of knowing that a decade later, I would be the one at the front of the room offering the same salutation to my classes.