Home Yoga Practice when you just MISS the Studio

By Brian Reyes 
We’ve been in self-quarantine for a while, and if you’re like me, you probably miss practicing in the yoga studio A LOT by now. Self-practice at home is great and has a lot of advantages, but practicing with your teachers and community at the studio just gives that extra energy and encouragement that we all love. So what to do when you miss that studio vibe, but have to stay at home?
Let me share with you some things that I do to feel that energy boost of a studio practice, but still remain safe and healthy at home:
1) Make Space: Set aside a special spot where you can put down your mat and practice in peace. Set the scene to your liking: maybe a bit of gentle lighting, yoga props, aromatherapy… the good stuff! Yoga studios take special care to create an inviting space dedicated for just 1 thing: practice! If you can recreate a space at home that makes you look forward to practice, then the battle is half won.
2) Make Time: Not everyone has enough space at home to dedicate specifically for practice. I live in a tiny apartment, so what I do instead is I make time: usually an hour an a half a day. For that 90 minutes, I’ve negotiated with the people I live with to let me use our common space for practice. It’s a temporary shala, but it does the trick. To me, it kind of feels like when you have a favorite time slot in the yoga studio you frequent, and you arranged your daily schedule to be sure to make it to that class.
3) Listen to Your Teachers: One thing I miss with studio practice is listening to the instructions of my teachers. Hearing them gives that extra support that motivates me in my practice and helps me learn new things. It’s really cool that during this quarantine, a lot of teachers stepped up to support their community by doing live online classes in different platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Play one of your teacher’s recorded videos on the background, and flow with their guidance even from afar.
Many yoga studios and teachers also offer private sessions via online platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and even simple video calls. If you are looking for more specific instructions, cues that are just for you, and to actually interact with your teachers, this is the way to go. It almost feels like you’re in the same room again!
4) Practice with Others: Whether that person is your roommate who put down their mat next to you, or someone online who is practicing miles away in their own home, it is nice to share energy by flowing through the same practice together. A lot of online platforms allow multiple students to listen to the guidance of the teacher as if you’re in the same space together even if you’re in different time zones.  It’s interesting how this quarantine shows that it doesn’t mean that our community has become disconnected in this time of distancing. In fact, our yoga community is very connected and our circle is wide. It is a wonder to see that even apart, we are one in finding ways to set intentions, breathe together, practice together, and heal together.
Most of us still have a few more weeks to go in self-quarantine and studios will need time to safely re-open again. In the meantime, let’s keep up the home practice. We’ll see each other in person soon!

Workshops: “I’m not good at it yet!” vs “I already know it.”

By Brian Joanne Malabuyoc
I’ve heard these statements so many times: from myself (I’m guilty too) and from other people.
Recently, I’ve seen so many posts about yoga workshops on various topics offered by several teachers in different locations. I have conducted a few and attended many of such workshops and I always learn something new and valuable from each one.
So, why is it that a lot of people are still thinking twice about attending workshops?
**1) I’m not good at it yet.**
Often, people think that workshops are classes where only experienced students go. 
Actually, most workshops are tailored to be helpful to beginners. More time is allotted to cover the basics and the foundations.  There are a lot of things that teachers simply have no time to say during a regular class. But in workshops, your teacher can discuss those things at length and in full vivid detail. You can even ask questions and take time doing drills and to ask for more explanations. It’s so wonderful, especially if you are curious or have a lot of doubts.
For these reasons, students who are new can pick up a lot of insights on how to start their practice with good and mindful habits. This is especially important because unlearning bad habits sometimes take more time and set you back. Worse, building on weak foundations may cause unnecessary pain or injuries down the road.
As a beginner, all you really need in a workshop is an open mind and willingness to try. There is no expectation from you to perform or to understand everything immediately. Having a few takeaways that you can mindfully incorporate in your regular classes is already enough.
You don’t need to be good at things to attend a workshop. In fact, the workshop will help you get a good start in order to be good at whatever the workshop topic is.
**2) I already know what they’re going to teach.**
I understand why sometimes knowing the topic makes people uninterested if they’ve attended workshops on similar topics before. Spending registration money on newer topics may be more attractive in this case. BUT, I believe that it is still worth considering to attend workshops on things that you might have attended before. In my experience, this happens when I attend a class on the same topic for the nth time:
* I learn a different approach to something I’ve done before. For example, I recently joined a hands-on assist workshop with Teacher Joy and Ricardo of Bright Yoga. It is a topic covered in all teacher trainings that I’ve attended, a recent YACEP workshop, and I do hands-on assists and adjustments all the time in classes I teach. So, I might be tempted to say I already know how the workshop will go. But the actual lessons gave me a lot of new things that were so different from what I envisioned. It showed me a new approach to the things that I often do in class. I learned so many new things, so I’m very glad I was there!
* I am reminded of things that I have forgotten. It is impossible for me to catch every information that is given to me the first time. And I can’t remember everything that was ever told to me by my teachers. That’s ok. What’s important at that moment sticks to my mind. Going back to the same topic allows me to catch things that I might have not given as much importance to before, but are more relevant to me now. 
* I get updated on new research, studies, and best practices. Doing the same things the same way all the time makes me feel dull. If it works, it’s good. But, things can be better. It’s useful to know how to improve. Also, it’s good to evolve and constantly grow.
* Taking time to immerse myself in a topic I like always makes me happy. So what if I’ve taken a hundred (exaggerating) workshops on arm balances? It sparks joy!
You don’t have to know anything about a topic in order to benefit from a workshop. Often, going back on a topic that you’ve covered before allows you to be better at what you’re already good at.
I hope this post encourages you to take time one of these days to attend a special workshop organized by your teachers or your local yoga studio. These workshops, especially by your regular teachers, have your needs in mind when they were planned. We mean it when we say we hope you could come because we really do want to share so much with you.
Do you have any questions about workshops and special classes? Have you attended a workshop lately? How was the experience? Let me know by commenting on this post or sending me a message. 🙂

Why Discipline are so important in Yoga

By: Ricardo

In yoga, your discipline will affect your practice and teachings

These days knowledge is very accessible, literally one click and you can access an ocean of information, tips about how to practice, teach, and so much more. However, all this knowledge will work to your benefit and others when it is shared in a unique way from a place of authenticity. This will happen only when all the learned information is digested through practice.

For authenticity to start to manifest, you must experience the knowledge, technique, or whatever you want to share and understand through years and years of practice and repetition. The experience is crucial to find your unique way to express the way you feel and understand the practice.

Discipline will act as the inner strength that will allow you to stand up on your mat as often as you need and increase your vision and wisdom. It is only through constant practice that you can understand deeper layers about the practice and yourself. This will give you many different tools on how to support yourself, and it will awaken your ability to support others in a unique way.

There are two types of teachers: the first one, teachers who share their knowledge from memory and more likely to burn themselves out after teaching for a while and the second type are the ones who share their knowledge from experience and keep the flame of wisdom and self-study alive. Which one you do you want to be?

Let’s keep it real and authentic through practice.

French Fries Loving Yogi

Yoga is a practice that can help us to create more balance and harmony in our lives. For me, balance means living a life with awareness without overindulging in the senses but at the same time without neglecting our human conditions by trying to restrain ourselves too much. It is about finding the middle ground in whatever we do.

In this way, if a Yogi likes French fries, eat them with moderation and awareness. There is no point in forcing our body into a certain type of diet or pose if we are not ready to organically step in to it.

Our body has its wisdom, and it’s way to evolve. It is through awareness that we understand what we need and how to adjust ourselves in life and the practice.

The Practice of Yoga can help you to cultivate that awareness. It is such an amazing tool to train your consciousness as we most of the time remain in the asana for just five breaths. If we let our awareness run behind a thought or any other distraction, you will lose connection to your body and your practice.

It is only when you train your awareness in and out of the mat, that you will know when you need French Fries and how much you should eat. Obviously, French Fries is just a metaphor and can be applied to anything. In practice, for example, awareness will let you know when is the right time to step back in a particular pose and when is the right time to go deeper.

We can undoubtedly say that if you can be aware in and out of the mat, you will have a deep understanding about yourself and your practice then your inner wisdom will play an essential role in the way you lead your life

Lets use our consciousness to learn how to understand the secret languages of your body and life.

Bend So You Don’t Break


“Saying you are not flexible for yoga
is like saying you are too dirty for a bath.”

Throughout our years of experience in teaching yoga, we have met students with different capabilities, understandings, and approaches when it comes to the yoga practice.

One of the most common concerns beginner students have is, “I am not flexible, so I don’t know if yoga is for me.” If you worry about this, too, then yoga is actually one of the best ways to release stiffness and tension in the body, as well as improve your joint mobility. It is very common nowadays for not only elders, but also in fairly younger people, to have very limited joint mobility, especially on the knees and the lower back. Lack of mobility in the joints (perhaps due to lack of daily stretching/movement or any exercise in general) leads to poor posture, more serious joint injuries and other health implications.

Mobility on the hips is one of, if not the most important part of the body to keep in check because the more mobile you are on your hips, the more mobile you will be on the other parts of your upper and lower body. Likewise, if you are too tight or stiff on your hips, your upper and lower body muscles and joints will compensate for this lack of mobility on your hips. For example, in a physical activity as simple as walking, there will always be a gentle twisting motion happening in both the lower back and the knees if the hips are tight – the more we are mindful of this simple reminder, the more we can prevent suffering from lower back and knee pain in the future.

In practices such as Ashtanga Vinyasa and Rocket Vinyasa, there are so many postures in the standing and seated sequences that work on hip opening, which make these asana practices are a great way to alleviate pressure on the lower back, as well as a safe way to maximize the knees’ anatomical function – flexion, extension, and a little bit of rotation.

With regards to poor posture, these yoga asana sequences are especially beneficial for people who are used to working around 8 hours a day seated and hunched over a desk. Not only will the standing and seated sequences give you the opportunity to practice stretches that release the back of the body, but you will also cultivate good posture by practicing correct spinal alignment.

Moreover, as having flexible hips will release stiffness in the spine, it will also eventually increase your lung capacity, thereby allowing you to take deeper breaths. Deeper breaths cultivates more energy into your life, strengthens your immune system, slows down the aging process, calms the mind by reducing tension and stress, and fortifies your body’s natural ability to heal, among many other benefits

All of the amazing benefits that having a flexible body are available to anybody who wants to practice yoga – as long as one’s mind is open to the idea of not letting one’s capacities and limitations be a barrier to the practice. Just get on your mat, practice with patience and persistence, and soon enough, you will experience progress.