I first came across ‘At One Space’ when they advertised for their Yoga workshop. From the moment I walked in, I instantly felt happy and safe. I felt filled up with positive vibes and energy from everyone ‘At One Space’. Due to past experiences, being in a place where I feel safe is so important for me. It means I can be. It means I can grow.
When Mumtaz and Yasmin offered me the opportunity to teach ‘At One Space’, I was so honoured and blown away that they’d even considered me. Normally, I would’ve instantly been filled up with anxiety at the the thought of being judged as a Yoga practitioner and teacher but I didn’t. Not one part of me wanted to say no. I feel safe and supported by them both. I think that has something to say about their positive love and energy.
Becoming a part of ‘At One Space’ is about being part of a community. And within that community - we support, we love, we care, we grow. It’s a place for Yoga practitioners and Yoga teachers to further their yoga journey - educating, empowering and inspiring their own practice, in return to support others in their journey - on and off the yoga mat. We’re constantly evolving, constantly changing - so it’s important to surround ourselves around people who fill and light us up.
Mumtaz spoke to me about being me. That people will come to my classes to see me. Just like they will come to practice with other teachers. I won’t be for everyone. And that’s okay. But it’s important to be authentic. To be wholeheartedly myself. And already, I felt empowered just by hearing that.
I hope you can come to ‘At One Space’ to find that for yourself. A place where you feel safe. A place where you can be unapologetically you. A place to grow. A place to learn. A place to surrender.
As a yoga teacher, the world of social media can be a daunting one. There are many varying challenges you will face and questions you will have to ask yourself, some of which include:
Whilst social media is an exceptional way of capturing an audience, how do you make sure you capture the correct audience? All of the above challenges arise during this process, and speaking from personal experience, it’s all bit of a learning curve.
If you're new to this world, perhaps start by checking out other yoga teachers and seeing who inspires you, then you can follow them and like and comment on their content, to build an online community. Think about how you feel when standing in front of your yoga students, what it is that your trying to teach, and how you want them to feel. I know when I’m standing in front of my class, I want to welcome them and make them feel safe and secure.This is automatically achieved as I soon as I greet them with a genuine smile... There may be the yogis who are dedicated to your classes and will attend like clockwork and have their designated space in the room, there may be those who drop in intermittently or those who go through a phase of coming and then time lapses between the sessions, and then there are those who have never tried yoga and now you are solely responsible to deliver a class that will do the practice of yoga justice. Inspire each one of them, without intimidating them !
I would say my take on yoga and the way I wish to deliver this beautiful ancient discipline is by making it inclusive ... this means it is not exclusive for the young, beautiful, physically strong and acrobatic yogis ... yoga is for real people with real issues and everyday challenges. It’s not about the perfect bodies and perfect poses, it’s about the individual and where they are at on this journey we call life. Yoga is therefore a very unique practice (if we say it’s an individual practice), no two people are on the same journey, and whilst we may cross paths ... our journey is our own.
What I want students to ask themselves is that if this journey is unique, how can it then make sense to compete with others ? Or to compare ourselves? These are the very things which can make us feel inadequate and then deter us from embracing this beautiful journey that we are on. Yoga has no prerequisite, so why are we asking people to be physically fit or mentally strong before we arrive into a class ?
Now, the challenge is how do I relay all of this onto my social media platform? Being a British Muslim teacher, the first thing you will notice is my appearance is unique. Being a woman who likes to take care of my appearance and look after myself may also send out a message which some may perceive as taking away from the message of what I actually do. I guess the question is: can you post images that are visually attractive and at the same time send the message from the soul of what yoga is, and what the experience of yoga is with you when they join you in class. As a yoga teacher you have to ask yourself how to build trust with complete strangers, and how to make them feel safe and secure without feeling judged, criticised and inadequate..
I guess the reason why I’m writing this, is to really share with you what I’m facing each time I post. Social media has become a place of portraying perfection, the image with filters and capturing the pose at just the right point. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with pretty pictures, we all like looking at pretty pictures, but what's most important is showing the process we are all going through, and did you know that the physical practice of yoga is only 1/8 of what yoga really is about? I want to be able to share the 7 other parts of yoga, to get people to understand that it’s about the mind, body and soul connection.
I’m interested in what followers would like to hear about, learn more about, and what the real challenges are that people face when thinking of coming to a yoga class. I want you be able to inspire, educate and welcome everybody into this wonderful ancient art known as yoga ..
Yoga has been a valuable tool which has aided me through ill health, emotional difficulties, grieve, loss, post pregnancy blues and accepting the changes my body goes through ... its aided me to find my self, my voice and my calling to life !
I feel blessed to have the privilege to share that I am not perfect, and that’s the true beauty of it all. We are all perfectly imperfect and it’s all about finding acceptance in that and bringing out the best in ourselves and others through positivity. This doesn’t mean life is going to be a bed of roses, we will all be challenged, but having the tool kit to help you deal with those difficult times is what my objective is ...
Love and peace.
How to take care of yourself so you can avoid burn-out and keep your spark as a yoga teacher ( students may benefit from this too )
There’s no doubt that, amongst other things, teaching yoga is an act of service, and as the Bhagavad Gita tells us, it’s not about the ‘fruits’ of our actions, but the intention and action itself that matters. Offering a yoga practice means being there for a whole group of people, sharing knowledge, guiding them, helping them, gaining their trust, and ultimately helping them help themselves. Teaching yoga can be hugely rewarding – teachers often make strong connections with their students, and we have the opportunity to really help people and make a difference.
With such a huge amount of responsibility of caring for others, it comes as no surprise that yoga teachers can often feel drained, burned out and empty after giving so much. If you’ve taken on a whole lot of classes and 1-to-1's, are constantly travelling to different studios and gyms, offering workshops and retreats, and maybe even your own teacher training course, it really is common to feel a little lost, lonely, sore and somewhat ‘empty’ at times.
This is why the Yoga Teacher Self Care checklist is so important:. In order to be able to give fully, teachers must be full themselves. Caring for others means caring for yourself first, showing up for yourself first, in order to then show up fully for others.
So, take a look at the list below. Are you checking off each of these points regularly?
hot yoga - why is it great?
go MEAN & GREEN!
No doubt that the healthiest juices are the ones that contain 'greens' - green leafy vegetables contain the most vitamins and nutrients, and you’ll feel almost instantly better after drinking a green juice.
We thought this research paper was worth sharing, below we have relayed some of the key points taken from an article published by the International Journal of Yoga.
A 3,000 year old tradition, yoga, is now regarded in the Western world as a holistic approach to health and is classified by the National Institutes of Health as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
The word “yoga” comes from a Sanskrit root “yuj” which means union, or yoke, to join, and to direct and concentrate one's attention. Regular practice of yoga promotes strength, endurance, flexibility and facilitates characteristics of friendliness, compassion, and greater self-control, while cultivating a sense of calmness and well-being. Sustained practice also leads to important outcomes such as changes in life perspective, self-awareness and an improved sense of energy to live life fully and with genuine enjoyment. The practice of yoga produces a physiological state opposite to that of the flight-or-fight stress response and with that interruption in the stress response, a sense of balance and union between the mind and body can be achieved.
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga is a form of mind-body fitness that involves a combination of muscular activity and an internally directed mindful focus on awareness of the self, the breath, and energy. Four basic principles underlie the teachings and practices of yoga's healing system. The first principle is the human body is a holistic entity comprised of various interrelated dimensions inseparable from one another and the health or illness of any one dimension affects the other dimensions. The second principle is individuals and their needs are unique and therefore must be approached in a way that acknowledges this individuality and their practice must be tailored accordingly.
The third principle is yoga is self-empowering; the student is his or her own healer. Yoga engages the student in the healing process; by playing an active role in their journey toward health, the healing comes from within, instead of from an outside source and a greater sense of autonomy is achieved. The fourth principle is that the quality and state of an individuals mind is crucial to healing. When the individual has a positive mind-state healing happens more quickly, whereas if the mind-state is negative, healing may be prolonged.
In the Western world, the most common aspects of yoga practiced are the physical postures and breathing practices of Hatha yoga and meditation. Hatha yoga enhances the capacity of the physical body through the use of a series of body postures, movements (asanas), and breathing techniques (pranayama).
The breathing techniques of Hatha yoga focus on conscious prolongation of inhalation, breath retention, and exhalation. It is through the unification of the physical body, breath, and concentration, while performing the postures and movements that blockages in the energy channels of the body are cleared and the body energy system becomes more balanced. Although numerous styles of Hatha yoga exist, the majority of studies included in this manuscript utilized the Iyengar style of yoga. The Iyengar method of Hatha yoga is based on the teachings of the yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar. Iyengar yoga places an emphasis on standing poses to develop strength, stability, stamina, concentration and body alignment. Props are utilized to facilitate learning and to adjust poses and instruction is given on how to use yoga to ease various ailments and stressors.
Yoga is recognized as a form of mind-body medicine that integrates an individual's physical, mental and spiritual components to improve aspects of health, particularly stress related illnesses. Evidence shows that stress contributes to the etiology of heart disease, cancer, and stroke as well as other chronic conditions and diseases. Due to the fact that stress is implicated in numerous diseases, it is a priority to include a focus on stress management and reduction of negative emotional states in order to reduce the burden of disease. Viewed as a holistic stress management technique, yoga is a form of CAM that produces a physiological sequence of events in the body reducing the stress response. The scientific study of yoga has increased substantially in recent years and many clinical trials have been designed to assess its therapeutic effects and benefits.
As participation rates in mind-body fitness programs such as yoga continue to increase, it is important for health care professionals to be informed about the nature of yoga and the evidence of its many therapeutic effects. Thus, this review of the literature is timely and important and provides information regarding the therapeutic effects of yoga in various populations concerning a multitude of different ailments and conditions. Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures and practice to the treatment of health conditions. Yoga therapy involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional and spiritual pain, suffering or limitations. Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.