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Postures — Yoga

Yoga – You Can Achieve More Than You Think

Some of you may know that I’m not the typical yogi. I’m not shredded and the only six-pack I’ve ever had was a six-pack of Guinness or another reputable alcoholic beverage. You won’t see me with a man bun or wearing flowy pants……though I used to have long hair and do wear a poncho on occasion so maybe……

Anyway, I have been practising yoga for about nine years now and teaching yoga for two years.

I love a tough vinyasa class, a class where I will sweat like Christy Moore giving it loads on the Bodhran, if you know what I mean, but I stayed away from crazy intense poses like handstand, headstand, inversions in general. To be honest, I was scared of them. I was scared that I couldn’t do them and that I would fail or hurt myself. Scared of lots of things.

My preference as a teacher is to teach Vinyasa Yoga. That was my goal since I took YTT with Semperviva two years ago. Last year I took a 40-hour Vinyasa add on and landed a regular teaching slot at Just Yoga shortly after that.

I feel I can give a tough class without necessarily having a very challenging peak pose or any peak pose at all for that matter. In my opinion, I have no business teaching a pose unless I can take that shape myself.

Six or eight months ago I had a niggling feeling that I would love to be able to do tripod headstand. This was partly my ego when I saw other men in classes with strong practices but also partly my sense of responsibility nudging at me. I thought that if I want to be a Vinyasa teacher maybe I should be able to offer some inversions in my classes.

The same feeling came over me with handstand about six or seven weeks ago.

If you asked me even a year ago after having taught yoga for a year and having practised for many years if I would ever be able to get into headstand or handstand the answer would have been a solid no.

A wise man once said that hitting the bullseye is the result of a thousand misses, so for tripod I found a really intense but short sequence to build up to it and I practised every day. I definitely missed the bullseye…a lot.

The same was true for handstand. I was always amazed at people able to take a handstand in a yoga class and after I had signed up for Alo moves (an online yoga studio) I found a 31-day handstand routine and thought I’d give it a go.

I remember there were times in both the tripod practise and the handstand practise that I was utterly convinced that I was going nowhere and making no progress with either posture but we don’t call it practicese for nothing.


Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.

For Tripod, it happened by accident. It was winding down time in the office on a Friday and I thought I’d give it a try. What had been agonizing core work for me for a long time – raising my legs to the air with my head on the ground, happened like magic with absolute ease.

With Handstand, even 2 weeks ago, I thought I would never get there but on day 30, when the instructers had been gliding into handstand many days in a row with complete ease,  I managed to get there and hold it for a moment.

Now only a week later, I can get there with little effort. I’m still working with the wall but one step at a time.

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
 – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

The Moral of the story is not that I’m great because I learned to do a handstand, the moral of the story is that I wanted to do a handstand. I doubted myself but tried anyway.

The person who says it is impossible should not interrupt the one doing it

Honestly, the belief did not come until I actually got to where I wanted to go but I did not give up. If you can’t break through the doubt you can ignore it. Keep going, you will get there, no matter what it is, push through, work, practise, every day.

Every time you miss that bullseye it is taking you a step closer to your goal. Every time you miss it is one less time you will miss. It’s one more practise round crossed off your list and one step closer to your destination.

Why do we fall?

So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up

– Batman Begins

Whatever it is you are working on it, keep going.



How to Plan A Yoga Sequence & Where to Look for Inspiration

Planning my yoga classes is one of my favorite steps of teaching. Right now, I teach 1 private class and feel I cannot show up each week with the same class. Initially it was hard trying to come up with new sequences each week, but I have found a system that works, and my student is happy.

Yoga teacher training thought us that the best thing to do as a new teacher is to keep things as simple as possible. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.  These are words I try to live by for planning a class. My aim is to create moments of strength and ease throughout the whole class which will leave my student feeling strong, relaxed and happy after our session. I don’t feel this needs to be overly complicated.

For my class I follow the advice of my teachers and warm my student up well before moving onto any standing or deep stretching poses. One tip that really helps with sequencing a class is to think of the final pose you want your student to achieve. Rebecca one of the teachers at Semperviva training highlighted that is important to have the body warmed up and the targeted muscles prepared for peak poses so that your students have a higher chance of achieving the pose. There is less frustration and less chances your student will injure him or herself when you plan your class with these peak poses in mind.

This gem of advice is what I personally use for my classes. When I want my student to achieve tree pose, I will ensure we do core work so the student understands where their core is and how to engage it before coming into tree, I will also do a few smaller balancing poses on each leg so the legs and the mind are prepared and finally standing poses with arms raised or in motion is a nice way to prepare the upper body for tree with arms overhead.

Where do I get my inspiration for classes? I go to classes! I aim to attend at least 4 classes every week, so I develop my own practice and to get inspiration from teachers who having been teaching for years. When a teacher has certain poses or sequences that make me feel great, I record them.

I bring a pocket size notebook to class with me and a pen. I leave them at the front of mat, so I can quickly scribble what I like down after a sequence is complete. I have a memory like a fish, so I will not remember anything after class. If I do forget my notebook, I make a voice recording on my phone after class and just say everything I can remember about the class, so I can incorporate some of those poses and feeling into my next class.

Another great resource is YouTube. I like looking at YouTube videos of yoga sequences. I have subscribed to a couple yoga studio channels like Alo yoga in California. On these channels I can learn my sequences, how to explain to get in and out of poses safely and be exposed to world class teachers from the comfort of my couch!

For each class I create I write the sequence in a notebook and label it according to how challenging it is, for example; soft class, warm class, sweaty Betty.

Once I have a nice collection of classes written I will then rotate each class from my notebook. I will keep trying to improve these classes and adjust them each time I teach.

This is how I plan my classes and where I get my inspiration. How do you plan for your class and where do you get your inspiration from?

Have a lovely week,

Thank you,

Theresa xx

Personal Posture Development: Wheel

Since graduating from Semperviva 200-hour yoga teacher training I have been busy teaching twice a week and keeping up my own practice on average twice a week in the studio.

Now that the summer is coming to an end and life is moving slower, I hope to increase my personal practice to 3-4 times in the studio.

Why would I like to increase my studio time? There are many reasons;

  • Attending public classes provides inspiration for my classes
  • Develops my skills as a teacher
  • Introduces new postures or breathing exercises I have never done
  • It keeps my body strong and clears my mind
  • The social aspect of the class is great
  • The energy practicing with a class is different than practicing on your own, I like both

Each morning I do a simple 15-20min warm up routine to help get my body ready for the day ahead. I sit at a desk all day so the stretching in the morning really helps prevent lower back ache or stiffness.

Although I am happy with my routine of going to classes and doing my own self practice. There is a desire to work on postures that I have trouble with.

There are many postures that I could choose but for some reason I would like to start with Wheel.

The challenge for me with wheel is lifting my upper body into the position. I believe I need to work on my arm strength to help achieve this movement.

Over the next few months I plan on researching methods of how to gradually build up my strength and what techniques I should use to help me achieve Wheel.

My personal goal is to be able to get into wheel safely and more importantly get out of it safely by Christmas. I hope with practice over time the posture will come a little easier and I can feel the benefits from doing it.

That’s my posture goal for this year, hopefully I can post at Christmas a picture of me in wheel. For now, bridge is where I am at and that’s ok😉

Each year I am hoping to build on my postures, maybe next year I might try hand stands! OH, it makes me sweat just thinking about it!

If you have any advice on what exercises I should do I would love to know.

Thank you and have a great week,

Chat soon,

Theresa x

It’s Not About Touching Your Toes

Hi All.

So this is my first yoga post. As per my bio (have a read if boredom levels are high), I have just finished the 200 hour Yoga teacher training (YTT) at Semperviva Yoga.

Many people I spoke to when I told them I was taking YTT asked me if I could touch my toes. Irrelevant, I think. What does it matter?

What is yoga about then? I’m not qualified to answer that. At least, not yet anyway. I can give an opinion or have a shot at it I suppose, but I would prefer to answer a slightly different question.

What is Yoga about to me?

Ok, now that’s a good question. At the risk of overstating myself, it is certainly not about touching my toes, or feet behind heads, or flexibility. The afore mentioned are certainly effects of practice but are they destinations?

The destination is not what it’s about. The pose is not what it’s about. For me, it is about the journey to the pose. Or, the journey to Shavasana, or the journey from the mat back to real life. It is about the people you meet along that journey, the places you visit (physically, mentally and metaphorically). It’s about how you arrive there. How you travel. Do you travel with the breath as a companion? Do you travel mindfully and tread carefully? Are you well intentioned? Are you judging? Is the ego involved? Are you getting into that pose for yourself, for the ego, or to prove that your better than the dude beside you with his top off who looks like he has done 27 hours in the gym with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

That’s me I’m talking about. I am the one who looks around. I am the one who fidgets. I’m the one who judges. I judge from all sides. I judge myself when I can’t make a posture; I judge others (I don’t want to go into it because my brain is such an a – hole sometimes – maybe in another post). Anyway I judge constantly. That Judgmental person we all don’t want to be, is me. And I intend to teach people yoga. Wow.

The one good thing I can say is that I realize it. I notice it more and more. I begin to catch myself. I begin to see the one who points the finger and thinks this and that about everybody. What can I do about it? Those are my thoughts. I can’t control my thoughts?

Ah but I can. We all can to an extent. A thought arises .This is an occurrence which, indeed, I believe I have no control over, at least not yet and not without years of practice. What I can control, however, is what I do with those thoughts. I can choose to act on them or not act on them. I can chose to voice them in my mind and put words to them or I can just let them drift away. They are not me.

That is my journey. That is what it is about for me, as a student of yoga. A journey, without judgment. And maybe it is about something else for you. I encourage you to ask yourself, what is it about? For you specifically. And maybe it is about touching your toes but I think that deep down there is more. I think that if you look deeper you will find more. And if you don’t, keep looking. It’s ok not to know. And to be honest, after writing this, I’m not even sure that I know.

Thanks for reading.



Yoga At Sunrise

Yoga At Dawn  #AWESOME

Myself and George are early risers, we get up between 4:45am and 5:15am during the week. We both have our morning routines which we love to complete before heading out the door to work (a blog post coming shortly on morning and evening routines)

Getting up in the summer time with the beautiful bright mornings and birds singing outside is so much easier than Winter! After a nice hot cup of tea and some breakfast I am usually ready to get my day started.

The weekend is a time for us where we do not have any alarms or any set routine to wake up super early. However we have decided to break this routine and set the alarm to get up on a Saturday morning. We are both currently training to become yoga teachers and we want to get as much pracise teaching as we can. Our apartment is small and hot in the summer so yoga practice outside is far more appealing than inside! We live 2 blocks from the beach and  views are incredible. Yoga on the beach is a no brainer!

Our alarm is now set for 5:00am so we can practice giving a yoga class to each other (and anyone who wants to join) on a Saturday morning on the beach.

This week we got up at 5:00am, had a cup of tea, grabed our mat and walked down to the beach. I love when the beach is empty and quiet which is only in the early hours of the morning in Kitsilano as the beach gets super busy during the summer months.

We placed some blankets on the sand and put our mat on top of the blanket. The temperature was nice and cool but not cold. It was so peaceful and the sounds of the sea and birds was beautiful. We really do love where we live!

George was teaching me this week for our first week of sunrise yoga. He had prepared a really nice 15minutes warmup and 20 minute sun salutation practice ending with 10min meditation. We have not learned beyond sun salutations yet in class so each week we are hoping to add onto our yoga practice session.

It is now Tuesday morning and already I am looking forward to teaching on Saturday morning. We were discussing if we could fit in another teaching session during the week at sun set so we can get more practice and the beach is quieter at this time also.

Our plan is to keep this routine for the whole summer and when we are away camping or on holidays we will always incorporate a yoga session in the morning so we keep up our practice and improving our teaching skills.

I will keep you updated on how our morning and possibly evening sessions are going and if we kept our promise of sunrise yoga for the summer😉 Please feel free to join if you see us down there, it would be super cool to have others join too.

Have a wonderful week and chat to you soon.