Yoga Teacher Training Recap: Pranayama & Chakras + Handstands & NYC!

Time. It seems that there is never enough of it nowadays – between traveling, adjusting to a new job schedule, yoga teacher training, workshops.. I am struggling to find time to get my runs in, create my yoga classes, practice guitar, see friends/family, volunteer, get in my own yoga practice, etc…

BUT – I love it all! And this past weekend, I completed class 5 of 6 for my 200 hour Yoga teacher training… which means there is only1 more class until I have my 200 hour certification in my hands! All of this studying, hours of reading, weekend workshops – all adding up to my end goal! Another item to check off the bucket list for this year 🙂

Below is a recap of the 5th weekend of training!

Module 5: Take Students to their Edge and Help them Find Their Greatness (10 hours)

  • 8-9:20 am: heated yoga class
  • learned about Pranayama & different types of yogic breathing (lions breath, ujjayi, baya/antara kumbhaka)
  • learned about bandhas
  • learned about Ayurveda & the Doshas
  • paired up & taught half a class, getting feedback from another other teacher trainee
  • Coloring/meditation exercise & learned about the different chakras
  • Taught first 15-20 minutes of yoga class at end of day

So, we basically learned a lot of stuff to integrate into our classes, inspire students + practiced teaching. 10 hours of learning is a LOT to take in at once, even when it is interesting. I loved learning about pranayama, as breath is the one thing I need to learn to be more comfortable with when teaching my classes. I don’t really consider myself super yogi-ey…. meaning, I am not sure if I buy into all the chakra/medicine stuff – which is totally fine. My classes are more of a workout, with a focus on body awareness and prepping for advanced poses like inversions. However, I am still learning, and whatever I find interesting I will always add to my classes. I always want my students to have the best experience – they do all of the work, I cannot even take any credit for their greatness – but, I want to teach in a way that people understand & get them to think a little deeper. So always evolving, growing, and having fun at the same time 🙂


And a few quick updates –

  • Putting on a workshop as part of my training – basically the “rough draft”, where I will be getting evaluated. It is this Friday – called “Journey to Handstand” – and I will be teaching the basics and foundation to work up to handstands! I have an outline and have practiced on a few friends, so I think I am ready.. still nervous, but ready!

Nina Elise Yoga HAndstand

  • Next trip: NYC!!! I found out Tamara Levinson-Campos was coming to NY for a workshop in December, and I have been dying to take a class from her! She is amazingly crazy and awesome and fun – check her out here! I’ll be visiting a few friends while there (yoga class + Sunday brunch = best combination ever) and exploring the city a bit for 3 days.

So with that all being said… what are your thoughts on what makes a yoga class so special or great? Would you take a workshop on how to handstand? And for everyone in NYC – any recommendations on where to go, what to do? Or even better – I’d love to meet up while I am in town! 

Yoga Teacher Training Recap: Creating a Workshop

This past weekend, I took class # 2 of 6 for the last half of my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. As a recap, below is a summary of what my homework was, and what I did to prepare for the second training class:

  • Create a theme-based class (I created a (pretty tough) class on balancing)
  • Complete yoga vision board **Complete!
  • Begin a daily mantra/meditation practice **I decided to start with 5 minutes a day, alternating between using the mantra “I am” and just sitting in silence. I had to journal about how it affected my life, if at all.
  • Complete online module **Completed. I took a survery to find out what type of learner I am – and I am about equal parts of visual (40%), auditory (30%), and hands on (30%).

This weekend, I spent 8 hours learning how to Educate – Create Workshops that Wow. Below is a recap of what went on in those 8 hours:

  • Taught part of the theme based yoga class I created from my last homework assignment (Balance)
  • Learned how to market a  workshop (design flyers, cost, details, etc)
  • Chose a theme for my workshop
  • Began research on my workshop

+ 2 Hours of Workshop Presentation & 8 Hours of Attending Other Trainee Workshops (for a total of 18 hours)

Homework due at next module in October:

  • Put together a workshop – pick a theme, research it, put together an outline & a marketing outline. I will be creating a “Journey to Handstand” workshop… who in Columbus wants to learn how to handstand?? 🙂
  • In addition to the daily meditation practice, write down 3 things I am grateful for – so start a daily gratitude journal

Overall, the whole class went really quick! I really love all of the girls in the training with me, they are all amazing people and yoga teachers. It makes sitting all day learning a lot easier 🙂

I’m off to Europe in a few hours.. If you want to follow my adventures, add me on snapchat – my username is neens06!


Scan this to find me on snapchat!

Until next time!


Headstands: How-to Tutorial


As most of you know, I have a serious addiction to being upside-down. Headstands, handstands, anything having to do with being on my hands! Inversions are very tricky – they require a lot of confidence and self-trust to go upside down – but once you get past this hurdle & believe in yourself, being upside down starts to get a little easier.

As I am prepping for putting on a local workshop here in Columbus as part of my Yoga Teacher Training, I have been thinking about the best way to help others understand how to get into inversions. A lot of research, practicing on friends, and personal practice has led me here! Below is a step-by-step tutorial on how to prep for a headstand – give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Step 1: Prepare by coming to your hands & knees, preferably on a thick yoga mat or carpet. I recommend coming close to a wall in front of you (maybe a few inches from your hands) and putting some couch cushions around if you are afraid of falling. Another tip: place a cushion under your head if you need a little more padding!

Step 2: Bend your arms and place the center top of your head on the ground (or pillow). Drag your feet as close to your hands as possible – you can keep your legs straight or bend them – trying to get your hips over top of your head as much as you can. If you are close to a wall, you can try to get your back/butt up against the wall.

Step 3: Begin to bring your knee cap to the underside of your arms, halfway between your elbow and armpit. Your arms are creating a shelf for your knees! All the while, think about pushing your hands away from the ground to take some pressure off of your head. You want to protect your neck as much as possible, so always think about pushing up to the sky using your hands and shoulders, like you are trying to push up into a handstand. Yes, it is hard, and yes, it requires strength. Baby steps!! You can do it!

Step 4: Start to lift 1 leg off of your knee. You can just practice this if you are too nervous to lift both – this requires some core strength, so be patient with yourself! Again, think about stacking those hips up over your head – this is mainly about alignment, so body awareness goes a long way. You do use a little ab strength here, but that will come over time!

Step 5: We have lift off! lift both knees off your arms, using your core to lift your legs up. If you are afraid of falling, this is where a spotter or the wall comes in handy! Really squeeze your ab muscles here – being in control of your core here helps with balance and control everywhere else. Your hips are like a hinge, lifting up your knees. Sometimes I like to think about pushing my butt up and back – you might fall, but again – use the wall – it is your friend!

Step 6: Continue to use your core to lift your knees up, stacking your hips over your head, and slowly begin to straighten your legs. You can keep your knees bent here and practice straightening your legs up just a little bit – finding your balance takes practice, and it is unique and different for everyone!

Has anyone tried a headstand before? If so, are there any tips I missed? What is your biggest fear/problem/hangup with trying headstands/going upside down? I would love to hear from you!

Private Yoga Lessons & Yoga Teacher Training: Part 2

After finishing up the first 100 hours of my Yoga teacher training, I needed a BREAK. It was a lot of information to process, and the trip itself was mentally and physically exhausting. After having a few weeks to process everything, I am starting to feel like my normal self, although I know I still have so much more to learn. With that being said, I have already signed up for the last half of my 200 hr RYT training that begins in August! I think a few months break to recuperate and practice in between training will be extremely beneficial – I plan on soaking in as much information on anatomy, teaching inversions and putting together new sequences as possible. Reading, practicing, taking workshops, etc.

How I felt after a week of Yoga Teacher Training

How I felt after a week of Yoga Teacher Training

One workshop I signed up for is with Kino Macgregor –  she is teaching a 3-day workshop at Yoga on High in July! All about ashtanga, handstands & sun salutations. Is anyone else attending her workshop? I would love to practice with my fellow Columbus Yogis!

Um, who wouldn't want to learn from a Yoga teacher who can easily put their foot behind their head??

Um, who wouldn’t want to learn from a Yoga teacher who can easily put their foot behind their head??

Between working 50+ hours a week, learning to play the guitar, taking care of my bunny, spending time with friends/family, running, and even finding time for my own yoga practice… It’s pretty much impossible to commit to teaching at a studio (although – yoga classes at a local studio in the works, so stay tuned!! ;)). I’ve been teaching a few classes at my house with some friends, and have been starting to teach private lessons as well – including teaching yoga to my mom & my 86 year old grandmother! And guess what… I LOVE it! I am learning so much, and the intimacy of working with people one-on-one is so different than teaching an entire class. Besides helping those new to yoga, or just anyone that wants to improve their current practice, I learn so much from teaching. I am so grateful to be able to meet so many people, and every encounter I walk away with a full heart, a more open mind, and a new friend. So for any local Yogis in Columbus – if you are interested in working with me, want to practice some Yoga, or maybe even learn how to handstand – check out my “Work With Me” page here 🙂

Nina Yoga

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