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!


Yoga Teacher Training: Part 2

This past weekend, I began the second half of my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, just a few months after completing my 100 hours in Belize. This time, I opted for a local training, spread out over the course of 4 months, versus an intensive 1-week training. This way, I can have more time to absorb all of the information. Also – I only get a few weeks vacation every year, and I couldn’t exactly take any more time off during the week ;).

There are 6 Weekends of Training:

Module 1: Refresh – A course designed to Reflect, Reconnect and Refocus your Teaching (15 hours)
Module 2: Educate – Create Workshops that Wow (8 hours)
+ 2 Hours of Workshop Presentation & 8 Hours of Attending Other Trainee Workshops (for a total of 18 hours)
Module 3: Source – Gain a Deeper Understanding of Yoga as a Science, Philosophy and the History Behind It (10 hours)
Module 4: Body – An Exploration of Anatomy, Physiology & Subtle Energies (14 hours)
Module 5: Edge – Take Students to their Edge and Help them Find Their Greatness (10 hours)
Module 6: Formulate – Create Your Special Sauce (10 hours)

I’ll give a breakdown of everything I learn as I go – below is a recap of my first module!

Module 1: Refresh – A course designed to Reflect, Reconnect and Refocus your Teaching (15 hours)

Day 1:

  • 8 am: 1.5 hour heated yoga class
  • Set goals for training
  • Create Yoga Biography & Purpose statement
  • Create Yoga Vision board – got a little crafty with magazines to create a vision board for what I want out of my yoga experience/career
  • impromptu teaching – taught part of a class and received feedback from instructors
  • Learning how to create a yoga class based on a theme

Day 2:

  • 9 am: taught part of a yoga class w/other trainees based on a theme we chose
  • Yoga vocabulary: learned how to cue with different words/statements
    ex:  instead of the basic “straighten arms,” knee over ankle”, etc, learning how to say things like “Ignite the power in your core, shooting energy through your toes… or something along those lines 😉
  • watched a Ted Talk on Vulnerability
  • bonding: exercises with other trainees, getting a little bit deeper with our fears (insert: tears & hugs)

Homework due at next module in September:

  • Create a theme-based class
  • Complete yoga vision board
  • Begin a daily mantra/meditation practice
  • Complete online module

Overall, it was a long and exhausting weekend. I absolutely love every one of the trainees, which makes everything that much more fun. This is just the beginning of growth in continuing on with my Yoga Teaching – always learning, growing, and facing a lot of uncomfortableness along the way. I’ll be posting updates after each class completed!

In other news, Pranamat sent me one of their amazing products to try, and I have been testing it out for the last few weeks. I received a Turquoise Pranamat, and have been laying on it almost every day. What is a Pranamat, you ask? According to the website, “The Pranamat ECO therapeutic massage mat is designed for home use and is made from 100% natural materials such as linen and coconut fibre, which means it’s kind to both your body and the environment. The lotus-flower massagers are arranged in a honeycomb pattern, a natural design that helps channel energy into your body. It’s a wonderful example of bio-design, combining modern technology with the knowledge of the ancients.”

So basically, an at-home accupressure mat that helps stimulate the movement of energy to your body.


While there are several different ways to use the mat, I mainly chose to lay on my back, as I tend to have lower back problems and a tight upper back. Some nights, I bring this to bed and lay on it for 10-20 minutes before going to sleep. This helps me relax, and I feel like I sleep well every night I use it. Also, It releases a lot of tension in the muscles in my back when I lay on it for more than 15 minutes – normally I prop a small pillow under my lower back or neck so the mat shapes to my spine. I had a crick in my neck a few weeks ago, and this mat was a godsend for the bunched up muscles!

There are other ways to use the mat, too: Sciatica, cellulite, back pain, sleep improvement, headaches… all things that I am sure, most have struggled with. In order to see benefits, you DO need to commit to laying on the mat for about 20 minutes a day. So if you can find time to do this, you will definitely notice a difference! Overall, I love the concept of this mat and that it offers relief similar to acupuncture. While this mat has helped with tight back muscles, I am going to be testing this out for cellulite next!

pranamat fit blonde yogi

20 minutes of Pranamat!

Has anyone ever tried using a Pranamat? If yes, what were your results?

Thanks for reading through this loooong post! Lots of new reviews, giveaways, yoga and traveling in the works! Stay tuned 🙂

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

Yoga Photo Shoot + 1st time teaching Yoga!

This past week, I teamed up with G10 Photography, a local photographer in Columbus, to do a mini yoga photo shoot. I really love being able to try new things, and the whole experience was very cool!

One thing you should know about me is that I am a total nerd – I prepare and organize everything in my life, down to typing up notes and writing out my entire weeks agenda 1-2 weeks ahead of time. Since I am still fairly new to this whole yoga photography thing, I planned everything beforehand: picking out poses I wanted to do/try, different outfits to wear, etc. I even had my friend come with me to help out/direct me, because sometimes it’s hard knowing what I actually look like in the poses I’m doing!

After I arrived, I changed and stretched a LOT, so I was ready to go after about a half hour. I honestly don’t know how fit models do it – I was exhausted near the end from holding all of the poses, and am so glad I brought water and a snack to eat! We spent a total of about 2 hours in his studio – below are a few of my favorite shots!

Pincha Mayurasana  Hollowback Forearm Stand

Bakasana - Crow with reverse hands

This entire past week has been crazy – between running the quarter marathon on Saturday, I’ve also been packing for my trip and cramming in last minute study sessions with my required yoga reading list. Lot’s of late nights – up until 12:30 am studying, only to get up at 5:30 am for 7 mile runs + yoga classes 1-3 nights a week. Working 50 hours a week, fitting in guitar lessons, book club and seeing friends & family, I feel like I haven’t slept in years. But i LOVE it. I wouldn’t trade this craziness for anything in the world!

Anyways – back to yoga.. You know how I said I was total nerd and prepared for everything? Well, I take notes when reading my yoga books, and have even typed up the entire Baptiste Power Yoga flow so I can clearly see everything laid out in front of me. I learn best when engaged in all types of learning styles – visual, hearing, hands on.. Reading notes & asking my yoga teachers a lot of questions after class are 2 ways I’ve been learning the past few months, but I haven’t been able to actually TEACH. And teaching a yoga class – with me as the only student – isn’t exactly the same as teaching someone else how to do yoga ?

I wanted to start practicing teaching a little bit in order to become more familiar with the Baptiste Power flow sequence, and fortunately for me, I have a lot of willing friends to volunteer as students! This past Thursday, I taught my first Yoga “class” – and by class, I mean my friend came over and I led her through a 50 minute power yoga flow. I was a little nervous and had to look at my notes a few times, but I did it… and loved it! (I found a Playlist made by Yoga Girl on Spotify and it was perfect!)

Actually teaching someone is very different than doing it alone – trying to find the right words to say, how to say it, knowing the correct pose names, the different sequences… it was nerve-wracking, and almost a little uncomfortable. I think about how awesome all of my yoga teachers are, and how they always have the most profound or touching things to say during their class. Having an impact on someone, even if it is just for 50 minutes, can change their thinking, their mood, their day… It’s such a beautiful thing. Every teacher is different, and I think with practice, it will get easier and easier to become more comfortable in teaching and finding my own voice.

For all you Yoga teachers (or any teacher!) out there – how did you learn to teach? What were the most challenging things when getting your YTT certification? The most fun or satisfying? I would love to hear from you!

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