Yoga Teacher Training Recap: Philosophy & Anatomy

Since I have been incredibly busy the past few weeks (New job, etc – more to come on this!), I have not been able to really sit down and type up a summary of part 3 of 6 of the last 100 hours of my yoga teacher training (200 total)… And now, I just finished up part 4, so I am going to combine the 2 weekends in 1 post! I have been learning so much – it can be overwhelming, especially as a perfectionist… I want to be the most knowledgeable teacher for my students/clients so they can get the most out of class, but there is to learn. But, it will all come with time, and this is all just a journey… so for the time being, I am soaking it in, growing, and enjoying it all 🙂

Module 3: Source – Gain a Deeper Understanding of Yoga as a Science, Philosophy and the History Behind It (10 hours)

  • 8-9:20 am: Hot Yoga Class
  • learned history & background of yoga
  • learned about different types of yoga (hatha, bikram, ashtanga, hatha, etc)
  • taught part of a class
  • watched a movie called Enlighten Up!

We learned about different yoga philosophies & religion, popular yoga texts, the sutras, mudras, the 8 limbs of classical yoga, etc. While the Sutras are basically my yoga, or how I try to live my life (TRY is a key word here ;)), the rest of the information is not something I would normally gravitate towards. It’s all interesting to learn for sure, but not something I feel knowledgeable about or comfortable with teaching to anyone.

I’ve been reading Do your Om Thing, which breaks everything down (all of the above) so it is easy to understand, but only a page here and there. I don’t know if I fully buy into the whole mudras, chakras, etc thing, but maybe just because it’s not something I am ready to dive into/explore/experience at this point in my life. And that’s ok! I love the physical part of practice, and I love throwing in bits and pieces of what I am learning in my classes. Eventually, over time, it will all evolve – which is why I love yoga! No 2 classes are ever alike, or will ever be the same.
Module 4: Body – An Exploration of Anatomy, Physiology & Subtle Energies (14 hours)

Day 1:

  • 8-9:20 am: heated yoga class
  • learned about skeletal system
  • learned about muscles
  • taught part of a class, incorporating anatomy in the sequence
  • set dates for workshops (If anyone is interested in attending mine.. it is November 13 @ 6:30-8 pm… “Journey to Handstand” – and its FREE! Shoot me a note for more details)
Nina Elise Yoga Lotus Handstand

Come handstand with me! November 13, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Day 2:

  • 8 am: taught part of a class, on the fly (one of my biggest fears – how can you not plan a class?!)
  • learned more about the muscles
  • learned about the glands (endocrine system)
  • adjusting in poses – for specific muscles
  • went over homework for module # 5: plan a 30 minute class + incorporate a daily kindness practice

This class was broken down into 2 days – which, it most likely could have been made into a month or year long class. Anatomy is no joke – learning all the muscles, ligaments, tendons, tissues, the glands, the bones – that’s a lot of learning in itself, but how do they work together? Which muscles are used in what poses? What adducts/abducts? what is flexion vs extension? internal vs external rotation? The body is amazing. And no 2 bodies are the same – even our bone structures are different, meaning it is physically impossible for some people to do a pose. It’s so.much.information.

Luckily, it’s incredibly interesting to me, and it will be something I will be pursuing continuous education in following my training (Jason Crandall, anyone??). I could seriously lock myself in a room and study this stuff for hours (Just bought The Key Muscles of Yoga by Ray Long – can’t wait to read it, I feel like such a nerd!). I tried to go down the route of personal training a few years ago, but I couldn’t get into it. Yoga is more of a physical/mental/spiritual journey – not that you can’t connect with people while doing personal training – but for whatever reason, Yoga resonates with me more (possibly due to my gymnastics background). It makes me want to learn as much information as possible, even if it seems overwhelming!

nerd yoga

Joining my 2 jobs: yoga teaching & eCommerce! #nerdyoga

So what’s next? Still teaching my 8 am heated power class on Sundays, plus possibly adding a second class later this year… I will also be picking up a workout/yoga class at my apartment gym – think interval/circuit training OR running, followed by yoga. Goal of this class is to help people understand how to stretch after a workout and the importance of stretching afterwards (using yoga, of course)! Also, to meet people. Because, I haven’t had much time for that lately, and my social life needs help 😉

So for all of you yoga teachers out there – what are your thoughts on yoga philosophy and anatomy? Does it interest you? And for all you yogis/anyone who goes to yoga classes – what are your favorite yoga classes to go to? I would love to hear what draws you to class!

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 🙂

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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