To coincide with Women’s Health Week, here is a selection of five really great women’s yoga books worthy of space on your bookshelf!
The Woman’s Book of Yoga & Health – Linda Sparrowe & Patricia Walden
This book is one of my absolute favorites! It is broken down into five chapters which sequentially cover the changes in a woman’s body and life as she ages.
Starting with essential sequences & yoga for the menstrual cycle through pregnancy, back care, menopause, osteoporosis and heart health amongst other health conditions.
There is a great deal of written information relevant to each topic alongside well lit black and white photos showing specific sequences.
This book is a great investment to anyone wanting to learn about women’s health & yoga in more depth and it’s a great resource for yoga teachers-in-training and experienced yoga teachers alike.
Thoroughly recommend it!
DK Yoga for Women – Shakta Kaur Khalsa
You can never go wrong with a DK published book!
Bright, colored photography for many sequences covering a range of women’s health topics including menstruation, pregnancy, menopause & aging. Easy to read, easy to understand and easy to follow yoga sequences. A great book for any yoga practitioner.
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful – Gurmukh
Specifically for the pregnancy and birth stages of a woman’s life. This book is less of a yoga pose sequence book and more of a meditative and blissful read. Broken up into the three trimesters discussing the physical, mental and emotional changes experienced through pregnancy and ending with preparation for birth and life after birth.
Lots of great advice and exercises on breathing, meditation and relaxation. An informative read for a unique time in a woman’s life.
DK Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond – Francoise Barbira Freedman
Another great book for pregnancy, birth and new motherhood. A winning combination of easy to read, easy to follow and easy to understand sequences and practices for all stages of pregnancy and postpartum.
With the DK stamp of quality this would make a great book for any practitioner starting yoga.
Hip Tranquil Chick – Kimberly Wilson
And now for something a little different!
Hip Tranquil Chick is a funky, inspiring read that is less yoga sequences and more how to bring yoga into all aspects of your life. Explore how to take yoga off of your mat and into your friendships, career, finances and personal style. A really upbeat and alternative yoga book for the chick that you are!
Lots of fun!
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Teaching kids yoga is one of the most challenging types of yoga classes a yoga instructor can teach. Kids are unpredictable, excitable and full of energy which can make for a totally different teaching experience.
As a teacher it is useful to be aware of this and be open to instant change or revision of a class structure. When teaching kids yoga be sure to practice non attachment. It is worth planning your classes with an open mind. Regular adult classes need to be changed up and improvised on occasions but you will never know what to expect with a kids class!
Here are a few tips for teaching kids yoga while keeping your sanity!
Keep numbers small. Go for 8 children absolute maximum unless you have some additional help. why? Up to 8 is a more manageable number so teaching the group will be more cohesive.
Teach the class as a 4-6 week course avoiding school holidays (unless you are teaching a week long camp). This gives you an opportunity to charge a discounted price for the commitment and parents will love you for it. why? Also, keeping a short course length in this way will keep the content fresh and will be less exhausting for you as a teacher.
Keep the class length around the 45 minute mark. This is a good length of time to fit in a warming up beginning, energized class sequence winding down to quiet time at the end. If you want to take the class to an hour incorporate a small post class snack, craft break or story time. why? For children, focusing fully on yoga for an hour could be challenging.
Learn, quickly, to read the room! If you sense lots of energy start with energy burning stuff. why? You will not get them ‘centered’ at the beginning of class like an adult class. Save the quiet time for when you’ve expelled some of the energy!
Speed yoga. Move quickly through poses and sequences. Do some fast transitions eg. from childs – cat – dog and back. Then try slowing down the transitioning through different poses. Kids enjoy these kind of challenges particularly if there is balance involved!
Play the animal game and call out the animal to see who forms the pose first.
Try musical mats. Have one less mat than kids and play music as the kids move from mat to mat as you instruct the yoga poses. When the music stops the one without a mat leaves the circle.
Over all, when teaching kids yoga be open minded as it will definitely not go exactly to plan and don’t forget you own practice of yogic non attachment!
Team work. Create two teams that play against each other using a stack of blocks as the currency. As a team loses a round take away one of their blocks. Winning teams win a sticker – there are some super cute yoga ones available on etsy.
Kids love to get acrobatic. Try urdhva dhanurasana, forward rolls & balances progressing to inversions such as handstands and shoulder stands.
Games devised for partners work well particularly if you have shy kids included in the group.
Card games work well. These brightly colored Yoga Pretzel cards are great for devising your own games or make use of their suggestions as they have some fun partner up ideas!
Wind down with nesting. If you’ve lots of blankets and blocks and you’re prepared for some clear up, allow your little yogis to create personal ‘nests’ for the wind down/savasana. Lighten the music and work on big noisy breaths! and then as they quieten down cover up with blankets. Some kids love a lavender eye pillow so if you have any of those, now is the time.
Include a short story at savasana time
Consider reading a short story or poem. Go for something upbeat, amusing or inspiring. It doesn’t have to be a yogic story but you might find inspiration from a classic book of short stories such as Aesops Fables or poetry from Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
It’s also worth allowing a few minutes at the end of class after you have an opportunity to chat to your mini students and create a sense of community before pick up time.
Over all, when teaching kids yoga be open minded as it will definitely not go exactly to plan. Don’t forget you own practice of yogic non attachment! With this you will ensure an enjoyable, and yet exhausting, experience!!
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Yoga anatomy books are a great investment for any yoga teacher or teacher in training. Human anatomy is a vast topic but it is very useful for a yoga instructor to have an understanding of how the body moves and functions.
There are many great anatomy books out there dedicated to the subject of anatomy focusing on yoga asana. Here are five to consider for your bookshelf.
The thing I love about Yoga Anatomy is the fact that it is the perfect goldilocks size. Not too big, nor too small but just right. It is a paperback format book that covers a great deal and is not instantly overwhelming! As a teacher training favorite, it is easy to read and presents a great deal of information in a very understandable way.
The opening chapters cover breathing, the spine, and the muscular and skeletal systems. I particularly like the breathing chapter which covers use of the diaphragm in depth. Each asana is grouped logically by type and broken down into 4 sections – the skeletal joint action, muscular joint action, breathing in the pose and a useful notes section relevant to the asana.
The diagrams are clearly illustrated and show the relevant muscles and bones that are key to the pose. For me, if you are going to invest in a yoga anatomy book, this is a good place to start.
I came across a ‘favorite anatomy book’ survey on a Facebook yoga teacher group recently and Ray Long’s range of books were at the top of the list. This book does exactly what it says on the cover and shows you the key muscles of hatha yoga across a range of poses. Big, clearly labelled illustrations show the inner workings of poses clearly and coherently. As well as a brief but helpful chapter on the skeleton, there are also chapters about joints, ligaments and tendons clearly illustrated with easy to grasp descriptions.
The poses are illustrated in skeletal format with muscles shown in isolation. This is accompanied by helpful information to describe the body’s physical rotation and flexion and extension in a particular pose. Brief sections on breath and bandhas are worth a look. This is one of the clearest books on muscle use in yoga and I can see how it is the yoga teachers book of choice. Ray Long has also published a number of other yoga anatomy books that are super helpful to yoga instructors.
it is very useful for a yoga instructor to have an understanding of how the body moves and functions…
I love every book written by Judith Hanson Lasater and this is not an exception. However, it is a more intense read. The approach to anatomy is taken from the physical region of the body as opposed to the yoga asana. Each region is analyzed by bones, joints, connective tissue, nerves and muscles with a dedicated section on kinesiology (the mechanics of body movement). The information presented is comprehensive and in depth but takes a little extra focus. Closing each chapter is a helpful section demonstrating how to put what you’ve learnt in to practice as an instructor in a yoga class. If you are looking to learn anatomy in a little more depth this book is a good investment.
Although not strictly an anatomy book dedicated to yoga this is a very useful book for those working in movement practices like yoga. There is a useful chapter discussing the ‘core’ of the body, a term more common to pilates but nevertheless interesting to anyone wanting to understand more about yoga anatomy. This book explores the movement of the body and the affect of movement. Worth a look if you are a teacher who also practices different disciplines such as dance or pilates.
There are many versions of anatomy coloring books available on the market. I’ve owned my workbook published by The Princeton Review for many years and have referred to it often. Simply a coloring book that encourages you to learn as you color. It is a useful tool to have in addition to any of the anatomy books listed above as a way of reinforcing your understanding.
In summary, all five of the above books are incredibly useful resources for yoga instructors wishing to understand more about anatomy. The benefits of having even a basic knowledge of anatomy can support your teaching skills and provide valuable additional information for your asana explanation and demonstration.
Which books have you found to be incredibly useful in your understanding of yoga anatomy?
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If you haven’t ventured in to the world of the bullet journal, or BuJo as it’s also known, then it is well worth a little Pinterest investigation. It was created by digital designer Ryder Carroll as an ‘evolving, adaptable practice meant to be self curated as you determine what works best for you’. Essentially, a creative, personal life planning & organization tool tailored to your own personal needs.
Bullet Journaling for Yogis
As a yoga teacher and student, a bullet journal functions as one dedicated location for time planning, class notes, to do’s, book lists, self care and yoga practice tracking. (for a great article about self care and bullet journaling take a look here!) The beauty of BuJo as a system is that it is totally personal to you!
Here is a simple yoga practice tracker to log asana practice and meditation. A simple grid that is easy to complete and helping to make you accountable and build up a routine to reinforce your yoga and meditation habit.
a bullet journal functions as one dedicated location for time planning, class notes, to do’s, book lists, self care and yoga practice tracking
Get Creative with your Bullet Journal Practice Tracker
There are lots of great notebooks and pens available that work really well for bullet journaling purposes but, for me, the best notebook I’ve found is one of your BuJo fan’s favorites, a Leuchtturm, accompanied by fine liner felt pens by Staedtler. The Leuchtturm works well as it lays flat when open and the pages are lightly dotted in a grid system making it easier to draw simple charts. Staedtler fineline felt pens are a good felt pen match at a reasonable investment.
a creative, personal life planning & organization tool tailored to your own personal needs.
The beauty of a bullet journal is that you can embellish and decorate it exactly as you like it so get creative with your colors and copy or create your own headings and borders. Just a doodle works well. Here are a handful of simple examples for doodle inspiration! If you are looking for a fun felt pen for more creative work try another bujo planner’s favorite, the Tombow range of double ended markers that combine a sweeping stroke brush with a fineliner.
Enjoy getting creative as you track your progress and be sure to share your yoga trackers with us!
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Yoga class planning is a big part of a yoga instructor’s teaching career to ensure that classes are safe and inspiring but it can be challenging to keep class themes fresh and original.
Maintaining personal yoga study is an important part of teaching but it is easy to get attached to favorite poses and sequences.
With this is mind, here is a list of seven easy ways to keep classes inspired and organized using the teaching resources we have already accumulated.
Improving your yoga class planning and organization
1 Get Organized
Having all of your notes, sketches and plans in one place is the start point to getting organized. Try compiling a journal that combines all of your class notes with dedicated sections for class types. Paste in pages from other notebooks or build up a stack of photocopies if you can’t bear to tear pages. Alternatively, a really workable solution is to invest in a printable class plan that can be arranged in a filing system that allows for reshuffling of pages to accommodate changes and expansion.
Keeping one dedicated place for class plans will soon build into an invaluable class teaching manual. Consistency will also help you keep track of your class history to ensure variety and avoid repetition.
Look at older class prep notes to see which poses, breath techniques or sequences you may have used in the past but have gravitated away from.
3 Make Use of Old Stuff
Review older class prep notes and yoga class plans to see what poses, breath techniques or sequences you may have used in the past but have gravitated away from. There is a good chance that there is a vinyasa or a transition that you haven’t used for a while which you can now resurrect with a fresh perspective.
4 Combining Plans
Experiment. Try taking the opening sequence of one of your favorite class plans and mixing it with the middle flow section of your most recent vinyasa to create a pot pourri style class.
it is easy to get caught up with relying on our own favorite poses and sequences.
5 Create a System
Over time, as you gather all of these new, inspiring sequences and class plans, you can create a system organized by level, pose group, anatomical focus, spiritual theme or whatever other way you approach your teaching. Using a simple binder or adaptable filing method such as the disc system from Arc at Staples will become your personal yoga class plan ‘go to’ center for inspiration and direction.
6 Reuse, Recycle, Regenerate
Every scribbled note has something to offer whether it be a list of poses or notes from a training manual or a favorite quotation, book or piece of music. Make use of what you already have.
7 Read & Review
Always maintain your personal reading whether it be digitally on blogs and websites or in your own collection of magazines and books. Your constant reading, researching, and curiosity about yoga will continue to inspire. Remember that even the oldest and most experienced teacher is always still a student.
How do you keep your yoga class planning fresh? Share your tips and ideas in the comments – we’d love to hear them.