How to Make Yoga Stick in Your 2017 Routine

New years resolutions

How you doing with those resolutions?  Still cutting out sugar?  On track to finish that book this month?  Stopped checking your email every time the phone pings?

Admittedly, we’re only a couple of weeks in so you’re probably still doing well on your New Year resolutions but how do you keep it consistent?  How do you really make a change to your routine that stays part of your routine going forward?

Research shows that it takes around 30 days to build a habit.  That is just one month.  Committing to a daily yoga practice whether it be in a class environment or home practice helps to reinforce the yoga habit which will hopefully stick around for life!

Here are a few tips for keeping your yoga going…

  • At first, try and commit to just one class a week.  If you can’t set a regular day/time examine the class schedule and figure out the handful of classes that may work so that you can mix and match each week.
  • If you’re lucky enough to find the teacher you love to practice with early on find out where else he or she teaches.  You may be able to combine locations to better suit your own schedule.
  • If budget allows consider private one on one classes.
  • Avoid the mindset of having to attend a full, extended 90minute session of yoga every single day creating unreasonable expectations on yourself.  Work on the idea of a manageable smaller, bite size daily practice to maintain your yoga habit.
  • If the studio, gym or location doesn’t give you that warm fuzzy feeling and you don’t feel inspired, try somewhere else.  A lot of the obstacles in attending class arise from the lack of connection you feel to the teachers and the teaching environment.  If it doesn’t speak to you, go elsewhere.
  • Once you’ve attended a few classes, make a mental note of some of the poses or part of a sequence.  Even if it is only two poses or a ten minute sequences down it forms the beginnings of a home practice.
  • Avoid the mindset of having to attend a full, extended 90minute session of yoga every single day creating unreasonable expectations.
  • Consider the idea of a more manageable, bite size daily practice to maintain your yoga habit.
  • If it is impossible to get to classes during the week consider signing up for weekend workshops that interest you.
  • If you have a yoga mat, lay it out somewhere at home.  When you are about to sit in front of the TV try stepping on to the mat instead.
  • Lastly, be mindful of other habits in your life that distract your time and attention.  Sometimes, to make space for new habits we need to lose some of the old ones.  I know, easier said than done but, for example, consider how much time you spend online.  You may just discover an extra 30 minutes in your day!

Keep your resolution alive by keeping your yoga practice growing.  As described in the classic yoga text The Yoga Sutras, ‘when it is harder not to practice than to practice then yoga becomes firmly grounded and an integral part of life’.

How have you managed to keep your yoga going?

Yoga and Age Related Conditions

Yoga for self car
Yoga for self care

It’s not the most uplifting piece of information you’re ever going to receive but as we get older there are, potentially, a few conditions and diseases coming our way.  However, on a much more positive note, by practicing yoga as part of our self care routine in some cases we can slow or prevent the onset of some of these. 

Heart – High Cholesterol & Heart Disease

How yoga can help. It has long been known that exercise plays an important role in keeping ourselves heart healthy.  Staying mobile and incorporating physical exercise into our daily routine is critical to our long term health.  Incorporating a yoga practice of asanas (physical poses) in to our daily routine can help.  A moderate vinyasa (flowing) class practiced a few times a week will keep the heart rate up for a cardiovascular workout but even a slower paced practice also has its benefits as it encourages physical activity.  The meditation element of a yoga practice can also reduce the effects of stress and anxiety and its impact on heart health.

Lungs – Chronic Respiratory Diseases

How yoga can help The breathing exercises which form part of a well rounded yoga practice can help to improve lung capacity.  With yoga’s attention to breath techniques and posture the ribcage becomes more expansive and the diaphragm moves more freely enabling the lungs to work more efficiently.

With a regular yoga practice we can support ourselves and, in some cases, slow or prevent the onset of some conditions and diseases.

Mind – Stress & Depression

How yoga can help.  Through the practices of mindfulness and meditation the mind can quieten and negative thought patterns that can fuel stress and anxiety may be managed more effectively.  Many yoga instructors will incorporate an element of mindfulness or guided meditation into a class or, alternatively, it’s well worth giving a dedicated meditation class a try.

Bones – Osteoporosis & Arthritis

How yoga can help.  There are many conditions that affect the bones as we age, the more common ones being osteoporosis and arthritis.  The weight bearing poses of a regular yoga practice can help reduce the risks of bone degeneration caused by osteoporosis.  Moving fluidly through physical poses helps keeps the body moving and maintains the range of motion in the joints which is beneficial for those who may be affected by arthritis.

Although this is just a small sample of yoga benefits in relation to some conditions it does illustrate the value of a yoga practice as a worthwhile health care investment.

Make 2017 the year you discover the life enhancing affects of yoga by        giving your local class or yoga studio a try.

As with all online health related research, be sure to get the ok from your doctor before embarking upon any new fitness regime 🙂

A New Year, A New Beginning

New Years Resolutions
New Years Resolutions

A New Year has arrived giving us the opportunity to review what has happened in the past 365 days and make changes, where necessary, for the days to come.

In the Fall of 2016 I launched yogaskinny.  I have yet to understand all of the intricacies of blog building and social media and suspect I never will but building it has been a steep learning curve.

However, there are two things that have become very apparent to me in recent months. To build a blog you need to do two things……

1 – define a ‘niche’ for your blog

2 – fill it with quality content.

Although I understood the value of good content I soon realized that I was spreading my writing net far too widely.  There are many great, well established websites and blogs out there covering the vast topic of yoga already and I was attempting to cover too many bases.

So, changes have been made following some reviewing, tweaking and a little bit of ‘Vairagya’ practice – the yogic term vairagya loosely translates as ‘non-attachment’ or letting go of what is not working and embracing what is.

As recommended by many a blogging expert, I’ve defined my ‘niche’ and by letting go of some of my original ideas yogaskinny has become a blog dedicated to yoga & self care for the middle years.

However many years young you are, how are you practicing non-attachment in your new year?

Why do a 200hour Yoga Teacher Training?

200hr Teacher Training

Why do a 200hour yoga teacher training?

Yoga Teacher Training is a rapidly growing part of the yoga industry.  According to research by the Yoga Alliance there are two people in training to be a yoga teacher for every active teacher out there.  That’s a whole lot of interest but why would you do a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training?


Pick up any Yoga related magazine or attend a yoga studio and there is a very good chance that they will be promoting an upcoming yoga teacher training.

So why would you choose to do a 200hour yoga teacher training?

Contrary to the term ‘teacher training’, many students choose to enroll on a program not so much to be the teacher but more as a form of personal development.

“One of the common goals for embarking upon teacher training is the often cited desire to deepen one’s own practice”, says Felicia Tomasko, Editor of LA Yoga magazine

For some students the benefit of a training is the opportunity to study in depth, with a group of like minded people, the vast topic of yoga.  For others, it is a genuine desire to study & practice with a view to sharing their knowledge in a teaching capacity.  (A minimum 200hr certification is required, in most cases, if you’d like to teach)

Contrary to the term ‘teacher training’, many students choose to enroll on a program not so much to be the teacher but more as a form of personal development.

Katie Marshall graduated from a 200 hour teacher training in July 2016.  Originally her aspiration was to work in physical therapy but having been a regular yoga practitioner for five years she decided to pursue yoga teacher training.

Katie took her time to find the right training, waiting for the one that combined the three most important elements for her – course credibility, the teacher trainer and the cost.

Her main advice when choosing a training is to “find a teacher who inspires you and resonates with the way you view yoga”.  Katie found that teacher in Jessica Seabern of Yogaworks.

Timing for study is also important when choosing a program.  A teacher training will absorb a great deal of your time which is another aspect to consider when you have work, family and other life commitments.

“Trainings have a way of breaking you wide open and filling you with love and light”  Katie Marshall  200hr Yoga Graduate 

Once you’ve embarked upon a training that ticks all of the boxes for you, another of the great benefits you’ll discover is the community you become part of.  You’ll be spending many an hour with your fellow trainees on a journey where you’ll be both inspired and empowered but will also share challenging and vulnerable moments.

It can be life changing and life enhancing, as Katie found. “I learned how to create space and remind myself to breathe through challenging times, which translates off of the mat and into everyday life”.

So, whether you are looking to make teaching yoga your career or you just want to deepen your knowledge and understanding, a 200hr program is well worth considering.

As we approach a New Year, it is a time for new beginnings as we ponder our resolutions for 2017.  Regardless of where you want your yoga study to take you, a teacher training can offer you an uplifting and positive personal experience and, as Katie discovered, “trainings have a way of breaking you wide open and filling you with love and light”.

You can contact Katie by email:

Facebook: @katiemarshallyoga

Dec/Jan issue of LA Yoga out now (Dec 2016)

Ask an instructor – Susan Kjesbo

Susan Kjesbo
Susan Kjesbo – certified yoga therapist

Susan Kjesbo

Susan is a yoga instructor and certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT). Her teaching expertise includes therapeutic yoga, restorative, yoga for seniors & Yoga Tune Up

ask an instructor – 10 questions 

the very first yoga class you attended? Laguna Beach recreation dept. My instructor used an Indian rug instead of a mat!

what is it about yoga that inspires you?  Yoga is transformative from the inside, outside, mind and body

what yoga item(s) could you not be without? If I could only pick one, my mat. It is an oasis to me.

your favorite post yoga class snack?  Hmm don’t really have one but maybe a “green drink”.

which book would you recommend to a brand new student of yoga? Depends on the interest. Autobiography of a Yogi (Paramahansa Yogananda),  Meditations from the Mat (Rolf Gates), Yoga for Osteoporosis (Dr Loren Fishman).  Some people are interested in the spiritual or physical aspects, others the historical or philosophical aspects. Starting with what interests you will keep you interested!

if you could teach a class anywhere in the world, where would it be? I am passionate about travel and could easily give you an exotic place however where the students are engaged and present is the most rewarding and exciting to me.

type of class you like to attend when you are not the instructor? My practice is changing. I like a class that is not hot fast yoga but one where I can connect to my body on that day.

favorite thing to do if not doing yoga? Hike, travel

if you weren’t a yoga instructor? I was an elementary art teacher prior to teaching yoga. I would go back to that.

and finally……

as a yoga instructor, what do you hope a new student takes away from your class?  A Connection to their body and the desire to try another class (of any kind of yoga).

learn more about Susan and her teaching schedule at

to contact Susan