I remember a time before microwaves. (Yes, I know how old that makes me sound.) My first memory of what we thought was amazing technology was hearing the unfamiliar beeps as my mom pressed its buttons from the warmth of my bed in the early morning from the stretches of my five-year-old mind.
Not knowing what that sound was, I crept down the stairs and groggily stumbled into the kitchen, rubbing my eyes... READ NOW
Over the past three years every time I walked out of a Bikram Class I felt more injured than healed. I would try not to limp as I left the room, sliding my sweaty feet across the floor until I hit the cooler air outside of what is considered the “hot room.” Yet, the next day I’d show up and do it again.
Now, I know you’re going to say that is the definition of crazy - doing something over and over again and expecting a different result – and, I don’t disagree with you. It’s why I stopped practicing that series as much. After well over a decade of repeating these postures over and over again, my body had enough of it and was starting to talk. So, I listened. READ NOW
I could taste the fear at the back of my throat. But, I knew it was fear. And, I knew it was nothing I needed to fully listen to. I just needed to recognize it was there.
You see, I hadn’t gone upside down in long time. At least, not on my own. As a dancer, doing partner work, I easily could be thrown around in lifts and dips and think nothing about it. There was someone to catch me. It was their job to catch me. But, this. This was different. READ MORE
Standing Head to Knee. I can hear you sigh right now. Just from seeing those four letters strung together. It’s the posture you love. It’s the posture you hate. It’s kind of EVERYTHING and nothing all at once.
This posture is kind of big deal. READ NOW
Alignment is a popular topic in yoga. Yoga instructors are always working to get their students their “best alignment.” In fact, I spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out different words to use to wake my students up to what their body is doing, so they can get aligned in a posture.
Most yogis think that alignment is all about preventing injury, and in many ways that is true. But, when I think about alignment I’m thinking about how to get the most out of my time on the mat. READ NOW
“Tori, can you demonstrate Triangle for the rest of the class?” she asked. And, I felt a glow of pride at the request.
Yoga over the past three years had become my refuge – helping me recover from my eating disorder, releasing the constant stress and pressure from working towards my career goals as a professional actress, and helping me to become stronger in ways I hadn’t even known I was weak.
The other dozen or so students in class turned toward my mat and I stepped into position.
“Are you seeing what I’m seeing? That is exactly how not to do Triangle Pose,” the teacher said... READ MORE
Did you know that shoulders, according to Louise L. Hay, “represent our ability to carry out experiences in life joyously.” So, if you are experience issues or tightness in the shoulder area you are having the attitude that life is a burden.
And, this year I can completely understand that. But, if the body represents what’s going on in the mind, we can start to heal these weary thoughts by releasing the tension in the shoulders." READ MORE
Are you ready to make your online yoga experience way better? You are in the right place!
Since March I’ve witnessed the evolution of the yogis I teach – not only in their practices, but in the spaces in which they practice. In many cases, I’ve taken a tour of each of their homes, as they try to see if one space will work better than the other. And, I’ve noticed the innovation and tools they’ve used to make their time on the mat as accessible as possible when learning through the camera lens. READ MORE
That title drew you in, didn’t it? And, it was meant to. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When does something that’s good for you become an addiction?
Most of the world at this point would say yoga is something that is good for you. Because it is. It’s great for your body and your mind. It connects you to everything you are and allows you to leave behind everything you aren’t. Yoga is awesome. READ MORE
I know for many of you, you are surprised at my change of heart when it comes to the twenty-six and two sequence. When we first went into quarantine I had quite a few messages with questions asking when would I be adding the class to my online schedule. And, I had to be honest: I’m not.
Listen, I still believe it’s a beautiful practice.
I believe it has awesome healing potential for those in the beginnings of their yoga journey. It’s just not for me right now. And, I would never teach something I’m currently not interested in practicing. READ MORE
Is your yoga practice feeling stale or stuck? Are you starting to wonder if you’ll ever get strong enough to find your balance as you wobble on one foot, or to lift up into an arm balance or inversion?
If you really want to change up your yoga practice and go deeper into your postures you will have to dive into learning how to use the bandhas (or energetic locks in the body). READ MORE
True confession time. I used to do yoga to be good at yoga asana. I wanted to make the shapes. I was addicted to hitting the next goal and the next and then, the one after that. And, after all these years on the mat, I still believe realizing a new posture or understanding one in a fresh way is one of the best feelings on this planet.
But, so much has changed for me through the years. Maybe it’s maturity – though I still feel like a total goofball, twenty-eight-year-old – the age when I began this whole yoga thing. READ MORE
How do you know you need some Restorative Yoga in your life now?
- Your mind won’t slow down.
- You’re worried about things out of your control.
- You feel disconnected from your body and your yoga practice.
- Your hips, spine and shoulders are achy or creaky.
- You're not sleeping very well.
- You’re about to snap at someone you’re quarantined with over something trivial.
- You’ve checked your phone twice since starting to read this post. READ MORE
It’s no secret I like to take pictures and video of my yoga practice. It’s not vanity. I don’t do it to show off. I do it to learn.
Pictures of my practice have helped me evolve at a much quicker rate than I would have without the use of a camera. I don’t always have the camera going while I practice, but when I do check in, the feedback I receive from the video, or the still shot I take from the video, tells me where I might have started to go a bit deeper, or where I still need to work. READ MORE
I’m gonna say, YES! A thousand times, yes!!
It’s no secret that I love to teach intermediate and advanced yoga classes. Arm balancing, deep back bends, inversions, you name it, I love to teach it.
And, not only teach it, but practice it each and every day. Taking on postures that at one time seemed crazy, unachievable, only for the bendy, contortionist body, has changed every facet of my life. READ MORE
As a yoga teacher, I must admit I have never been as busy as I am right now, in quarantine from COVID-19. This has been a time of great transformation for many of us, as we are forced to live in a completely different way than we have in the past. And, I truly believe we are at the very beginnings of how this virus will change and impact our society for years to come. READ MORE
There is no way out of this one. As the outside world offers up one crazy serving after another, meditation is not only something that I highly recommend, but is a practice that many, including myself, deem necessary.
Read any self-help book about crushing goals, or overcoming obstacles, and each and every one of them at some point will tell you that meditation is key. READ MORE
It’s amazing how many people practice yoga these days. I had a student tell me yesterday he joined Instagram to follow his kids and make sure they were being safe in our social media world. And once he was on there he thought he should see if there was anyone posting yoga or pilates tips. READ MORE
A few years back I went to a lecture on the proven medical benefits of yoga. As I sat taking in the information from the person speaking, I noticed the woman next to me simply could not sit still. Crossing, then uncrossing her legs. Bending down to rifle through her purse to find a stick of gum. READ MORE
It’s a rare week in which I don’t hear from one of my students concerning their angst about getting better at their yoga practice. “How can I kick higher, stretch further, or bend deeper?” are questions that fill up the lobby of any studio like a grand symphony. It’s the same question asked over and over again, but in different ways, by different people craving to know the answer. READ MORE
“How do you stay so calm and focused?” a student asked as I headed out to the lobby of the studio after finishing yet another class.
I blushed through my already flushed cheeks. I had not felt calm or focused throughout the last ninety-minute session. I had felt itchy and anxious. I had felt unbalanced, as my mind swirled from topic to topic. At times, I had felt out of breath and out of energy. READ MORE
I don’t get sick often. I like to say I don’t get sick EVER, but feeling under the weather can happen from time to time. And, I am the worst sick person you likely will ever meet for the first two or three days of whatever is ailing me. Why? Because I refuse to admit I’m sick. READ MORE
You’ve got to be kidding me. This is a thing? I know this is what you are thinking and why you clicked on to read these words. And I’m here to tell you, it is. I see it every day in the most unlikely spaces on the web, making me shake my head and quickly click away to something more positive and life affirming. READ MORE
How often I hear my students proclaim, “I’m old!” like a badge of honor or an idea that was thrust into their minds and stuck there, unable to unhinge its hook-like claws. I always groan a little inside when these words are shouted emphatically in my direction or whispered underneath their breath like a mantra that they just can’t shake. READ MORE
“If you fall out of a posture you are human. If you get back in you are a yogi.”
I have heard this countless times over the years – during my first yoga class, during teacher training, last week, yesterday. But I only truly connected with it two weeks ago, as it came ringing from the teacher’s mouth through the microphone hitting me over the head in a new way, with a new meaning and clarity I didn’t even know I was seeking. READ MORE
I’m getting right into it this week. These are the top five ways I think you can receive even more out of your Original Hot Yoga Class. If you can start to incorporate just one of these tips this week you will receive even greater benefits and start to go deeper into your practice. And, remember, when you go deeper into your practice, you get to know YOU even better – that’s my favorite part! READ MORE
The quickest way to change your life is to think new thoughts. Ha! You thought I was going to say go to yoga, didn’t you? But, nope, if you change your thoughts, you will change your life. It’s easy to say, but not as easy to do. It takes discipline. It takes awareness. It takes a willingness that most people refuse to embrace... READ MORE
When I was traveling over spring break a few years back now, I stopped into a studio to get out the kinks from the long drive and find my yoga groove. A normal thing for yoga addicts to do. There’s something wonderful about stepping into a different community and sharing your energy during a good long sweat fest. As I was talking with the instructor, swapping stories about teacher training and teachers we both knew, a familiar voice called my name out. READ MORE
We like to complicate our lives. I do it all of the time. How often do I say something jokingly and then walk away from a conversation hoping to god that the other person understood I was kidding? What if they took it the wrong way? Do they think I’m awful? They must think I’m awful. Ugh. READ MORE
Wow. This question still echoes in my mind throughout each day as find myself on my mat and breathing into my body. A few months back I was in a special class with a master teacher and they asked this question of me as I felt the sweat drip down my nose and onto my towel while I stared at my hands in Wheel Pose... READ MORE
I used to think yoga was all about accomplishing the goal of a posture. Can’t kick my leg out in Standing Head to Knee? Work to kick the leg out in Standing Head to Knee. Can’t get my hips to touch the floor in Fixed Firm or Hero Pose? Work to get the hips to the floor. Can’t get into Lotus? Work to get into Lotus. It was all goals, all the time. READ MORE
Your yoga bag is packed. You’ve been hydrating all day. You even had a lighter lunch, so it wouldn’t get in the way of your practice. You’re halfway to the studio and still you feel it. You want to turn the car around and go home. Or instead run an errand. Or stop and eat tacos. Anything, but practice. READ MORE
I am a strong believer that everything in your life comes from the thoughts that you think. So much so, that whenever things begin to take a downward turn, in any area of my life, I brainstorm what I might have started to believe was true for me in such a way that I brought this event/situation/person to my life. And then once I figure out what that thought was... READ MORE
You begin a yoga practice. You come once a week to start. “Who are these people that can make it to the studio three, four, even five, times a week???” you think. You start to feel good. You are walking a little taller and moving easier. On the day you attend class, and maybe even the day after, you are more relaxed and less stressed. All week long you look forward to that date you have with your mat. READ MORE
When I first started regularly going to the studio to practice yoga, in what now seems a billion years ago, there was a man that always set up at the back of the room. He was friendly and would chat with the teachers behind the desk before class and nod a greeting to the familiar faces in the room as he would roll out his mat. He was never distracting or caused any trouble as we went through class. READ MORE
I can’t believe how many years I have been on my mat. Not that every year was a I-roll-out-my-mat-5-days-a-week kind of year.
Over the years, my practice has grown and shrunk, had breakthroughs, and back steps, and is ever changing, as I do the continual cha-cha of two steps forward and one step back. READ MORE
There are very few things in life that are true. One person’s truth about a situation can be wildly different than another person’s truth about that same situation due to perception, past situations, and held beliefs.
I am a big fan of the truth. But I also take what others tell me with a grain of salt when they tell me their truth. It is their truth. READ MORE
You heard me. I have learned the best yoga cheat EVER. This is the one thing you need to be able to perform the posture you want to the most. No kidding. It’s taken me years to have the guts to divulge this information and there will be people out there who won’t like that I’m letting you in on this great yogi secret, but the time is now. We never know what tomorrow holds and I want to make sure that I turn you all on to this information before another second passes us by. READ MORE
I’m not good with situations that stand still. I love to see things progress and change. I’m a fan of discovering what is around the bend or behind that next curve in the road. I love being surprised by life and honestly think each morning, “I wonder what’s going to happen today?” instead of thinking, “Ugh, another day.” READ MORE
You know what I’m talking about right? Two steps forward, one step back. Or, sometimes, it might feel more like one step forward, ten steps back. Postures you once were able to accomplish seem to have been taken away from you. Or there is progress in one area, such a back bending, but you are going no where when it comes to forward bending. It’s a little, well… frustrating. READ MORE
Good God Body you worked so hard over the last 90-minutes.
You tried everything I asked you to.
Sometimes we failed, but I would like to say we mostly triumphed.
You are the perfect partner for me in this life.
You are my teacher and my guide.
I listen to you when you say, “I’ve had enough, slow down.” READ MORE
Dear First Timer:
You don’t even realize how amazing you were throughout your first class! You stayed in that hot, sticky, drippy room the entire time. You followed instruction. You took a seat when you needed one. You even found stillness during Savasana. READ MORE
As a yoga teacher, I think I’ve heard about every yoga excuse, or “yo-scuse,” in the book. I not only hear them from the students I teach, I also hear them from friends and family that have never tried the practice. These are the same people that have asked me if I’m a contortionist or if everyone in my family is double-jointed. This always makes me laugh. I am so far away from being either of these things. READ MORE
It’s easy to blame the yoga. You go into class. You’re working hard. You’re doing everything the instructor is asking of you to do, to the best of your ability. It’s a normal day in the hot room – sweaty, bright, and challenging. And then…it happens. A pop, a click, and suddenly, you are in pain. READ MORE
So often I have listened to students sigh as they step on their mat, smiling an exasperated smile as they check in for class, only to finally declare, “I haven’t been in class in 4 weeks! This is going to be rough.”
Other versions of this are:
“I can only practice once a week right now.”
“My (mom/dad/sister/friend/child) has been sick and I’ve had to take care of them. I’m not practicing as often as I’d like to.”
“I was sick last week and couldn’t make it to my mat.” READ MORE
I am not the same as when I started and neither are you. You might have started yesterday, courageously unrolling your mat and stepping upon it for the first time, or 15 years ago, a seasoned veteran to the practice, and I can say the same of either one of you. You have changed. For the better? Yes. READ MORE
For most of my life I’ve hated my body. Growing up I was always taller than the rest of the kids. I was never considered dainty or small and I easily pack on the pounds if I don’t pay attention. In junior high school we had mirrors at the end of each hallway, mandated by some administrator who claimed this would be good for our self-esteem. READ MORE
If you’ve ever taken one of my classes, or even if you simply know me outside of the studio and have yet to take that first step into the hot room, or a yoga studio in general, you know that one of my favorite things to teach is back bending. There’s something inspiring and absolutely cool about the process of connecting to the spine in a new way... READ MORE
You see a sign outside a storefront or an advertisement on the web or in a local paper and you think, “I should really give that yoga stuff a try.” Your best friend’s sister’s cousin swears by it or your doctor, or chiropractor, have told you it might be a good idea. And wasn’t one of your friends going on and on about it a couple of weeks ago? But for some reason, in this moment, you are drawn to it more than at any other time. READ MORE
I remember the exact moment I started to truly be present on stage. It was a moment that I had replayed a thousand times in rehearsal and in front of audiences, yet for the first time I was actually breathing for the character I was playing and inhabiting the space of her moment. READ MORE
Every day will be different. You are never the same, therefore, your practice will never be the same.
Having practiced for over a decade, I have faced my Self time and again, as I roll out my mat and stare at my reflection in the mirrors, inhabiting different aspects of my personality day after day, class after class. I have had moments of strength and moments of breakdown and everything in between. READ MORE
Below is a picture of my Standing Head to Knee Pose a couple of weeks before I headed to Teacher Training in 2011. As you can see I had a lot of work to do. But then, knowing what I know now, it’s not too bad. The knee is not “locked” yet, but even after 6 years of practice I wasn’t really sure what a “locked” knee actually meant. READ MORE
Every couple of weeks someone says something to me that sounds like, “I can’t even imagine what you have to deal with while teaching yoga. It must be hard dealing with so many different people.”
I always find this comment interesting. The thing is one person isn’t so much different from the next. READ MORE
Going from being a yoga student to a yoga teacher is no easy transition. As a student, you think you know what it is to take the podium. You think the person up there has decided to go to training, to memorize The Dialogue, and enjoys a good sweat. That, for a teacher, bellowing at someone to push that left should forward in Half Moon is their life’s dream. And although this is in some ways very true... READ MORE
Yoga is: A spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
Yoga is NOT: Going to get in the way of your religious or spiritual practices you have already adopted. It will add to the philosophy and wonder of it all. READ MORE