So, You Want to Be a Yoga Teacher...

I realized something the other night after teaching a yoga class...

One of the best ways you can support your students is to remind them of the power of their breath.

Simply being asked to breathe more, and to focus on our breath, has an incredibly healing effect. Our bodies calm, our thoughts slow down a bit, and we become more aware of the present moment.

When you breathe fully in a pose, you are able to receive the benefits of the pose. The pose 'sinks' in. On a physical level, this can translate to muscles relaxing, which can mean you achieve a deeper stretch in a posture.

My friend thanked me the other night after class, and he said, "Thank you for reminding me to breathe. I really needed that."

So, say you want to be a yoga teacher, but you haven't done a training yet?

Practice showing up for someone in your life, and remind them to breathe a little more deeply. Give them a small way to remember to be in their body -- to feel their feet on the ground. To stretch and release some stress.

To breathe.

Share your yoga practice this way, through your breath, which is your greatest teacher.


Photos in this post by friends and (last photo)

Have a Beautiful Weekend.

Happy Friday, yogis!

What are you guys up to this weekend?

I'm excited to relax, make s'mores, go grocery shopping for new recipes, take the dog for a walk, and do some writing.

Here are some fun links from around the web:

Staying mindful even when you're frustrated (I so needed this one!).

Questions to ask before your yoga teacher training.

Do you ever drink alone? Also, a yummy mango colada.

Which spot in northern California would you visit? :)

These vibes.

Plus, a recap of posts on Alive in the Fire from this week:

Here's hoping you have a beautiful weekend! XO

Illustration found on Pinterest and photo found via Tumblr.

Badass Yoga Teachers: A New Series on Alive in the Fire Dedicated to Yoga Entrepreneurs

Calling all badass yoga teachers!

Welcome to a new series on Alive in the Fire dedicated to your growth as a yoga entrepreneur.

Whether you're fresh out of your 200 hour yoga teacher training, you've been teaching for a couple years and want to kickstart your growth, or you're experiencing burnout as an established yoga teacher, this series is for you!

The Badass Yoga Teachers series here on Alive in the Fire is meant to:

  • inspire you with new ideas
  • support you on days when you feel exhausted or worn down from teaching
  • ignite your passion
  • offer useful, tangible resources to help you create a successful yoga business
  • connect you with a network of amazing, talented, experienced yoga teachers
  • provide safe space for you to learn, share, and grow in your career

Are you in? :)

One thing I've learned in my experience as a yoga teacher is that it's not easy. Teaching yoga is hard work, especially when you're putting your heart and soul into your classes.

There is a certain hustle to the lifestyle of a modern yoga teacher: you're constantly on the lookout for new teaching opportunities, you're busy running from studio to studio, at times you may question your motivation for teaching or wonder if you're making a difference or doing enough for your students.

You may experience drama, frustration, fear, or confusion. 

You'll also have days where you feel confident, encouraged, inspired, and connected.

I believe that yoga teachers are needed in our world, and I'm so grateful for the many teachers I've had that have inspired my path.

First and foremost, I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to all you amazing yoga teachers out there for doing what you do. I hope that this series is helpful to you, and I'd love to hear your input and feedback along the way.

Let's cultivate a community of thoughtful, respectful, encouraging, badass yoga teachers!

If you're interested in being a part of Badass Yoga Teachers on Alive in the Fire, please feel free to contact me at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com! I'd love to hear your ideas for blog posts, or hear your story about your yoga teaching career.

Stay tuned for post #1 in the series: Books for Yoga Teachers That You May Have Missed in Your YTT.

Namaste, friends.

Graphic illustration created using Canva. Photos in this post courtesy of friends and by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography (5).

Let's Trade Lives for a Day

Do you ever get stuck in worrying about your own life? Where you feel heavy and weighed down by responsibilities, expectations, and obligations? Do you ever find your own emotions overwhelming and your relationships challenging?

Today, a thought for you to consider:

Picture yourself trading lives with someone you know.

Maybe a friend, a family member, a colleague, or even the waiter who works at your favorite restaurant.

What if, only for a day, that person could take over your worries and you could trade them in for theirs?

What would happen?

Obviously you're not actually going to do this -- and I'm not saying that trading would make your life easier or better in any way -- but don't you think that if you suddenly stepped into someone else's shoes, you might discover new things to be grateful for, in spite of all the worries and frustrations in that person's life?

A mom who's sick of hearing her kid cry -- suddenly you're in her spot and you have this rare, incredible chance to hold a baby. In that mama's shoes, instead of feeling a burden, you feel wonder at the site of a baby's face, and beautiful fingers and toes. Maybe you've always wished you could be a parent, and this experience of holding a child gives you a new appreciation for that role.

Or, you swap in for someone whose bank account is empty and they're piling up debt on a credit card. Maybe you trade lives with someone who has just lost a loved one. Yet instead of guilt or fear or grief, you're suddenly able to notice all the love that surrounds this person. The way their friends and family are offering such steadfast support and encouragement, the way they say, "I love you," and really mean it. You see the light and love surrounding this person, despite the dark struggle that they're going through.

Try playing this game in reverse: picture whoever that person is who trades in and steps into your life. What do they notice? What blessings are they surrounded by? Who talks to them? What freedom do they suddenly have?

It's my prayer that letting your imagination run wild might help you see the beauty that surrounds you, all the little things there are to be grateful for.

In this precious moment.

And in your whole one wild and precious life.


Badass Women: Brynna


What better way to kick off the weekend than with a post in the Badass Women series here on Alive in the Fire? :)

I'd love to introduce you to Brynna, an amazing friend of mine who is one of the most badass photographers I know. Not only does Brynna inspire me with her artistic work behind the camera lens, but she knows how to teach an incredible vinyasa flow class and how to make the best damn mimosa you've ever had. Brynna always keeps me laughing, she's there for me whenever I need a hug, and she's just hands down one of my favorite people on earth. This is her story.

What makes you a badass?

What makes me a badass—I refuse to let fear outweigh my ability to make decisions and choices for myself.  I’m far more afraid of missing out on living my life fully, than leaving a job or relationship or whatever else doesn’t serve me.  One of my favorite authors, Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild Things Are” (excellent read by the way….not just for kids), did a radio interview on NPR about five years ago.  He talked about a lot of things including life and death.  He said,  “It is a blessing to get old.  It is a blessing to find the time to do the things, to read the books, to listen to the music.  I wish you all good things.  Live your life, live your life, live your life."

If there’s anything worth anything it’s knowing that what scares me can only be one of two things: 1. Stories in my head, or 2. Things I have absolutely no control over.  I recognize however that I have a choice in how I react to both.  When faced with that, I know these are the moments when I feel tested to truly live my life.  I’ve actually grown fond of saying “fuck-it” and pressing on.  I’m a work in progress, but there won’t be even the smallest part of me if I’m blessed to grow old and gray, that won’t have lived a life filled with experiences that I choose; with big huge amazing love—with people, and words and books and music and pictures and the sound of ocean waves lapping up against a shoreline.  All of these will be moments that will have seeped in and grown wild and will have become a part of me. Life is, in fact, too short not to be a badass.    

When do you feel most confident? 
When I’m surrounded by people I love.

How did you get where you are today? 
It’s been a twisty road. Simply put, recognizing I had something to give, and then giving it.

What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate? 
Chocolate, dog kisses, yoga -- not necessarily in that order.

Who has inspired you or encouraged you lately? 
Anyone that knows me, knows I am madly deeply in love with my best friend.  The wildest, craziest soul I’ve ever met…who just happens to be my dog.  He is one of my most favorite teachers.  Partly because he doesn’t give a fuck and partly because he lives in every single moment.  There is nothing more encouraging than knowing this is actually possible, because he does it every day.  Maybe Bruno should have done this interview, because he is for sure living his life.  No regrets, no apologies.  He makes me want to be a better human every single day.

What advice would you give to someone who's having a crappy day or needs to feel badass in this moment? 
I would ask them, if your life depended on it—could you let go of what’s making you feel crappy? If the answer is yes, then try to remember your life will inevitably be filled with these moments, but how much of your precious time do you want to spend on them.  Is it worth it?  Find your inner badass and let it go, maybe even tell it to fuck off...

How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? ;) 
By living life of course :) At the moment I’ve also been growing a yoga photography business.

My little creation born from my love of yoga.  Elsie de Wolf has continued to be a source of inspiration for me lately with my photography.  I  have a book that offers a small window into her life detailing her experiences during WWII through the use of photographs.  I’ve heard her described as the mother of interior design.  She said, "I’m going to make everything around me beautiful—that will be my life.”  And she did.  This has been something that has stuck with me lately.  Getting the opportunity to shoot with so many different and equally amazing yogis, is kind of awesome.   Surrounding myself with beauty in all it’s forms, for no other reason than, it feels good.  

Thank you, Brynna, for being a part of this series -- and mostly, just for being you!


You're Invited to Join the Alive in the Fire Email Newsletter

Happy Monday, yogis! Hope you had a beautiful weekend.

I wanted to take a moment to invite you to join my email newsletter! :) Exciting times... it only took me 5+ years to get my act together as a blogger and get an email list going. Ha!

In all honesty, I would love if you join the list... you guys are the reason I write and you make this community what it is. :) I'll be sharing updates with recent blog posts, ideas for kicking your yoga practice into gear, info about my upcoming coastal yoga retreat (!!!), and other fun updates. There's a signup form below, and a spot in the sidebar at the right where you can always sign up.

Alive in the Fire Newsletter

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Thanks, as always for being a part of Alive in the Fire! Namaste.

Photos in this post by Brynna Bryant and Tom Huynh.

I Love You

Photos by Tom Huynh.

Look in the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say, 'I love you.' 

Are you willing to do that? To be loving toward yourself. Compassionate and kind, like you would be to a friend. 

Don't talk shit about yourself. Treat yourself with the respect and forgiveness and generosity you deserve. You deserve greatness! If ever a moment comes along when you forget that this is true, just go find a mirror. 

Look into your own eyes and say it out loud: I love you!

Have a sigh and pat yourself on the back and laugh at how easy that was. 

Have a moment to remember. And then just keep on being you-- loving, imperfect, and beautiful-- and keep forgiving yourself along the way.

I'm sharing this because for the last few weeks I've felt a little out of sorts, and extra hard on myself. My thought patterns can become negative and judgmental and even though I'm aware of it I still struggle to get out of that mindset. 

This week it shifted. I've been taking more classes, letting myself move freely and breathing into the spaces of each pose. When my mat is surrounded by supporting and loving people, I'm reminded of how awesome I am, and how I'm an important part of my community. It also helps a lot when I'm willing to open up to friends and be vulnerable and release some of the shit that I don't need to hold on to.

It's so helpful to teach from this space of feeling empowered and connected. After teaching one of my classes this week, many of the students said thank you with these big happy smiles on their faces. 'They are all so kind to me,' I thought. 'Why wouldn't I want to be just as kind to myself?' 

Just a little reminder that I hope inspires you and inspires me when I come back to read it tomorrow, or 3 months from now, or a year... :)

Badass Women: Megan

 Photos in this post courtesy of Megan.

Today I'm honored to share a story in the Badass Women series on Alive in the Fire... it's a few days late, but I wanted to be sure we celebrate International Women's Day around here! :) 

Meet Meg, the lovely yogini behind the Instagram page @yogini.meg and the blogger of Yogi in the City. Meg is a yoga teacher in the Portland area and she and I both love a lot of the same things (yoga, writing, wine) and so of course we became instant friends! 

I'm so grateful for Meg's upbeat energy and the encouraging posts she shares. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to take her class! Thanks, Meg, for being a part of the Badass Women series.

What sorts of things do you do to connect in with your inner goddess / warrior woman badass energy?

Every day I remind myself that I am strong and that I've made it through every good and bad day to get to this day, and I will keep on making it. I wake up in the morning and tell myself, "I'm going to drink the coffee and no matter what happens today I'm going to get through it like the badass I am." I'm living on my own for the first time in my life and teaching toddlers, and those alone make me feel like a warrior on a daily basis. 

I've recently decided to pamper by inner goddess by taking weekly bubble baths. It is so important to make time for yourself and do something that brings you peace and makes you feel beautiful. On that note, I've also started to wear burgundy/red lipstick often. I used to shy away from such bold colors because I felt like they made me stand out too much--well screw that. We are all made to stand out in some way and putting on dark burgundy lipstick helps me feel like a badass, so I'm sticking with it! 

What has shaped your journey to this point in your life?

2015 was really a standout year in shaping who I am right now. I went through two completely different breakups--one that was a really good move on my part and the other which brought me pain and heartache took, and in a way is still taking, time to come back from. I accomplished a huge dream of mine and became a yoga teacher last summer. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was surrounded by these incredible, strong, wonderful women and I learned so much from them and about myself. Shortly after that I moved to a new city and started a new job..and that brings us to now. 

I think one of the main themes of my life this past year is the idea of a fresh start. I feel like I am constantly starting fresh and I think it is so important. Sometimes "starting fresh" is in our control and sometimes it isn't, but I think continuously allowing myself that opportunity to begin again and learning from my experiences is really shaping me into the person I am now and the person I want to be. 

What helps you stay grounded and how do you rejuvenate?

Right now I'm all about strong and creative flow classes. I love practices that are filled with standing poses like the Warriors and Goddess which help me feel grounded and strong. If a practice has interesting/different transitions or variations I get really excited because I love trying new things. Of course, a practice for me is not complete without some energizing backbends. 

What would you tell a woman who needs help tapping in to her inner strength?

Inner strength is always there, even when at times we feel like we've lost it. For anyone who needs help accessing that strength I would say remember that you have made it this far. You have made it to today. Through every hardship, every triumph, you have persevered and arrived at this moment. That is so encouraging. At times we have days that are so hard and life seems so dark, but remember that you have your own light within and you can always light your own way through the darkness. Each one of us is strong. So hold your head high and tell yourself that you are strong and you are enough. That is important--believe and know that you are enough and never let anyone take that away from you. 

Where will you go from here? Any badass plans for the new year?

I'm excited for this year and I have a lot of plans in the works. Since becoming a yoga instructor last summer, I haven't taught much, so that's a major goal--to just start teaching, gaining experience, and sharing my passion. I'm starting a new "giving back" project that I'm calling "Project Warm Heart." Throughout the year I'm going to be knitting and crocheting scarves and this fall (when the weather starts cooling down again) whatever I have made will be donated to local shelters/homes. My sister is already on board to help and I'm hoping to recruit more people to join in as well! I'm really excited about this and to be working on something that will hopefully benefit the community. I have my own blog that I will be getting started soon, and my incredibly talented artist friend, Sarah Richards, has agreed to illustrate it for me. I'm looking forward to that collaboration and many new experiences this year. 

Thanks, Meg, for sharing your story, and cheers to all you badass women out there. Namaste and happy Friday, friends! XO

PS Meet more badass women: Summer, Brittny and Kim.