Blog Posts and Articles from our Community of Yoga Teachers

Recent Articles

This is a space where teachers and students from our community - people who teach on our courses or who have studied with us - can share and offer articles, blogs, experiences and much more.

Further below we have an archive of valuable articles and posts we enjoy on the web:
The Yoga on the Web Archive >>

Enjoy the read!

10 / 10 with Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training

10 / 10 with Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training

This year we celebrate 10 years of offering Yoga Teacher Training in Tāmaki Makaurau! On each training we co-create a learning environment that has a clear educational model, one that is based on ethical, safe, accessible, individualised practice where everyone is seen and has a voice in the space. We honour and acknowledge the rich history of Yoga and weave in current research about the mind-body.

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Graduate Interview Update with Lucy Tofield

Graduate Interview Update with Lucy Tofield

Lucy Tofield is a graduate, associate and friend of the Contemporary Yoga community. We last interviewed her in July 2021 and asked her to join us again because she does fabulous stuff and we wanted her to share her ongoing yoga journey with you.

In this interview she shares her evolution as a teacher and informs us that it does get easier. Ever the learner – Lucy has plans and new directions … all of which she intends to bring to her Yoga work.

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Graduate Interview: Katie Rudd

Graduate Interview: Katie Rudd

This week’s interview is with Katie Rudd. One of our recent graduates, contemporary dancer Katie Rudd talks about the power of Yoga to bring us home to our bodies.

Katie graciously shares her passion for movement with us and suggests that advanced Yoga is doing less ‘with a deeper focus on intention’. We love it – and think you will too, so read on…

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Yoga and Cacao: Part 4: Integrating Cacao (conversations with Steph Le Gros)

Yoga and Cacao: Part 4: Integrating Cacao (conversations with Steph Le Gros)

“I am living today as someone I had not yet become yesterday. And tonight I’ll only borrow pieces of who I am today, to carry with me to tomorrow.”
Andrea Gibson

Closing the ritual is as essential as the beginning. Welcoming in the circularity of the practice or an integrational interlude giving space for all that needs to land, to land. Integrating all that has surfaced and moved you to ‘shape your soul’.1 Think of integrating Cacao as savasana – a closing ritual that keeps on giving.

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Yoga and Cacao: Part 3: Learning the Spirit of Cacao (conversations with Steph Le Gros)

Yoga and Cacao: Part 3: Learning the Spirit of Cacao (conversations with Steph Le Gros)

Cacao helps us restore and remember our connection to nature, to earth, to the ancestors that have lived before us. And to the ancestors that we are yet to become.

I could write about the history of cacao, of traditions and legends told through lineages of Peruvian tribes. And yet I question whether it is my voice that should be speaking to it.

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Yoga and Cacao: Part 2: We are the Ceremony: Practicing yoga with Cacao (conversations with Steph Le Gros)

Yoga and Cacao: Part 2: We are the Ceremony: Practicing yoga with Cacao (conversations with Steph Le Gros)

A cacao infused poem

Inhaling her
aliveness infused through me.
Relief passed along synapses.
Senses awakening.
Present to being wholly here.
Home.

The first sip of the elixir beckoned
Tendrils (of gratitude)
from my pelvis (spine)
to root down into all that is below.
A wave of levity migrating up my spine,
reaching towards the vastness of space above.
Connectedness.

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Yoga and Cacao: Part 1: Yoga Meets Cacao: Practices of Homecoming (conversations with Steph Le Gros)

Yoga and Cacao: Part 1: Yoga Meets Cacao: Practices of Homecoming (conversations with Steph Le Gros)

Steph Le Gros is a health coach, personal trainer, Reiki practitioner, and qualified Yoga teacher based in Nelson. In this three-part article, Steph talks about her passion for cacao as an important part of her yoga practice.

She introduces us to yoga and cacao as practices of homecoming; shares a delectable recipe and ritual; discusses the tradition of cacao; and finally shares some of her poetry and practices inspired by yoga and cacao.

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Teacher Interview: Karla Brodie and Neal Ghoshal talk about the powerful practice of Restorative Yoga

Teacher Interview: Karla Brodie and Neal Ghoshal talk about the powerful practice of Restorative Yoga

In this interview, Karla Brodie and Neal Ghoshal share their passion for Restorative Yoga with their fellow teacher and our Contemporary Yoga administrator, Sandy Farquhar.

Neal: In essence, Restorative Yoga is a well-being practice. Of course all Yoga may be about well-being. Restorative Yoga is distinguished by the conscious use of props such as Yoga bolsters, blankets, blocks and more, to support the physical body.

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Exploring Yoga Language

Exploring Yoga Language

A great passion of mine is the evocative use of language to inform Yoga movement and rest practices. A teacher’s use of words has the power to evoke embodied experiences that can be transformational for students.

The use of evocative language in yoga taps into the sensorial body: tasting, touching, feeling, sensing and seeing. Creative language used to innervate movement principles, concepts and anatomy means that a student’s yoga practice emerges from a deep and growing understanding of their bodily world.

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Reflections on the evolution of a Yoga practice and teaching practice over two decades

Reflections on the evolution of a Yoga practice and teaching practice over two decades

Over the early years of teaching yoga I am often asked by students “Am I doing this right?”

I began to question what defined “right Yoga” and then in contrast what defined “wrong Yoga”. I feel it speaks to an ingrained cultural trajectory that values getting better or improving oneself – as if there is something at the beginning that even needs improving.

This self-improvement idea translates into Yoga practice as ‘better’ or ‘good’ by being defined by how complex or bendy one can be and is often accompanied by what one looks like while preforming Yoga postures.

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Meeting the challenges of training under Covid, and our policies for upcoming teacher trainings

Meeting the challenges of training under Covid, and our policies for upcoming teacher trainings

We want to let you know how Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training is meeting these challenging times, and about our policies around upcoming teacher trainings.

As with many trainings worldwide, we are in the process of pivoting a significant part of training to be offered online, with pre-recorded videos, assignments and reflections, as well as live-streamed lessons over Zoom.

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Graduate Interview: Steph Le Gros

Graduate Interview: Steph Le Gros

Steph Le Gros is a recent graduate of our 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. Based in Nelson she is a trained health coach, personal trainer, reiki healer and now a qualified Yoga teacher. We put together some sentence beginnings and asked Steph to complete them.

To me Yoga is … the practice that reminded me I had a body. A sensing, feeling, alive body and all the delights that that can bring.

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Teacher Interview: Amy Massey

Teacher Interview: Amy Massey

Amy’s passion is Ayurveda which has been guiding her life for more than a decade. Her online module, Ayurveda and Yoga for Women is available from the end of July 2021.

It is my most sincere hope and intention this course may make these deeply nurturing traditions of care more accessible to women, their families, friends and communities, in turn bringing greater well being to women and children.

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An Interview with Amy Matthews and Olive Bieringa, with Karla Brodie

An Interview with Amy Matthews and Olive Bieringa, with Karla Brodie

Yoga teacher and trainer, Karla Brodie talks with Body-Mind Centering (BMC) educators Olive Bieringa and Amy Matthews during a BMC somatic movement education programme in Melbourne, Australia, February 2020.

Karla: Thank you for being here. Every morning of training we’re starting the day with a warm up so I have a few warm up questions for you both.

Amy: Okay.

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Creating Calm in Changing Times with Ayurveda (with delicious Chai recipe)

Creating Calm in Changing Times with Ayurveda (with delicious Chai recipe)

As we re-emerge from lockdown, we are stepping out into the midst of changing times. The seasonal change is upon us as autumn transitions into winter and we are all navigating impacts of coronavirus in our lives and worldwide.

Ayurvedic wisdom brings us back to balance with tips to soothe and strengthen body, mind, heart and soul.

Amy also offers a delicious Autumn Chai recipe!

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The Power Of Your Authentic Voice

The Power Of Your Authentic Voice

Have you ever been told you can’t sing?

For those of us who have, there are a few paths we consciously, or unconsciously, choose: we either stop singing, or we contain our singing to the shower or car, or to when we’ve consumed the right amount of alcoholic beverages to let ourselves belt out the anthems of our youth.

Yet in my work, my voice is one of my most important tools I use in teaching Yoga. It’s not just what I say, but how I say it. Here I share my journey with reclaiming the power of my unique voice.

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Music for Yoga – Ideas, Suggestions and Playlists

Music for Yoga – Ideas, Suggestions and Playlists

I LOVE music. I am constantly astonished by music. By the endless creativity of musicians to produce beautiful, moving, wild rhythms, melody and harmony. I could never imagine life without it. What a blessing music is in our lives!

Yoga is my other love. I regularly join the two together in my own practice and in my classes you will often hear me playing music to support the Yoga. Sometimes I may even bring my guitar and play live for people.

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Freedom Yoga with Erich Schiffmann

Freedom Yoga with Erich Schiffmann

Erich Schiffmann teaches what he calls Freedom Yoga – the freedom to teach and practice any style of Yoga he likes! His approach is about tuning in, listening to guidance from within, the inner teacher, and then doing as is prompted.

This encourages and empowers the student to listen and respond to their own body and movement, to practice in a way which respects their body, and how they find themselves at the beginning of each practice.

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How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep by Lauren Tober

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep by Lauren Tober

Good quality sleep is SUCH an important part of our well being.  When we sleep we allow our body to restore and heal itself, both on a physical and psychological level. Depression, anxiety and stress can result in poor sleep, and poor sleep can result in depression, anxiety and stress.

So whichever way you look at it, getting a good nights sleep is vital for our well being.

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Shoulder Alignment in Downward Dog: Is External Rotation the Best Cue?

Shoulder Alignment in Downward Dog: Is External Rotation the Best Cue?

By Jenni Rawlings, on Yoga International

When considering shoulder alignment in downward facing dog, what are the first cues that pop into your mind? If you’re like most yogis, one of these cues is likely to be “external rotation.” With occasional exceptions, the instruction for the upper arm bone (humerus) to rotate externally in the shoulder socket (glenoid fossa) in down dog is a foundational alignment rule taught in most yoga teacher training programs.

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Protecting Your Knee in Pigeon Pose

Protecting Your Knee in Pigeon Pose

By Ray Long MD, of The Daily Bandha

Working with the muscular stabilizers surrounding the individual joints is a central tenet of both injury prevention and rehabilitation. In this blog post we illustrate how to work with myofascial connections to protect your knee in Pigeon and Reclining Pigeon pose.

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My Approach To Yoga

My Approach To Yoga

Yoga practice for me is about surrender, presence and an ‘everything is as it is’ approach. Surrendering any idea that we have to go somewhere, achieve something or reach any point of perfection in our practice can be very liberating. The ‘practice of surrender’ in yoga may then support living life with a renewed sense of ease and flow.

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An archive of useful articles and blog posts from the web

Interoception: Mindfulness in the Body

Interoception: Mindfulness in the Body

By Bo Forbes, from LAYoga.com

What does it mean to be embodied? And doesn’t yoga already take care of that? When we take a closer look, the answer might surprise us. Think of embodiment on a continuum. On one end, we have exteroception, in the middle proprioception, and on the far end, interoception.

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How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep by Lauren Tober

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep by Lauren Tober

Good quality sleep is SUCH an important part of our well being.  When we sleep we allow our body to restore and heal itself, both on a physical and psychological level. Depression, anxiety and stress can result in poor sleep, and poor sleep can result in depression, anxiety and stress.

So whichever way you look at it, getting a good nights sleep is vital for our well being.

read more
Somatics and Yoga with Lisa Petersen

Somatics and Yoga with Lisa Petersen

An interview with Lisa Petersen, on Yoga Journal, Spain.
Lisa Petersen has been a friend and colleague of Karla Brodie and Neal Ghoshal for many years. We all share Donna Farhi as a major inspiration for our Yoga teaching and practice, among other influences of course.

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Shoulder Alignment in Downward Dog: Is External Rotation the Best Cue?

Shoulder Alignment in Downward Dog: Is External Rotation the Best Cue?

By Jenni Rawlings, on Yoga International

When considering shoulder alignment in downward facing dog, what are the first cues that pop into your mind? If you’re like most yogis, one of these cues is likely to be “external rotation.” With occasional exceptions, the instruction for the upper arm bone (humerus) to rotate externally in the shoulder socket (glenoid fossa) in down dog is a foundational alignment rule taught in most yoga teacher training programs.

read more
Protecting Your Knee in Pigeon Pose

Protecting Your Knee in Pigeon Pose

By Ray Long MD, of The Daily Bandha

Working with the muscular stabilizers surrounding the individual joints is a central tenet of both injury prevention and rehabilitation. In this blog post we illustrate how to work with myofascial connections to protect your knee in Pigeon and Reclining Pigeon pose.

read more
7 Moves You Need for Graceful Aging

7 Moves You Need for Graceful Aging

By Cynthia Allen on Huffington Post

No matter how many candles were on your last birthday cake, to get the most out of your life and be on track for feeling fine at 99, here are seven essential moves you need.

#1 Wiggle – Just stop with the sitting still as a rock.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Sacroiliac Dysfunction

The Do’s and Don’ts of Sacroiliac Dysfunction

By Amber Burke, on Yoga International

For many yoga practitioners, the sacroiliac (SI) joints are shrouded in mystery. Many yoga teachers say that some poses should be practiced in a certain way “for the health of the SI joints” without identifying where these joints are anatomically or explaining why students should care about SI joint health.

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Create a stronger core

Create a stronger core

By Eric Franklin, on The Franklin Method

The classic core muscles are the diaphragm, the abdominals, the pelvic floor and the deeper layers of the lower back muscles. You can stabilize your core with your glutes and other peripheral muscles. Natural movement can be sufficient to train your core. You can get a workout from every day things like walking and even breathing.

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Why do some yoga classes make you feel good and others do not?

Why do some yoga classes make you feel good and others do not?

By Olga Kabel, on Sequence Wiz

You know how sometimes you go to a yoga class and you come out feeling “This is exactly what I needed! I feel great!” and other times you end up feeling: ”That was awful.” Our tendency is to think that it is the fault of the teacher who didn’t do a good job (and sometimes it is), but more often it is about managing our own expectations and needs for the practice.

People come to yoga classes for all sorts of reasons, but they can mostly be summarized as “to feel better”. But what does it mean “to feel better”?

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6 Things I No Longer Practice or Teach (and Why)

6 Things I No Longer Practice or Teach (and Why)

By Leah Sugarman, on Yoga International.

As I’ve travelled further along my yoga journey, my practice and my teaching have evolved in countless ways. Many things that were once staples in my personal practice no longer even find their way onto my mat. And many things that I swore were worthless have become essential to my teaching.

Just as I’ve ditched my teenage reckless-driving habits, my Candy Crush addiction, and my coffee dependency, I no longer incorporate the following six cues into my practice or my classes.

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Mobility, Stability and Flexibility: Clarifying Our Concepts in Yoga

Mobility, Stability and Flexibility: Clarifying Our Concepts in Yoga

By Jenni Rawlings, on Yoga International

Mobility, stability, and flexibility are qualities we’re often taught that we are working to improve through our yoga practice. These terms are somewhat ambiguous, however, and it’s common for each of them to be interpreted differently by different sources. As a result, not all yoga teachers approach these concepts the same way. In this article, I will clarify the concepts of mobility, stability, and flexibility and present what I consider to be the most helpful definitions for each as applied to the practice of yoga.

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