B A N D H A S 

Ok let’s talk bandhas! Because you have been asking about it but also because they are very useful both in the practice of
F R E E D I V I N G   &   Y O G A 

Bandhas for freedivers

WE ARE ENERGETIC BEINGS

So lets stat from the beginning ; we are made of a physical body but also of an energetic body.
Our energetic body is like a network of little energetic tubes or channels carrying energy through the body, reaching to each and every cell.
We are constantly exchanging energetic information with our surroundings. Taking energy in and radiating energy out in a feedback loop; we are affected by, but also affecting, the other energetic beings and objects around us.

To keep our body, mind and soul healthy and strong, we must allow the energy to flow freely in our energetic body. When the energy doesn’t flow freely through the channels, there is congestions or blockages in the energetic tubes. This energetic congestion manifests on the physical plane as a weakness in this area of the body. This is why a lot of healers are working in the energy lines to heal physical illnesses.

GET YOUR PR ANA

In your yoga practice, it is important to allow the energy to flow freely. We call this energy P R A N A ; vital force. We get prana from our breath but also from connecting to the ground, grounding ourselves. We move the energy through the body using movement, deep breathing and most importantly ; B A N D H A S.

Root to Rise– For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, this is physics ; Newton’s 3rd law. So as you push down into the ground, the ground pushes right back up into you ; giving you access to unlimited amount of grounding energy. This should be the first thing you focus on when practicing asanas.

Taking deep breaths is also a great way to keep the energy flowing ; taking fresh, new prana in and releasing toxins out. This is a must in your yoga practice to keep the energy flowing and the body moving with strength and ease.

Bandhas for yoga

DIRECTING THE FLOW

Bandhas are like energetic valves ; directing the flow of energy through the body. They connect the lower body to the upper body, they protect the spine and they create a freeway for the breath. When the BANDHAS are engaged, the core is energized, the breath has a direction, the body is united and it becomes easy to move effortlessly into all asanas including inversions and other poses that are defying gravity. Bandhas are also very important when it comes to protecting your spine when moving through your yoga practice.

HOW TO ENGAGE

But how to engage the bandhas ? You want the energy to flow, not to be blocked. So the engagement should be subtle, simply giving an upward direction to the energy, not blocking it.

For the first bandha; Mula Bandhas ; you want to lift up from the pelvic floor, like you would do to stop yourself from peeing…You are lifting the energy up from the ground into the lower belly. From there you want to activate Uddiyana Bandha by lifting your navel up and in ; lifting the energy from the lower belly up into the upper body. Engaging those 2 bandhas will protect your lower back, give a direction to your breath and allow your whole body to move as one

This works for any standing or sitting poses but is even more important when you get upside down into your inversions or deep into your backbends. So remember ;
1 – push down through your fondation (hands, arms, forearms, feet ; anything that is touching the ground)
2- lift the energy up by engaging Mula and Uddiyanna bandhas
3- take deep and slow breaths (ujjayi is normally recommended)

BANDHAS OR BELLY BREATHING ?

Now everything in the universe is spinning around, from the atoms to the planets. This is why everything has 2 opposites, the yin and the yang, the feminine/masculin, the sun/moon…your body also has a yang and a yin system & so your yoga practice also has a yin and a yang side. Generally speaking the yin is the more soothing, nurturing, water-like, circular energy and the yang is the more straight forward, strong, fire-like energy. But remember the yin and yang symbol? There is a bit of yin in the yang and a bit of yang in the yin…

You body is made of yang tissues ; muscles, blood, cardio-vascular system. The Yang tissues are responsable for making your body S T R O N G. The yin tissues are the connective tissues ; ligaments, joints, tendons, bones, fascia…they are responsable for the F L E X I B I L I T Y and range of motion of your body. Your nervous system also has a yang response ; the sympathetic Nervous System related to the Fight or Flight Mode and the yin response ; the parasympathetic Nervous System related the the Rest & Digest Mode.

This is why, in order to find balance between being strong and flexible, being energized but also relaxed, feeding our logical mind but also our intuition , we tend to divide our yoga practice into yin and yang asanas. Most asanas have a yin and a yang variation.

In the yang asanas it is important to keep the body strong and engaged as we are playing with our limits and moving on a faster rythme. This is why bandhas should alway be used when practicing yang yoga. In this way we are protecting our spine, uniting the body and maximizing our our energy usage.

In the yin asanas, we want to release and relax in the poses and stay still for a few minutes, simply allowing the asana to reach into the connective tissues. Bandhas are much less important here.

The Bandhas are usually more important in the yang practice, when you need to be energized to move freely, with easy and with control. But when you practice yin yoga or more relaxing kind of yoga, you want to bring the energy down, to slow down your metabolism and to switch your nervous system into the rest and digest mode. In yin yoga, it is more about letting go, surrendering, releasing. This is why bandhas are less important in the practice of yin. Instead we focus on belly breathing, pushing the belly out as we inhale and slowing down the breath as we exhale. This kind of breathing instantly induces relaxation, switching to the parasympathetic nervous systems, slowing down the heartbeat and getting us ready for deep meditation.

This is why, in my opinion, bandhas are used for a more energizing practice (fire) usually in a combination with Ujjayi Breathing. They are especially important in all standing poses, backbends and inversions. But when you want to relax and let go into a more yin-like practices, slow belly breathing is much more efficient than focusing on the bandhas. 

CONNECT WITH YOUR BANDHAS

Blue Chitta – Bandhas

The easiest way to feel your bandhas is on full exhale breath-hold. I will spend more time explaining various exercices in a future post. But for now your can try this one :
1- Start by sitting down, rooting down through your sitting bones. Make sure your spine is long and your shoulder relaxed
2- Forcefully exhale out through your mouth as you lean forward.
3- Holding the breath out, start to lift the pelvic floor up (like you wanna stop yourself from peeing) this is Mula Bandha + lift your navel up and in towards your spine for Uddiyana Bandha
4- Keeping the breath out and the bandhas engaged, push your hands on your knees to bring yourself back in an upright position (sitting straight)
5- Hold the bandhas and the breath for a few seconds
6- When you want to release the breath, release the bandhas first and then simply open the mouth to let the air come in naturally
7 – Repeat 3 times

This exercices is a very good one to start feeling the bandhas. Eventually you can also play with engaging and releasing the bandhas as you keep holding your breath out. Once you got the bandhas and how they should feel, start to practice engaging them while breathing. If possible using Ujjayi, the ocean sound breathing. Remember the engagement should be subtle, giving a direction to your energy, not blocking it!

ARE BANDHAS LOCKS ?

People often refer to Bandhas as energetic locks. From my perspective, bandhas are like valves rather than locks. They are directing the flow rather than blocking it. But they can also be used to lock the energy in, like when you close the valve. For exemple, when holding the breath in, you are locking the prana in, directing the energy inwards. In this case, bandhas are used to help locking the energy in. When holding the breath, a 3rd bandhas becomes important ; Jalandhara Bandha ; ”the throat lock”.

JALANDHARA BANDHA

Jalandhara Bandha is engaged by bringing the chin in and down, locking the throat and lengthening the back on the neck. This bandha is often used when holding the breath. It makes the breath-holds more comfortable, securing the breath and the prana around the lungs’ area. For freedivers, jalandhara bandha helps to prevent the glottis from opening, making equalization and contractions more comfortable. Again, from my perspective, this is not a lock but rather a valve. The energy doesn’t flow anymore from the lungs into the mouth but is still flowing from the spine into the neck and all the way to the crown of the head. Jalandhara Bandha has different degrees of engagement, like other bandhas, and can also be useful in many yoga asanas.

THE END

To wrap up, I think what you need to remember is to engage your bandhas when you are doing active yoga poses. Don’t worry too much about them when you are doing relaxing passive poses. There are 3 main bandhas Mula Bandhas, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha. The first 2 are very useful to connect the lower and upper body, protect the spine and give a direction to your breath and your prana. The throat bandha is more important when practicing breath retention. Now that you know about some of the theory behind those energetic locks, go have fun practicing them when you do yoga but also when you walk, when you sit or just when you breathe!

Freediving doesn’t end when you take off your fins! Incorporate these yoga poses and breathing exercises into your daily routine to increase your freediving abilities and feel strong and flexible in and out of the water!

Want to watch the step by step videos of how to practice the following postures? Follow us on instagram and stay tune for our upcoming Story Highlights!

1- FISH POSE

This is a great asana to make sure your chest, throat and breathing muscles are flexible enough to support increasing water pressure as you start reaching new depths in your freediving journey! With time, it will also help increase your lung capacity, allowing you to fit more air inside your lungs and more oxygen into your bloodstream!

Yoga for Freedivers – Fish Pose

How to get into the Pose

  1. Lay down on your back and find deep and slow breathing
  2. Squeeze your legs together and point your toes
  3. Slide your arms under your body, palms facing down, thumbs touching and elbows as close to each other as possible
  4. Press your forearms down to lift the upper arms and the chest up
  5. Keep reaching the heart up as you release the top of the head on the floor (keeping the upper arms lifted)
  6. If the top of the head is not touching the floor ; slide you bum higher towards your elbows
  7. Stay in the pose for 5 to 20 breathing cycles ; make sure you keep the mouth closed ; breathing in and out through your nose
  8. To come out of the pose press the forearms down ; bring your chin to your chest and slowly release
  9. Lay on your back for a few breathes ; allow time for your spine to neutralize ; observe the sensations of the release

Counter Pose ; gently roll the head from side to side to release any tension from the neck


2- SEATED TWISE ON BREATH HOLD

Twists in general are amazing postures that will help the body get rid of toxins, the nervous system to find equilibrium and keep the inner organs healthy and happy. Twisting while holding your breath on full lungs will give you the same benefits while also help you increase your lung flexibility as well as your lung capacity. Like all the other breath hold yoga postures, you have to be super careful not to push too far and to stop the movement as soon as you start feeling the stretch into your chest and throat. Over stretching on breath-holds can result in lung squeeze injuries so make sure you go slow and respect your body.

Yoga for Freedivers – Twists on Full Lungs

How to get into the pose

  1. Find a comfortable seated position, you may wanna sit on a pillow or a block to get more comfortable
  2. Take a deep breath in through your mouth like you learned in the freediver course and hold the breath in
  3. Very slowly start to walk your hands to the left side of your body gazing over your left shoulder ; eventually your left hand will go behind you and the right hand will be on your left knee
  4. As soon as you start feeling the stretch in the chest or throat stay where you are, do not go further and hold there for a few seconds
  5. When you want to breathe, come back to center ; releasing the twist before you release the breath
  6. Take a couple cycles of breath, observe the sensations of the release and repeat of the right side

3- CATS & COW ON EMPTY LUNGS

Get on your hands and knees and start rolling your spine from the tailbone all the way to the top of your head.Try to synchronise the movement with your breath so that everytime the breath starts, the movement starts and everytime the breath stops the movement stops. Try to slow down the movement as you lengthen the breath and try to move one vertebrae at a time, like a wave from the tailbone all the way up to the crown of the head.

This is already a great exercise to warm up your spine and get the energy flowing through the body! But what we like to do is to practice this after a forceful exhale on “empty lungs” ! Holding the breath out means your breathing muscles and your lower back are going to be more vulnerable so it’s very important you engage your bandhas when practicing empty lungs stretching like this one! A regular practice of Cats and Cows on empty lungs will increase your lung capacity and flexibility reducing the risks of squeezing on your deep dives and making your contractions much more comfortable!

How to get into the pose

  1. Get into position and exhale as much air as possible out through your mouth. Try bending the elbows as you exhale to encourage more air to be pushed out from the lungs
  2. Holding the breath out, make sure you engage your Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha (action to lift the pelvic floor up as if you would stop yourself from peeing & your navel up and in towards your spine)
  3. Keeping the bandhas engaged start to practice cats & cows stretch without breathing, the movement should be slow and fluide like a spinal wave!
  4. Remember that since you are not breathing, your body is more vulnerable and it is normal not to go as far as if you would be breathing. Keep observing the sensations in your body as you move and make sure you do not push, stopping the movement as soon as you feel pressure in the chest or throat
  5. Try to do 2 to 5 cycles on every breath hold and repeat 3 to 5 times

4- FROG POSE

This is a very intense pose but also very beneficial! It will rapidly increase the flexibility of your hips, help release any lower back pain and even bring a better range of motion into your ankles to help you kick more efficiently underwater! This pose is deeply connected to your second chakra, which is linked to the element of water and responsible for the fluidity and flexibility in your body, your mind and your life in general ; it also represents your right to pleasure and your ability to go with the flow! On top of all this, this pose will help you train yourself to commit to a goal even when the journey gets uncomfortable. You should never feel any sharp pain (if you do back off), but you will definitely feel discomfort. And this is your opportunity to observe your patterns of reaction when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, to choose to adopt positive mantras and to learn to go passed the discomfort! Accepting the discomfort and developing the ability to relax into it will be a great tool for your freediving practice!

Yoga for Freedivers – Frog Pose

How to get into the pose

  1. Come onto your hands and knees and bring your knees as wide as you can. You may use blankets or pillows under your knees and ankles
  2. Turn your toes out to the side, flex your feet to protect your knees and make sure your ankles are aligned with your knees in a 90 degree angle
  3. Push your hips and buttocks back towards your feet until you feel the stretch in your hips
  4. If you feel comfortable, bring your forearms down
  5. If you want more stretch ; keep pushing your hips back and make sure you have the 90 angle in your legs
  6. If you feel uncomfortable ; G R E A T ! This is what we are aiming for!
  7. Breathe in the discomfort, use to breathe to help you relax and feel your body and mind relaxing more and more into the pose. As you accept the discomfort, it will slowly dissolve and you will start to feel more and more comfortable into the pose
  8. Stay in the pose for at least 2 minutes or 20 cycles of breath
  9. When coming out of the pose, very slowly bring your hips forward, knees together and find child’s pose for a few breathes. Observe the sensations of the release. Observe any emotions coming up to the surface. Allow yourself to remain a witness to whatever comes up

*You should never feel pain. Discomfort is Ok as it is serving your body. Pain is not. Discomfort is a dull sensation that goes away as you start breathing into it. Pain is a sharp burning sensation that remains even after you release the pose.

Counter Pose ; Take Child’s Pose to release the hips and lower back



5- HEADSTAND WITH NOSE CLIP

Equalizing the ears when upside down is a challenge for a lot of freedivers. A lot of students have not problem equalizing feet first but when they try freediving headfirst the equalization stops working. There is many ways to train in order to solve this problem and one of them is to use a nose clip and practice equalizing while inverted! You definitely want to be comfortable with headstand prior to trying this exercise. We recommend practicing against the wall so you don’t have to worry about balancing yourself (or join one of our upcoming inversion workshops in Dahab or Montreal to learn how to master the upside down world! ).

Yoga for Freedivers – Headstand with Nose Clip

How to get into the pose

  1. Use a freediving nose clip to seal your nose which will allow you to equalize without using your hands
  2. Practice Equalizing in an upright position before getting upside down
  3. Get into your headstand or handstand against the wall
  4. Get comfortable into to pose ; take a big deep breath in and start practicing your equalization the way you learned it in the freediver course
  5. Make sure you are not using your diaphragm ; focus on using your tongue in the the K or T lock position
  6. Try to do 5 to 10 fast equalizations and then try to hold constant pressure equalization for 3 to 5 seconds
  7. Remember you might not get this from the first try ; but don’t give up!

Thank you for joining Blue Chitta’s Freediving and Yoga Online Tribe and reading New post! Please feel free to comment if you have any questions or if you would like to share your experience!

There are so many yoga retreats going on around the world and it can sometimes be hard to choose from so many options! This is why we decided to create what we think is the Best Yoga Retreat Ever!

  1. The beach –  Close your eyes and picture a beautiful turquoise sea with a blue sky, a sandy beach, coconut trees and lush vegetation….this is where we are going! Our yoga retreat is happening on the beach, steps away from a beautiful turquoise water where you can swim, snorkel, kayak, paddle-board & freedive! It is private, clean and quiet, perfect for morning meditation, to practice handstands in the sand or to play with your new acroyoga buddies! This area is protected and full of wild life including tropical fishes, dolphins, monkeys, sloths & red frogs! Just a few deep breaths taken on this beautiful beach is enough to make you feel enlighten!

 

  1. The Perfect Yoga Shala– The yoga shala is a sacred space and we believe we discovered the best yoga shala on Earth! This shala is an open air space allowing you to breathe the fresh breeze from the ocean but covered with a rooftop to give you shade and protection from the heat of the sun during your practice! It is surrounded by exotic palm trees providing us with a great amount of Oxygen to breathe and keeping the ambient air nice and fresh. Even if we keep our awareness inwards when practicing yoga, it’s always nice to enjoy a good view while practicing and this space offers a spectacular view on the turquoise sea as well as on the lush vegetation allowing you to feel connected to both water and earth elements!

 

  1. Balance between Practicing and Relaxing -Because resting is also part of training, we made sure you had a lot of yoga but also enough free time to just relax! In your free time you can enjoy the entire facilities of the lodge for free, this includes the beach slackline, the kayaks, the paddles boards, the hammocks & more! You can also choose to simply relax on the beach or read a book! Once again it’s all about listening to your body and choosing to do what’s good for you!

 

  1. Workshops to deepen your practice -The curriculum of this retreat is very complete, we will offer daily morning meditation followed by a dynamic vinyasa flow to wake up and energize the body. In the afternoon, we will also be offering a series of workshops on various subjects including breath control & pranayama, asana labs, inversions & arm balances, acroyoga, the energetic body, how to develop your own practice & more! Our workshops will help you take your yoga practice to the next level. Our goal is for you to develop a daily practice, to learn something new everyday and to share good vibes with the people around you!

 

  1. Eco Tourism -Because we are practicing ”Ahimsa” (non-violence) it is very important for us to encourage sustainable tourism. This is why we chose a local Eco-Lodge that is working in harmony with nature. Using only rain water and solar energy for power, following a plastic free policy, offering vegan meals and working on various conservation projects with the local community, Palmar Lodge is a place where you can enjoy your holidays by the sea without polluting or compromising the local eco-systems!Book Our Yoga Retreat Today:  yogashakmontreal.com/en/yoga-retreat-panama/

At Blue Chitta, we LOVE to practice inversions during our Yoga practice!  Yoga inversions represent an opportunity to explore the limitless human potential, to make the impossible possible.

These 3 essential elements to successfully achieve your Yoga inversion are taught in our frequent yoga classes around the world with Blue Chitta and in our Montreal yoga studio Yoga Shak Montreal.  Ari &I both travel the world and teach our love for Yoga and Free Diving.  Getting upside down can be a great challenge for many people, and so I hope that this blog will help you in your practice to a successful inversion.

Feel free to comment or let me know what your difficulties are through our Facebook page (@blue_chitta) and we will guide you, on your path to inversion.  There are 3 key elements to consider:  Root to Rise, Bandhas and Breath.  Let’s discover them:

Root to Rise – Lift the energy up from the ground. Remember the 3rd law of Newton? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What does that mean? It means that the more you push down into the ground, the more the ground will push right back up into you! This is true when you are standing up right on your feet but even more when you get upside down! Whatever is touching the ground, if it’s your forearm, hands or head, push it down like you want to push the ground away from you. You will instantly feel the grounding energy rising up through your body, giving you stability and creating more space in your body especially between the shoulders and neck and between each vertebrae.

Bandhas – Bandhas are energetic valves than are directing the flow of energy in the body. Two bandhas that are crucial for your inversion practice are Mula Bandha (Pelvic Floor Lock) and the Uddiyana Bandha (Abdomen Lock). When practicing yoga in general especially the yang styles of yoga like Vinyasa or Ashtanga but especially when practicing inversions, engaging with those two bandhas will protect and elongate your spine, concentrate the energy in the midline of your body and allow you to find strength and stability in the pose. So before you jump or float up into you inversion, make sure you lift the pelvic floor up like you try to stop yourself from peeing, you will instantly feel an upward current moving from the base of your spine to the lower belly, this is Mula Bandha. From there, gently engage your belly up and in, towards your spine. You will feel the energy rise up from the lower body to the upper body, creating a strong connection between the two and lengthening your spine:  this is Uddiyana Bandha (Abdomen lock).

If you are new to the principals of Bandhas, I recommend that you practice them sitting down to start with until you get the hang of it. Then gradually introduce them to your daily practice and eventually in your inversion practice! Have you ever looked at someone floating up into a handstand effortlessly and wondering how this is even possible? The answer to this is Bandhas!

Breath:  Once you are set in your position and you are ready to invert, take some time to find your breath. Cultivating a deep, slow and consistent breath will make the process of inverting yourself easier and more comfortable. Using your breath together with the Bandhas is like the secret recipe to inverting effortlessly. There aretwo ways of using your breath to go into inversions. Some people find it easier to use their Inhale to lift the legs up over the head but others find it more efficient to exhale to lift. Personally, I feel like inhaling works better for me.  First I find my foundation and I push down into the ground, then I engage my Bandhas and when I am ready, I take a deep and slow inhale. I feel like this inhale brings energy and space into my core and bandhas and that’s how I lift up.

Some awesome and very experienced yogis prefer to exhale to rise up. This is the technique they use in weight lifting for example and it makes sense because as you exhale your diaphragm lifts up and it becomes more natural and almost automatic to engage Uddiyana Bandha. Whether you prefer to inhale or exhale to rise up doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is that you use slow and controlled breathing as you come up. People tend to hold their breath, but it makes itmuch harder to maintain balance, so make sure that you keep breathing deeply and slowly as well as when you are going down, use a slow and controlled breath to make your exit nice and smooth!

Those 3 essential elements to Yoga inversion are the secret recipe to bring with you on your next practice.  Don’t get too caught up into trying to get your hips above your head right away, instead take the time to learn how to use the energy from the ground and from the air you breathe every time you rise and every time you fall! And most of all let go of your fear of failing and trust yourself!

Gabrielle GQ

Join us on our next Yoga Retreat in Boca Del Toro, Panama from June 6th to June 18th. Where Gabrielle and Erina are hosting workshops taking your Yoga practice to the next level.  Find out more www.bluechitta.com or www.yogashakmontreal.com

BREATH >Vinyasa is a sanskrit word that means to connect breath and movement. The practice of Vinyasa Yoga is a dance between the body and the breath. The breath is the leader, the body is simply following. This is why a big part of a Vinyasa teacher training course is about breath-control and breath exploration. In sanskrit, breath is called Prana. Prana means vital energy. Without Prana, without breath, we are no more. With a restricted flow of Prana, we are slowly dying. On the other hand, if we can cultivate a healthy breath we allow Prana to flow freely through the body, therefore rejuvenating it, bringing life to each and every cell.

A Vinyasa Teacher Training course will include various Pranayama workshops to make sure future teachers understand the effect of the breath on the body and how to use Prana as a guide in the yoga practice.

CREATIVITY > Nowadays, Vinyasa sessions tend to be valued for their creativity. Vinyasa students value a creative teacher who is able to teach new Asanas, new transitions, new variations.  As a teacher you must learn the proper way to sequence a class in order to keep it safe but fun!

The Vinyasa teacher training course will emphasis on given the future teachers a sequencing winning formula that pretty much every class will be based on, but leaving enough space for creativity and constant novelty.

CHALLENGE >Vinyasa sessions are known to be challenging. A good Vinyasa teacher is able to teach a multi-levels class giving options for new students but also keeping up the challenge for the advanced practitioners. A good Vinyasa teacher training course will present many different options to adapt every Asana to every student. It will also take some time to practice more challenging postures like the handstand and other inversions together with arm balances.

It is more important for a teacher to be able to teach those Asanas than to be able to perform them. Therefore, is it important to allow time for the future teachers to practice teaching those challenging postures:

How to prepare the students
How to explain the Asanaswith minimal demonstration
How to help students get in the posture
How to offer options for students who are not ready yet.

It is important to be confident when you teach those postures, if you cannot trust yourself as a teacher, it will be very hard for your students to trust you, and the journey of inversions and arm balance practice is a journey from fear to trust. Gaining and honouring the trust of your students is mandatory if you want to teach them challenging postures.

RHYTHM > A Vinyasa class should maintain a certain rhythm. As a teacher you need to learn how to keep the rhythm in your class, while giving all the information necessary for your students to follow. Using a simple but precise vocabulary to cue every pose and transition is way more effective than trying to go decorticate every second of the movement.

I often tell my students before starting classes that Vinyasa focuses on transitions and movements rather than finding the exact alignment and perfection of every pose. What counts is the flow, the breath and a good enough alignment. If students wish to decorticate every aspect of a pose, they should try a Hata class or a private session. It is normal for students to feel like they can’t follow every movement on their first Vinyasa class.

Our job as teachers is to make sure the students feel supported in the process and to give them personal attention. This is why we need to make sure our cues are easy to follow and we need to give options for beginners. We also need to keep an eye on those new students, it’s ok that they are not getting everything from the first class, but we should not let them do anything that might injure their body.

To keep a good rhythm in a multi-level classes, keep in mind that you will have to:
Explain the poses
Cue the breath
Give physical support
Adjustsstudents challenging poses
Adjust new students trying to follow!

Give yourself time to master all that there is to do as a teacher in a class with different levels of students.

This is why a Vinyasa teacher training course will give a lot of tools and practice to develop the ability to keep the rhythm in a multi-level class. This includes workshops on the art of adjusting, the art of effective cueing, anatomy, asana variations from beginner to advanced, how to teach inversions and arm balances.

To conclude, a Vinyasa teacher training course is a course that focuses on giving the tools to future teachers to be able to teach a creative, rhythmic multi-level yoga class in which every movement is linked to a breath. Being able to support students in challenging Asanas and offering variations to meet the needs of each students are qualities that will be developed during this kind of training.

Good luck!

We welcome students in our Teacher Training Retreats around the world. Find Out where we are next!   Our students have the opportunity to teach or assist in teaching a class at our Yoga Studio in Montreal!

The first step to become a yoga instructor is to practice yoga. One of the most important aspect of being a teacher is to develop a personal practice. Through your personal practice you will find inspiration, you will connect with you inner teacher and you will get to know which styles of yoga you resonate with the most.  My advice to you is to try as many different classes, as many different teachers as possible. As you practice you will find that you connect with certain teachers or teaching techniques more than others. See if you can identify what is important for you, what makes a yoga teacher better than another one?  Maybe for you it’s the creativity of the sequences, or the amount of personal attention and adjustments a teacher is giving his students, maybe it’s to base each class on a specific theme and a playlist to create a sensorial and spiritual experience.

Once you make your opinion what makes a good teacher for you, find out how you can apply these teachings to your own style! Do your research and make sure that the training you will choose will teach you the skills that you want to learn.

Today, there are various ways to become a yoga teacher. One of the most popular is to do an intensive 30 day, 200 hour teacher training course.  These, like the ones we offer at Blue Chitta, are usually far from home in a retreat atmosphere.  The benefits of the retreats is that it allows you to get away from your daily activities and allow you to completely immerse yourself in the practice.   Your body, mind and soul are not distracted by anything else and you can focus and live the practice fully.

Another possibility to do a Yoga Teacher Training Course is to do the 200 hour training on weekends.  This process usually last around 10 months. This is great for people who are not able to take one month off from their work or people who want to take their time in the learning process.

And finally, you can become a yoga teacher the original way, which consist of following a ”guru’’ or a mentor.  This is how the yogis became yogis originally in India.

Nowadays it is less common but I personally did one of my trainings this way and I found that it was much more personal. What you would need to do is find a teacher that you really connect with to mentor you over a certain period of time. The mentorship is great because you and your teacher are building the program according to your needs and you can progress at your own pace.

Once you finish your 200 hour course, you will find yourself with a lot of knowledge and different teaching techniques. Your next step will be to practice. Practice, practice & practice some more. You cannot expect to be 100% ready to teach a class in a well-known studio right after your training. It is possible, but rather rare, and it shouldn’t be an expectation.

What you will most likely have to do is to practice teaching with your entourage or to offer free classes in the parks, at school or in your local studio.  Most teachers will indeed be teaching free classes at the beginning to gain experience and to get known in their community. There is a lot of amazing yoga teachers out there and if you want to get a paid opportunity it is normal that you first gain the trust of your community.

Another way of making your place in a studio is to become part of the reserve teacher either at reception or as a Karma Yogis.  This offers the community and the owners of the studio to get to know and trust you.  One day when they need a last minute substitute (which happens way too many times in the yoga business) you will be there to save the day!  Trust me, they will remember that!  Especially if you teach a great class!

Good Luck Yogis!

Gabrielle

Blue Chitta offers Teacher Training Courses around the world in retreat style.  Some of our students have the opportunity to teach at our Yoga studio in Montreal, Canada.  Find out when our next retreats are!

For both, Gabrielle and Ariel, living next to the ocean was a life changing experience.

”When we where thinking of a name for our project, we wanted the name to be relevant to all we do: Yoga or Free diving, Thai massage or Acroyoga.  We looked for a name that would incorporate all our life as we live it”.

The meaning of Blue Chitta

Blue:

Blue joins our life at sea and our passion for the ocean.   The openness, the vastness , where nothing stops your eyes to see the horizon.  The changing colors of the water with the sunrises and sunsets.  The fact we could walk barefoot where ever we go and the infinite sand with all its forms.

The fisherman and the people that we meet, that like us, chose to live a life of Freedom.

With everything we experience as divers and free divers during our travels, we dance with small fishes, with the biggest whales alive, with turtles and impressive sharks.  The amazing breath taking world of corals, all alive, all vibrating.

The sea can be calm and it can be rough. It can be inviting or can push you away. The sea reflects our emotions and feelings, thoughts and actions.

We gave ourselves to the ocean and it gave us its wonders in return.

Chitta:

if you thought that the ocean is vast. Chitta is our infinite mind.  Our conscious mind, and the great subconscious mind. Everything we do, feel, think, all our memories and actions are arising from CHITTA. It’s like the ground floor of our existence.

The word itself comes from Sanskrit (the ancient Hindu languish that the Yoga Sutras are written in). The most known term in yoga is “Yogas chitta vritti nirodha” , which refers to the stilling of the mind, in order to experience the Ultimate reality.

When our thoughts are calm and our mind is tranquil, we can move towards self realization or better said, to experience life as it is, as reality. So we clean our lenses (thoughts and emotion ) which we use to see the world through, with out labeling experiences as good or bad, mine or yours.  When there are no fluctuations, we experience ONENESS, or union with all.

Both yoga, free diving and Thai massage, are designed to bring us there through practice.   We are consciously working to still our mind. We are focusing on the present moment, with the realization that we cannot control anything else than our own  experience at that moment. The more we try to control things that are out of our control, the more resistance and suffering arises. The more we observe and develop the focus, surrendering the desire to control and develop our ability to observe, reflect and contemplate.

And so. Our life quest continues.

Namaste