Yoga with Animals

Goat Yoga. Bunny Yoga. Cat Yoga.

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The news headlines have been recently saturated with stories of yoga with different types of animals. So what are the benefits of doing yoga with animals?

Animals are often seen as companions. They can provide calm when we are stressed and provide comfort when we are lonely or sad. In a yoga class, animals can provide a sense of comfort and distraction. Many people feel overwhelmed or intimidated when in a yoga studio class. Looking around, it’s almost natural to compare ourselves to others in the class. With the addition of animals, one can be distracted from those feelings by focusing on the animals.

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Distraction can also be a negative side-effect of doing yoga with animals. The main purpose of yoga is to bring yourself into the present moment, to focus on the sensations of the body and the feelings within. Having animals roaming around the studio (or farm) can take away from that “being present” mindset. It can also distract you from focusing on your breath or on specific poses in the asana practice.

Either way, yoga with animals in on the incline. Studios across the country are beginning to offer classes with “social” animals and the reviews are more positive than negative. Maybe yoga with animals helps increase awareness, as you are having to focus on your yoga practice and try not to be distracted by the cute, fluffy bunnies. Maybe it’ll help to focus on the sounds and smells of the farm while the goats are chewing on their grass. Ultimately, yoga is what YOU make it, so give yoga with animals a go! Who knows, it may be the purrrrrrfect practice for you.

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Yoga for Kids

Let’s be honest, kids can often drive us bonkers. They are little bundles of high energy which, when combined with lack of sleep, can lead to exhaustion and frustration.

Yoga is a great tool not only to help kids use that energy but also to help instill a sense of calm and focus. Many kids have trouble focusing or sitting still, which can lead to other issues later on. Yoga can teach children tools and techniques to help them focus and sit still not only at home but at school and in many other situations.

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Here are just a few of the benefits yoga can have for children (and adults):

  1. Yoga promotes non-competition.
  2. Yoga promotes self-acceptance and awareness.
  3. Yoga promotes empathy.
  4. Yoga teaches techniques to focus and stay calm in difficult situations.
  5. Yoga supports and promotes positive mental health and coping strategies.

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So now that you’re convinced yoga is good for children, how do you teach them yoga? You don’t have to go through an entire 200 hour yoga teacher training. Though a short day or weekend training is recommended, here are some quick tips to teach basic yoga to children.

  1. Keep the practice FUN!
  2. Be high energy to promote high energy.
  3. Do the poses with the kids.
  4. If the kids are old enough, allow them to provide input on what poses they like.
  5. Build your class for your kids at their level.
  6. Keep the class fast paced.
  7. Use games, be playful. Yoga doesn’t have to be serious.
  8. Help the kids by adjusting them or assisting them.
  9. Use positive reinforcement.
  10. Use props/toys. (Meddy Teddy)

One of the key things to remember is that kids will be kids. They will get distracted, they will want to stop. Just go with the flow and see how the practice progresses over time! After a few weeks/months, you may see a difference!

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Yoga for Work Stress

Now that the holidays are over, many of us are dealing with the reality of going back to work. Many of us struggle to continue feeling the relaxation and renewal we gained through a vacation or simply having time off. Even after a long weekend, so many of us curse that dreaded Monday alarm. This is often because of the stress we feel from our jobs. Every job has stress, whether you work at a computer all day or you work with people, stress is a factor. This stress often illicit physical and mental reactions, resulting in a negative association with our jobs or workplace.

Here are some yoga tips to help mitigate that workplace stress:

First, before doing any physical poses, when you feel stressed take a few deep breaths.

Then, continue on to do a few yoga poses at your desk to help reduce some of that work place stress. Here are some examples:

Seated Crescent Moon Pose

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Chair Pigeon Pose

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Sit and Stand Chair Pose


Desk Chaturanga (push-up)


Desk Downward/Upward Dog Pose

Credit: Women World

Seated Cat/Cow

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Repeat each pose as desired, or as much as you have time for. Also remember to breathe throughout the pose. Hold each pose for 5-10 breaths to receive full benefits for stress reduction.

Hopefully these will help in transitioning back to reality.

*All images are from Google Images

A New New Year’s Resolution

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When each year comes to an end, we see so many advertisements about dieting, starting the new year off right. We see stories about new year’s resolutions, how to keep them, and what goals to stay away from. We get advice about how to many achievable goals and what to do if we don’t meet the expectations we’ve set for ourselves.

Let’s face it, resolutions can be hard to keep. Even when we add goals with the best of intentions, often we find ourselves “failing”. Instead of being a wonderful new beginning, New Year’s can bring on stress and feelings of letting ourselves down. So many of our goals are either vague, like “I will eat better in 2017”, or we don’t take into account that a goal may not be achievable, like “I will go to the gym for an hour every day”. These two examples can set us up for failure. Why put that on ourselves?

Instead of trying to change our whole lives in one go, why don’t we take small steps towards that larger goal? Back in 2015, I added the resolution to do yoga each and every day that year. Sadly, I did not achieve that goal. I did, however, push myself to do more yoga than I had ever done. In 2016, instead of saying I would do yoga every day, I told myself I would do something good for me each day, whether it was eating a salad, meditating, or even doing yoga. While this is a vague concept, I think it helped me with the first step of embracing a yoga lifestyle, meaning I was becoming more present and aware in my life. By becoming more aware of how my body felt after a meal or what I was feeling in the morning, I was really attuned to what I wanted and what my body needed each and every moment of the day. From there, it was much easier for me to embrace yoga each and every day. In the mornings I soon observed that when I took time to meditate, I felt much better throughout the day. I also noticed that after just 15 minutes of yoga, I felt much more clarity and inner peace.

Ultimately, while I may not have done yoga every day this year, I am closer to reaching that goal. I have also successfully integrated meditation and pranayama (breathing practices) into my daily routine. This, combined with eating healthy based on my body’s needs and wants, has really illustrated that our goals are achievable. We just have to give ourselves a break and really start with creating self-awareness.

Cheers to 2017! Here’s to achieving greater awareness and being present.

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