4 Dangers of Ego on the Mat

I came to yoga from an athletic background (soccer, jiu jitsu, track and field!) and I thought yoga would help me meditate and calm my mind. I never thought it would be physically challenging or that I would have to “ease my way in”. Quite the opposite – I thought it would be a piece of cake! Read: I had a huge ego. My first yoga class was at the YogaWorks on Main St. in Santa Monica. They had a two-week special so I signed up and took the next class on the schedule. It was a “Vinyasa Flow 2/3”. I thought, “2 out of 3? Should be like... a medium-level class. I got this.” Twenty minutes into the class, I wanted to die. I looked around the class with disbelief that everyone else seemed fine. The thoughts on inside my head was probably being reflected on my face, because a girl took pity on me during handstands to give me some pointers and encouragement. I was so grateful for her support, as it made me feel a little less like a loser. Either way, my ego was totally bruised.

Now, I realize that there are dangers in bringing your ego onto the mat. Whether it's: expectations for yourself, stories you tell yourself about how something should look, or forcing yourself to power through every Chaturanga when you feel like you’re going to die - you’re not doing yourself any favors. And here are some reasons why.

1. Ego Keeps You Stagnant

Even though I was mentally cursing the teacher out during my entire first class, I kept going back to different classes (more appropriate Level 1, 1/2). I found that my ego actually needed a lot of humbling, and I was lucky to find a teacher who incorporates tough love into her teaching style – a style that fits perfectly with my big head. She always calls me out if I try something I'm not ready for, when I used to refuse to use props to help me access poses differently (don’t we all start yoga thinking we’re “too good” for props?), if and when I'm not being present, or when I simply need to be reminded that I am still a beginner (thanks Heather Seiniger!).

I realized quickly that ego gets in the way of our practice by telling us that we are already the best or that we know everything. What happens in that situation is that we tune our teachers and our guides out and blindly continue repeating habits that may not be working for us. In that regard, we remain stagnant instead of seeking the knowledge required for progress (because we incorrectly assume we already "know-it-all"). When a teacher offers the use of a prop (versus making in mandatory), often times students look around to see who else is using the prop to decide if they will use it, indulging their ego’s need to be at everyone else’s level or better. When I’m in class, I always use props when offered or I tune into my process to inform me where I’m at that day, versus looking around the room at others. What I’ve found is that now, I can actually inspire other students in class. By choosing what’s right for me regardless of what others are doing, I empower others to do the same and use props when they may not otherwise have.

2. Ego Makes Yoga Competitive

In a similar respect as the point above, ego leads us to become competitive with our practice. We see what others can do and assume we are less if we can’t do that, and we push ourselves to do those things. If we’re not physically ready for the pose we are forcing, we risk injury or we form bad habits. Practicing yoga in certain places (like in West Los Angeles) can feel like you’re in an acrobatic circus or with a room of competitive gymnasts versus a yoga class. You look around and people are doing handstands between Vinyasas as you're just trying to get through Chaturangas (which aren’t optional anymore in your mind and you don’t even consider child’s pose). You leave feeling like a loser.

The solution? Know you’re in the right place at the right time, and that you are doing the work necessary for your process. It’s okay to admire the practice of others, but know they have strengths and weaknesses too, just like you do (like we all do). Some people can learn how to do a handstand relatively easy and for others of us it takes years and years. On the contrary, handstand-folks probably can't do certain things as well as you can, or if they can - who cares! It’s all a journey, and seeing the capacity of others should inspire us to be our best self, to show up on the mat, to do the work in order to build the blocks to get to a certain level, rather than making us feel small, like we need to rush to get somewhere, or like we need to cut corners to be like others. The world knocks us down and beats us up enough on its own – let’s leave that behavior and those tendencies off the mat and learn to treat ourselves with love and kindness instead.

3. Ego Makes You Hurt Yourself

So, duh! I already mentioned it above but it’s worthwhile to give this point it’s own number. You’re gonna hurt yourself if you practice with your ego! Listening to our body and our intuition is the number one tool in yoga for staying safe, practicing with presence, and advancing in the practice. Ego overrides that and causes us to make emotional decisions in the moment versus ones that serve our highest Self. Imagine a scenario where you see someone else doing something you label as “cool” or “better-than-me”, like a bind, for example, so you yank our shoulder to accomplish it. The result is you end up in pain for a week, not able to do any yoga on that side, further setting yourself back and causing more harm that benefit. The person you see on the mat next to you doing a bind didn’t just show up one day and do it (most likely). They showed up on their mat day after day stretching and strengthening their back and shoulders in order to safely progress into it. And guess what? Some days, they probably can’t do it or it’s probably harder some times than others. Don’t let your ego write a check that your body can’t cash. Just chill, do the work, and know that the work of yoga resides in your reaction to the poses. It’s how you show up on the mat, not what you look like.

4. Ego Can be a Meanie

Egos can just be plain mean. It tends to tell us falsehoods about the world around us and leads us to see ourselves in either a heightened fashion or a negative fashion, but rarely does it lead us to a realistic perspective of where we are in life. I often say that the greatest benefit yoga offered me thus far in my life and practice is the ability to recognize my ego and to gently tuck it away on and off the mat. I’m not perfect by any means, but I do have an awareness now that when I use my intuition to think, feel, and act, versus the need to feed my ego, I find I’m a much happier and more pleasant individual overall.

Next time you get on your mat, consider closing your eyes for most of the practice, tuning inward to what your body and breath is telling you, and not giving a crap about what anyone else is doing or thinking. Make your practice loving and therapeutic for you. Stay present, listen to your teacher but also to your body and heart, and react calmly and compassionately towards yourself and others – then you might start to understand what a yoga practice is and the benefits it can provide for you off the mat.

Image: Werner Moser


The Difference Between Yoga and Pilates: Infographic

  Yoga and pilates are often thrown into the same category of exercise and wellness.  They both offer a chance to connect your mind with your body, but in what other ways are they similar, or how do they differ?  Yoga, on one hand, has been practiced for more than 5000 years, originating in India.  Pilates, however, begun in the mid-20th century, named after the athlete Joseph Pilates.  Both exercises indeed offer an opportunity to connect your mind and body, but yoga goes one step further and introduces the connection of your inner spirit.  Many of the lessons or challenges you face in a yoga class can be directly transferred to real life situations.  In this case, it’s beneficial to have a kind and balanced spirit when off the mat.  Pilates offers classes that are much more structured than yoga, focusing on strengthening your back and core muscles while a typical yoga class will engage every muscle, but not always in the same way.  If you are someone wanting to know what to expect in a class, perhaps a pilates class will be more inviting.  Take a look below, and when in doubt, try both!


Pilates or Yoga: Which Practice is for You? "Pilates or Yoga" on Health Perch




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What is Kundalini Yoga?

The yoga of spirituality, Kundalini Yoga.


There are a lot of strange new age practices and philosophies out there that you may have heard of, and Kundalini yoga is probably one of them. For a yoga class, this one breaks the mould and gets right into the transcendence part of the yoga practice through meditation, chanting and repetitive, rhythmic movements. If you have heard of Kundalini yoga it is probably in reference to being a little wierd and very spiritual, where the teacher wears a turban and makes you bark like a dog, dance with your eyes closed or even flop like a fish on your yoga mat. You’ve probably also heard of how amazingly transformative this practice can be at developing greater awareness and balance within one’s life. If you haven’t heard of it at all, it is definitely a practice to be considered if you would like to span into the more spiritually focussed and meditative aspects of the yoga lineage.



Even though this style of yoga has been adopted by a lot of new age spirituals, it is an ancient practice discussed within the ancient scriptures of the Upanishads and alluded to in the Rig-veda. It is an energetic yoga that seeks to access the Kundalini energy within the body. The kundalini is defined as a snake coiled at the base of the spine, or a goddess type of energy which is being adopted more internationally as we grow collectively into the Age of Aquarius. It is a popular style of yoga in Germany, across Europe and South America.

The pioneer of Kundalini yoga for North America is the late Yogi Bhajan who came overseas along with B.K.S. Iyengar, Bikram Choudhury and Sri Patthabi Jois. Yogi Bhajan travelled to the land of opportunity to teach Kundalini yoga. Originally he was invited by the University of Toronto to teach and eventually moved to Los Angeles to cultivate his following. Like his yoga counterparts he had a very ‘tough love’ approach in his teachings. Yogi Bhajan lectured extensively and his works are still being catalogued by the Kundalini Research Institute. You can access his teachings for free online through the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings. He developed an NGO and named it Healthy Happy Holy Organization, or 3HO, this is  a literal description of what he believed to be the goal for every human being to discover within themselves while alive on this earth. Yogi Bhajan’s work with 3HO on peacefulness has even been reviewed and supported at the United Nations. A proponent of interreligious dialogue, he introduced the International Peace Prayer Day in 1985 which has become quite celebrated annually in New Mexico.

The practice of Kundalini yoga can be described as a combination of all of the yogas but more specifically Raj and Tantra Yoga. As the Hatha yoga language comes from Sanskrit, the classical language of Hinduism; Kundalini yoga language comes from Gurmukhi, the classical language of Sikhism. Both yogas however precede all religion. Kundalini yoga is known to have been practiced over 500 years before religion and has evolved through the teachers and schools of education in Punjab of Pakistan and India. Originally Kundalini yoga was taught in secret, practiced by only elite royals and spirituals. As Sikhism was adopted as a faith beyond the caste system, Kundalini yoga opened up to the public.

What is Kundalini Yoga? - www.YogaTravelTree.com


How Kundalini Yoga Works

Using breath, mantra and yogic postures, Kundalini yoga strengthens the nervous and glandular systems. It is told to awaken the energetic body through the chakras and that the energy is accessed through the base of the spine. Each class is taught with a ‘kriya’, which is a set of unique postures and chants to bring about a specific outcome such as increased love, prosperity, flexibility, etc. There are over thousands of kriyas available and each help to access and combine the mind, body and spirit.

Kundalini yoga is for those who wish to seek a deeper experience of themselves. The rhythmic, repetitive movements help one in better understanding of how their mind works. I’d like to call it the yoga of the multitasking mind. It requires so much focus to breath, chant, and perform the postures that there is no availability for the brain to loose itself in thought. Sometimes your eyes need to be closed, looking up into your third eye as you say a mantra accessing your second chakra while you hold a mildly complex mudra with your hands and move your body in and out of a posture for an unknown length of time. This can be maddening to some individuals, but if you keep with the class and let go of your limitations, the self-discovery in perserverance and strength is immediate and effective.

When practiced regularly it gives you the ability to put aside your thoughts and to focus more clearly on the truth of the experience of life. Devinder Kaur, a Kundalini Yoga teacher and owner of Pranashanti Yoga studio in Ottawa, Canada explains

“It has helped me make better, quicker decisions, to think more clearly and also gain more physical stamina and endurance.”

Others have said they feel healthier and more energized, their eyes are clearer and their moods more balanced.

Most of the chanting in Kundalini yoga is in Sanskrit or Gurmukhi and sometimes they are simple sounds to access different areas of the body, chakras, mouth and skull. This sound component helps to create better communication. When practicing in such deep focus, and speaking out loud as you meditate, you are able to become conscious of your own sound. Dr. Sat Bir Singh author of “Your Brain on Yoga” and an avid Kundalini practitioner discusses continuously how beneficial yoga, chanting and meditation is to the body and mind. The mantras in Kundalini yoga help to vibrate the internal body, clearing passageways for greater healing and physical awareness.


What to Expect in Class

The classes range in difficulty, some are more dynamic classes and others are more meditative. The teacher is dressed all in white and you are encouraged to do the same. White maintains the internal energy while reflecting external energy. Teachers generally cover their hair or even wear a turban which is believed to maintain meditative focus on the third eye as well as hold energy as the Crown Chakra may become sensitive after prolonged periods of meditation. The turban also relates closely to the Sikh tradition though you do not need to be Sikh to teach Kundalini yoga.

The teachers will most likely hold a spiritual name that seems foreign to the tongue. Names that end in the word ‘Singh’ are male and ‘Kaur’ are female. These spiritual names can be easily obtained through the 3HO website and are hand-picked through the use of numerology by one of Yogi Bhajan’s dedicated followers.

What is Kundalini Yoga? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Kundalini yoga is a yoga class with intention.There is a physical and energetic explanation to every posture, even if it is simply meant to make you laugh. Sometimes you find yourself doing the most ridiculous things that might even have been created just to get you to loosen up and have some fun. Once I found myself walking around the room with my hands grasping my ankles where I was to pretend that I was a heavy elephant, greeting my friends as we pass each other in the classroom. In absolute hilarity, it gets my spirit excited, it loosens my body and my mind and helps me to centre into meditation more effectively.

The beauty of Kundalini yoga, that makes it stand out from other styles of yoga is the sound vibration that is used within the classes. Interacting with the external environment is stimulating, rather than practicing silently with one teacher speaking, the use of music and sounds help to engage the student to go deeper. Sometimes they sing the mantras with music which helps to keep the pace and more devotion of the students within the class.

It became popular in the 60s to end every Kundalini yoga class with a song by a Scottish group named the Incredible String Band “May the Longtime Sun Shine Upon You” which has now become a world prayer. If you’re lucky your teacher has chimes or even a gong to elevate your experience. There is nothing so incredible than lying, exhausted and peacefully in Savasana as a teacher lightly taps a large gong, getting louder and louder, engulfing your body and the entire room in full vibration.

Finishing a Kundalini yoga class, it is appropriate to say ‘Sat Nam’ instead of ‘Namaste’. It is traditionally repeated three times all together. ‘Sat Nam’ generally means “in truth” and when repeated three times I have heard that the first time, is in truth to yourself, the second time is for truth of your family and your friends, and the third is in truth to the universe and beyond.


In Kundalini yoga you can learn to heal yourself physically, mentally and spiritually through meditation and prostration. A higher consciousness and the discovery of the sacred purpose of your life is the overall goal. When relaxing into the rhythmic motions, the chanting and focussed meditation, a deeper level of consciousness is obtained. The resistance and mental blockages in your life dissolve completely into your practice. As you open to Kundalini yoga, you are able to drop away self-limiting ideals and absorb into a space of peace, tranquility and internal strength that shines bright within you throughout your day.


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What is Hatha Yoga?

  The practice and tradition of yoga throughout the ages encompasses many branches, schools, traditions, and theories that focus on various aspects. Some incorporate philosophy, some teach anatomy heavily, while some focus just on the asana (or poses) of yoga. Even certain yogic words might’ve meant one thing centuries ago that have now evolved to have different meanings or applications. The definitions and meanings of certain words make more sense in the context of history. So what is Hatha yoga, in the context of history and how is it used and understood in the Western world today? [wp_ad_camp_1]

‘Hatha’ Historically

The word hatha has numerous translations. It can be said to mean ha (sun) and tha (moon). Combined with yoga, “to bind, yoke, join”, it’s alludes to the balancing of our internal and external worlds. Practicing yoga helps us to find balance from within and in our lives. We all embody energies of the sun (fiery, masculine energy) and of the moon (calming, cool, feminine energy), which can seem to conflict at times. However, we are healthiest when our seemingly opposite parts are in alignment and work together to help us be our highest self. Yoga is a pathway towards finding balance on the mat, and then taking this balance into all aspects of our life (goals, dreams, work, relationships, social life, and more). We find balance between strength and flexibility, between effort and letting go, and between the masculine and feminine through a yoga practice. There is a lot more to learn about this by studying Kundalini, energy flow, and how our spinal column is involved in the process of creating balance. Another definition of Hatha is ‘willful’ or ‘forceful’. There are eight limbs in Yoga that serve as a framework to follow on the yogic pathway, which are at the core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Some aspects are physical, some are mental, and some are spiritual. The eight limbs are: Yama (one’s integrity and ethical standards), Niyama (self discipline and spiritual observances), Asana (or the yoga postures, most commonly practiced limb in the West), Pranayama (known as breath control), Pratyahara (sensory withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (a state of ecstasy). Historically, since Hatha is said to mean forceful, Hatha yoga can be used to describe any of the physical practices of yoga. Perhaps these methods seemed to require more willpower to do than the other limbs of yoga. In this context, Hatha yoga can be used to describe all physical practices of yoga including Iyengar, Vinyasa, or Ashtanga. The way it’s used by most yoga studios and teachers, especially in the West, is different than this historical usage, however. It has evolved to refer to something different.

What Hatha Yoga Means Today

Hatha yoga now commonly refers to classes without flows between the poses, and the classes tend to be basic or gentle in nature (though not always). Breath work is commonly taught and there is a focus on proper alignment and anatomy, and typically meditation or chanting is included. The majority of yoga classes that a yogi will take are sure to incorporate aspects of or sequencing from Hatha Yoga, as it is very influential to all forms of yoga.

What To Expect In a Hatha Yoga Class

The beauty of yoga is that we all have different interpretations of yoga and it’s teachings. A Hatha Yoga Class on a studio’s schedule can mean many different things based on the studio, who’s teaching it, the time of day, and the level. Hatha is said to be more traditional, so it’s a great way to get an introduction to yoga and to learn the poses (it will typically move slower that a vinyasa flow class would). That’s not to say it won’t be challenging, though! Holding poses for longer periods of time can be challenging on our ego and our mind, so this might be good for certain practitioners. Hatha Yoga incorporates many lessons through the sequencing of the classes, and the teacher might use Sanskrit names for poses, might teach a little bit of philosophy or history, and might have the class “Om” before and after the asana practice, as examples. You will find many different ways to transform through Hatha yoga and to be present in each and every moment.


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5 Best Yoga DVD's for Beginners

[wp_ad_camp_1] Are you new to yoga? Have you been unable to get yourself to a yoga 101 or a beginners yoga workshop? No need to fear! There are a few awesome yoga videos that you can check out, which will take your through a beginner’s sequence as well as get you started to a practice in which you can take anywhere at any age.


1. Smart Start Yoga brought to you by Gaiam

In this video, your hosts Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman take you through sequences and demonstrate poses such seated chair poses and standing poses that help you re-center and rebalance. They will work on twists, stretches and alignment, which you can continue to practice anytime and whether you're at your desk or in the airport. If you have a busy schedule and are new to yoga, this is the video for you!

5 Best Yoga DVD's for Beginners - www.YogaTravelTree.com

2. Rodney Yee’s AM/PM

Rodney Yee once again is the featured yogi. In this view you get two yoga sessions to help you to feel energized and restored each day. The first is an morning segment with Rodney Yee introducing gentle yoga poses at sunrise on the shores of Maui to awaken your body an evening yoga session which will restore your body. The evening session is guided by Patricia Walden.


3. Yoga For Beginners: STRETCH by Claire Austen

Claire Austen’s goal with this video is to bring yoga to those who have never tried it. She wants you to move, breathe, stretch and be full of energy. This video is a blend of Hatha, Kundalini and Vinyasa yoga. You will find it the all in one workout, which will encourage your body’s flexibility as a newbie to this thing called “yoga”. You can choose to practice one of the seven short, ten minute segments or you can choose to do the entire 70 minute series from beginning to end. Each segment includes a warm up, stretch and flex.


4. Kundalini Yoga for Beginners & Beyond by Ana Brett and Ravi Singh

This DVD has everything you need as a beginner to the practice of yoga. You will increase your flexibility, build strength, increase aerobic efficiency, relieve stress, and take care of your body. You will be able to this all in a fun and exciting way. This workout features two 25 minute sequences which can be done independently or together. The first series is called Rise and Spine, which which will help you maintain a healthy back and kick your energy into high gear. The second series features a fun version of the ‘Five Tibetan”, which are exercises that keep you feeling young and full of energy.

5 Best Yoga DVD's for Beginners - www.YogaTravelTree.com


5. www.doyogawithme.com

This site is awesome! Doyogawith.com was founded by David Procyshyn with the vision of providing yogis with a place to practice with out feeling apprehensive about attending a class if they are inexperienced. The site features a variety of teachers and styles, Fiji McAlpine, is one of my personal favorite teachers who has videos available on the site. The site It has tons of classes for beginners and advanced practitioners, not to mention this site is absolutely free. Like I said, this site kicks serious butt. You can find lots of different classes for beginners such as yoga for the upper and lower back, core, legs, arms and back, it also has prenatal, Kundalini and lots of flows. The site is supported by donations and the purchasing of the classes and DVDs.


Images via: @gaiam, @helenmet

What is Bikram Yoga?

[wp_ad_camp_1] If you are like me when it comes to yoga, I will try just about everything out there. And if you find yourself habitually broke, like me you will especially check out any new studio if there is promotion going on at said studio.

It was on a cold-ish Los Angeles evening that I passed a new studio that was offering “Bikram Yoga” for a deal--20 days for $20, while enroute to meeting the girls for a drink. It was 2005, was in college, broke, obsessed with yoga and immediately sold. I told myself that the next day I would return to the studio and check it out.

But what was Bikram Yoga? I had no idea, but, like any inquiring mind and body, I went to explore a bit more. This is what I learned about Bikram upon using my 20 days for $20:


Twenty-Six is a Magical Number

Bikram Yoga is a twenty-six posture sequence that is based on Hatha Yoga practices. During these twenty-six postures, you will systematically work every part of the body. It will give all the internal organs, all the veins, ligaments and muscles everything that they need to maintain optimum health as well as function. Each component of the sequence works to take care of some different aspect of the body, however they all work together to contribute to the success of each other and to increase the benefits of the practice.

What is Bikram Yoga? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury is “The Man”

Bikram Choudhury is the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India. He was born in Calcutta in 1946 and began the practice of yoga at the age of four with India’s most influential physical culturalist, Bishu Ghosh. While he was a child, he practiced yoga between four to six hours a day. He competed and won the National India Yoga Championship at the age of thirteen as was undefeated for three years. He later went on to design these twenty-six poses within the “Bikram” sequence which can be practiced regardless of age of ability.


You Can’t Just Practice Bikram Anywhere

Bikram can only be practiced under the teaching of a certified “Bikram” yoga instructor at a Bikram affiliated yoga studio. These studios are built specifically for Bikram yoga so that they can be heated properly, which allows the practitioner to safely enter and exit all of the 26 postures. Bikram has a name for these studios that follows his particular style of yoga, they are called “Torture Chambers”.


How it Works

Bikram works through the tourniquet effect. This means that by using gravity, the blood supply in the arteries is cut off, which creates pressure. When this pressure has built up and then released, it causes the blood to rush through the veins and arteries, and allows the toxins to be flushed out.


I Felt Dizzy as FCUK

It is totally normal to want to toss up your lunch after a class. I spent a good part of the class feeling as though I could pass out at any moment, and I had drank two litres of water the hour before class. So for those of you who do not consume massive amounts of liquids throughout the day, Bikram, might not be the best choice for you. The practice of Bikram in a heated environment forces us to examine our present condition and to force us to take better care of our bodies. For me, I knew that 2 Litres of water during the day was not enough. Because of this realization, I now carry around a water bottle with me wherever I go and refill it as needed throughout the day.

What is Bikram Yoga? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

The Room is as Hot as Balls

In the Bikram practice, the room is heated to at least 105 degrees fahrenheit and has about 40% humidity. There are a few reasons for this. The humidity keeps the body from overheating (though this seems counter intuitive), it protects the muscles and helps the body more deeply stretch, provides detoxification for the body, thins the blood, increases heart rate and improves strength in muscle tissue.


Stretchy, Stretchy Goes My Body

Not only does Bikram yoga promote stretching and keeps your muscles elastic, it promotes strength and balance. You will notice that your abdominals might need strengthening or your hips might need stabilizing, instead of just using strength training to increase increase your muscle ability, you can always practice Bikram, it will also strengthen and stretch your muscles and will make you more aware of your body’s needs.


Images via: @bikramyogasouthport

GMO's: The Good, the Bad, the Truth

You have been hearing and seeing it everywhere: Contains No GMOs. But what does that really mean? Are GMOs really that bad for us? Can they really be found in many everyday foods that one buys at the grocery store? You wanted the low-down on GMO, so here it is!


What is a GMO?

A GMO is a “genetically modified organism”, which is a plant or an animal that has been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These combinations of genes cannot be found in natural crossbreeding or found in nature.


Why Do We Use GMOs?

Its all about production. GMOs are capable of withstanding herbicide and insecticides, so that even with the use of these chemicals, the final product (what we consume) will not be lost. In simpler terms, the chemicals that kill weeds and bugs wont kill crops. If the crop can still be harvested, then it can be sold in stores, thus making it more profitable for the corporate farmer. Farmers will have a higher yield at the end of day with the use of GMOs.

The initial idea behind GMOs was for protection against diseases that were transmitted from insects to the crop, and the way in which farmers achieve this is through insect, virus, and bacteria resistant genes.


What Makes These Plants Insect and Bacteria Resistant?

Insect resistance is achieved by giving the plants a gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (BT). This particular toxin is currently used as an insecticide in agriculture and is safe for human consumption, but this in of itself is controversial. It is considered toxic to insects, thus not something that one should consume.

Plants are virus resistant through the introduction of a gene from certain viruses which cause disease in plants, similar to a flu vaccine, which is a small amount of the flu to make your body resistant to the strain.  Making plants immune to certain viruses results in higher crop yields.

Herbicide tolerance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from a bacterium which is resistant to some herbicides so that in areas where there is high weed growth, farmers can use this bacteria to kill off all of the weeds, which stuck the nutrients from the plant. This also results in higher crop yields, once again the bottom line.

GMO's: The Good, the Bad, the Truth - www.YogaTravelTree.com

What Are the Potential Risks of Consumption of GMOs to Our Health?

There are two main concerns with the use of GMOs. The first being gene transfer. The transfer of genes from genetically modified foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material has adverse affects on human health. This is relevant if antibiotic resistant genes which were used in creating GMOs were transferred. Although the probability of transfer is low, the potential is there. Why is this such as big deal you wonder? If certain plants transfer their antibiotic resistance to humans, then traditional antibiotics would no longer be effective as treating illnesses in humans.

The second concern is outcrossing. Outcrossing is the movement of genes from genetically modified plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild. It is also the mixing of crops derived from conventional seeds with those grown using genetically modified ones. This may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security. This risk is real. An example of “outcrossing” happened in the United States when traces of a maize product which, was only approved for animal feed use, appeared in maize products specific for human consumption. Several countries have adopted strategies to reduce this gene mixing, some strategies include a clear separation of the fields within which genetically modified crops and conventional crops are grown. Nothing is perfect though, there is still a serious risk of cross-contamination.


Is There An Environmental Concern With Using GMOs?

One of the issues that are concerning with the use of GMOs is the capability of the GMO to escape and potentially introduce the engineered genes into wild populations of plants. Another issue is the persistence of the gene after the GMO has been harvested, you don’t still want those nasty pesticide genes still lingering in your food do you!? One of the bigger issues with GMOs is the susceptibility of non-target organisms (e.g. insects which are not pests) to the gene product, think of what is happening to the honeybee. That insect is not a pest unless it stings you, but they are being killed off.


Are GM Foods Safe to Eat?

Unfortunately it is not possible to make a blanket statement about whether ALL GM foods are safe to consume. Each food items should be assessed on a case-by-case basis according to The World Health Organization. Foods that have passed inspection and all risk assessment are considered “safe” to eat.


Are All GMO Foods Labeled?

The American federal government does not require foods that contain GMOs to be labeled as such. However, in the US if you purchase foods that are certified to the USDA National Organic Standards, they will be GMO free. Also, if you purchase foods that are labeled as “Non-GMO” those are also certified to be free of any GMOs.


What’s the Bottom Line?

The bottom line is GMO foods, which have passed food safety inspections are considered “safe” to eat. Whether or not you should eat these foods is a personal decision. Some questions you can ask yourself the next time you're buying groceries are:

  • Can you afford the extra cost of purchasing Non-GMO products?
  • Is the human health concern enough to consume Non-GMO foods?
  • Is the environmental impact of GMOs big enough to warrant a change in eating habits?

If you find yourself answering yes to these questions, you should be eating organic, Non-GMO foods.

Images via: @majolayzo, @kanaharu_1230

4 Awesome Yoga Styles You've Never Heard About


Are you tired of the same flow at your Vinyasa studio? Are you still trying to figure out what yoga style speaks to you? Or maybe you are new to yoga and looking for “your style” or perhaps you have been practicing for a while and just are looking to get out and try something different. There are so many amazing styles of yoga out there just waiting for you to check out. Check out these lesser known, but equally as awesome yoga styles! Some of them are pretty out there, but don’t let that scare you. The crazier the yoga, the more amazing it ends up being!

1. Laughter Yoga

Did you know that your body can’t tell the difference between fake or real laughter? Well it can’t. So Dr. Madan Kataria from India developed this concept for well-being that has taken the world by storm! It helps you to instantly change your mood by releasing endorphins as you laugh the hour away. It can help manage stress, strengthen your immune system and bring more of a positive energy to your life! In class you will do short, goofy skits, poses and make silly faces at the other practitioners. Spending an hour laughing your ass will not only help you become more lighthearted, but it will help you to have more of a positive outlook on life. On of the goals of Laughter Yoga is to help make the tougher things in life easier to deal with. If you can learn to laugh about the tough stuff, it makes those difficult things seem more manageable.

2. Viniyoga

4 Awesome Yoga Styles You've Never Heard Of - www.YogaTravelTree.com

This style of yoga includes asana, pranayama, engaging of the bandhas, sounds-- including chanting, meditation, personal rituals and the study of ancient texts. The name Viniyoga comes from the Sanskrit term implying differentiation, adaptation, and appropriate application for the individual practitioner. The purpose of this differentiated approach is to make the process of self-discovery and personal transformation much more authentic. Teachers of Viniyoga help to bring out the very best in each person during the practice. You want to work with an actual chair as part of your practice of chair pose...not a problem in this awesome style of yoga!

3. Unnata Aerial Yoga

4 Awesome Yoga Styles You've Never Heard Of - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Unnata (pronounced “ooo-NAT--ahh”) is the Sanskrit term for “elevated” and it refers to elevated in a physical sense as well as spiritual. In Unnata Aerial Yoga the practitioner uses a circus hammock to support their body in the traditional yoga poses.The purpose of the hammock is to help the yogi achieve results quicker and safer. It is also helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of one’s body and yoga. in Unnata, the practitioner will achieve greater physical flexibility as well as mental flexibility and a calmer, more relaxed state of being.

4. Wall Yoga

4 Awesome Yoga Styles You've Never Heard Of - www.YogaTravelTree.com

The Yoga Wall principle has been around for decades and originally designed by BKS Iyengar in the form of ropes, which were attached to wall hooks to assist students in various yoga asana (poses). Now studios use padded belts, straps with recessed connections for a more comfortable and safer practice. There are many advantages of using the Yoga Wall. Some of which include the practitioner being able to hold the poses for longer, improved flexibility, and helps the practitioner progress faster in their asana practice. The Wall is also great tool to help the practitioner work on new poses safely and securely without the risk of injury. Building confidence on the wall will translate to more confidence on the mat! Haven’t we all just wanted to hang upside down while doing a seated forward fold?


Images via: @cubayoga@badkukie@nenesauter, @disni27,

Jivamukti Yoga: Compassion through Veganism & Activism


Practitioners of Jivamukti Yoga apply what they learn by challenging their core beliefs and lifestyle choices, living with awareness and consciousness on and off the mat, and by participating in activism in many ways

Searching for Inner Integration

Jivamukti Yoga is a distinctive practice of yoga that I learned about in my studies of yoga, activism, and veganism. I found that these things are what encompass the richness of Jivamukti Yoga. As an animal and evolutionary activist whose old habits of relating to the world include anger, despair, fear, and isolation, yoga has worked miracles in my life in terms of healing my body, mind, and soul. It allows me to be more functional, present and effective as an activist and as a human in the world. As I sit here writing these words, I am aware that the ability to sit still, focus, and channel my creativity is heightened by my yoga practice.

Through yoga, I have found an inner peace, love, and compassion for all beings – a different way to see things. This creates a distinct conflict with the fire, depression, and anger I feel inside from the way I perceive the world, those responsible for the suffering I witness daily, and those not doing anything to change it. When we experience these inner conflicts, we either resolve them or they manifest as various forms of mental illness. I felt a void in the separate identities I was embodying. I knew that “yoking” these seemingly disintegrated parts of myself was the next step on my journey, but how? Yoga can be translated as “to yoke”, or to unite, and that’s exactly what is happening. I embody all of my strengths as one identity, versus the separate parts of myself struggling to make sense of the world. Through my self-work, I have realized that if I want to make a difference in this world, my work must stem from a place of acceptance, love, hope, and non-judgment. I understand we really are all connected, even to those we seem to be “fighting against”. “Us versus them” is an illusion we perceive to be real, but we are all one, and though I know this intuitively, practicing it daily is an entirely different task.


What is Jivamukti Yoga?

Jivamukti Yoga: Compassion through Veganism and Activism - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Enter Jivamukti Yoga: a way of life, a journey to enlightenment by way of practicing compassion for all beings. Practitioners of this style of yoga don’t just practice on the mat and then leave it all behind. The well-rounded design of a Jivamukti class (which incorporates 5 tenants) enables the student to apply their practice to their overall relationship with the world, integrating all aspects of the practice into their being. They explore the true meanings of the yogic philosophies and apply them to all aspects of life. They seek connection with Oneness, and to dissolve the illusion that we are all separate. What we do to others, we do to our Self. What we do to our Mother Earth, we do to our Self. Stemming from this simple philosophy, the practice is more than a physical exercise to stay toned and fit. It is a path to enlightenment through beneficial and reciprocal relationships to all other beings, human and nonhuman, living or nonliving (think trees, plants, and more).

The founders of Jivamukti Yoga are Sharon Gannon and David Life. The information for this article was largely found on their official website: www.jivamuktiyoga.com. Jivamukti Yoga was created in 1984 in New York City. Sharon and David traveled to India many times, meeting and studying with their gurus, Swami Nirmalananda, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and in New York, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati. The teachings of these gurus and their experiences during this time shaped Jivamukti Yoga, whose teachings the gurus bless. Jivamukti Yoga interprets the Sanksrit word asana as “seat, connection” to the Earth and our relationship to all life on Earth. To practitioners of Jivamukti Yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.46: “sthira (consistent) sukham (joy and happiness) asanam (our relationship to all life on Earth)”, means our relationship to this Earth and its inhabitants should be one that is mutually beneficial for all and that comes from a place of joy and happiness. They believe that through living the practice (including adherence to ahimsa and veganism) and through activism, we can challenge the accepted norms of our culture and live in a world harmonious for all.

Sharon and David are dedicated, influential activists, working for many causes. They co-established, with Janet Rienstra of META Records, the Animal Mukti Free Spay & Neuter Clinic of the Humane Society of New York City in 1999, which provides free spay and neuter services to animals in the city. Jivamukti teachers help fundraise to keep the doors open, and the clinic estimates that they have reduced the number of euthanized animals in New York City by 37%. Sharon and David are long-standing Vanguard members of PETA, have been recognized as "Friends of Ferals" by the Humane Society of New York and Neighborhood Cats, and were awarded a Compassionate Living Award from Farm Sanctuary in 2008. In 2003, the vivacious and devoted couple established the Wild Woodstock Jivamukti Forest Sanctuary, which is a 125-acre wildlife refuge in upstate New York. Sharon and David have been widely recognized for their contributions to yoga and to activism in many areas. They were featured in Vanity Fair, on the Today Show, on PBS, and in Yoga Journal, to name a few.

How Jivamukti Yoga Classes Work

Jivamukti Yoga offers six different types of classes and a unique warm-up sequence. Depending on the type of class, the 5 tenants may be openly stated and discussed or simply guidelines that inform the practice. The 5 tenants below include quotes directly from jivamuktiyoga.com, in order to preserve the practice’s exact interpretations and definitions of each tenant. The name in parentheses next to each tenant is how the tenant might appear during a Jivamukti Yoga class.

  1. Ahimsa (Kindness) – “A nonviolent, compassionate lifestyle extending to other animals, the environment and all living beings, emphasizing ethical veganism and animal rights.”
  2. Bhakti (Devotion) – “Acknowledgment that God/Self-realization is the goal of all yoga practices; can be expressed through chanting, the setting of a high intention for the practice or other devotional practices.”
  3. Dhyana (Meditation) – “Meditation: connecting to that eternal unchanging reality within.”
  4. Nada (Music) – “The development of a sound body and mind through deep listening; can be incorporated in a class using recorded music, spoken word, silence or even the teacher’s voice.”
  5. Shastra (Meditation) – “Study of the ancient yogic teachings, including Sanskrit chanting, drawn from the Focus of the Month to the extent possible.”

The six type of classes Jivamukti Yoga features are:

  1. Open Class – A class appropriate for all yogis, beginning to advanced. It provides an open, welcoming environment where everyone practices at their pace. Teacher provides verbal and hands-on guidance, incorporating all classical yoga teachings, sutras, and more. The teachings may draw from the Focus of the Month essay, can include chanting, breath work, vinyasa flow, alignment adjustment and education, and relaxation/meditation. Common in Jivamukti Yoga is the role of the diverse and creative soundtrack you will hear in each class (having eclectic music is common, though every teacher will play a unique selection).
  2. Basic Class – Jivamukti offers a four-week fundamentals course. Each week focuses on a different theme of asanas. Week one is standing asanas, two is forward bending asanas, three is backward bending asanas, and four is inversions, meditation, and integrating all of the material. A Basic Class refers to a class in this course, and the emphasis in on alignment and proper use of props. The purpose is to help beginners set up a proper foundation so they can be smart and safe in the Open Class. It is also beneficial for intermediate and advanced students looking to deepen their practice.
  3. Spiritual Warrior – A one-hour, fast-paced, calorie-burning class designed for people on the go. It’s a fixed sequence taught in a vinyasa flow style. The structure retains the full-roundedness typical to Jivamukti Yoga, including a warm-up, chanting, intention setting, sun salutations, varied asanas, inversions, and meditation/relaxation.
  4. Beginner Vinyasa – An introduction to the principles and basics of a vinyasa (flow) practice. The focus is on alignment of breath and intention with movement. The sequence is set but at a slower pace that the Spiritual Warrior. It’s suitable for all levels of practitioners.
  5. Meditation – A class open to all who desire to learn meditation and requires no previous experience. Students learn the mantra “let go”. They are taught to: “Choose [a] seat, Be still, and Focus.” The goal is to release identification with the body and mind and to allow room for Self-realization to develop. The structure varies but typically starts with Sanskrit chanting, around 20 minutes of detailed meditation, a Q&A session with the instructor, and closing prayers.
  6. In-Class Private (ICP) – A unique experience where a private certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher attend a regular class with the student to assist them in correct alignment and with an understanding of the components of the class. A session includes a deep relaxation massage during shavasana (or final resting “corpse” pose).
  7. Magic Ten – A series of ten exercises done in about ten minutes as a warm up for class or first thing in the morning to loosen up the body.


The Emphasis on Veganism and Activism

Jivamukti Yoga: Compassion through Veganism and Activism - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Practitioners of Jivamukti Yoga believe that what we consume into our bodies, where we live our lives, and with whom we live are physical things, just like “asana” or the yoga poses. The practice becomes a way to truly know oneself and to overcome avidya, or “the ignorance that distorts one’s perception of oneself and others”. Practitioners seek Self-realization through this exploration of the true and practical implications of our actions and of our relationship to the Earth.


Jivamukti Yoga teaches that what we choose to consume with our fork and knife is an important choice with many implications. Animals raised for food are thought of as slaves that are deprived of rights and respects and ultimately slaughtered. They believe that we ourselves can never be happy or free if we continue to cause unhappiness to others and deprivation of their freedoms and lives. We are all one, so what we do to animals and other humans on this earth, we are doing to our Self. The Yamas are known as the fundamental ethical precepts of yoga and teach us that the path to happiness and freedom comes from: not harming others (including animals); truthfulness to all (including our Self); refraining from the perception we are lacking (thus needing to steal); respect of our sexual energy; and not coveting or taking what others have (including their lives). Jivamukti Yoga teaches that the industries involved in raising our food operate on precepts opposite of the Yamas, and that when we consume their products, we cannot truly find freedom and happiness. The fork can cause destruction or promote peace, and the choice is ours. They believe the best way to uplift our lives, spirits, and health is to adopt a vegan diet and lifestyle (which includes not wearing the skins, furs, or other body parts of animals, not using products tested on animals or containing animal ingredients, and more).


Jivamukti Yoga perceives the world as an expanded Self of our own, and says we belong to Earth (the Earth does not belong to us). It is our duty to love and protect our Mother Earth and its in inhabitants. Environmentalism, Political Activism, Animal Activism and Rescue work, and Charity are direct focuses of practicing Jivamukti Yoga. Find out more details here.

Exploring Further

Learning about Jivamukti Yoga has been extremely exciting for me. It’s a breath of fresh air to learn there is an international community of Yogis dedicated to the work I am passionate about and are integrating all parts of their Self to be effective forces of change in the world. I have unknowingly and unofficially been a practitioner of this art form for many years. Jivamukti Yoga is unique not necessarily in that the poses or structure of classes are much different than other forms of yoga. It’s different in that there is no separation between what is taught and practiced on the mat and how one chooses to live their life, taking the teachings and principles with them in all realms, even when it can be challenging. Many yogis practice ahimsa during their yoga practice, yet continue to directly inflict harm on other beings through their lifestyle choices or separate themselves from critical social, human, and political justice issues, labeling them too confrontational or stressful. Practitioners of this art understand the task before us is to spread our consciousness into areas of our life and all areas of life for others, even places where the challenge seems insurmountable (like in the case of true political democracy or injustice to animals). Jivamukti Yoga is not simply related to the body, “stretching,” or “asana” as veganism is not simply related to food, “a weight loss technique,” or “a health diet”. They are both unified and integrative ways of life. Practitioners of Jivamukti Yoga apply what they learn by challenging their core beliefs and lifestyle choices, living with awareness and consciousness on and off the mat, and by participating in activism in many ways. They understand that we are all responsible for creating a healthy Earth and for taking action to create change.

There are hundreds of classes, trainings, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings in Jivamukti Yoga going on around the world. The official centers are Charleston, SC, Jersey City, NJ, New York City, NYC Jivamuktea Café, Sydney, Australia, Whistler, BC, Berlin, Germany: KreuzbergBerlin, Germany: Mitte, Munich, Germany: City Center, Munich, Germany: Schwabing, and London, though there are affiliates and events in other areas. Teachers of Jivamukti Yoga must undergo special training in the art form. I’d love to hear from those who practice this beautiful art or are interested in learning more about it. I would love to bring Jivamukti Yoga to my parts of the world: Costa Rica and parts of California. I can be reached at Rima@costarima.com. The possibilities for growth, hope, and change are endless.

All of the information regarding Jivamukti Yoga and interpretation of Sanskrit from Jivamukti Yoga philosophies were found on www.jivamuktiyoga.com. Rima Danielle Jomaa is not affiliated with nor a representative of Jivamukti Yoga at the time of this writing and was not endorsed or compensated to write this article in any way, monetary or otherwise. This is purely an investigative article meant to introduce people to the art and teachings of Jivamukti Yoga. www.jivamuktiyoga.com reserves all rights over any information reflected in this article.


Rima Danielle Jomaa is from Los Angeles, California. She has an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. Rima is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (taking board examinations this summer, IMF 63338), a Registered Yoga Alliance yoga instructor, a Level One Reiki practitioner, a hypnotherapist, and an advocate for the rights of human and nonhuman animals through her work as an activist, nutrition advocate, educator, and healer. She encourages anyone she encounters to take responsibility for their own health, happiness, and freedom. Rima enjoys being active in the community in many various ways. She appears in various yoga productions and writes on a variety of topics for different websites. Rima is a student of evolutionary activism, she regularly practices yoga, meditates, surfs, bikes, skateboards, and cooks vegan cuisine.

Rima currently lives part-time between Santa Teresa, Costa Rica and Southern California. She hosts groups of all kinds for retreats in Costa Rica, among other things. Her long-term goal and vision, along with her business partner, is to open a Residential Treatment Center for adolescents and young adults in Costa Rica. It will be designed with a holistic, yoga-based curriculum where the clients will grow their food, harvest their food, prepare their food, and be fully immersed in nature and their surroundings. Find out more about all of this on her website. More information about Rima can be found here. Join her on Facebook, Twitter, PinterestInstagram, or Google Plus!

 Images via: @thesanctuaryhk@drifterandthegypsy, @mimichenyoga,


Turn up the Heat! Hot Yoga for Dummies

If you’re one of those confused about the types of hot yoga and the pros and cons to these types of practices, look no further! I’ll demystify the world of hot yoga and provide some considerations for beginners and yogi veterans alike.

What is the benefit to participating in hot yoga?  In a nutshell, the most commonly referenced benefit is that heat allows the muscles and joints to achieve greater range of motion, thus (theoretically) improving flexibility and deepening the benefit sustained from the pose. I can personally attest to that result - but the effect is best maintained with regular hot practice. I've found the heat also increases heart rate and, depending on the type of yoga being practiced, may increase the cardiovascular challenge. Many people find the heat improves their focus and leaves them feeling more rejuvenated, both physically and mentally, after hot yoga classes. Of course, because there is increased sweat produced, there is also greater potential for weight loss and detoxification. Because of the broad scope of benefits, hot yoga makes an excellent compliment to fitness routines and athletic training.

There are two major disciplines of hot yoga; however, many studios offer “hot yoga” classes not specific to either discipline. Most likely, a class in this category will be an otherwise “normal” class for that studio that is just performed in a heated room (i.e. heated vinyasa, heated power yoga class, etc).


Bikram yoga

Bikram is the original hot yoga. Originally founded by Bikram Choundhury to help improve his flexibility after an injury, this type of yoga has exploded in popularity and it has not come without controversy. I like to think of Bikram yoga as the Starbucks of hot yoga classes - no matter where you go, you know exactly what you’re going to get. The flow of the class is exactly the same every time at every studio - 26 postures (each held twice per side) in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes.  Water breaks are built into the script of the class and additional breaks are discouraged. For a studio to offer a Bikram class, the teacher needs to be certified through an intensive nine-week course and essentially recite the same script while standing on a podium. Class structure is very militant and each pose comes with a strict progression, with the argument being that if you cannot achieve a part of the pose (for example, keeping your raised leg straight in Standing Head to Knee pose), you are still achieving the benefit of the pose by focusing first on correcting that fault.

Moksha (Modo) yoga

Moksha yoga was born of previous Bikram practitioners who sought more variety in their practice and flexibility in their studios, including aspects not specific to the practice itself.  One example of this is utilization of environmentally-friendly hardwood flooring, a contrast to carpet flooring required in Bikram studios.  Classes of the Moksha discipline varying in length and format with no script in a slightly cooler room (just below 100 degrees Farhenheit) and water breaks are encouraged.

hot yoga for dummies yogatraveltree


Turning the heat up:

  • Hot yoga classes can be more pricey than the average yoga class, but don’t fret! Groupon and LivingSocial are always offering deals for local studios and this is a great way to try it out!
  • It is difficult to prepare for what your first class will feel like.  In my case, I had a terrible pseudo-hangover the next day. I had bought a Groupon and I was going to get my money’s worth, darn it! So I returned the next day and I am so glad I did; each subsequent class went much more smoothly.  Just drink lots of water ahead of time (as well as bring some along), wear minimal layers, and bring at least a large towel to cover your mat (and possibly a smaller one for your face).
  • It may be worth asking the studio ahead of time how they heat the room.  Most use a combination of forced air and space heaters; however, I attended class at one studio that used radiant heat from the floor.  Unfortunately, we didn’t know this ahead of time and it was my husband’s first yoga class ever.  He was not able to seek relief on the floor because, well, that was the hottest place of the room!  He had to leave and that is heavily frowned upon in many hot classes. It was not a pleasant experience!
  • There are some medical considerations before beginning a hot yoga practice.  Individuals with certain neurological (i.e. multiple sclerosis) and cardiac conditions may not be good candidates for hot yoga practice.  I would also add that individuals with hypermobility syndromes should use caution with hot yoga classes.  A major selling point of hot yoga classes is that the heat deepens the stretch, but for some this places them at additional risk for injury.  If you have concerns, it is always best to talk to you doctor before starting a new exercise program.

I will end with an observation I’ve made regarding the final savasana in Bikram classes (and perhaps Moksha, too): savasana is the final pose, but for all intents and purposes is considered optional.  Students seldom stay for any significant length of time - now whether that’s due to competing for shower time in a small studio or hot yoga attracting busy Type A’s on the go, I can’t say for sure.  But don’t let hustle and bustle around you intimidate you into staying for a nice savasana - arguably, its more important after a hot yoga class to recover and relax (and bring your heart rate down!) than after a traditional yoga practice.


Rachel Wiegand has been an athlete her whole life but yoga has been the only constant throughout moves and life changes. A former personal trainer, she is now a practicing chiropractor in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and enjoys helping patients find a physical activity that fits their lifestyle best. In addition to yoga, she practices Pilates and is an avid Crossfitter. On her weekends you can find her teaching yoga at CrossFit Sheboygan, with her hubby at Lake Michigan on her paddleboard, or at the dog park with her boxer, Dug.

Images via: @dobieking, @marcemag