a blog by Ellen Davies

Teaching Yoga

Centering

Centering

Sometimes the hardest part of a yoga class is the first part: centering. As a teacher, I am always second-guessing myself here: Is this too much time? Should I move on? Did I already say that thing about your breath? Should I say it again? […]

What is Yin yoga?

What is Yin yoga?

I am excited to announce that I am now certified to teach Yin yoga. “That’s great,” you’re thinking to yourself. “But what the heck is Yin yoga?” Yin yoga doesn’t conform easily to the so-called elevator pitch, but I will do my best to describe […]

Do the words “hatha” and “vinyasa” mean anything anymore?

Do the words “hatha” and “vinyasa” mean anything anymore?

Have you noticed that sometimes it’s hard to pick a yoga class? The words “hatha” and “vinyasa” don’t always mean the same thing, from one studio to the next, and even from one teacher to the next. Recently I took one of each class at […]

Yoga teacher stories: Two Hot Guys

Yoga teacher stories: Two Hot Guys

This is a true story. Several years ago, I was scheduled to sub for my friend Anne’s Wednesday noon yoga class at the Y. That morning, however, I really didn’t feel like teaching. I spent a lot of time complaining to my friend, Kelly, about […]

Modifications are good for your teacher

Modifications are good for your teacher

When you take a yoga class, how much do you modify? My post from the other day, about ending up in the “wrong” yoga class, got me thinking about modifications. Many people don’t modify, which frustrates me as a teacher. No matter how often I […]

Yoga props: do you use them?

One of my yoga teacher friends used to say: Yoga props are your friends, and it’s always good to have a friend by your side. I love that saying. But some yogis are resistant and don’t use props. I have helpfully sorted them into categories. […]

“I can’t even touch my toes!”

“I can’t do yoga–I can’t even touch my toes!” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that line from someone, I would have a lot of nickels. This seems to be the most common deflecting response when some people hear that I’m […]

just call me the yoga goddess

After my regular Saturday morning Power Yoga class a few weeks ago, one of my regulars said something that made me think. He said, “Ellen, you’re just the goddess of this class!” I kind of laughed, because that’s my normal response when I’m uncomfortable. “Kind […]

What does it mean to “set your intention”?

Often at the beginning of a yoga class, you’ll hear the instructor say, “Set your intention for practice.” What does that even mean? I used to feel a flash of anxiety when I was told to set an intention. What should I pick? It needs […]

Can you do those crazy arm balances?

“Can you do those crazy arm balances?” This is what I sometimes hear after people learn that I teach yoga. This comment makes me sigh inwardly, because it is so far off the mark from what yoga really is as well as indicative of the […]