a blog by Ellen Davies

Teaching Yoga

“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 […]

When yoga hurts: a lesson in dropping the ego

Here is a true story. A few years ago, while practicing Vinyasa yoga, I noticed that my shoulder hurt when I moved through a vinyasa to Chaturanga Dandasana (aka Four Limbed Staff Pose). Here is what went through my head: Huh, that’s weird. Why does […]

Yoga practice: You are the creator

Remember this as you practice yoga asana today: You are the creator of yoga. The expression of yoga is different for everyone, because of our different bodies, experiences, injuries, and so on. Focus on being aware of what your body is feeling. Slow down to […]

Thoughts on yoga music

The best music for yoga is the music you don’t hear. That sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But it’s true — because as soon as you hear the music, you’re paying attention to it. And that can be distracting.

Friday favorites: Yoga on Vacation

Do you practice yoga when you travel, or take a vacation? One of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is to take a yoga class. I’ve taken classes in San Francisco, New York, Napa, Portland, Santa Fe, Oakton, Asheville, San Diego, Bar Harbor, […]

Create a home yoga practice

Whenever I encourage my students to practice at home, I usually get laughter. As if the idea were preposterous! Who knows how to practice at home? Well, you do. And it’s not as hard as you think. Creating your own yoga practice can be rewarding and […]

Advice for Yoga Teachers: Teaching beginners

I teach most of my classes at the Kennett Y. Which means that I get any and all sorts of random people wandering into my classes. It keeps me on my toes, since I have to be ready to change my plans at a moment’s notice. […]