a blog by Ellen Davies


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 […]

Nemesis poses

Once when I was teaching, one woman looked up at me with alarm and said, “You’re not going to make us do that pigeon pose, are you?” Everyone laughed, including me, but I could relate. Here’s a secret about yoga: you won’t like every pose.

Feeding your soul

Do you pamper your body but neglect your soul? Many of us do, so don’t feel guilty. What could you do today to feed your soul? Feeding your soul means doing anything that brings you intrinsic joy. What things make you feel happy, for no […]

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, […]

“My balance is terrible!”

“My balance is terrible!” I think I hear that comment in every yoga class. There is always someone who struggles with balance and feels self-conscious enough to remark on it. I’ve said it myself, even when I was teaching! Why do we feel the need […]

Clear your space

Everything you need to know, you already know. When I first heard this saying in a yoga class, I scoffed. I certainly don’t already know everything. What about algebra? Well, maybe I don’t need to know algebra at this point in my life. But I […]