Marketing yourself can feel downright unyogic, but it is possible to do it authentically—starting with your website.
As a yoga teacher, you are brilliant at what you do. Now, you need to figure out how to market yourself. The first step: You need a website. Your studio and event partners expect it, your clients ask about it, and it legitimizes you as a professional. If you utilize it correctly, it can also help to grow your audience organically. Here are eight expert-backed tips for making your website stand out.
Age: 41 Hometown: San Diego, CA
Gig: Physician, Yoga Therapist & Meditation Teacher Follow her: @ingridyangyogamd
For physician and author Ingrid, achieving optimal health for herself and her patients is not simply a matter of practicing “this” or “that.” Instead, she firmly believes that a broad approach to fitness is key to living your best life. She says, “I like to mix things up in my fitness routine. I practice yoga almost daily, but I also cycle, run, surf, hike, and swim in the ocean regularly.” Ingrid says she’s motivated by helping others understand why it’s beneficial to incorporate a variety of modalities into their fitness plans. “It’s important to keep your body challenged, your mind engaged, and prevent injury.”
Ingrid believes that exercise should also include meditative aspects such as breathing techniques, posture control, and meditation.
Ingrid knows first-hand how critical a mindful movement practice can be, especially when you’re not feeling 100%. “I recently fractured my ankle and it took months of rehab to get back to even walking,” she says. Throughout her rehab, Ingrid continued with yoga because it helped her regain balance and stamina, and with her book, Adaptive Yoga,Ingrid is helping individuals with disabilities learn to improve their wellness, too. “I practice yoga therapy in the hospital setting with my patients. Even if you are in the hospital bed, you can still practice plenty of yoga,” she says.
The trade off in cost is definitely worth your peace of mind.
As yoga teachers, there’s one thing we don’t like to think about, and we certainly don’t like to talk about it: a student getting hurt in class. Just the thought of it probably makes you shudder in fear.
If a student becomes injured during one of your classes, you might feel guilt-ridden that it may have been your fault—or frustration because it definitely was not your fault. There’s also likely fear, because you could be legally or financially responsible. It somewhat follows the antithetical storyline of the best-told Greek tragedies; you don’t make much income teaching yoga, and now you may get sued for it?
This article was originally posted in Yoga Journal. Read the article here.
With over 86 percent of Portuguese citizens vaccinated, Portugal is one of the safest and easiest places to travel in Europe during the ongoing pandemic. Here’s where to go.
Ah, the grand European vacation. There is nothing more romantic than packing your bags and humming “La Vie en Rose” while you decide how to best pack your travel yoga mat. With more than 86 percent of Portuguese citizens vaccinated against COVID-19, Portugal has proven to be one of the safest and easiest places to travel in Europe during the ongoing pandemic. So for those of you looking to finally break your international travel hiatus from the last 18 months, a yoga vacation in Portugal may be just what you need.
Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in regional culture and history, enjoy stunning and serene countryside, or lay out on vast sparkling beaches, Portugal has what you seek. The truth is, there are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from in this European country that welcomes 28 million travelers per year. However, for those of you looking to quench your thirst for travel with a yoga-inspired respite, we’ve selected three destinations that are perfect for your next yoga holiday. Here, we take you on a journey through this magnificent country nestled between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean to the best yoga destinations Portugal has to offer.
Casa Fuzetta: Family-owned luxury in the Algarve
Courtesy of Casa Fuzetta
The Algarve (pronounced “al-gaarv”) is the Southernmost region of Portugal. This province is home to shimmering beaches, world-renowned surf breaks, and some of the best seafood in the world. In the years prior to the pandemic, tourism boomed here, and portions of the pristine 150-mile coastline became home to many touristy seaside resorts and construction-spatted traffic. But thankfully, there are still small, less-developed fishing villages and secluded beaches in the region, and this is where you can find our first Portuguese yoga destination.
Casa Fuzetta is an exquisitely renovated historic home located in the quiet fisherman’s village of Olhão (prounounced “ol-yowng”) in the heart of Portugal’s Algarve that is perfectly suited for hosting small-group yoga retreats. Originally a classical residence, it was lovingly restored over three years, with restoration completed in 2016. Local craftsmen and artisans were gathered to restore and preserve the property’s architectural heritage and imbue it with contemporary design and comfort, including a truly spectacular rooftop pool (pictured above).
At Casa Fuzetta, yoga spaces abound; from the rooftop deck, to stunning library space, to the opulent entry hall, you can find many lovely settings for group asana practice. A magnificent stained-glass meditation space is the perfect getaway for rest and quiet time, or opt for a live yoga class in the limestone courtyard. Yoga mats and props are available for each guest, as well as smart technology water bottles to ensure you stay hydrated during your practice.
The best part of Casa Fuzetta is that it is family-owned and personally managed by the owner, Tara Donovan. Her eye for design is noted in the elegant furnishings that adorn the house, some of which were passed down by her great-grandparents. Every element was chosen with functionality, comfort, and beauty in mind. Donovan understands the importance of connection both to others and within yourself, and Casa Fuzetta was built for just that. Whether you want to sit by the fireplace with your journal and morning tea, or practice restorative yoga on the yoga deck in the afternoons, the atmosphere of Casa Fuzetta will warmly embrace you. It truly is the perfect place to host an intimate yoga getaway in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Quinta da Comporta: Where the locals vacation
Courtesy of Quinta Da Comporta
Comporta was recently named the “Hamptons of Portugal” by Fodor’s Travel. But the label is somewhat misleading, because this lovely Portuguese town cannot be compared to any other place in the world. In Comporta, rural Portugal still survives in tradition-steeped fisheries and rice fields that span from the town all the way to its pristine beaches. While this seaside town is an easy getaway from Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon, located just 75 miles south, it seems worlds away in its disposition.
Here, among the miles of golden seaside sand dunes, you will find Quinta da Comporta, a vacationers’ paradise perfectly suited for awe-inspiring yoga getaways. Whether you want to plan a yoga retreat or a personal getaway, this wellness resort is a haven for peace and tranquility. Its outdoor yoga shala overlooks the serene rice fields, or you can practice aqua yoga in their indoor or outdoor pools, or roll out a mat in their state-of-the-art indoor gym. If you seek the non-touristy experience and want to vacation where the Portuguese themselves get away, Quinta da Comporta is where you will find it. The property is designed to remain faithful to the region’s provincial style: brightly whitewashed walls with vibrant blue accents, and a quiet respect for the land where fisherman and rice farmers have lived in symbiotic harmony for centuries.
The village of Comporta is the highest volume rice producer in all of Europe, so after morning asana practice, be sure to take a bike ride through the nearby rice fields. Then head back to the spa for a treatment that uses Quinta da Comporta’s own skincare product line, Oryza Lab (latin for “rice”), all made from rice directly farmed in the region. After your treatment, you may want to take a relaxing dip in the resort’s stunning heated pool before having dinner at their farm-to-table restaurant, which harvests fruits and vegetables from its own on-property garden. Protected by strict environmental laws, day-to-day life in Comporta follows the same easy rhythm as it did hundreds of years ago, to help you reconnect to the simpler things in life while you breath in the fresh sea air during pranayama practice.
Six Senses Douro Valley: Come for the yoga, stay for the transformation
Courtesy Six Senses Douro Valley
As the world’s oldest demarcated wine region, Douro Valley was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. Its magnificent landscape is characterized by remarkably engineered terraces covered in vines with wine-making history that dates back over 2000 years. Beauty and relaxation are a way of life in Douro Valley, and if you are looking for a personal yoga retreat, this is it.
The majestic River Douro supplies the region with the irrigation it needs to grow its precious wine and port-making grapes. In this magical region, you will find Six Senses Douro Valley, set in a beautifully renovated 19th-century manor house. This destination focuses its offerings on luxury, sustainability, wellness, and in particular, yoga. There are no shortage of yoga and meditation classes on the daily activities schedule. Or, you may choose from three-, five-, seven-, or 10-day personalized yoga packages, with programs such as Discover Yoga, Yoga Detox, and Yogic Sleep.
For karma yogis, Six Senses is committed to giving back to the Douro Valley community by supporting at-risk youth and animals, as well as protecting the land in and around the resort. Additionally, your retreat may also include experiences steeped in Portuguese tradition and earth-centered sustainability. The Douro Valley continues to rely heavily on its agricultural industry, and farming families often pickle and ferment their harvest to ensure their own food supply throughout the year. Six Senses keeps these traditions alive by offering courses in organic gardening, pickling, and fermenting so you can learn the Portuguese traditions of food preservation.
Outdoorsy yogis can experience forest bathing or take a tree climbing class, as the property is graced with 10 acres of beautifully preserved forest. Or boost your mental health with a bike ride through the vineyards before taking a kayak out on the tranquil Douro River. Be sure to schedule time in the Six Senses Spa, where your massage begins with a sound bath before you slip into blissful relaxation. The perfect way to alchemize the energy of the Douro Valley and reconnect to your senses.
A trip to magnificent Portugal offers something for every yogi; whether as a small-group retreat at family-owned Casa Fuzetta, a large group escape at Quinta da Comporta, or a personal, yoga-inspired getaway at Six Senses Duoro Valley. Yoga is about connection and these three destinations offer the perfect antidote for the isolation and disconnection felt by so many over the past 18 months.
Avoid these commonly used (and misused) phrases—and replace them with these better ones.
As yoga teachers, you probably spend countless hours curating and planning classes that fit your individual teaching style and the needs of your students. But how often do you find yourself repeating instructions that are verbatim from your own teachers? In doing so, have you reflected upon whether these cues are really helping your students get the most out of their practice? If your primary goal is to offer instructions that are concise and easy to follow, do your cues actually make sense? We polled some experts to advise us on commonly used (and misused) phrases that teachers should avoid and replacement cues that may better serve our students.
Spring is in the air, and after an unprecedented year, our communities are beginning to open back up. While we may be ready for new beginnings, we also acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has left us reeling from the loss of health and connection. We know that attending an in-person yoga class can alleviate many of our stuck-in-a-rut maladies. But many of us have questions on how to do so safely.
Most yoga studios are taking enhanced cleaning precautions and ensuring that all mats stay 6 feet apart. Some allow practitioners to remove their masks once they are on their mats. But is that enough to keep ourselves and others safe during this ongoing pandemic?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published an analysis on the increased relative risk of transmission at group exercise facilities. They point out that high-intensity activities increase risk, but also specify that yoga might be a lower risk, because of its reduced intensity. Nevertheless, they recommend that everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, should wear masks at all times while in the facility—no matter if you’re on or off the mat.
While it may feel awkward wearing a mask while practicing Ujjayi breathing, the right mask can make all the difference. Here, we offer tips for how to make mask-wearing more comfortable, plus our six favorites to don during your practice.
Tips for mask wearing
The best face mask is one that allows you to follow the CDC’s recommended “consistent and correct” mask usage. So, if we are consistent in wearing our masks, what does correct mean? Correct mask usage means:
- It completely covering the nose and mouth
- It offers a snug fit without gaps around the face
- The wearer handles it only by the ear loops or straps, not by the surface of the mask.
A good fit is important both so your droplets don’t escape around a poorly fitted mask, but also so you are not constantly fidgeting with it, and thus inadvertently touching your face.
The CDC also recommends trying your mask at home before wearing it out to ensure you can tolerate it for the intended activity, so don’t be shy about using the mask during your next online yoga class!
Selecting the right mask
When selecting the best face mask to wear during yoga, there are two important factors to consider: the mask structure and care.
Per the CDC, the key is many layers (two or more) with high thread counts. Specifically, the CDC states that “multiple layers of cloth with higher thread counts have demonstratedsuperior performance.” Additionally, nose wires can be particularly helpful to hold the mask in place and reduce the risk of contamination from adjusting the mask.
Choose a mask that is easily machine washable. This is important after prolonged wear and sweating because bacteria can become caught in the cloth of your mask. Over time, the mask can become a cesspool for bacterial growth—so make sure to wash it after each use.
Our picks for the best face masks for yoga
The all-around favorite: The Under Armour SportsMask
This mask is made with movement in mind, so it’ll stay in place while you practice your inversions and backbends. It’s made with polyurethane open-cell foam, which Under Armour states lets air through, allowing for safe ventilation while keeping your droplets to yourself. And if your yoga session happens to be outside, you have an added benefit—this mask is infused with UPF 50+ sun protection. $30, two for $50
For simplicity and function: Outdoor Research Mask Kit
If you want to check all the CDC’s boxes for cloth masks without making a fuss, this may be your answer. Outdoor Research’s mask has a double layer, which is important for catching droplets emitted from your own nose and mouth. An easily adjustable nose-bridge wire allows for a snug fit, thus minimizing air leakage that often clouds up glasses. It also has a filter pocket (and comes with a three-pack of removable filters) adding extra protection. And bonus: it’s easily machine washable and maintains its structure out of the dryer. $10
For hot yoga: The Nathan Run Safe Mask
Wearing a mask to protect others (and yourself) while practicing yoga is cool. But hot yogais, well, hot, which makes the idea of wearing a mask during class quite stifling. The Nathan Run Safe mask is made to sweat in and features a “Quick-Flip” function to allow for easy and efficient hydration, with minimal time to uncover your mouth for a sip of water. The mask also wraps around your head instead of your ears for secure placement and is made with quick-dry, machine-washable material. $14.99, on sale
For comfort and style: The Proper Cloth EveryDay Mask
Proper Cloth, a custom menswear brand in NYC, has poured its tailoring expertise into an elegantly designed mask for everyone. This mask is made from premium shirting fabrics sourced from Europe and Japan to create its inner and outer layers. This five-layered mask includes a three-layer polypropylene filter for the inner layers, which the CDC suggests may enhance droplet-filtering efficacy. $20, on sale
For paying it forward: Beyond Yoga In This Together Mask
Beyond Yoga, known for its comfy yoga apparel and clean designs, has made the natural transition to creating face masks to wear while practicing yoga. This mask is made with the same fabric as their clothes (read: soft, comfortable, and flexible) and comes in a variety of lovely designs. The straps can be fastened into ear loops or tied behind the head, allowing for easy convertibility and fit. But the best feature? When you purchase the two-pack, Beyond Yoga donates a mask to essential workers who need them. All you have to do is email [email protected] to request masks for your organization. That’s some Karma Yoga for you. $25 for two
The ideas offered in this article are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical advice, professional diagnoses, opinions, treatments, or medical services to you, or any other individual. It should not substitute for the advice of your physician or healthcare provider. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult your physician directly.
Ingrid Yang, MD, JD, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT has been teaching yoga since 1999 and is a physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Her expert grasp of anatomy and human physiology bring a unique, thoughtful and joyful experience to the practice of yoga. Ingrid is also a certified yoga therapist under the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and a Reiki master of the Usui tradition.
Ingrid’s homemade borscht
I love vegetables. So this recipe calls for more vegetables than the typical borscht recipe, and I skip the potatoes. You will need a handb-lender and a heavy hand for the salting!
- 5-6 medium beets, cooked to tender, and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried)
- 6-8 celery ribs, cghopped
- 4-8 carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6-8 cups water
- Dill for garnish
- Sour cream or homemade yogurt to dollop on top
- Salt and pepper
- Cook the beets until well done (whatever technique you use, I use my instant pot)
- In a large 6 quart pot (or larger), cook diced onion with olive oil, thyme and a sprinkle of salt, until translucent
- Discard thyme stems, and add chopped carrots, sauté about 3-4 minutes
- Add chopped celery, sauté until carrots and celery are tender. Add a bit more salt and pepper here.
- Chop beets and add to pot with 6-8 cups of water.
- Cook down for approximately 20 minutes.
- When done, take a handblender and create up the veggies to make a thick, chunky blend – so you can still decipher to separate vegetable, but the different flavors meld together.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a dollop of cream or yogurt and dill.
Listen to Dr. Yang’s interview with Dr. Kris Ferguson on her transition from economist, lawyer, yoga therapist and physician. Learn about all things yoga, life transitions, and finding your calling in life. https://gethealthy360.com/yoga-motivation-and-finding-your-calling-in-life-ingrid-yang-md-jd/
When will life be back to normal?
Let’s face it. We are tired. I am tired too. I’m tired of not embracing my friends. I’m tired of not going out and only eating the food I cook myself. I’m tired of not traveling or not conducting work meetings in person. The sacrifices are worth it, but it has been demoralizing for all of us, and let’s be honest – it feels like it’s been FOREVER. But it hasn’t been forever. Just a half a year of soul-searching and character-building. But it helps to have an end in sight. So, when WILL this end? Here’s my messy, but hopefully realistic, estimate:
Based on the information we currently have (keeping in mind, the information is always changing), we hope to have a vaccine by December of this year. It is then projected that we will have about 700 million doses by April 2021 of said vaccine. It will likely be that many people will not want the vaccine right away due to trust issues (more on this in a future post about the safety of vaccines). So, even if we could vaccinate everyone within the first few months, due to delay by many skeptics, we likely will not have the required amount for herd immunity until the 3rd quarter of 2021.
Therefore, in reality, by the time enough people are vaccinated so that there will be enough impact to start thinking about nearing normalcy will be in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2021… and that is pending availability of a vaccine by December of this year.
So… time will tell. This is just my best estimate (not a medical opinion, just an anecdotal estimate), based on the data (that is always changing!) on when we may get back to a sense of normalcy. How long will the immunity (and thus, normalcy) last? This will be addressed in a future post!
But for now, having an estimate helps me cope… knowing that this won’t go on forever. Sure, it may not be as soon as I want, but waiting until next year is *not* forever. And until then, let’s continue doing what we know works: socially distancing, washing our hands, and wearing masks. And when the time comes, we will be well-positioned to take on our 2021 normalcy with good health and embrace our friends with strong, COVID-free arms.
Love, Dr. Yang