Tag Archives: beginners

5 Yoga Breakthroughs for 2017

Let’s begin this year with my best advice  for practicing yoga.

1. Keep mats in every room

This is a pretty interesting development in my house. First of all I have very beautiful mats.  They are called “Magic Carpets.” They are so pretty that I decided one day to leave them out, one at the foot at my bed and the other in my living room.  Not only did they look very cool and chic, I noticed my urge to hop on it constantly.  Right after I shower I started a ritual of doing yoga on my mat while waiting for my lotion/oils to absorb.  It has helped me start the day so refreshed and awakened.  I also noticed working in my office living room how nice it is to get out of the chair and do a few yoga poses in between emails etc.  Trust me, this is game changing for your mind and body as well as your practice.

2. Yoga at Dawn

If you are anything like me, someone who loves to sleep in, this is going to be the challenge of a lifetime.  But the reward is ever more sweet. I do not think there is a lazier person on earth then me, deep down.  I could lay in bed all day if someone paid me.  I just love it. I love to rest! I started yoga because of the laying down “savasana” at the end! A girl like me could not be dragged to yoga in the early morning.  But there it was, this pestering, pesky, persisting desire to quite possibly make it to that 6:30 am  class, that way I could get a practice in before work. But for weeks, I snoozed right through it.  Finally, close to new years, I happened to spring up super early, in time to make it for class and I just bit the bullet and made myself go.  Maybe the pressure of starting 2017 off with good habits got to me. I don’t know.  Anyway all I can say, is upon arriving to class the sun was beginning to rise and it was so beautiful it took my breath away. Every day we  have this natural phenomenon that I just carelessly snooze right through. I was truly stunned. It also happened to be such a wonderful gentle class, I think one of my most profound yoga classes maybe ever.  Rising with the sun made me feel truly awakened. Like I was waking up with the earth.  It was so moving and peaceful I have continued to go! Take it from me, don’t fight it. Just show up and try it, see for yourself!  It finally dawned on me, yoga at dawn! For the rest of the day you will sail, you will soar! You will just be so at ease with whatever life throws you.

3. Read B.K.S Iyengar

Also known as the “Father of Western Yoga” he is one of the most brilliant yoga teachers from India who helped teach and share yoga in America.  I am currently reading “Light on Life” and it is a wonderfully deep knowledgable look into a life long yogis mind.  I feel like every page is a privilege. I always feel like I am just a beginner in my yoga journey and by reading “Light on Life” I reap the benefits of someone who’s entire life was dedicated to it.

4. Do yoga on your lunch break at work

Even if you made it to your morning practice, your body needs to stay moving.  This energy you craft and cultivate carries you forth. It is imperative to de-stress, work out any stiffness or tension and help circulation. This keeps you awake, alert, balanced and energized into the evening.

5. Pick a pose and work towards it

This is not an ego thing, just a way to keep yourself improving. For the longest time I had no yoga goals when it came to poses because I just loved feeling so blissful and peaceful. I realized though with a steady 8 year practice there were still some things I could not do.  I then began to realize in my practice I was quite lackadaisical. I started to see that I was far more capable of things yet I never really pushed myself. However once I set my mind towards it, what a beautiful sensation it is to achieve.  For example, having tight hips, lotus pose was very difficult for me. But through regular practice and yes sometimes I stay an additional 15 minutes after class, when I am nice and warm, to work on the series of poses I’d like to learn.   It paid off (those little extra sessions) because after a hot shower and waiting for my lotion to absorb I decided to hop  on my mat at the edge of my bed, and Voila! LOTUS! I thanked the stars! It was such a euphoric feeling to me. I knew it came from  my heart and my body and all the extra effort I have been putting forth.

Systematically you get rewarded if you put the right effort in.  But that comes from being in tune with your vibration and not your ego. I’ll save that for my next blog. But for now please heed these 5 easy ways to improve your yoga practice as they have been hugely beneficial for me!

Beginner Obstacles and A Way Around Them


There are immediate obstacles when one begins yoga.  This causes many people to give up and quit. From physical discomfort to the lack of ability to focus it begins to hold up an uncomfortable mirror to our actual mental physical and spiritual shape.

Beginner obstacles and a way around them:

Chaotic mind: Focus on the breath, it immediately will drop you into the mind. Visualize your thoughts like a ping pong ball. Is it rapidly going back and forth and all around? Use your breath and slow it down mentally. Eventually it becomes a slow game of ping pong and one day, the ball will go completely still.  The mind chatter will be silent. Experiencing a silent mind is the holy grail of a yogic experience. And it is very possible!

Stiff body: Surrender in the warm up, re connect with yourself and be kind. No need to criticize yourself. Speak kindly and lovingly to your body, nuture it and stay present. Rememeber your body is in a constant state of change. There will be things you can do one day and not achieve the next. Go with the flow and meet yourself where you are.

Weak body: Yoga is a very different kind of physical demand on the body. For starters, sitting down at a computer or driving in a car or flying for long hours takes a toll on our posture and deep muscle strength. Know that over time your body will become stronger and stronger from the inside out. Go at your own pace and rest as many times as you need.

Inability to focus: Stay with the breathing and focus on the alignment of your body, listen to your teacher they will be very specific about what to move and where. When you really begin to listen they will guide you in and out of the pose and time will float on by.

Distracted in the practice due to others in the room: Eventually in yoga, you detach from your senses and are so immersed in your body and silent mind, no one exists in the room. It is easy to be intimidated or self conscious but focus on your breathing and your body and how you feel that day. That’s all that matters. Over time you will notice less and less and grow ever more confident in your own practice.

Entering yoga practice armed with the knowledge of these obstacles one can EASILY surpass them.  It’s knowing how to guide your mind through it effectively that will lead you immediately to a much more profound practice. The goal is to move beyond things in yoga that cause you pain and even things in yoga that cause you pleasure. It is about becoming the master of your “self” and remaining unattached to your mental and emotional fluctuations. Invite a sense of playfulness and joy into the practice, it does  not have to be serious work!









Tips from the Top: David Lynch (Part I)

I’ve been really excited to write this particular article featuring David Lynch. His classes are popular because his method works. He immediately takes one into the present moment. Few people possess such divine humility. Although he has ethereal abilities it’s his moments of reality and referencing pop culture that adds a perfect comedic release during the apex of the practice. He has an exceptional play list and command of the room.  As well as angelic presence. He is a very special kind of  teacher. A spirit guide.

I was so happy when he responded to my weekly column with not only enthusiasm but a books worth of guidance.  So much so I had to I’ve decided to break his answers in to parts.  (I know readers are short on time). He is such a vast source of knowledge and depth it is incredible.  All of these teachers are and it has been so humbling having them open up and respond to the weekly question:

What is your advice for beginning Yogis?


Be strong enough to shed your preconceptions and step onto your mat each day, out into this world and into your own head with a nakedness born of mature innocence, a willingness to be present to the true nature of the immediacy of the moment and if you can, freed from the fetters of your past triumphs and traumas and unburdened by the unknowable unknown you will live in fluctuating moments of serenity that one day will bloom into tranquil permanent impermanence.
– David Lynch

Tips from the Top: Chandresh Bhardwaj

Continuing the series of Tips from the Top (top tips from instructors) I would like to introduce Chandresh Bhardwaj.  He hails all the way from India and has a spiritual center on Long Island and a huge following all over the world.  Chandresh is often busy traveling so I was happy and honored we had the chance to catch up.  Unlike some of the other yoga  teachers I’ve interviewed, his class is a meditation class and bases a lot of his teaching on Tantra.  Meaning one can just go and sit or lay down and connect to the divine.  He comes from a long lineage of Spiritual teachers and one gets the sense this was quite literally something he was born to do.


I asked him the same question:  could you lend me a quote or advice  you give to help beginner students understand yoga?

Hi Kyle,

Here’s my advice

“Do not fight your anger, ego, greed, and desires. The more you fight with them, the more they will come after you. These elements are part of you. You cannot experience your higher self if you keep running away from these elements. Once you start to meditate, these emotions channel into higher consciousness. And your real self starts to bloom. Meditate and continue to discover this world with a childlike curiosity!”

– Chandresh Bhardwaj, spiritual advisor and founder of Break the Norms Movement (www.iamChandresh.com)

Too Legit To Quit

If you have tried yoga and didn’t like it, you are the norm and that also means you probably ended up quitting.  Trust me I feel you. For a good year, possibly two, I hated yoga. I didn’t do it a lot and when I did, so much anger and frustration and lack of understanding came out. But… there was one thing in it I enjoyed, I loved laying down at the end! Not many work outs offer that golden ritual.  After I came out of meditation I was noticeably calmer happier and more creative. I took notice of that and wanted to know more about the science of it.

(Also people seemed to like me more after I practiced. That took me by surprise…I guess I am not always a delight!)

Here is why you probably hated it: It brought up everything you’re not good at.

1. You didn’t deem it as a work out {yet oddly everything was physically challenging}
2. You couldn’t focus your mind – it was chaotic with thoughts {yoga makes you face that, as a result you may  have then felt angry that you couldn’t or didn’t have the tools to be present}
3. You aren’t flexible {HELLOOOO That’s not getting any better as you age, matter of fact you’re only going to get more rigid}
4. The instructor seemed a bit out of touch with reality, saying foreign words like namaste and likening everything to a lotus flower or tree and talked about the infinite { When  you allow yourself to visualize it, peace and serenity will enter you and you will begin to connect to not only nature but your inner nature as well}
5. Everyone in the room was looking at you! And you we’re embarrassed.  {They weren’t.  Once you focus on your breath, realize no one is looking at you at all. Sorry just another lovely trick of the ego.}
These are the top excuses I had when doing yoga as well as common excuses I hear daily.
Change your attitude and get into it. Perhaps your resistance is the exact reason you should go fearlessly towards it.  Yoga is an ocean of yourself and you are diving into you, it’s exciting. Learn how you think, how your body works. Get to know true self.  What comes easy and what doesn’t. You’ll be surprised and you will become more patient with yourself.  The more you understand the deeper meaning of your limitations you can began to turn them into endless possibilities.
I know I said 5, but there is one more I would like to add and that is
Time. Most people make the excuse that they don’t have time to do yoga. I will be releasing a blog soon about how to fit it any time anywhere! Have no fear.
 If you experienced these reasons to quit, here is my advice: Don’t!

Tips from the Top: Jeanne Heileman

So many of my friends and family do not do yoga. This is why I felt compelled to start my blog- to familiarize them with what it is truly about, in hopes that when and if they try it is not a frustrating experience. I want people to see that yoga is for every body.

With this mission, I decided to ask the top teachers from LA to India to please lend me a quote that I could give me readers, a quote for beginner students to help them find their zen sooner without years of practice. I asked them all the same question:

What is a quote or piece advice to help beginner students understand yoga?

Their responses were incredibly insightful!

Starting with my Tips from the Top series (I will release an article daily or weekly) I would like to introduce to you my mentor Jeanne Heileman. Jeanne is a teacher at Yogaworks and leads workshops all over the world to help students become more knowledge in the practice of yoga. No one I’ve met has demonstrated more mastery over the description of the poses and how to guide you through them.

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Hi Kyle,

Oh, this is so great and so vast! To me, the most important thing new students need to realize is that yoga is not about the poses. Most new students are unfamiliar with moving their body in this way, and many don’t know how to be IN their body. The body is a tool to get to their breath. The breath is the tool, which when extended and slowed down, will calm the mind. The calm mind is the key to gaining access to our inner wisdom, beauty and place of pure love. We all have that place, we all have a body, a breath and a mind. So we all can be doing yoga. The selfies don’t mean that someone is doing yoga. Being still and accepting is doing yoga. And, I recommend that each new student practices at least once a week for six months, consistently. No questions about getting it right or is it working. Just show up at least once a week for six months. Then the inner wisdom will start to awaken and can do the rest.