Lost in Translation: Teaching Yoga in Another Language

C’est quoi “yoga” en français?

Each time you step into a new studio or room, roll out your mat and place your props at the front as an guide for students to take and use during class, there’s this little feeling, this unspoken energy that you’re not quite sure what to make of just yet. The practice of yoga, as we’ve come to know it in its modern form, is full of nuances and subtleties based on a plethora of factors; teachers, locations, clientele demographics, space, so on and so forth. And many of us as teachers are more than used to hopping between teaching spaces, working to continuously adapt our methods to the individuals in the room in each new location.

The stories I’ve heard from teachers who’ve come and gone from different studios, gyms, and private spaces, range from hilarious to horrendous. Each time that we as teachers step into our role in an unfamiliar space, we are faced with new challenges that spin their way into opportunities, enabling us to grow our own practice as both teachers, and students. New obstacles force us to redefine our “standard” method, and get creative in how we reach out and communicate with those in the room.

yoga class, yoga teaching, yoga teacher, studio

The Space

This past month I was fortunate enough to teach with Arles Yoga, as a part of their “Professeurs en Residence” (PiR) program; a unique approach to running a studio that counters the current trend we see in major North American “yoga hubs,” where studios tend to selectively hire teachers churned out by their own teacher training courses. Each month, a new prof de yoga comes into Arles Yoga’s space, and teaches 10-12 classes per week, in a variety of styles ranging from a Slow Flow, to a vigorous Yoga Dynamique, and accompanied by Pilates or other speciality classes. Oh yeah, and for those of you unfamiliar with the geography of France, Arles is situated in Provence – translating to blue skies for 30 straight days, temperatures that enable you to never wear more than a light tank and shorts, and scenic views of the Rhones and Roman architecture. Rough life, I know. However, if you haven’t already deduced, there is one key factor I’ve omitted – classes were taught in French.

The Obstacles

When I committed to taking the PiR post for the month of July, I was well aware of the fact that the months leading up to my arrival in Arles would be filled with numerous podcasts, instructional videos on yoga and Pilates in French, and some practice lessons with willing friends. And although I prepared to the best of my ability, pre-planned sequences to no end, and essentially committed to memory every one of the Transfert podcast episodes, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of jumping into teaching 11 classes a week in a language that you are far less familiar with than every single one of the people in the room in front of you, that makes you question whether or not the decision you made was well-thought out.

The Progression

Let’s work through this little journey in a more digestible format, for those of you with limited time, or those of you that may actually be thinking of embarking on a similar path in the not-so-distant future.

Week 1 – The Over-Prep

I’ll preface this section by saying that in the week leading up to my first class in Arles, I pre-planned three full classes, which I RARELY (if ever) do. Although I tend to sequence my classes with a common theme or apex pose, anatomical focus or intention, I rarely pre-plan to the extent of essentially scripting out my sequences. I’m a big fan of instantaneous adaptation, and letting the room guide the class.

During my first week, I woke up early each morning to practice through each sequence, formulate what I wanted to verbalize as instructions, and create options for modifications that I anticipated being necessary based on common physical limitations. I tend to give a significant amount of verbal instructions during classes, and this quickly presented itself as a bit of a challenge, as I struggled to quickly translate what I would normally say in English, into French that made sense and wasn’t a series of strung together nonsense that made my non-Francophone background glaringly apparent.

In addition to the French factor, I was also adjusting to the process of teaching in a new space, to a group of people that I had no previous experience or interactions with. Layer in the significant differences that exist between North American and French yoga culture and expectations, and I had myself a fairly large set of extenuating circumstances cultivating my current environment.

The result? I felt out of place, I questioned my teaching capabilities and methods, and I was anxious before and after each class, worried that I wasn’t providing what was expected, or that I simply wasn’t good enough. This discomfort, though, pushed me to prepare for each class, study and learn during my off-hours, in an effort to ensure that I was the best teacher I could be.

Week 2 – The (Almost) Settling

As you’ve probably guessed, it does get better. If it didn’t it’s unlikely I would be writing this blog post, or at least, it would be released at a much later date when I could look back on the experience as a whole without wincing.

The prep started to become less and less – it was during week 2 that I stopped pre-planning every class, and reverted to my trusty old improv style. Although my level of comfort with the language did play a notable role in this progression towards settling in, the true determining factor was the familiarity with the Arles yoga community. For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of having yoga so engrained in my life is the connections built within the yoga community. I love seeing familiar faces come back to class, progress, and get excited as they see changes happening in their practice. Week 2 allowed me to start integrating myself into the fantastic, accepting community that owners Julia Mitton and Paul Biehn have built at Arles Yoga, and realize that there was no expectation

Week 3 – The Seeking of Growth

During week 3, although I said goodbye to a few yogis who were finishing up their vacations in Arles, I became well-acquainted with the repeat offenders who were showing up to practice multiple times a week, ready for new challenges and curious both during and after class, voicing their inquisitions and seeking answers. This inert desire to know more, to explore and redefine what limitations exist, is a part of human nature that’s really awesome to unearth, yet often lies dormant until stirred or poked.

Suffice to say, during this halfway mark, I started to feel really at home at Arles Yoga. I introduced some more daring variations and apex postures in classes, and let myself adapt and adjust in the same way that I would have during classes back in Toronto.

There was something else that happened during week 3 that has only really become evident as I look back on the experience as a whole – the more I let myself experiment with the language, the less concerned I was with making small mistakes. The initial fear of coming off as very Anglophone, or making verb tense errors when jumping between French and English, started to dissipate. I let myself make little verbal missteps, all the while knowing that the group of yogis in class could care less, and were accepting of the language slips, because in the grand scheme of things, they really didn’t matter. This was a lesson in self-acceptance that runs much deeper than a simple language barrier, and one that I will continue to integrate and acknowledge as I evolve my teaching practice, in addition to internal personal growth.

Week 4 – The Phase of Comfortability

As I wrapped up my residency in Arles, I started to feel (wait for it), a little ache of sadness. I’m generally a fan of the Irish goodbye – rarely will I dwell on the process involved in leaving or moving on. With each class that took place during week 4, the return of familiar practitioners, and the impending event of my final Friday class approaching, I was able to reflect on the experience with an increasingly holistic perspective.

The past month pushed me, made me uncomfortable, forced me to change and experiment with my teaching style, and ultimately allowed me to grow in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I’ve broken down the process in four stages here, but each day was truly its own challenge and voyage. Closing out the week with a final class filled with energy, enthusiasm, hugs, and some “coucous” was incredibly satisfying, and made the pre-work, podcasts and all, so very worth it.

The Lessons Learned

  • Get acquainted with imperfection

Looking back on some of my (many) verbal missteps that took place during classes, I wince a little with initial embarrassment, but then laugh and appreciate the growth that took place between weeks 1 and 4. We are always going to have classes that don’t feel quite right, that we replay and question, “why did I say that,” or “why did I feel the need to add that movement or posture in when it didn’t make sense.” These are the learning experiences we undergo as we grow and become more comfortable as teachers, and also as students. Mistakes lay the foundation for our continued development; observe them with grace, and reflect on them diligently to avoid repetition.

  • It’s okay to reverse roles

When teaching in French, as an Anglophone, to a room of native French speakers (with the most melodious French accents, I must note), you’ve got to expect to be corrected. And instead of take offense, or feel insecure, I chuckled and took mental notes (and then transferred these to paper), as a part of the continuous learning process. Never again will I think that wordreference.com is an adequate resource for anatomical translations – because no, tendon de jaret does not translate to hamstring (oouf).

  • Observe the opportunity in everything

As a proponent of the “free-to-be” sequencing style, I learned a lot by forcing myself to pre-plan and be more structured in how I structured classes during the initial classes at Arles Yoga. Although I may not retain this teaching style as I move forward, it was an excellent opportunity for me to redefine and learn to teach in a new way. Additionally, as someone who tends to pepper class with verbal micro-adjustments and modifications, having limited abilities to express myself forced me to be more comfortable with silence, and to learn how to say more with less. There’s a shiny side to every coin, right?

  • You are enough

Taken straight from an uninspired Instragram post. But for real, this was probably the most relevant lesson I learned. Every teacher is so inherently different, in method, style, diction, tone of voice, sequencing, influences, and the list goes on. We are inclined to compare ourselves and constantly pick out the areas where we either outshine or fall behind those considered to be our peers. Be content knowing that regardless of a practitioner’s past experiences with other teachers, your style and individual flare provides them with something new and unique, and shouldn’t be graded based on the characteristics of other teachers.

So if you’ve managed to dig your way through this, or perhaps just skimmed, you may now be contemplating this proverbial jumping off point. It may not be directly related to yoga or even a career move, but could encapsulate making even a minor change in your day to day that forces you a little outside of the status quo. Although the process may seem arduous, the ultimate end result will be worth the initial discomfort – I promise.


Cassandra Cooper

Cassandra Cooper

Growing up with a background in competitive figure skating, Cass’ journey with yoga began at a young age. What started as a way of maintaining flexibility and mobility has since shifted to focus on building strength, by combining elements of functional movement into her practice and sequencing, helping to explore the different ways in which each individual’s body moves and changes shape. Since completing Octopus Garden’s 200 hour teacher training, and Rishikesh Yog Peeth’s 300 hour advanced teacher training program, Cass has pursued Barre and Pilates certifications through Stott Pilates, along with Essentrics movement training. The most important thing she’s discovered along the way is that you’re always a student – be curious, always question, carefully analyze, and continuously seek new avenues towards unexpected answers. ‘Yoga is the journey from cosmetic to cosmic beauty.’



Standing Bow: May this pose be ever in your favor…

Standing Bow Pose: How to up your (Hunger) game! May this posture be ever in your favor….

standing bow pose, side view, woman


You’ve seen it.  It’s the quintessential yoga pose.  On every mountaintop, beach, and natural wonder of the world, someone has now done a #stopdropyoga and you can bet your bottom dollar that this is one of the most popular choices in the modern yogi’s repertoire.  And who can blame them? From beginner yogi to decorated veteran yogi, nobody can deny the beauty and grace exuded in a posture that creates the shape of a bow and arrow -equal parts strength and grace.  But how useful is a bow and arrow that isn’t aimed straight or even one that isn’t pulled tight? Don’t know what i’m talking about then ask Katniss Everdeen (from the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games).  It wasn’t her beauty or grace that helped her survive the Hunger Games, but rather her bulldog determination to precision, accuracy, and focus, that gave her the upper hand in the biggest fight for her life.  Now that sounds pretty dramatic, but this posture was meant to exemplify the intense focus of this primitive sport.  And, and as beautiful as this posture may be, if you practice humility and honesty in your daily practice this posture tends to serve up a large helping of “humble pie”.  If you go beyond the impressive shape of this posture, it not only takes dedication to alignment but also learning which intricate muscles to relax and which to contract to hit the bullseye of the mental and physical benefits.

The secrets to this posture are found in this precision based sport, so let’s go there for our cues.  I will explain this posture on the right side for sanity’s sake so that I can explain using “right” and “left” cues, but this posture can obviously be done on both sides.

  1. Stance and set up: Stand up straight.  Keeping the right elbow touching your waist and bend your arm 90 degrees keeping your palm facing up.  Keeping the knees together begin to bend your right knee drawing your heel toward your Gluteus muscle.  Still keeping the knees together, reach and grab for the right ankle at the inside of the ankle (right where the knobby bone of the ankle protrudes).  Extend the left hand up drawing the left Bicep by the left ear.  Left palm should be facing forward.  Begin to inhale, and you reach your left hand higher as if you are going to touch the ceiling, shoulder coming out of the body.  The whole body should feel extended and pulled tight.
  2. Grip: Keep all 5 fingers of the right hand together (including the thumb).  Grip should be strong but no break in the wrist.  Although the grip is tight (white knuckled), make sure that as you begin to kick back that you do not begin to pull with the strength of the right arm, the bow is drawn with the kick.
  3. Place the arrow on the bow: In this posture, the arrow is formed with the two arms.  The bow is formed with the kicking leg.  Thus, it is important that the force comes with the kick (kicking is hard and continuous).  As you begin to kick back and away from the body, you form the bow and you are also placing the arrow on the bow simultaneously.  As you begin to kick back, the arms begin to be pulled into one line, from the left fingertips all the way to the right hand grip.  You are working on getting the arms in one line so the shoulders will also be pulled in to one line through the force of the kick.  Eventually, the chin will be touching the left shoulder because you have never changed the position of the head but because the shoulders are pulled in one line (from the reaching and kicking actions), then the left shoulder will keep moving to align with the chin (the midline of the body) -not the other way around.  In other words, you are reaching so much with the left fingertips that the left shoulder eventually meets the chin, not the chin reaching  for the shoulder.
  4. Finger position: Just as all 5 fingers of the right hand are together and touching, same goes for the fingers of the left hand.  They are together and the palm is facing forward and rotates down as the body comes down.  Also, when looking in the mirror in front of you, the fingertips of the left hand should appear as if they are touching the iris of the left eye; the hand position is much higher than many realize.  This helps you keep as arch in the spine and initiates the backbend.
  5. Draw:  As I mentioned earlier, the kick is continuous.  You need to draw a bow tight in order to shoot an arrow, right?  Imagine what would happen if you released the tension in a bow and arrow and then tried to shoot an arrow… the arrow would flop to the ground no matter how good you may be.  Same goes for this posture.  Keep kicking!  Only when you feel that your kick is maximized and you can’t kick any harder, do you even think about rotating the body at all.  I often see people begin to let the belly rotate down when there is still some slack in the bow and this is a recipe for misalignment and a wobbly bow and arrow.
  6. Aim:  In this posture, everything will eventually line up in one straight line in the front mirror.  Look at the picture (below).  You will see two feet in one line.  Not only that, but you will also, see my chin, left fingertips, gaze, everything in one line as if I am standing between two panes of glass.  The only thing that should not be in one line from the front are the hips.  The hips should be square to the ground, so there also needs to be a continuous effort to pull the right hip down.  This creates a twist in the spine.  See how everything is in one line in the picture, below? Except, my hips look like the are next to each other on either side of my body?  That is the correct alignment.  I often see people opening their right hip to achieve an kick that appears higher, but are really just trading alignment for pseudo-depth.  As you rotate your body down, you should rotate as if you are on an axis and there should be no side to side motion.  Keep coming down until the belly button is facing the ground (while never letting up on the kick).  Hold steady, breathe normally, and keep your eyes focused on your left fingertips touching your left eye in the mirror.
  7. Release:  When you are ready to come out, use your inhale to lift yourself back up the same axis from which you rotated down -reversing out the exact same way you came down.  Never let your left fingertips come away from touching your left eye win the front mirror.  End in the same position you began your set up.

standing bow pose, woman, front view

So, go ahead now.  Channel your inner Katness, and may this pose be ever in your favor!

Namaste, Bendy Babes,




woman, standing, smiling, field


Paloma is an avid yoga enthusiast, practitioner, and teacher in Louisville, Kentucky.  She created Her Bendy Life as a way to expand on her passion for all things yoga.  She has found that yoga is a very personal journey and she wanted a create a space to share some of the experiences, tips, and tricks from her dedication to her ever evolving practice.  She received a 200-RYT certified from Cindy Lunsford in Hot Vinyasa Yoga and also traveled to Cabo San Lucas to train with Tony Sanchez in the Ghosh Lineage. Paloma took her practice to new heights in 2016 when she placed 1st in the Yoga Federation’s Regional Competition in Chicago Illinois and 9th in the 2016 National Yoga Championship.

Paloma’s teaching emphasizes using the planes of the body to achieve proper alignment, allowing students to achieve the full therapeutic benefits of yoga.  She believes in adapting postures to each students ability (whether beginner or advanced) while maintaining physical alignment.  Paloma believes that yoga should never be dogmatic and that students should only go as far into a posture as what is comfortable for them.  She helps students find modifications that help them safely progress. Paloma lives with her husband George, her Labrador Retriever Belle, and her Pug Piper.

Instagram: @her_bendy_life

What you need to know about yoga teacher training

10 things you need to know about yoga teacher training


Have you been practicing yoga for a while and want to take it to the next level? Doing a yoga teacher training is an amazing way to deepen your own practice, learn new things about yourself and gain the practical skills to teach yoga to others.
If you’re not sure what to expect, let me share 10 things with you that are worth taking into account before embarking on your first course.

1. You don’t have to be “perfect” at yoga

Before signing up for my own yoga teacher training, there was a voice in my head saying: “You might not be good and flexible enough to do a yoga teacher training, let alone teach yoga to others.” I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that voice and proved it wrong! You don’t have to be the most advanced yogi in order to do a course. In fact, asana is only ONE part of yoga teacher training. Learning more about the roots of yoga, meditating, chanting and personal development are huge factors as well. If you’re a bit insecure, let me assure you that you will walk out of your training with a new sense of what your body and mind are capable of – and a big boost in confidence.

2. You will make lifelong friends

Practicing, studying, eating, talking, laughing and crying with a group of likeminded people leads to a deep way of connecting with them. There will be a few special souls you will form real friendships with that will last long after your course has come to an end. It’s not easy to part ways after such an intense time, but luckily distance doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch and see each other again.

3. You will have to sit – a lot

I’m going to be honest – you will sit much more than you practice asana. Yes, friends. You will meditate for long hours. Chant mantras. Listen to your teachers and take notes. Learn about the history and philosophy of yoga. Read. Write. It’s all part of the process.

4. Your intention of doing a yoga teacher training might change over time

Maybe you’re doing the training purely for yourself. In order to deepen your practice, develop a spiritual connection, learn more about your body and mind. And that’s completely fine and amazing! But who knows – you might develop a love for teaching others during the course (it happens to a lot of students!). The opposite might happen as well: Maybe you’re sure that you want teach after your teacher training and suddenly that idea isn’t as appealing anymore. Just be open for changes. Go with the flow – no pun intended.

5. You will be in pain

Be prepared to be sore. Sitting on the floor for long periods of time and practicing for several hours every day fatigues your muscles. I actually felt like I was getting stiffer each day. But what helped me was getting massages on the weekends, drinking lots of water and just accepting it – knowing that it is part of an intensive course and only makes your body and mind more resilient.

6. You will learn a lot about yourself

One of the best parts about yoga teacher training for me personally was that I got to learn so much more about myself. I thought I already did, but teacher training showed me even more facets about my mind and body. Committing to a yoga teacher training means you’re also committing to doing the work. And by work I not only mean studying and learning about yoga and teaching others, but also doing the work within yourself. You will learn about your limiting beliefs and what’s holding you back. About how to overcome those beliefs and gain more confidence in certain areas. You will learn more about your body and your weak and strong spots. About the tendencies of your mind, especially during meditation. And most importantly: You’ll learn that you’re capable of much more than you thought you were.

7. You will be very emotional

There will be a lot of crying during teacher training. And that’s completely normal. Tiredness, discomfort, new insights about yourself (negative or positive) and overwhelm can lead to unexpected emotions. One day you’re flying high, the next day you want to quit. But remember, you are on a journey of growth and in-depth studying. So don’t be too hard on yourself and see it as a part of it all. Which brings me to the next point…

8. You will have to take good care of yourself

In order to enjoy your yoga teacher training and stay strong and healthy despite physical discomfort, information overload and lots of emotions, make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. For me, that meant relaxing on the weekends, spending time with my loved ones, not talking about yoga, getting a spa treatment, having early nights and lots of sleep and nourishing my body with nutritious food.

9. You will have to confront different personalities

As much as we want to get along with everyone – especially as yogis and in a group of likeminded individuals – it’s very important to remember that our personalities are still very different. Everyone comes with their own baggage and sometimes other people’s egos can be hard to deal with – especially when we spend long hours with the same group of people. However,  this can also be great opportunity for us to practice tolerance and to dig deeper: Oftentimes, having difficulties with someone means that a person triggered something in us. By taking an honest look at ourselves, finding out what it is that we are dealing with and beginning to work on it, we can then show up as better versions of ourselves.

10. You will have to let go of expectations

Despite sharing a few things that I find important to know before embarking on your teacher training, you can’t really prepare for what lies ahead. Every journey is unique and no one can tell you what will happen or how you will feel. The most important advice I can give you is to let go of expectations, be open for everything and fully committed. And I promise you, your yoga teacher training will be an amazing and life changing experience.
Now it’s over to you: Are you thinking of doing a teacher training and do you have any questions? If you have gone through training, what would you like others to know before they start?


woman, smilingMiriam Younsi

Miriam is a Holistic Yoga and Kids Yoga teacher whose mission is to help people find optimal health and balance through personalised yoga, Ayurveda and health coaching. She offers online and private classes as well as Yoga and Life Coaching Retreats with her partner. Miriam is originally from Germany and currently lives between Bali, Morocco and Germany.

Instagram: @yogawithmiriam

Cultivating a Home Practice in 4 Easy Steps


Say the word “yoga” in conversation, and you tend to evoke imagery of lycra-clad (or barely-clad) stretch-fanatics, moving and flowing in a spacious, airy studio that smells distinctly of essential oils. The yoga industry caters to an ever-growing crowd of over 37 million North Americans, many of whom were introduced to yoga in a studio setting, or via group classes at a local fitness facility. Enrolling in group classes at a studio, gym, or communal facility is an amazing way to not only further delve into your practice, but also to integrate yourself within a pocket of your local community. Layer in the guidance and knowledge of an educated teacher, and an element of surprise and personal non-attachment when it comes to creating the sequence to guide classes, and you’ve got an ideal environment to grow your yoga practice. Eventually, however, you may find yourself noticing that some days, your body is calling out for something different than the sequence is built upon. And some days, the idea of being alone with your mat instead of surrounded by others, will resonate with you. As these “some days” meld into “many days,” you may find yourself contemplating alternatives to the seemingly traditional studio practice setting and begin your own home practice.

So…where to next?

Cassandra Cooper Home Practice

Getting back to yogic roots

Although we frequently associate yoga with group practice, look back on traditional texts (e.g. Hatha Pradipika, Chapter 1, Verse 12) and you will discover that Hatha yoga (the most commonly-practiced form of yoga in North America, which encompasses a variety of asana-based practice types) was originally meant to be practiced in solitude:

“The hatha yogi should live alone in a hermitage and practise in a place the length of a boy (one and a half metres), where there is no hazard from rocks, fire, or water, and which is in a well-administered and virtuous kingdom (nation or town) where good alms can be easily attained.”

Now, let’s bear in mind the fact that this text came to fruition during a time when a yogi’s life was divided into four stages, or ashrama, three of which were characterized by significant lack of social interaction and solitude.

As we’ve evolved, so has the setting and style of our personal practice. I’m not one to endorse only practicing in a confined space on a mud-ground with no views of the outside world (but hey, if that’s your jam, go for it!) Approach the development of your personal practice with yogic principle; slowly, mindfully, and with an intention to be open as you adapt and grow.


1. Create a space

I used to be one of the classic eye-rolling non-believers when it came to understanding the importance of setting intentions and allowing time to create an energetic space in which to conduct your practice. New-agey? Perhaps. Valid? For me, definitely. For you, maybe not, but before you quickly skip to the more concrete and tangible instructions below, give this a shot.

Establish a spot to practice that doesn’t stress you out. We tend to associate physical locations with memories or habits of repeated actions, so try and find a space that speaks to you in a soothing, calm voice as opposed to one that screeches in high-pitch. Add in what you need to make yourself feel at ease; essential oils, incense, props, music. Make this space your own, customize it for what you need in that moment to help cultivate sukham and feel at ease.


2. Build a foundation

Taking ownership over your practice is an empowering but also overwhelming step in the always-continuous yogic journey. Keep the steps manageable by developing a framework upon which you add, subtract, and modify as you become more comfortable guiding your home practice.

  • Start with a short meditation, five minutes is plenty to start. Scan your physical body, notice what feelings come up, and take time to establish the link between your moving parts and your moving mind.
  • Move on to breath work (pranayama). In a traditional yoga practice, pranayama is its own dedicated practice, and can take upwards of 30 minutes. Bear in mind that breath work is difficult, and if done incorrectly or without awareness can cause harm to your body. For that reason, start by simply working to lengthen your inhales and exhales, focusing on breathing into specific parts of your body where you’d like to create a sense of softness or spaciousness. As you become increasingly comfortable with breath work, begin to research and incorporate different techniques. My suggestion is to journal afterwards, and identify which techniques resonate with you, and the mental and physical responses that are generated as a result.
  • Work on joint mobility next. Bring some movement into the main joints (neck/shoulders, wrists, elbows, hips, knees, ankles), and spend extra time exploring areas that feel as though they need more acute attention at that point in time. Experiment with new ranges of motion, load bearing and non-load bearing exercises, and gradually incorporate greater complexity into your joint warm-ups.
  • Build heat. Begin to incorporate more activity and movement into your practice. Traditional yoga methodology will tell you to launch into sun salutations, vinyasas, etc. These are great options, but they’re not the only ones. Long holds in strength-building postures such as Ashta Chandrasana (high crescent lunge), or dynamic squats can build heat equally as effectively as faster-paced flows. Experiment and ensure that you balance right to left side with respect to sequencing and breath hold times.
  • Challenge balance. After cultivating strength and heat, work on understanding the balance between the physical stability and your inner balance. Base your foundation in simplicity, and eventually move towards more complex, balance-oriented asanas or movement patters.
  • Cool down. This portion of your self-practice can mean so many different things, depending primarily on the selected theme of focus the active portion of your practice. Try to counterbalance whichever parts of your body were recruited, and give them an opportunity to soak in breath and a bit of extra length and space. Use the cool down as an opportunity to begin reconnecting with how you’re feeling, what’s changed, what hasn’t, and any thoughts that arose during the process.
  • Choose a closing shape for your practice. Seated, side-lying, prone, or in good old fashioned savasana. Before you come into whatever final shape you choose, take a few moments to ask your body what it wants. This is an opportunity to open a dialogue and further distance yourself from taking the general “autopilot” option.


3. State your focus

I’m a big proponent of focusing your practice around a theme, as was alluded to in the second section here. Working with an anatomical, spiritual, seasonal, or energetic point of focus on which to build and structure your practice brings an element of cohesiveness onto your mat, and provides you with an opportunity to better understand how your self-practice is an opportunity for holistic connection.

Allow your focus to fluctuate with your mood, your situation, and anything else that you feel makes sense for you in that time frame. Journaling and documenting your sequence is a very cool way to look back on how your practice evolves, and remind yourself of aspects that worked well, and also those things you tried that might not have had the intended effect.


4. Leave a little wiggle room

As your self-practice evolves, you may find yourself working towards apex asanas, and more complex

movements. There may come a period of time when you start to set a more rigid routine and structure around your self-practice; this is not necessarily a detracting factor, stability to ensure growth can be extremely beneficial. That being said, always come back to your initial intention for nurturing a self-practice (hint: the word SELF). Always allow your practice to be what you need in that moment, try to let go of expectations and preconceived notions around what your sequence needs to look like, and what poses or movements you need to focus in on. Some days, your self-practice sequence is going to be a 45 minute savasana or body scan. And that’s okay. Allow yourself to accept that elusive quality, and use it as an opportunity to develop a better relationship with yourself. Enjoy the journey that this practice let’s you embark upon, and try to see even the most frustrating of obstacles as chances to seek new routes of ascension along the path.


Cassandra Cooper

Cassandra Cooper

Growing up with a background in competitive figure skating, Cass’ journey with yoga began at a young age. What started as a way of maintaining flexibility and mobility has since shifted to focus on building strength, by combining elements of functional movement into her practice and sequencing, helping to explore the different ways in which each individual’s body moves and changes shape. Since completing Octopus Garden’s 200 hour teacher training, and Rishikesh Yog Peeth’s 300 hour advanced teacher training program, Cass has pursued Barre and Pilates certifications through Stott Pilates, along with Essentrics movement training. The most important thing she’s discovered along the way is that you’re always a student – be curious, always question, carefully analyze, and continuously seek new avenues towards unexpected answers. ‘Yoga is the journey from cosmetic to cosmic beauty.’

Right on Cue: A Guide for Yogis

Bring back curiosity and mindfulness into your practice, leading a class is more than just being right on cue. 

As intelligent, evolved beings we often find it challenging to take directions from others. Think back to the childhood curiosity that frequently found you pushing beyond the neatly laid out boundaries set out for you by parents and elders, questioning everything. If you spend long periods of time with young children in your day-to-day, you’re probably quite used to hearing the word “why?” endlessly repeated in response to basically any statement.

At some point in our lives, generally around the same time we found ourselves confined to a chair and desk for six hours a day, we started to lose that incessant desire to question; to explore beyond the surface of directions sent our way by others. We started to find it much easier to take directions without asking, and go through the motions on an autopilot of sorts.

In our modern yoga and movement practice, this lack of childlike curiosity and autonomy over our physical, mental, and emotional responses to our practice has become a (not-so) silent epidemic.

Right on Cue

Drastic words? Perhaps, but I fully believe that the consequences hold some pretty serious implications and impact. Let me back track by saying that I do not think this falls entirely on yoga practitioners unwilling to ownership of their practice, but also on the part of teachers who continue to repeat generalized cues without much conviction or thought put into how they translate into the bodies of practitioners in the room at that moment in time. And it’s this continuous stream of bland, non-personal cues for both the physical and subtle body that lead to practitioners tuning out, running on autopilot, and failing to connect on a profound level with what’s happening through their practice. As a growing community that has embraced the concept and practice of yoga, it’s time to tune back in to both our teaching and practice, and bring back that act of self-aware questioning.


Yoga Teachers

Let’s start by breaking down the difference between teaching and instructing, because they’re two very separate vocations. To instruct is to go through the motions, repeating words and phrases that are far too often not truly our own. An instructor leads with few modifications, and provides cues that do not allow much, if any, wiggle room, without questioning why he or she is asking practitioners to progress through a sequence of movements. A teacher, however, dedicates him or herself to moving outside his or her own definition of the practice in order to better serve the practitioners in the room, at any given time. A true teacher never defines him or herself as such (re: Yeah, actually I’m a yoga teacher. It’s pretty great!), but rather as a vehicle for learning.

The best teachers always question “why,” guide with purpose, and are always students themselves.

So “teachers,” let’s make waves and make changes. Instead of providing alignment cues in a tone that suggests everyone must follow suit, it’s important to provide practitioners with the space to experiment. Encourage everyone to feel out how their body responds to certain movements, to breath pattern, and even to different verbalizations and visual representations of instructions. Heel to heel vs. heel to arch vs. square your hips vs. toes at a 45 degree angle – there is no one or even two or three “right ways” for asana to make its appearance across a vast spectrum of different physical bodies. Let each practitioner determine what works and what doesn’t, and start to find your own voice in how you choose to verbalize your points of guidance.

Right on Cue

The best piece of advice I have been given was by a friend during our 300 hour training in Rishikesh. She observed me teaching our final “practicum” class, and when I looked to her for feedback, she told me that the best parts of my class were when I was being my authentic self. She suggested to me that I forget about turning to those overused, tired cues that we hear teachers repeating with a tireless lack of conviction. Be a little awkward, try to crack a joke or two, if that’s how you best connect and communicate with others. Even those practitioners that are new to your classes and teaching style will better connect with a teacher who carries with him or herself a sense of credibility and confidence, and doesn’t force a falsified presence. Finding your voice, as non-traditional as it may be, is so key to feeling fully comfortable as you strive to enable others to feel comfortable and find themselves through their practice.


Yoga Practitioners

Continue to ask “why.” This doesn’t mean that every single cue provided to you by an instructor or teacher needs to be followed up with that verbalization, but question the purpose behind the pose, behind the movement, and behind the cue. Leverage this to build a sense of awareness within your own physical and subtle body – identify how your reactions and responses change each day, and start to foster a deeper level of self-awareness. It’s incredible easy to move through asanas and through your typical flow without fully absorbing each subcomponent within your own being. Avoid the autopilot trap, bring a sense of awareness into your practice, and let that attunement permeate throughout other aspects of your life.

In its most raw form, pre-Instagram yoga challenges, before “Hot Power Flow” classes and “Yoga Bootcamp” classes were ever a thing, yoga symbolized union. It is the understanding that we are all one and the same. Yoga embodies the fact that nothing separates each one of us here; we do not coexist, we only exist as one collective. So let’s take steps towards breaking down the dogmatic teacher-student barriers that have come to be, and provide practitioners with the ownership to shape their respective practices, both on and off the mat.


Cassandra Cooper

Cassandra Cooper

Growing up with a background in competitive figure skating, Cass’ journey with yoga began at a young age. What started as a way of maintaining flexibility and mobility has since shifted to focus on building strength, by combining elements of functional movement into her practice and sequencing, helping to explore the different ways in which each individual’s body moves and changes shape. Since completing Octopus Garden’s 200 hour teacher training, and Rishikesh Yog Peeth’s 300 hour advanced teacher training program, Cass has pursued Barre and Pilates certifications through Stott Pilates, along with Essentrics movement training. The most important thing she’s discovered along the way is that you’re always a student – be curious, always question, carefully analyze, and continuously seek new avenues towards unexpected answers. ‘Yoga is the journey from cosmetic to cosmic beauty.’

Stronger Wrists: 10 Easy Exercises

There’s a reason that the statement “getting down on hands and knees” is synonymous with doing all of the hard things. As with most clichéd statements, the words themselves may be overused, but their validity rings true. I’d make a joke about having a nickel for every time I saw a student come down and shake out his or her wrists mid-downward dog, but I think it’s time to lay to bed the literary devices (for now).

As a mammalian group that has evolved to carry out the majority of our lives on two feet as opposed to quadruped, the struggle gets very real when we are tasked with bearing significant load on the wrists. The struggle is further amplified when said wrist joints are supporting weight at a degree of flexion or extension that they so rarely get exposed to from our tech-absorbed lifestyles (re: texting, typing, and any other social media-induced sinning you can think of). The solution to the tenderness or lack of strength you may be feeling is not to simply keep pushing through chaturanga after chaturanga, letting your wrist weakness translate its way up into pinching scapula and over-extension of the lumbar spine. Scale back, and start with a basic wrist warm-up routine that you can build up over time to help develop both the strength and mobility you need to keep this integral synovial joint happy and healthy. Keep in mind that none of these exercises are revolutionary or unique (trademark anyone?), but serve to introduce a less familiar range of motion back into the joint, coupled with dynamic movement. Here are 10 easy exercises for stronger wrists.

. . . . . . . . . .

1) Table-top Dynamic Palm Presses

stronger wrists

Start by positioning yourself on hands and knees; knees under your hips, and with wrists under shoulders. Wrists will not line up right underneath your shoulders, as you will have to allow for the carrying angle of the elbow, so you will notice slight ulnar deviation (fingers moving away from midline). Wrist creases will move towards parallel with the top of the mat. Spread all ten fingers wide, maintain a gentle curve through the joints of the fingers, and distribute your weight evenly by pressing in through the base of your palm (meaty party), as well as the pads of your fingers. Start moving back and forth, use your inhalations to take your hips towards your forearms, and your sitting bones back towards your heels. Make sure you’re not dropping your navel towards your mat; front line of your body remains engaged, but not tense. You can switch it up and move side to side, just be sure to keep the fingers spread wide, and the shoulder blades moving in opposite directions to avoid any pinching of the scapula.




2) Table-top Dynamic Wrist Extensions (Variation A)

stronger wrists

Take the same starting position as 1). Turn your fingers out to opposite edges of your mat (thumbs forward, pinky fingers back). Move hips forwards and then sit weight back towards heels, keeping all ten fingers pressing in to the mat. Play with changing the weight distribution through your palms, and move through 10-20 iterations of this.







3) Table-top Dynamic Wrist Extensions (Variation B)

Take the same starting position as 2). Instead of moving the trunk and hips, lift one palm, suction cupping the palm diaphragm up away from your mat, and then place it back down. Repeat on other side, and feel free to lean weight slightly toward each side as your lift the palm. Repeat 10-20 times per side.

stronger wrists stronger wrists

4) Table-top Reverse Wrist Extensions with Pulsing

stronger wrists

Users’ warning: this is intense, especially for those of us restricted to a stereotypical office job where we spend the vast majority of our time typing, in wrist flexion. Take palms onto the mat, but spin wrist creases to face towards the front edge of your mat, fingers point directly back toward your knees. Walk your knees up to meet your finger tips to take some pressure and weight off of your wrists, and start to slowly bend your elbows slightly, taking your glutes back toward your heels, and lifting the palms away from the ground. If this is super intense, try a single palm variation, with one wrist crease exposed to the front of your mat, and one wrist crease facing back in toward your knee. Keep this exercises dynamic by pulsing the palms up and down 5-10 times, and on your last pulse, see if you’re able to peel the palm slightly higher, and hold for 3-5 rounds of breath.





5) Moving combo (2-4)

Stay in table-top, and move through the different wrist positions explored in the first four exercises, using your inhales to guide weight forwards, and your exhales to bring your glutes closer towards your heels. This requires some coordination, but is a dynamic way to work mobility through the wrist joint and challenge your breath-body connection.

6) Table-top, “Awkward” Push-ups

Stay in table-top, this time reverse the direction of your fingers from 2) and 3), so that your elbows point out, thumbs come toward your knees, and pinky fingers point forward. Keeping your shoulder blades spreading apart, upper back strong, inhale, then exhale to bend at your elbows in an “awkward” push-up variation, and press back up to straight arms on the inhale. Make sure your core braces to prevent your chest from collapsing down, and keep your neck in line with your spine. Repeat this 10-15 times.

stronger wrists stronger wrists stronger wrists

7) Table-top Finger-Curls with Wrist Flexion

Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Maintaining table-top position, flip onto the backs of your palms (yes, that’s right. No, I’m not crazy, and yes, this is going to feel weird). Wrist creases will face out toward the left and right side of your mat, with your fingers spread wide apart and facing in towards one another. The soft, fleshy part of your palms (diaphragm), will face up towards your nose. Take an inhale to spread the fingers as wide as you can, and then exhale to curl the fingers into fists, squeezing. Repeat this 5-10 times, without compensating or taking tension in through your neck and shoulders.

stronger wrists stronger wrists

8) Table-top Dynamic/Sustained Wrist Flexion

stronger wrists

Same starting position (backs of palms) as 7). Take your wrist creases to face towards the front edge of your mat, and try to press as much of the back of your hand into the mat as you can. Hold here. Keep your elbows from bending, and spread your fingers far apart. You can play with spreading the fingers wide, and then squeezing them back together, in a snow-angel motion, to change the sensation through the wrist and back of your palms.







9) Isolated Finger Taps

Quadruped starting position, spread all ten fingers wide. Keep elbows from bending, and start to tap just the thumb on both left and right hands. Take 20 taps, then move to index finger. Move through all five fingers on each hand. You’ll find this gets significantly tougher when you move to the middle, ring, and pinky fingers due to the structure and attachment of the tendons in your hands.

10) Non-load Bearing Flexion/Extension of Wrists

Sit in kneeling, or any comfortable seated position. LiFt elbows to shoulder height. Inhale here, on exhale squeeze hands into fists, knuckles face towards center of room, inhale to release your hands open, extending the wrists and flexing fingers back in towards your face. Repeat 5-10 times. Move slowly, squeeze a little more tightly each time you take fists, and spread all ten fingers wide when you extend and open the palms.

. . . . . . . . . .

Pace yourself; start by spending around five minutes in total working through exercises 1) to 5) as your foundation. As you start to build stability, strength, and feel less strain or resistance, gradually add in 5) to 9), mixing and matching so that you are working in equal parts wrist extension (palm diaphragms DOWN) and wrist flexion (palm diaphragms UP). Most importantly, don’t be afraid to freestyle it. The more comfortable and confident in your wrist mobility you become, the easier you’ll find it becomes to explore modifications and creative additions to your wrist warm-up sequence that challenge your anatomical limitations. It may not be as sexy as a vinyasa or a bad-ass arm balance, but by building from the ground up, you’re developing a better understanding of your body as its own entity, and setting the foundation to move towards complex, challenging movements further down the road. So get down on your hands and knees, and work your stronger wrists.


Cassandra Cooper writerCASSANDRA COOPER


Yoga Education – How Much Is Enough?

Getting Educated – A Note from a Teacher Who Is Always in Training…

Deposit down, required readings (and suggested readings, if you’re an eager beaver) purchased, new leggings and water bottle at the ready, and you’re off to your very first day of [INSERT ESOTERIC YOGA STUDIO NAME]’s Yoga Alliance certified teacher training. Spirits high, coupled with a few expectation-fueled nerves, you take the proverbial first step on your journey towards a deeper personal practice, and possibly towards a flirtation, or even long-standing love affair with teaching.

And so marks your beautiful journey into the practice of teaching…

Or does it?

For many dedicated yoga practitioners, the bridge between student and teacher seems simple and logical – work, practice, put the #cashmoney down for a teacher training down, and undergo the metamorphosis from diligent student to devoted teacher with grace and ease. But the transition may not be quite this smooth.

The journey is on-going. After completing both Teaching Fundamentals and Advanced Teaching Yoga Alliance-certified trainings, a teaching mentorship program, a Pilates certification, and various supplemental anatomy courses coupled with weekend workshops and experiences, it’s become blatantly obvious that one “teacher training” is simply not enough. I’ve realized that the process is continuous, and with every additional course or weekend-intensive that I enroll in, I feel my perspective shift and my certainty in what I’ve been instructing and passing on to students change – and let me tell you, it’s precisely this shift that as a teacher, student, and explorer, make you re-evaluate basically everything. Scary? Yeah.

But let’s keep ourselves in check…

Cassandra Cooper Yoga Education

We live in a world that is constantly evolving, and as a result, to ensure that as a teacher and as a student you’re able to provide your students with the most informed and catered guidance possible. It’s (more) than a little bit necessary that you take it upon yourself to consistently strive for improvement and be aware of the changes that take place in the movement community around you. The moment that you become comfortable or complacent in both your practice and your teaching methods, take a quick moment to remind yourself that the path you’ve chosen to pursue extends far beyond you and your ego, and expands to envelop those all around you. And although it’s not always easy to accept fault in that which you’ve known for many years to be true in terms of alignment of an asana or a pranayama practice, it will enrich your ability to serve those around you on an on-going basis.

The (New and Experienced) Yoga Teacher’s Quick & Dirty

  1. EXPLORE – As you delve further into your yoga practice (as either an instructor or practitioner), you’ll realize that there are a number of potential avenues for you to explore. Experiment and take your time to play with and try out these various paths, and try not to take the “master of all” approach – unless you’re an anomaly, it never works.
  2. SPEED UP THEN SLOW THE F*%K DOWN – When you first venture out into the teaching world, you’ll voraciously digest any opportunity to be in front of a group that you have – which is great; this is how you gain experience. But as you become more comfortable leading others, take it upon yourself to recommit to yourself and your practice. Relax, scale back, and focus in on your own practice to nurture and grow your own creativity.
  3. INGEST, ANALYZE, and GROW – Be curious, and be willing to change your perspective. Take that weekend workshop, sign-up for that “movement” training, and above all, question what you have been taught, and don’t worry about the insecurities that may surface as a result. The moment you start accepting without challenge instructions that are passed down to you, is the moment you need to check in and assess where you stand as both a student and teacher.

And above all, remember it’s not the end result, it’s the journey. Cliched? Perhaps. Relevant? Always.

Much love,

The eternal student of this “yoga” thing – CC





Cassandra Cooper

Growing up with a background in competitive figure skating, Cass’ journey with yoga began at a young age. What started as a way of maintaining flexibility and mobility has since shifted to focus on building strength, by combining elements of functional movement into her practice and sequencing, helping to explore the different ways in which each individual’s body moves and changes shape. Since completing Octopus Garden’s 200 hour teacher training, and Rishikesh Yog Peeth’s 300 hour advanced teacher training program, Cass has pursued Barre and Pilates certifications through Stott Pilates, along with Essentrics movement training. The most important thing she’s discovered along the way is that you’re always a student – be curious, always question, carefully analyze, and continuously seek new avenues towards unexpected answers. ‘Yoga is the journey from cosmetic to cosmic beauty.’


200hr Yoga Teacher Training: Everything You Need to Know

Thinking about taking a 200hr yoga teacher training?

Here is a Q&A with Lauren Rudick, founder, director and Lead yoga teacher at Yoga Academy International. She addresses everything you need to know about taking a 200hr yoga teacher training!

Questions answered include what is a typical teacher training day? What if I strictly eat vegan? Is it necessary to bring my own mat? AND MORE!

Contrary to popular belief, a yoga teacher training is not only for people who aspire to teach in the future. There are many good reasons as to why one would choose to partake in this 200hr adventure. It can be to deepen your practice, learn more about yourself or just to take a break from your busy life to reconnect.

200hr yoga teacher training


Interested in taking a yoga teacher teacher training with us?

Click here for more information about our different trainings, curriculum, and how to apply.



Master Your Chaturanga Dandasana

Lauren Rudick plank pose yoga academy internationalThis is a pose that I see so much misalignment in as an instructor. Chaturanga dandasana is a crucial element of practice for anyone who enjoys vinyasa yoga or wants to eventually achieve arm balances. Misaligned chaturanga can lead to shoulder strain and rotator cuff injuries as well as neck pain and low back pain. So it is important to do this asana properly. follow these 5 steps to master your chaturanga dandasana.

1) Starting in plank pose, make your body parallel to the mat. The shoulders should be stacked right on top of the wrists. The head is an extension of your long spine.

2) Engage the quadriceps by gluing the thigh muscles to their bones. Keep the body actively engaged by pressing the heels back toward an imaginary wall and the chest forward into space in front of you.

3) Push the ground away from you and slightly round the shoulders to turn on the shoulder girdle. The biceps will rotate in toward each other. The eyes of the elbows will face out.

4) Engage the bandhas! Mula bandha: lift your pelvic floor. Imagine there is a shelf between your legs. Lift that shelf toward the belly and the back. Uddiyana bandha: Scoop the belly button in and up in a J motion. Jalandara bandha: keep the back of the neck long. Tuck in the chin slightly. note: if your are having trouble keeping the hips lifted here and the back is starting to banana place the knees on the ground.

5) On an exhale bend the elbows. Keep everything engaged and active. The arms should come to a 90 degree angle. Hug the biceps in toward the body. Make sure the shoulder heads NEVER drop below the elbows this is crucial to ensuring safety and symmetry in the shoulder joint.

See if you can hold this pose for 1 breath, 3 breaths, 5 breaths… Keeping the bandhas working and the shoulders moving away from the ears. Once you can hold this asana for a few breaths comfortably, see if you can push back up to plank.
Can you do chaturanga pushups ??

Tag anyone who can benefit from improving their alignment in chaturanga dandasana! Happy shoulders and happy practice yogis!


Lauren Rudick 

Lead teacher and founder of Yoga Academy International, Lauren is a globally celebrated yoga instructor. She has been teaching yoga for nearly a decade and comes from a variety of lineages and traditions. Lauren’s appetite for yoga and travel are insatiable. She continues to study with world-class instructors whenever possible, all the while leading her own yoga retreats and workshops. Lauren has solid roots in Hatha yoga with continued studies in Vinyasa flow, Anusara, Ashtanga, Restorative and Yin Yoga. She is inspired by teachers who tell stories. She has studied under Seane Corn, Chris Chavez, MC Yogi, Susan Cohen, Nancy Goodfellow and many others. Lauren is passionate about sharing yoga from an authentic and soulful point of view. She believes that yoga practice can help uncover the veils that hide us from achieving our full potential.



The Ultimate Upward Facing Dog: 6 Easy Steps

lauren rudick upward facing dog tutorialUrdva mukha svanasana a pose often rushed through or misaligned even by more experienced practitioners. Here are some things to remember while working towards your ultimate upward facing dog:

1) Push ten toe nails into the ground.

2) Firm the thighs. Think knee caps lifted by the strength of the thigh muscles.

3) Bandhas engaged. What does this mean? Imagine you’re wearing a pair of muscular underwear. Lift the front it. Pull it way up!! Engaging the lower abs and imagining there is a shelf between your legs and lifting that shelf up helps too.

4) Wrists under the shoulders then roll the shoulders back… Roll em back. Roll them back back back.

5) You can look up but don’t let the head flop back. Keep jalandhara bandha engaged by slightly tucking the chin, even if your head is up. For yoga newbies I wouldn’t suggest looking up at all, only forward. If the shoulder are up near your ears and you throw the head back there can be some serious damage to the neck. Wait until the rest of your updog alignment is spot on before looking up or back.

6) Open the heart! Have you ever seen a dog do this? It is like they are stretching new life into themselves. They press the chest open with their whole soul and you can practically feel the exuberance they emit in this stretch. Do that! Spread your collar bones and think about joy. With each upward facing dog, go to a place that makes you feel joyful! Breathe in and open your heart to the world.

if you have any questions or poses that you would like me to breakdown and write a post about, please mention it in the comment box below 🙂



Lauren Rudick 

Lead teacher and founder of Yoga Academy International, Lauren is a globally celebrated yoga instructor. She has been teaching yoga for nearly a decade and comes from a variety of lineages and traditions. Lauren’s appetite for yoga and travel are insatiable. She continues to study with world-class instructors whenever possible, all the while leading her own yoga retreats and workshops. Lauren has solid roots in Hatha yoga with continued studies in Vinyasa flow, Anusara, Ashtanga, Restorative and Yin Yoga. She is inspired by teachers who tell stories. She has studied under Seane Corn, Chris Chavez, MC Yogi, Susan Cohen, Nancy Goodfellow and many others. Lauren is passionate about sharing yoga from an authentic and soulful point of view. She believes that yoga practice can help uncover the veils that hide us from achieving our full potential.