Yoga Belly Blog

Committed to delivering the gnarliest yoga experience.

Tag: Lifestyle (page 1 of 2)

Yoga Mama: Edna Barr Discusses Her Upcoming Teacher Training

I haven’t met a single YB yogi or yogini who isn’t a huge fan of the insanely talented, warm, focused, and hilarious Edna Barr. I recently moved to San Francisco, and have been dropping in at different studios just for fun, and NO ONE holds a candle to my beloved Yoga Belly. The instructors here have spoiled me, I’m not just impressed with any old yoga class anymore!

Anyway, as many of you know, we will be hosting an upcoming teacher training this spring. I was curious about it myself, so I asked Edna to sit down and answer a few questions about what the training will cover. Here are her insightful answers, and I thought I’d pass them on to anyone who’s still on the fence…


-What will this class cover/involve?

This course is accredited with Yoga Alliance so we have to cover everything they require in order to register with them. Yoga philosophy, history, all eight limbs in detail.

-Who would benefit from taking this class/training?

Anyone & everyone! I have been on staff teaching this course internationally for the past 3 years & I fall in love with it over & over again. Even though we are covering the same information; it is so profound each & every time. Information ministers to us on different levels during different times in our lives. It is always an awakening as well as a reminder of what is truly important.

-What will a typical class look like?

The course is broken down into 3 hour sessions that cover a variety of topics so there no real “typical” session. The teaching style is repetitive so we will do a daily review of Sanskrit to ensure memory retention. Other than that, each session will be a new experience!

-How did you train to become a yoga teacher?

Haha! I have never heard this question before but the more I think about it, the more I feel that they should be a very common question. Yes, we absolutely must train to become a yoga teacher… There is a misconception that once you complete your YTT course; one is ready to start teaching but nobody trained them to teach…
You train by first being taught how to teach. Then you practice, get feedback, practice some more & get more feedback. A teacher training course is a safe space to learn, practice, get feedback & sharpen your skills before making a public debut. Too many courses out there do not prepare you for this. Rather they leave you to debut as an amateur instead of a professionally trained instructor. Becoming a teacher takes time & experience, but one should have a solid foundation from which to build upon.

-What do you hope to share with your students?

Wow, everything. I hope to share yoga… The full meaning, the full experience, the complete satisfaction & joy of yoga. That samadhi, even a tiny morsel of it, is wondrous.

-How is this program different from other teacher training programs out there?

Well, I mentioned some of it above where this course will prepare you to actually teach. There is a difference between an instructor who calls out cues & instructs and a teacher who can asses the room & actually teach. Once again it takes time & experience to learn to teach but standing in front of a crowded room reciting a generic script is not going to help anyone deepen their practice. I have students who have been practicing much longer than I have; never would I assume that I could teach them something but I do have the ability to assist them to go deeper.

This course is different because it is completely interactive. We don’t just give you a reading assignment & hope that you fully comprehend it. We come back & discuss it, find out if & how it resonated with you. We don’t want you to simply memorize the philosophy; we want you to understand how to live by it & make this life the best it can be.

We spend each day going over hands on assists & adjustments. I was speaking to the owner of an award winning studio last week & she said mentioned that they don’t teach assist in their YTT because of the liability. I responded by saying, “well even more so the importance to teach instructors the proper way to assist.” She nodded her head in agreement…

-How is teaching this program different from teaching your regular asana classes?

Oh gosh, another fantastic question! When we teach an asana class that is what we are there for. Too many teachers insist on cramming every element of yoga into a 60-90 minute class. Many students also expect a full yogic experience in this same amount of time. The truth is none of it can be rushed… If you want to learn philosophy, study it. If you want to learn meditation, study it. If you want to learn more pranayama techniques, study it. You come to an asana class to learn asana. Sure we practice a bit of pranayama but only as it pertains to the asana. Perhaps we throw in some calming, restorative breathing or meditation techniques but to think that 5 minutes of pranayama, 10 min warm up for asana, 30 minutes of asana, 5 minutes of restorative, 5 minutes meditation & 5 minutes of savasana with the instructor constantly talking you through each minute is a complete yogic experience… *sigh* That isn’t it…

More often than not people say that my classes are not spiritual enough which makes me laugh because I have practiced yoga my entire life. I grew up with meditation, the wonder & awe of life, spent a lot of time in the Hare Krishna temple as a teenager. Just because I don’t feel the need to preach one thing in the classroom & turn around & live another doesn’t mean that I do not live in a constant state of truth & bliss… How I can teach others to obtain this same bliss? I cannot… It is their journey to learn to surrender, seek knowledge & accept.

This is what I truly hope to share in this course. I hope that it will change everyone who attends the way that it has changed me. I have always been able to see the divine light in others but it took a lot of work to finally see the divine light in myself.

Serious Business: Slurpee Sangria Task Force


You guys.

A little bird told me there’s a place in Mountain View that has slurpee-style sangria. We know it’s not at Cascal. But we. Must. Find.

I think it’s high time for a Yoga Belly happy hour. So, I propose some serious business: Let’s put together a task force. A fearless, valiant team of yogis and yoginis who can brave the MV bar scene and report back with their findings.

Your mission: Find this elusive slurpee sangria.

Then: We sweat it out, YB style, and then go get drinks. And then summer is complete.

Any takers?



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Newbie to Newbie: Thoughts on Your First 50-100 Hours of Yoga


I received an email from the lovely Laurel Thompson, an ER nurse in Palo Alto who just started practicing at YB. She asked the same questions I was asking a few months ago, so I thought I’d share them on here in case there are any other newbies out there who are curious.

Disclaimer: I am a beginning yogini in EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. If you have serious questions, please direct them to one of our capable, accomplished instructors… I can only speak for myself, and I don’t even have a solid idea of where my hip flexors are, so take all this with a grain of salt.

Anyway, take it away Laurel!

“Today was invigorating, I sweat more than I thought I ever could and was very impressed with William and how friendly everyone was. I will be returning to yoga belly! From a beginners stand point what do you recommend? Would you stick to the yoga belly classes for awhile then move to the power yoga? How many days should I aim to go to a class. Let me know what you think I would love any suggestions!!!”

So, here are my thoughts.

Personally, I find the Yoga Belly classes to be just as much as a cardio workout as the power classes, though the power classes do a little more in terms of technique, and it helps to be familiar with some of the basic poses because we move through them really quickly in power. I don’t think the power classes are HARDER (some people do, but I still sweat my brains out in Yoga Belly), but instructors will say things like, “Come up into Warrior 2” instead of “Turn your front foot to face the mirror, square your hips to the parking lot, relax the shoulders, tuck the pelvis under, find the 50/50 weight distribution, and gaze over your middle finger.” You’ll also do a bunch of funky poses in power that you don’t really do in YB. Most importantly, you’ll see all levels in all the classes, and poses can be modified to meet your particular needs on that particular day. So, don’t be intimidated, just go to class and make it about YOUR practice.

If I were you, I’d try both and see which you like! I started with the Hour of Power classes, did a few YB classes, and then worked up to the 75 and 90 minute classes a few months later. 90 minutes of power is still pretty intense for me, and I still go to the YB classes, especially if I need to revisit my foundation.

As far as how often you should practice, that all depends on your goals, schedule, and other fitness interests. Since I don’t do much else besides yoga and snowboarding in the winter, I try to go 4-5 times a week, which means I usually go 3-4 times a week. If I’m too sore to hold a pose for longer than a split second, I take a day off, but I find if I go less than 3 times a week I don’t really progress the way I’d like to. Also, when I first started practicing, I was doing some running and kickboxing at the gym. However, I found that I ended up with tight muscles, and it really affected my yoga. I decided to take 6 months off from everything else and just focus on yoga, and that really worked for me. So much, in fact, that a year later I’m just now incorporating running and other activities into my routine : ) But, that’s just me! Some people come once or twice a week because they do triathlons and circuit training or just work 60 hours a week, so everyone’s different. You’ll find a stride that works for you.

So, welcome new yogis and yoginis! We hope you’re settling in and getting to know this wacky, sweaty, sexy new family of yours. If you have any other questions that a yoga newbie can answer, please feel free to ask! For the hard stuff, there’s a yoga mama or yoga daddy out there who will be much more helpful than myself.

Coming soon: Yoga Gear for Newbies: Mats, Towels, and Tanks, Oh My! A Collection of Gear For Every Budget

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Vacation is Bad for my Practice

During the summer, I find myself traipsing to and from vacations, weekend getaways, the occasional bender… not that I’m complaining! And, in the summer, my body confronts various maladies that don’t seem to affect it during the rest of the year: poison oak, sunburns, mosquito bites. They have kept me out of the studio for whole weeks! It feels like I take three giant steps backwards by the time I get back to the studio, even if I’ve only missed a few days. But, I don’t think saying no to adventure is the answer! It’s just that, even away from my Yoga Belly home, I need to take the time to stretch. To relax. To breathe.


In this spirit, I hope you all…


Yoga in Your Professional Future?

If you’re thinking about it, YogaDork has a great article for anyone interested in changing career paths and becoming a yoga teacher.

More importantly, our own William and Aaron have first hand experience with this!

I won’t lie. It’s crossed my mind. Yoga teachers are super hot, I’d like to be super hot, hmmm.

Pride Night

Yes, please!

Y’all, Great America is hosting a pride night on Friday, May 27th, from 6pm-2am. This is a private event with rides, live music, and a whole lotta booty-shakin’. There will be performances by Robyn, Dev and the Cataracs, and DJ Hector Fonseca. And, um, did I mention the RIDES?!

Tickets are now $45, prices will go up in a few weeks. Our very own William and Aaron are hoping to get a group of Yoga Belly honeys out there, who’s coming?

If you’re interested, please contact Aaron and/or William at or 650-862-3976.

More information on Pride Night and other awesomeness here

Yogi Shiva Rea Talks Nutrition…

…and she’s not a vegetarian.

Read the full article here.

Stand Up For Your Health

When I was little, fidgeting was generally frowned upon, but according to an article in the New York Times yesterday, it might just be good for you.

We’ve all met people who, no matter how much they reduce their calorie intake, or increase their calorie output, cannot seem to lose weight. And, on the flip side, we all know people who can pretty much eat what they want, and as much as they want of it, and not gain anything. In 1999, Dr. James Levine asked the question we’ve all asked for years: Why do some people who consume the same amount of food as others gain more weight?

I don’t want to give anything away, but the results are fascinating. The answer has to do with sitting, fidgeting, and magic underwear. Go read the article.

Date Night This Friday!

Hey guys, just a reminder that Yoga Belly’s famous


is happening this Friday, April 8th!

Register now for a night of partner yoga, Thai massage, and other touchy-feely goodness.

Kindred Spirit: Tara Stiles

We’re not the only studio with a lighthearted approach (as evidenced by our disco ball): meet NYC’s “Rebel Yogi” Tara Stiles.

Check out the article in the New York Times:

And, her thoughts on why she practices yoga: “I do yoga so I can understand myself from the inside out, stay grounded and centered, and connect in a meaningful way in the world. Seeing colors, irredecent dots that connect all things, and other trippy, amazingly real effects of doing yoga are also incredibly enjoyable for me, although I refrain from making them a discussion leader for the most part, except for those days when the class pack has left and a few stragglers/good friends linger around the Strala couch, grandma’s quilt, and E.T. pillow made from my brother remain… My schedule is banana pancakes and will only get more nuts. I figure I could freak out, complain that I never have time to myself, or more sensibly, be crazy grateful for all the opportunities that I am getting to live out because of the effort I have put in. I am ridiculously grateful to be living exactly the life that I would wish for myself. . and I’m happy to understand the effort and attention it takes to cultivate life.”

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