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Meet Taco Lover And Yoga Faith Practitioner Jennifer Swets

What type of yoga do you like to practice?

Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, YogaFaith

Where is your favorite place to practice yoga?

TriBalance Yoga Studio, Schaumburg, IL  

How do you practice yoga off the mat?

I use my time on my mat to connect my mind, body and soul and I try to maintain that connection once I step off my mat. I am a homeschool mom of 4 kids so pranayama is key! My daily mantra is Inhale Peace; Exhale Chaos. As a person who for years was disconnected with their body due to trauma, yoga has taught me to trust my body and trust my movements. There is also a spiritual connection I feel during my practice and the connection I feel with God is strengthened once I roll up my mat and go about my day.

The world ends tomorrow. What would you indulge in tonight?

Snuggling on the couch with my husband and 4 kids

What was your first experience with yoga?

My first experience with yoga was 20 years ago in a gym at the YMCA. I remember the feeling of being still was foreign to me. My body wanted to get up and move but my mind knew this is what I needed, so I kept coming back.

What is your favorite food?

Tacos

Imagine you’re on the cover of Yoga Journal. What pose would you strike?

Warrior II

If you could practice yoga anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Exumas, Bahamas

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about practicing yoga?

Lay your ego down and get on a mat. It is time that you will not regret. Don’t worry about what you look like, what you are wearing or if the pose looks like the one you saw on social media. Just connect with your breath and be in the present moment. Give yourself that gift.

Where else can we find you?

YogaFaithChicago Facebook

YogaFaithChicago Instagram

Anything else you would like to add?

Several years ago, I had an emotional and spiritual breakthrough on my yoga mat and since then my practice is my therapy and my time of worship, as well as my exercise. To me, yoga is a moving meditation. I also like to share my experience of how yoga helped me process my childhood trauma and is part of my healing journey.


 Check out our Resource Page! Goodies for the yoga teacher in you!

 Yamas and Niyamas Poster is complete! Grab one for you, your house or favorite yoga teacher!!

 

Yogi Tones Podcast Episode 85 with Sita Rose – In Essence

What a privilege to chat with Sita Rose on the podcast today, her energy and genuine love for what she does is truly inspiring! A yoga teacher and musician who really knows how to blend the two and make magic! Support her debut album In Essence by going to SitaRose.com or indigogo.com and choosing a package. You’ll be glad you backed such a great project. Also join us at Queen Bees May 6th for the album release party!

A little more about Sita Rose…

Sita Rose is a spirit seeker, space holder, and music maker. Based in San Diego, CA, she is an expressive performer skilled at crafting melodic medicine derived from the heart. She draws from her experience as a board-certified music therapist, devotional singer,  ashtanga yoga practitioner to elevate consciousness and promote peace.  Her gypsy spirit has led her to study the ancient healing qualities of music throughout  India, South America, and Jamaica. As co-founder of Seed & Song LLC, she is passionate about fostering communities that empower women.  


Sharing is caring. If you can’t contribute financially, please consider sharing on social media, sending an email, donate a product or perk for BACKER BONUSES, volunteering at the album release party May 6th event. Your help is welcomed in all forms. Much love and see you soon!!

 

Yogi Tones Podcast Episode 58 With Bri Randall – Show Up

Bri Randall is a personal trainer, yoga instructor and photographer from Atlanta, Georgia. After the death of her high school sweetheart she began practicing yoga in 2015 and found the practice instrumental in her grieving and healing process. On a whim in January 2016 she began teacher training, and over the course of learning more about the yoga practice she also learned more about herself. In February 2017 she completed her RYT 200 under Rosalyn Nix. Now she strives to give back everything that the practice has given her: strength, flexibility, patience and discipline. But even more than that she hopes to connect with students on a personal level. Through her quirky brand of vigorous, fluid teaching and childlike energy and open-mindedness, she aims to create a holistic experience that explores the mind-body connection and invites students back for more. You can find her teaching Power Flow at Yoga General in Decatur, Georgia Tuesday mornings at 9:30, and subbing classes all over the greater Atlanta area.


Find more from Bri on Instagram @randallbriana

and on her website – Bri Randall Fitness

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

Special thanks to Bri for joining me this week. Until next time!

The Voice of a Yoga Teacher: how to make your voice your best teaching tool

BY  

Yoga teachers can use many different tools to lead their students through a class, such as visual demonstrations and hands-on adjustments. Arguably, most important tool is verbal cues. During more than two thirds of a yoga class, students listen to their teacher’s voice.

Every voice is different and you cannot make everyone love your voice, but you can work with your voice effectively. You can avoid sounding like a jarring horror film actor, a sultry sex hotline employee or a screaming heavy-metal musician. You can sound like you in a comfortable, loud and clear way. Furthermore, yoga teachers should rest their voices and use them in the correct way so that they may be able to teach two 90-minute classes in a row or more than two classes a day without feeling pain in the throat.

The quality of your voice will have a direct influence on your students. Researchers have found that there is an influence of a voice’s sound on the listeners’ well-being and, in turn, their own voice. The mere act of listening to a hoarse voice causes the listener’s larynx muscles to become tense and their voice to become rough. Consequently, a yoga teacher’s voice can support or prevent the students’ relaxation during a class.

There are six aspects of the voice I would like to focus on to demonstrate how to use your voice properly: breath, posture, pitch, enunciation, resonance and inflection.

vocal cords

Vocal Cords

1. Breath:

The breath is the engine of the voice. By flowing through the trachea, the larynx and the glottis, it causes the vocal cords to move and generates sound waves. (see picture 1 and 2) The more efficiently our breath works, the easier our voice comes and the better it sounds. As yogis we are familiar with different ways of breathing, so it’s easier to tell a yogi to direct the breath into a soft and completely relaxed belly: this is the so-called abdominal breath. In this way you can move your diaphragm the most and take in a larger volume of air, making it easier to articulate and to make your voice/breath last longer without taking another inhalation.

Larnyx

Layrnx

It isn’t recommended to use the full thoracic breath for speaking because breathing up high into the rip cage and the shoulders creates tension in the muscles around the neck and in the larynx muscles which influence voice generation. When people are nervous (e.g. a young and inexperienced yoga teacher teaching a big class) they tend to breath too high into their shoulders without using their diaphragm properly, so they get tension in their throat. This causes the voice to suddenly sound much higher and thinner.

EXERCISES

a) “Abdominal Breath”:

Relax your whole body and while you’re sitting, standing or lying close your eyes, put your hands on your belly and try to breath into them. Intensify the movement of your diaphragm. In doing so focus on the exhalation and your belly moving inwards. The inhalation happens automatically.

extrinsic-muscles-of-larynx-web

Extrinsic muscles of larynx.

b) “Yawning”:

To relax your larynx muscles (see picture 3) and your vocal cords, yawn deeply – with or without sound! Your larynx will get into the lowest and most relaxed position.

HINT:

For yoga teachers who know the feeling of stage fright: the only remedy (besides experience and good preparation) is the breath. Breath slowly and deeply into your belly if you feel really nervous!

2. Posture:

Our body posture has important effects on how our voice sounds. When you stand or sit upright, your voice can unfold much more than in a position in which your body is collapsed or in a difficult asana. You should be aware that almost every movement can be heard in your voice (for example, when everything is silent in Savasana and you are speaking while moving, people will notice). You should also consider that you have to speak louder if your face is directed away from your students or downwards when you are showing a movement.

EXERCISE:

“Warm up” Before you start to teach you should warm up your body to release all the tension, especially in your neck, your shoulders, chest and belly.

3. Pitch:

Every voice has a so-called “perfect pitch”. When you speak in this pitch your vocal cords swing in a perfect way, you need only minimum power to generate sound waves and therefore it is less exhausting for you to speak for several hours. It is not only one note but more a scale of several tones like a kind of third; in this pitch you can speak with a softer breath and less tension in the vocal cords, even if you have to speak loudly. In many cases, people don’t use the right pitch, especially when they are emotional and angry or when they try to speak louder. Their voice gets higher but not really louder. By finding the right pitch and using the abdominal breath you can avoid that.

EXERCISE “Chewing”:

There are different exercises to find your perfect pitch. The most common one is the “chewing” exercise. Try to chew with your mouth closed. Imagine you are eating something really delicious. After 20 seconds start to open your mouth and create a sound like “myom”. Keep on “myoming” and try to figure out which pitch you are chewing and using the most in this relaxed way of generation a sound.

4. Enunciation:

To be understood as well as possible you should try to speak very clearly. I personally had some experiences of yoga teachers lowering down their voice in restorative postures or for Savasana, but by whispering gently they forgot to enunciate clearly. The consequence was that you couldn’t understand them hardly.

To avoid this, raise your awareness by warming up your active articulators before the class, i.e. the lips and the tongue. (see picture 1)By doing this, you can improve the clarity and the resonance of your voice.

cork-web

cork exercise

EXERCISE:
a) “Cork-Exercise”:

This is a typical actor’s exercise: Put a cork or your index finger between your front teeth and try to speak a few words or sentences as clear as possible. Then release your finger or the cork and you will realize a big difference in your enunciation and the movements of your articulators.

b) “Mouth-Yoga”:

flap those lips!

flap those lips!

You could also do so-called “mouth yoga” as a preparation for yoga classes: 1) Wiggle your jaw. 2)Touch all your teeth with the tip of your tongue – first on the a outside then on the inside. 3) Stretch your lips by forming circles. 4) Flap your lips. 5) Push on the inside of your cheeks and your palate with your tongue. 6) Smoothe out your masticatory muscles with your palms from your ears to your chin – your mouth is a little bit open while doing that.

Watch this video to see all the exercises.

5. Resonance:

Resonance is when many parts of your body vibrate while you are speaking – your voice seems more space-filling and sustainable without being really louder. We have several resonance chambers in our bodies to work with in voice production. When you open your mouth while you are speaking you already make use of one of them. There are more resonance chambers in your face (e.g. in your nose and your upper skull) (see picture 1/ nasal and oral cavities), in your chest and in your back. It’s not easy to find them, but if you try humming or chanting “om” and put your palms on different parts of your body and try to direct the sound into those parts. You should be able to feel a vibration, e.g. in your lips, your chest, your back and your head. If so, it proves the use of these resonance chambers.

6. Inflection:

Finally there’s an aspect called “inflection” which includes the melody and the emphases you use. As a yoga teacher you shouldn’t speak monotonously. You also shouldn’t speak with this typical hyper-friendly-sing-song yoga voice. Stay true to your own voice, your own way of speaking and your own personality. Speak in a rhythmic, authentic and confident way. You will sound even more confident if you lower your voice down at the end of the sentences. It gives your words more weight and importance. If you aren’t sure whether to employ this tactic not, record your speech with a mobile phone or a computer and listen to it.

Finally, I’d like to give you some general advice to help you to use your voice perfectly and protect your voice as a yoga teacher. Drink enough water during the classes for keeping your vocal cords moistened! Pause between your instructions in order not to become too fast! Finally, give your students and yourself some silence in their postures; during this time you can relax your breathing muscles, your vocal cords and your articulators ¬– and the students can stop listening to you and focus on their “inner voice” instead.

(These explanations can be only small reviews – if you want to work more properly and intensely with your voice, read a book about voice training, e.g. “Freeing your natural voice” by Kristin Linklater, or even better: find a voice coach for some personal lessons)

mi_bio2Miriam Bauer is a Brahmani-inspired Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher (RYT-200) and voice coach (univ.). She teaches yoga classes and voice workshops in Regensburg, in other parts of Germany.

More information on her work: www.mibauer.de