Yoga Teacher Training is moving along just like the seasons! We’ve even been able to walk to and from our studio, Yoga Loft in River North to enjoy the delightful pre-Spring Chicago weather. Within our training, we have already learned half of the full Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series. This includes: Surya Namaskara A, Surya Namaskara B and the Standing Sequence. It’s pretty cool to say we’re halfway through, but there is still so much to learn! We’ll continue to study and learn the seated and finishing sequence, take deep dives into the individual postures, master adjustments, learn sequencing and more.
Pretty soon we’ll be ready to teach our own community classes! Community and karma classes are opportunities to teach a deserving group who may not have access or the opportunity to try yoga. If you have any suggestions of where we should teach – holler at your yogis! Please share in the comments or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Don’t ever be intimated to try yoga! There is a variation for every pose to meet your needs, and whatever you decide is right for your body, is your practice. Yogis are generally the nicest people around – your teacher will be thrilled to help you! We recommend trying a Vinyassa Flow for beginners, a full Ashtanga class is actually very strict.
Some days you will be able to touch your toes and on a different day, maybe not. There’s nothing wrong with that! Although trying and “perfecting” difficult poses is so satisfying – that is NOT the purpose of Yoga.
We’ve mentioned this before, but Ashtanga Yoga is a traditional practice with ancient roots. Ashtanga literally means eight limbs, and the two we have primarily focuses on are the Yamas (how you relate to the outside world) and the Niyamas (how you relate to yourself). Read more about them here.
Keep in mind how you are feeling the moment you come to your mat. Listen to your breath. That alone may be your practice. Trust me, we have days when downward dog is just as intense as Iyengar meant for it to be. With that being said, The dolls do love a good challenge and that is what a Kakasana “crow posture” into headstand really is… Danielle had no idea this was even a variation until Caitlin taught her!
Kakasana (crow pose) to headstand instructions:
- Start in Malasana – a hip opening pose. Bring your feet mat-width distance apart, toes pointing out. Squat down with a straight back, tail tucked under. Bring your hands to prayer position and use your elbows to push your knees outwards. Gaze towards your nose.
- Place your hands on the mat, shoulders width apart, fingers spread with even weight distribution. Bring your gaze forward and start to shift your weight forward. Lift your one foot up off the floor and then the second. Voila! You’re in Kakasana (crow pose).
- If you have good balance and a strong core, you can now move into Sirsana II (tripod headstand). Slowly place your crown on the floor, protecting the head and neck.
- Engage your core to lift your legs overhead. Gaze is towards your nose. Enjoy this inversion and come down carefully when you’re ready.
Natarajasana, or Dancer’s Pose is a beautiful posture for balance. It also helps to stretch the shoulders, chest, thighs, groins and abdomen while strengthening the legs and ankles.
- Start in Samasthiti (standing), then turn your left arm actively outward (so the palm faces away from the side of the torso), bend the elbow, and grip the outside of the left foot. (You can also grab the big toe with the first two fingers and the thumb.)
- The fingers will cross the top of the foot, the thumb will press against the sole.
- Inhale, lift the left leg up, and bring the thigh parallel to the floor. As you do this, rotate the left shoulder in such a way that the bent elbow swings around and up, so that it points toward the ceiling. It requires extreme flexibility to externally rotate and flex the shoulder joint in this way.
- Reach the right arm straight forward, in front of the torso and parallel to the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, release, and repeat on the second side for the same length of time.
We clearly used the partner variation. TRY IT!
Lastly, we love a good Vasisthasana (side plank pose) and wanted to share with you. This pose strengthens the arms, abs and legs while stretching the backs of the legs. This is another wonderful posture for balance, and you can always use a variation if needed! Ask us how in the comments 🙂
- Start in plank pose. Bring your right hand to the center of your mat.
- Turn your body, bringing your gaze to the left and bring your left arm up overhead.
- Stack your feet on top of each other.
- If you feel balanced, brig your gaze to meet your left hand.
- If you feel steady, hover your left leg high for a challenge.
What’s next you may ask?! We’ve been challenged to perform one of the standing postures from the Ashtanga Primary Series every day for one week. The pose is called Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (say that 10-time fast), or extended hand-to-big-toe-pose challenge. Stay tuned!
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
I have only done yoga once and liked it, so I am not sure why I never went back. Sounds like it’s going real well for you 🙂
You should definitely experiment with it a bit more – we find it to be so rewarding! We definitely suggest trying these poses at home. The instructions are all there for you. XO
Ana De- Jesus says
I would like to try Yoga as it is meant to be good for core strength and posture. However I have bad back problems so would this be advisable?
Hi Doll, Thanks for stopping by! There are several modifications if you have back problems, for example, slightly bend the knees in folding poses and engage your abs and seat throughout your practice. Always make sure to tell your instructor before class. You can also avoid any poses that involve that area. Instead, try focusing on poses that help strengthen and stretch surrounding areas.For back pain, you may benefit from engaging the abdominal muscles and stretching the hips and shoulders. Hope this helps! XO
Logan Can says
One thing I have learned very quickly about yoga is it is a LOT tougher than it looks and you must be super strong and fit to be training to be an instructor!
Hey Logan, we hear you! Some yogis make it look so easy, right? It all comes with time and practice. Thank you for your kind words. XO
Danielle | Twenty Dollar Date says
I love that you two are going through teacher training together! I would love to have a close girlfriend to go accomplish something big like that with. You ladies are so adorable. 🙂
Thanks, Danielle! We think you’re a-doll-able. XO
Yes !!! Live this so glad your learning I absolutely love yoga that’s the only place you will see me if I’m @ the gym.
Thanks so much, Laci! Yoga is definitely one of our favorite exercises. It’s also a great complement to other gym routines like running! XO
laura londergan says
I have heard great things about yoga but have yet to try it out myself. I need to do that as it looks like a lot of fun
Hi Laura, We definitely recommend trying yoga for yourself! It’s life changing. XO
vidya sudarsan says
I love yoga! I practice everyday.. but no where close to what you ladies are doing! beautiful to watch all these poses – they are not only good for the body, but for the mind as well.
Thanks, Vidya! You are on the right track. Pattabhi Jois says, “99% Practice, 1% Theory”. XO
Colette @ restyle it wright says
I’ve tried yoga several times and enjoyed it. Definitely something I could make a better habit of. Good luck on your teaching!
Thanks Colette, stop back by the Dollhouse for more poses and instructions! We have an open-door policy 😉
This makes me want to dust off my yoga mat and get to working.
Fatima, you are so sweet! You should totally get your yoga mat out and go for it. If you can’t get to the studio, we love the idea of practicing at home… clearly 🙂 LOL
Great post! Yoga in front of the fire place must feel cozy and relaxing! I recently tried aerial yoga which looks easy, but it is no joke!
Thanks, Doll! Heated yoga 🙂 hehe
Your detailed explanations are fabulous. I tried yoga once and was so lost…. this makes it approachable. On a different not…. I LOVE your pants! Great prints!
Hi Michele. You are so sweet! Thank you. There is one famous yogi who said “Yoga is 99% practice, 1% theory”. If you practice it will start to become easier and easier! XO
Louise Bishop says
You gals are great at this! I haven’t done a head stand since I was 10 and in gymnastics trying it every day! haha
Thanks, Louise! The yoga headstand takes a great deal of core strength. We always see former gymnasts get into it with ease 🙂 XO
Jennifer L. } Modern Chic says
Been getting into Yoga recently, and so I love getting inspired. Thanks for the inspiration! And best of luck with your journey!
OMG Thanks, Doll! You inspire us 🙂 XO
Looking good girls. I love the dog licking you in the middle of your workout. Hehehe.
My cat usually comes to rub herself on me while I’m working out too!
Thanks, Paola! That’s Stummie, the Dollhouse mascot 🙂 He can’t resist coming over for some kisses. XO
Melissa Lee says
I really love yoga but for some reason I don’t get round to doing it very often. I really don’t know why! It looks like a lot of fun in the photos and thank you for the detailed explanations of poses and concepts. It makes me want to get my yoga mat out!
Hi Melissa, We hope we inspire you to get your mat out and try a few poses! XO
Sami Mast says
That headstand looks so difficult! I should really try another yoga class. I went to a few before, but I’ve just been so busy I didn’t ever make it back!
Thanks, Sami! The headstand requires a lot of balance and core strength. You can totally get there with practice. XO
Justine Y @ Little Dove Creations says
I love the idea of a community or karma class, how nice! You ladies look awesome, congrats on your progress!
Rose Sahetapy says
I don’t know about Yoga, but I start to think to take a yoga class. I see that yoga is about balancing, not only physical but mind as well. Am I right?
I need to get back into yoga. I remember how good it felt when I did do it.
Oh, it feels wonderful! You can always move the furniture around at home to practice. XO
Ashley (Bramblewood Fashion) says
I’ve always heard good things about Yoga, but have never given it a try.
Ashley, you should totally try it! We hope this inspires you. XO
This is awesome! My dad and I started getting into yoga and it’s so fun to bond over that!
Amy | Pastel N Pink
Wow, Amy! That is so cool. Practicing with a close friend or family member is so lovely. CC + Dani are soul sistas so we kinda got the best of both 🙂 XOXO
I absolutely love Yoga but I am so terrible at it! I am going to have to give it another shot!
Give it another shot! We are our own worst critics… remember to stay positive! XO
ahhhh you make me wish I could do Yoga well haha!! Awesome post, and loved learning more 🙂
Thanks, Audrey! You can totally do it – first step is to come to your mat. Try one of these poses and let us know what you think! XO
Awesome form! I love yoga!
Thanks, Claire! You’re a Doll!
It’s so cool you are doing yoga training! That must be fun to do it together. I love how you lay out the steps for us to try these poses ourselves. Keep it up!
Thanks, Allie! You are so sweet. We are having a great time doing the yoga training together. Try the poses and let us know what you think! XO
Oh my! I saw this on your IG, now I think that maybe you are a cat woman? You are so flexible, this is something I can’t do
Bella B (xoxoBella) says
I really want to get better at yoga. I really enjoy it a lot.
It all comes with practice and each day is different. We hope you are inspired to come to your mat! XOXO
I’ll fall flat on my face. I definitely and have been dreaming of attending a yoga class, but have yet to give it a try. Thanks I’ll try at home first. 🙂
Congratulations on week 4! You two are really getting amazing at explaining things and I can imagine you would be amazing teachers.
I’ve done yoga a few times, but haven’t quite gotten 100% into it. I think post college life I might get a little bit more into it.
Hi Michaela, Thanks for stopping by the Dollhouse. There are tons of different yoga practices, you may find one that sticks 🙂 XO
Rebecca Kelsey Sampson says
You guys look like you were having such a fun time putting this together. It’s great to embark on new journeys as a team, it’s so much more motivating.
Be the author of your own story,
Rebecca Kelsey Sampson
You are so sweet, Rebecca! Yes, we are having a blast. Thank you!
love your website
Thanks, Michele! Stop by anytime – we have an open door policy at the Dollhouse.
I did yoga years ago. I really should try it again I know it would be good for my body.
Oh it’s so wonderful! We hope you’re inspired to try it again.
Seersucker Sass says
I loved y’all’s video! I miss taking yoga so much. This post has inspired me to get back into it 🙂
XO, SS || Seersucker Sass
Thanks, Doll! You are so sweet – we’re touched to have inspired you. Let us know how it goes!
Eva / Kid Minds says
You look cute doing yoga! I’ve completed kids yoga teacher training and it was a lot of fun. I took it so I can teach my kids yoga in a fun way.